Ansari family loses 6 members in Mum attacks

Source : The Hindu

For days five-year old Firoze kept asking for his mother. He finally sensed that something was wrong. Then relatives took the little boy to a cemetery. “Your mother and father are here,” they told him. “He was crying. It took us two days to control him,” says Sagir Ansari, 32, Firoze’s elder brother.

The Ansari family received a cruel blow in the recent terror attacks. They lost six family members in the massacre at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on November 26. Rakhila Abbas Ansari, 40, her husband Abbas Razab Ansari, 40, her brother Mohammed Illias Ansari, 40, her nephews Sarfaraz Salauddin Ansari, 17, and Murtuza Ansari Salauddin, 17, and the couple’s son-in-law Mohammed Arif Mohammed Islam, 27, were struck down by the terrorists. The couple’s two children, Afroj, 12 and Mehboob, 18, were injured.

At 9.30 p.m., the Ansaris were waiting near platform 13 for the 11.25 p.m. Rajendra Nagar Express. Five of them were set to go to their village Mananpur in Navada district in Patna, for Bakrid, which falls on December 9.

Sagir, who had accompanied his parents, had gone to the toilet. When he came out a few minutes later, his family was no more. He saw his brother Mehboob injured on the ground. He took him to the hospital. Some people helped Afroj. Sagir learnt about Afroj’s hospitalisation only the next day.

Another kin was in for a shock like Sagir. Taxi driver Israil Ansari, another brother of Rakhila’s, had reached the family to the station in his taxi. He left them at the entrance and went to park his vehicle before planning to join them. That was the last he saw of his sister and the rest of his kin. “I reached the gate and heard the firing,” he says.

Afroj is just about reconciling with the horror and the loss of his parents. “I came to Mumbai a year ago from my village. I will go to school there. In Mumbai, I took Urdu lessons. I will go back to my village and to my school,” he says. There was no time for the family to seek succour that night. “We had no time to run. My uncle was shot; he fell on me,” says Afroj.

Like Firoze, Afroj and Mehboob also learnt of their parents’ death only recently. “Afroj kept asking why Mummy and Daddy had not come to see him at the hospital,” says Sagir.

Like the Ansari children, four of Arif’s children aged below ten are also going through the pain of losing a parent at a tender age. They are with their mother in their village.

The Ansari family lived in Mumbra, Thane, and earned a living by making bags, purses, doing zari work and selling perfumes. “They are a poor family. They spent what they earned during the day,” says Pappuraj Nayeem Khan, president of Nagina Masjid, where Israil lives.

Mr. Khan remembers Illias as a devout Muslim who always wore his cap and kurta pyjama and sported a beard. He was in the traditional attire even on the night of the attack unlike others. Mr. Khan says Illias was disturbed by the troubled times in Mumbai, especially after the attacks on north Indians.

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