Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Dead ‘Pak girl’ was from Malegaon’s Islamabad
Eight-year-old Sajeda Bano Rizwan (above) was killed in the Malegaon cemetry blaston September 8, 2006. She belonged to `Islamabad' area in Malegaon. However, a news channel aired a story saying she belonged to Islamabad in Pakistan
Mateen Hafeez | TNN
Malegaon: Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad is over fifteen hundred kilometres away from this powerloom township, but a local area here also called by that name came into news two days ago, when a section of the media reported that a Pakistani girl was among those killed in the serial blasts that rocked Malegaon last Friday.
The fact, however, is that Sajeda Bano Rizwan (8), a resident of Islamabad—located in the southern part of Malegaon—was on her way to celebrate Shab-e-Baraat festival to her maternal uncle’s house when she went missing in the crowd near Bada Qabrastan and was finally found dead in the morgue of the NN Wadia Hospital on Saturday.
Media reports that Sajeda had come from Pakistan’s capital city to meet her uncle in Malegaon on the occasion of Shab-e-Baraat, led to much confusion and soon rumours started doing the rounds that some Pakistan-backed militant outfits were involved in the terror crime. It took two days for the police to find out that took two days to find out that Sajeda was resident of Malegaon and not Pakistan.
With most of its population of around 12,000 Muslims, Malegaon’s Islamabad is surrounded by the Mausam river on its west and south. On its north is located the historic fort of Raja Narav Shankar. Abdul Khalidque Sardar, a resident of nearby area, said, “Islamabad came into existence soon after the fort came into existence in 1600s.’’ While there are three Sunni mosques in the area—Kausar Masjid, Hayat Masjid and Nageena Masjid—the corner of Islamabad is home to Malegaon’s single mosque for Shias.’’ Partitioned on lines of the different classes living there, in Islamabad’s north live the textile merchants or the middleclass people, while the south is home to the poor and the labourer class that included Sajeda’s family.
Sajeda’s family said they tried to search for her for over two hours before the bombs went off but in vain. “People started running helter skelter shouting that there was blast. We saw people in a pool of blood and the vehicles being smashed. But we didn’t find our sister,’’ said 16-year-old Zainab, Sajeda’s elder sister.
A class IV student in a municipal school here, Sajeda along with her mother and other siblings, was headed for her uncle’s home. “Every year we go to my brother’s place for Shabe-Baraat. This time too, I was taking my six daughters, including Sajeda, there when three of them insisted that they wanted to see the stream of beggars who arrive from across the country for alms outside the mosques on the day. The main road and the by-lanes were heavily crowded and all of sudden Sajeda got separated from us and went missing in the huge crowd,’’ said a mourning Rasheeda Bano, Sajeda’s mother.
The family lodged a missing complaint with the Azad Nagar police station and the next day the police asked them to come and see a girl’s body lying at the hospital. “I identified my sister’s body which was wrapped in a dupatta. It was divided into two pieces from her waist. Her legs had broken with multiple injuries. She was buried at the Bada Qabrastan on Saturday afternoon,’’ said Sajeda’s brother Irfan.
Sajeda was the eighth child among her six sisters and three brothers. While her mother is a widow, brother Irfan is paralysed and can’t work to earn. Her second brother, Nihal, works in Malegaon Spinning Mill on a salary of Rs 1,000 per month, while her two teenaged sisters work as domestic in Chunabhatti and Belbaug areas for Rs 60 per week. This family of nine depends on Rs 1,500 earnings per month, but Aarafa, another of Sajeda’s sister, claims, “It’s enough to support our family.’’
(The Times of India, September 13, 2006)