It has been a year since his father Alimuddin was brutally lynched by a mob on June 29 in Bazaartand in Ramgarh but for Shahzad and his family time has stood still. The fear and terror has become part of their lives and as he tells The Citizen, “we do not go out of our house or the village unless it is very very necessary. And that too in a group. Bahut dar hai.(we are terrified).”

Shahzad knows that the men who were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a Fst Track court in March this year have been released within weeks by the Jharkhand High Court. He does not know however, that they were embraced and garlanded by the Union Minister of Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha. Who is he? Shahzad asks saying tentatively, “no I have not heard of this, but we got to know as soon as they got bail that they were being released.”

The family has still not got the Death Certificate for Alimuddin. The little money he had in a bank account this is inaccessible. Shahzad has been running from pillar to post, from one office to another, but no one is willing to issue the document. “I do not know why, but they are not giving it to us,” he says.

For him, his mother and siblings the struggle continues. “It will never be over” he says. His mother remains in a state of depression that he does not want to talk about. Asked, he says, “what can I say how she is, how can she be.” He remains without a job despite being assured of the same by the local District Collector. For the past one year, whenever he meets the officials he is told that he will get a job as compensation. “Till now they have not said no, so I have no choice but to remain hopeful,” he adds.

The family’s economic condition has deteriorated sharply. His father was the only earning member until he was set upon by the cow mob who beat him to death in full public view. Shahzad has studied till metric but had to give up his education to look after the family, being the eldest. He says that he had urged the District Collector to find him a job where he could both study and work, “they promised but I don’t know now.” He has five siblings, a sister who is married and the others who were studying but have had to give it up now as “we cannot afford it.” They go to school intermittently, he says.

How are you surviving on a daily basis? On the charity of our neighbours and our extended family, he says. Everyone has been helping us, but for how long will they be able to. They too are poor like us, and this support will stop, it has been one year already.

Fear continues to stalk them. The convicted men are from the neighbouring villages. Asked why he thinks they were released Shahzad says he was told that the court feels that they were seen as just standing there in the photographs and not beating his father. And that eight of the eleven convicted were released, with the other three still in jail as there is sufficient photographic evidence against them. He repeats this blandly, as if he is talking about someone other than the lynching of his own father. The fear is palpable.

Union Minister Jayant Sinha greeted the eight with sweets and garlands, and assured them of all help.
( When attacked on the social media he claimed that he was merely honouring the process of law. His father and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who has been speaking out at the BJP in recent months, under pressure also tweeted, “Earlier I was the Nalayak Baap of a Layak Neta. Now the roles are reversed. That is twitter. I do not approve of my son’s action. But I know even this will lead to further abuse. You can never win.”

This has led to a debate on the social media whether father and son are working hand in glove, the one with the BJP and the other keeping doors with the Opposition open. Sinha has been active in Kashmir, and in strongly denouncing the Modi government in his speech and writings.

Interestingly, Jayant Sinha is a Harvard University alumnus and several tweets have tagged his alma mater. For instance the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president and former Chief Minister Hemant Saren tweeted, “This is truly despicable.@Harvard Your alumnus @jayantsinha felicitating accused in cow related lynching death in India. Is this what @Harvard stands for?”

Jayanat Sinha has gone a step further than the BJP legislators who joined a march in Kathua widely perceived as support for those who had abducted, tortured and killed little Asifa, a nomadic girl. The march was for the release of the accused and a CBI probe into the incident. Sinha has however, directly embraced those whose life sentences for Alimuddins killing have been suspended by the Jharkhand High Court, and who have been released on bail. They have not been acquitted.