Video Editor: Pawan Kumar
An eerie silence surrounds the dead bodies of Junaid and Nasir, even as a crowd of a few hundred villagers stands in an open ground next to the room where the corpses have been kept since being brought home to Rajasthan’s Ghatmeeka village in Bharatpur district, late on Thursday.
But just a few meters away are the homes of Junaid and Nasir, which are replete with sounds of wailing women, inconsolable as they remember the two men.
Junaid and Nasir were allegedly killed by members of the Bajrang Dal as their vehicle was set on fire in Haryana’s Bhiwani, and their bodies reduced to bones.
Junaid, 32, was a labourer in the village and the father of 6 children, the eldest being 12 and the youngest just 6 months old.
“My kids have no future anymore, what will happen to them now? Muslims have no rights in this country,” says Sajida, Junaid’s wife. Even as she is struggling to speak coherently – after days of crying and practically losing her voice – she keeps stroking and patting her child, lying on her lap.
Next to her is 12-year-old Parvana, stunned over what transpired, numb while watching her mother cry away. “My abbu (father) was burnt alive. The men responsible for this should be treated the same away,” she says.
'Went As Two Healthy Men, Returned As Skeletons': Family
At Nasir’s residence, Farmina, his wife, is in no condition to speak to anyone, shrieking in pain.
Nasir’s sister, Sarda Begum says that “he was the nicest man in the village.” “There wasn’t one bad quality in him. He was the kindest person, and very helpful,” she says.
While Junaid and Nasir were uncle and nephew, their relationship was closer to that of being like brothers to each other, their families say. The two had left together on the morning of Wednesday to go and meet Junaid’s in-laws. “Now both of them are gone. Two young, healthy men of one family just burnt alive,” Sarda says.
The grieving family members are also having to answer for the allegations levelled against the deceased. While Nasir doesn’t have a criminal record, Junaid has five previous cases of cow smuggling, Bharatpur Inspector General Gaurav Srivastava has said.
“Does this country have no law and order? Can a mob come and kill anyone? All allegations are false, but even if they were true, how can someone just burn them alive?,” asks Sarda.
Families say their ‘hearts pierced’ when the bodies of the two men came home. “They went as two full-fledged, healthy men. Came back as just skeletons. They were reduced to bones,” says an aunt of Junaid.
'Muslim Men Constantly Under Attack': Villagers Seethe
There isn’t just shock and sadness pervading through the village, but also deep anguish and rage.
“Muslim men are constantly being attacked in this country. If it isn’t mob lynching then it is love jihad. Dadhi-topi (men with beards and skull-caps) are being attacked, they aren’t safe,” says Javed, a resident of Ghatmeeka village.
“If tomorrow I am killed on the road, what will happen? There is no cow smuggling case against me, I have nothing to do with the crime. But I can be accused of anything,” he adds.
According to a press note released by Rajasthan police late Friday evening, one of the accused, Rinku Saini has been arrested. Rinku Saini is a taxi driver in Ferozepur Jhirka and chases people who indulge in cow smuggling, the press note further said, adding that he will now be questioned about the other people involved in this incident. Besides Rinku, four others were named in the FIR including Monu Manesar, Anil, Shrikant and Lokesh Singla.
Junaid and Nasir’s family members had spent over a day searching for them, and finding clues to trace them down, after which they had registered an FIR in the Gopalgarh police station. It wasn’t until the Bolero in which they were traveling was found burnt in Haryana’s Bhiwani that an alarm was sounded back home. The Quint had earlier reported how the family members connected the dots and probed the alleged kidnapping of the two.
"We will not sit in peace until we get justice," another villager said.