‘They need special care’: Two UP schools adopt kids left fatherless by lynch mobs
Aligarh: The red boxing gloves overwhelm Ikran’s threeand-a-half feet frame. But the six-year-old can swing a mean left. He recently won a district-level tournament where he was the smallest and most underweight kid around. Ikran’s father Rakbar Khan had no such skills. Even if he did, it would not have been of much use before a frenzied mob that lynched him in Rajasthan’s Alwar district in July last year on suspicion of cow slaughter.
A little distance away from Ikran, nine-year-old Sarfaraz is happy to goof around. There’s little in common between them except that both lost theIkran (right) tries hand at boxing with another student of Madrassa Chacha Nehru in Aligarh. Ikran’s father, Rakbar Khan, was lynched by a mob on suspicion of cow slaughter in Rajasthan’s Alwar in July last year
ir fathers to murderous hordes and are now in a school for poor children of all faiths run by Salma Ansari, wife of former
vice-president Hamid Ansari, in UP’s Aligarh.
Two of Ikran’s brothers, just 10 and 4, are also there. Three more kids — children of another cow vigilantism victim, Mazloom Ansari, who was beaten to death and hung by a tree in Jharkhand in 2016 — will join them this month.
Salma Ansari told TOI she has received names of 60 such kids — Hindus and Muslims — who need support. This has prompted her to set up a separate facility at Madrassa Chacha Nehru to accommodate100 such children. Apart from religious training — namaaz is read and bhajans sung — the 4,000-odd students are also imparted regular education.
“They need special care,” Salma Ansari said. “One can’t imagine the trauma someone so young goes through when their guardians are killed so brutally and publicly.”
As kin of lynching victims remain entangled in financial troubles and longdrawn court cases, Ansari’s school is not the only one coming to their rescue. TOI visited a charitable institute for girls, The Sana School, that is also helping rebuild lives of those on whom lynching has cast a long shadow. Three of Ikran’s sisters, Sahila ,14, Sahima, 11, and Ikrana, 8, are among 55 students there. Two of Sarfaraz’s sisters will be enrolled soon.
Hostel warden Shama Parveen said losing caregivers at such a tender age can often cause children to act out.