A Pregnant Woman’s Search for Missing Husband Ends in GTB’s Morgue
“My husband went to get milk and food for the kids amid the violence and never returned,” Sunita said.
Camera: Athar Rather
Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
A crestfallen tone on the other end of the phone on Sunday morning. My heart sank, and I asked, “Yes, Sarita. Did you find your brother? It’s been four days now.”
Sarita’s voice dropped lower. “Yes, ma’am. We found his body in GTB Hospital’s morgue.”
‘Had Gone to Buy Milk, Food for Kids’
I met Sarita and her seven-month pregnant sister-in-law, Sunita, in a narrow lane in Delhi’s violence-torn Brijpuri on Friday, 28 February. I was looking for Rahul Solanki’s family, one of the 42 killed in the violence that had raged in Delhi, and it was his father who had directed me to Sunita.
Sunita and her three children, all under the age of 10, were roving up and down the lane, frantic.
“On Tuesday, 25 February, my husband (Prem Singh) had left home to buy milk and food for the kids. All the nearby shops were closed. I don’t know where he disappeared.”Sunita
“Did you go to the police station?” I enquired.
“Yes, madam. I went to Gokalpuri and Dayalpur police stations. They didn’t listen to me and shooed me away,” Sarita said.
I asked her to accompany me to meet a senior policeman who was patrolling the area. He asked me to write a complaint letter on Sunita’s behalf.
In the letter, addressed to SHO Gokulpuri, I wrote:
Prem Singh, 27, left home in a white shirt to buy milk for his three children. He left home at 8 am but did not come back since that day.
Prem Singh, an auto-rickshaw driver, was the sole earning member of the family.
Barely able to contain her own grief, Sarita comforted Sunita, who oscillated between breaking down and wearing a stiff look, her youngest daughter in her lap.
Once I had written the letter, Sunita dipped her right thumb in blue ink and stamped the sheet. The senior officer, sending the head constable with the family to the police station, said, “Once the FIR is filed, the procedure the locate him will start.”
Weeping, Sarita said, “Sir, please help us. Nobody listens to poor people.”
The officer assured her of all possible help. The family, aboard a jeep, were taken to Gokulpuri Police Station, where an FIR was registered.
Will Look for Him Among Detainees: Police
On 29 February, a day later, Sarita called me in the evening. “The police has asked us to take copies of Prem’s picture and go to the police station. All the nearby shops are shut. Where do I go, madam?”
Somehow managing the pictures, she reached the police station. “Madam, they have started the investigation. They will first check if he is there among the hundreds detained during the violence. If he is not there, we might have to go to the hospital and check.”
The family had not garnered the courage to visit GTB Hospital. “I am scared. What if there’s unfortunate news?” Sarita admitted.
Sarita’s Last Call
Sarita called me on Sunday morning.
“The police didn’t find my brother among the detainees. So they gave us a written letter to check the hospital wards. We checked among those injured but didn’t find him. Then we were taken to the mortuary where we found his body. We were just shown his face.”
The family awaits post-mortem reports to find out how Prem lost his life. “The hospital said it’ll take some more time before they can hand over my brother’s body to us.”
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