Losing Son & Life Savings: How Bengaluru Unrest Robbed Two Fathers
Their losses are different, but there is one thing Pasha & Kumar agreed on – the violence shouldn’t have happened.
The chaos at the police station startled Anwar Pasha. Standing in a corner of the DJ Halli police station with his hand folded, he was waiting for the police to take him to the mortuary. When asked about the incidents of violence in his neighbourhood on Tuesday, 11 August, the grief-stricken 65-year-old could barely mutter an answer as he stood choked with emotions.
The same day, a couple of kilometres away, sitting outside his house in Kaval Byrasandra, Pavan Kumar was taking stock of the damage caused by the violent mob. A cut on his right knee from the mob attack was hassling him, as he explained the damage to a neighbour.
Pasha lost his 19-year-old son, Yasin Pasha, in the police firing at DJ Halli, while Pavan Kumar, father of Naveen who had shared the derogatory post on Prophet Muhammad, lost his life’s savings in the violence.
Their stories and losses are different, but there is one thing they both agreed on – the violence on Tuesday shouldn’t have happened.
‘I Was Told My Son Was Bleeding On The Road’
“Someone called on my phone that night, I don’t know who it was. The person on the call said that my son is injured, and he is bleeding on the road. My sons rushed to spot,” Pasha said.
It was his elder son who broke the news to Pasha later. “Yasin bled to death on the road,” he had said.
Pasha, who owns a mutton shop near Hebbal, lives very close to the DJ Halli police station. Yasin was the third of his four children. He said that on Tuesday Yasin came home after closing the shop.
“At around 9:30 pm, he went out saying he was going to have dinner at his elder brother's house two streets away from my house,” Pasha said.
Even though he warned him about the violence outside, Yasin insisted that he would find his way. He said since the police were around, he would be safe. But around midnight Yasin was hit by a police bullet and died on the spot.
“I don’t believe my son was involved in violence. He was never part of any party or associated with any politician. He spent most of his time at the mutton shop and he worked throughout the week. He was just a bystander. I told the police the same,” he said.
Even though his son died in the wee hours of Wednesday, it was more than 24 hours later that Pasha could see his body at the mortuary. “The funeral is over. Now I don’t know what to do. My son is gone,” Pasha said.
The Cost of a Facebook Post
“We have lived in this area for several years now and we have neighbours who are Muslims. We never had any problems,” said Pavan Kumar, a retired government official.
It was a post by his 34-year-old son, Naveen, that triggered the violence and led to the death of the three people on Tuesday.
He remembered telling his son to be careful after some residents felt offended by Naveen bursting crackers on 5 August following the bhoomi pujan ceremony of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
“I won’t hide it, even I was happy that something historical, related to my religion was happening. But I told him he shouldn’t burst crackers because for our neighbours it was a difficult memory.”Pavan Kumar
On Tuesday, after the Naveen’s Facebook post triggered outrage, Pavan was able to get through to him just once. “I spoke to him just once after I heard about the post, he said he didn’t do it. He said someone had used his Facebook account. I don’t know how Facebook works, but I knew something bad was going to happen,” he said.
By the night, Naveen was in police custody and his father left at home with six other family members. “A mob of 500 to 800 people walked by my house. Then I knew something wrong was about to happen. I thought they would shout slogans outside the house, but they started pelting stones,” he recollected.
While Pavan and other family members locked themselves on the first floor and later escaped by jumping to the neighbouring house by jumping from a parapet, the mob was looting his house downstairs.
“They took the money and gold we had in the house. They destroyed everything in the house and burnt my car. It was everything that I had saved in my lifetime,” he said.
What Did Anyone Gain?
The two fathers agreed on one thing during their conversation – if it was up to them they wouldn’t have resorted to violence.
Pasha said that if only people understood what he is going through, they wouldn’t have resorted to violence. “My son was just 19-year-old. Marriage, children… he had a long life ahead of him,” he said.
Pavan Kumar says if his son had done anything, he should be punished. “Police are there to do that job and they are conducting an investigation. But putting my family through this horror and looting his life’s savings, what difference did it make to anyone?” he said.
The investigation into Yasin’s role in the violence and the derogatory post by Naveen is currently underway, and the police are expected to file charge sheets soon. But for the families, the time taken to recover from their loses would be longer.
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