Bidar lynching: “This is jungle raj. Even animals are not so cruel, says techie Mohammed Azam’s family

 K Shiva Shanker ||Express News Service

HYDERABAD: As TV channels beamed the gory details of how Mohammed Azam (32) from Barkas in the Old City of Hyderabad was lynched to death at Bidar in Karnataka, his father Mohammed Osman was waiting on his 2-year-old grandson, trying to feed him by luring him with fancy toys on the terrace of their house in the dingy lanes of Barkas. As the toddler kept on asking where his father was, a shattered Osman hid his emotions and tried to pacify the child assuring him that his father would return home soon.

Just a few hours earlier, the family, including Osman, had watched the most disturbing videos showing a mob, carrying sticks and stones, rush towards the car in which Azam was travelling.

“This is jungle raj. Animals are better than human beings as they attack other animals only when they are hungry,’’ the shocked family members said even as they maintained their composure. While carefully dealing with the 18-month-old toddler, they wondered how a nation filled with affection for each other had become like this (people killing strangers).

Reeling under the terrible loss of Azam, the family members quivered while talking about him as they tried hard to control themselves from bursting into tears. “Everybody has to think what happened to people that they want to kill others. What are they reading? This has become a jungle raj. People feel unsafe to step outside home to do jobs or other work,” said Mir Ansar Ali, Azam’s uncle.

READ | A timeline: Fake WhatsApp rumours trigger series of mob lynching across the country

After completing post-graduation in the United Kingdom (UK), Azam did various jobs in Saudi Arabia and Qatar before returning to India to be with his family and the infant son. He was employed with software giant Accenture at Hitec City and was working on a project for YouTube.

His two twin brothers, Mohd Akram and Mohd Aslam, are also techies and Aslam too works at Accenture. His sister Fouzia Begum is a graduate.

With Thursday and Friday being his weekly off, Azam left home on Friday afternoon, saying that he would return in a few hours. He left for Bidar with Salham Eid All Kubaisi, a Qatar national who works with the police department there, Noor Mohammed, Mohd Salman and his friend Afroz who is from Bidar. Azam stayed at Salham’s residence when he worked in Qatar. Azam.

Azam was supposed to report to duty at 3.30 am on Saturday but did not return till night, Azam’s uncle Mir Ansar Ali phoned Azam.

“Police answered the phone and said everything is all right. Though I urged them to make me talk to Azam, they repeated that ‘nothing has happened’ and that he was being administered glucose. With no answer coming when I asked where should I go to meet Azam, the police answered ‘Bidar Government Hospital’ and the phone was switched off at 3 am (Saturday),” Ansar Ali recalled.

It was only when the family members of Salham and others went to Bidar that they came to know that Azam died. The funeral was performed in Hyderabad on Saturday evening.

Osman, a railways employee with four children, said that though he earned a meagre salary, he invested all his savings, sold his home, took loans to get his four children formal education.

“No other child should meet such fate. Parents work hard to bring up their kids. I request the governments of Telangana and Karnataka to do something about it (WhatsApp rumours which lead to killings)”.

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