“I am born in this village, in India. Why should I go to Pakistan?” Fateh Mohammad said in a low tone. A brief silence ensured before he spoke again. “They tell us to leave India. Even after so many years of Independence, the people have not accepted the Muslims as a part of the country. But I shouldn’t say all, only some section of people shows hatred towards us.”
Fateh lives at Khandawli village in Haryana’s Faridabad, the same locality where Junaid Khan – the teenage boy who was lynched while travelling back from Delhi in local train two years ago – belonged to. The village is barely an hour’s journey by road from Delhi.
The residents of Khandawli haven’t forgotten the cruel memories even today. There is a palpable fear among the people about communal hatred. They are equally scared of speaking or confronting about it. It took much coaxing before the villagers opened up.”Kya faeda kuch bolne ka, jo hota aa raha hai wahi hoga (What’s the point of speaking about communal fear, it will continue as has been the case). The people target us on our looks, our beards and clothes that we wear,” said Fateh, sitting on a cot under a tree along with his childhood friend Abdul Rahim.…
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