In the ashes lie hopes and dreams

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Hundreds of Muslim families of Atali village in the Faridabad district of Haryana have now returned to their burnt homes after being forced out by a mob on the fateful evening of 25 May. But life is never going to be the same for them. The communal violence that ensued due to the construction of the mosque besides the temple in the village has done damage far beyond what the eye can see.

Photos : Vijay Pandey

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Homecoming Nagma’s six-month-old daughter was thrown into the fire by the mob. Fortunately, the neighbours rescued her immediately. Her husband Sherdil is a tempo driver and they have three other children. The children are so terrified that they have refused to return.

atali3 atali1Waiting to heal Shaan, a 23-year-old student of MSc Physics in Aligarh Muslim University, was not in town when the violence broke out. He immediately returned upon hearing the news of his father getting injured in the violence. He is still recuperating from his injuries.

Charred letters Abdul Hafiz, 75, holds the remains of his religious texts burnt during the violence. Situated right opposite the disputed mosque site, Hafiz’s house was the main target. The CCTVs monitoring the construction of the mosque were being operated from his house. Needless to say, the hard disk of the cameras was also damaged.

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No alphabet in sight Aman Ali, 13, holds the few schoolbooks he managed to carry with him when the violence broke out. On returning home, he was aghast seeing his burnt books and schoolbag. He has been too scared to go to school for the last 15 days.

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Souvenirs of Hate “All the furniture in my house was brand new,” says Yousuf Khan, 25, who got married recently. Yusuf works with a private company and is afraid that his company might fire him for being absent for a long duration. His wife is too petrified to return to the village.

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Beyond repair Raisuddin, an auto driver, sits inside his gutted house in Atali. “We have to build it from the scratch,” said Raisuddin, who is still to resume his job. He hasn’t brought his wife and two children to the village yet since the situation is still tense.

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