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'This terror has no religion'

The terror which struck Jaipur has no face, no religion and families are struggling to cope with senseless destruction, reports Jatin Gandhi.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2008, 22:26 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times

Mustafa Khan, 30, has not spoken much since Tuesday night. As he stares blankly at the glass door of the Neurosurgery ICU at the Sawai Man Singh hospital, a relative is calling the doctor for an operation appointment. Mustafa’s four-year-old daughter Subhana is on the other side of the door, battling for life. His wife, Sumaira, and her two nieces died in the blast at Johari Bazar.

Subhana and her mother had come from Mumbai for the summer vacation to visit her maternal grandparents in Badi Choupar in Jaipur. On Tuesday, Sumaira had taken the little girl out with her cousins Asma, 13, and Anni, 8. “Subhana only remembers holding her mother’s hand and waiting for a rickshaw. There was a loud sound and the next thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital. She doesn’t know her mother is dead,” said Razzaq Khan, Subhana’s paternal grandfather, who has flown in from Mumbai.

“In one evening, we lost three of our girls. Another is waiting to be operated on. The doctors have to take pellets out of her body for her to survive,” said Farukh Khan, Subhana’s uncle, who has been camping at the hospital since the family discovered she was here. The Khans have lived in Jaipur for as long as the 34-year-old can remember. “It was always a peaceful city, but I fear something might change now. Muslims and Hindus have always lived together here. We cut the gems, they set the gems in gold and silver to make ornaments,” said Farukh, whose family has been in the business for generations. Among the 63 dead, 16 were Muslims.

In the hospital’s childcare centre, nine-year-old Ruksana lies on a bed with her mother sitting by her side. Her brother, 12-year-old Abdul, is on the next bed. “Rukhsana has pellets in her body and Abdul has lost his hearing in the left ear,” said their father, Abdul Rouf, 45. The children were at Chhoti Choupar when the bombs went off.

“It will take a long time for the city to forget these blasts. You can fight an enemy you can see but what can you do with people who hide and kill you? This terror has no face, no religion,” said Farukh. “When riots happened in 1992 (the only time in the city), I was 18. I realised a rift had been created between the two communities. I hope it doesn’t get any wider now,” he added.

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