Monday, December 29, 2008

Report on the Ansari family at Tardeo

And here is a report from OrangeJammies and Serendipity on the Ansari family which lost six members:

We visited Mohd. Rahim Ansari on Thursday, December 25, 2008. (His contact information is at the end of this report.) He was not keen to have us visit his home, so we stood by the side of the street and had a 25-minute conversation. The family tree (provided as an attachment) took up most of our time, as he wanted us to have all the details right. Please review that first for a clearer understanding of the situation. Here are other bits of information from the meeting:

He mentioned upfront that he has already been approached by several television channels and they keep asking him to recount the details and it's getting harder for him to do so. He was not very positive about our ability to help but gave us a diffident go-ahead.

The Ansari family is from Nawada, Bihar, (near Patna) and on the night of 26/11, they were present at the CST to drop off one member of the family who was to leave by the 11.20 train to Patna.

6 members are dead, 2 were wounded but have since returned to their village.
Response from the government so far has included a total of Rs. 90,000 (15,000 x 6) received from the railways. Rs.60,000 (10,000 x 6) was spent on the funerals and the remaining Rs. 30,000 has been used to fulfil immediate needs of family members in the village. The cheques for Rs. 5 lakh per person have not made an appearance, despite Mohd. Rahim having applied for the same a month ago at booth # 3 at CST.

Mohd. Israil and Mohd. Rahim were the chief breadwinners who shared rented premises in Bombay and sent money back to the village. Israil has since gone back to Nawada and Mohd. Rahim says the onus of paying the missing brothers' share of the rent falls on him.

Mohd. Rahim holds a job that brings in Rs. 2000-3000 a month.
Immediate concerns include Mohd. Ismail's wife (and Sarfaraz and Murtuza's mother) who is now left with two young children to care for. Since she is in iddat (the muslim period of mourning), she cannot leave the home, let alone come to Mumbai to claim compensation. Also, Mohd. Ilyas' daughter is scheduled to get married in a month's time (Mohd. Rahim insisted she was over 18 years of age) and will need financial assistance to set up her new life as well as to meet wedding expenses. Mohd. Rahim said he would get the wife's account number for us so cheques could be sent directly to her. He would also provide a list of wedding-related articles needed, although it's hardly logistically sound to send over things from Mumbai and money would probably work better.

Repeated attempts to contact Mohd. Rahim for account details have been unsuccessful as of Monday, December 29, 2008. Another point of contact can be Shagir, Abbas and Rakila Ansari's son, who lives in Mumbra and whose number was provided by Mohd. Rahim on Thursday. It is: 9870575097. I will contact him tomorrow, i.e. December 30, 2008, and also try to reach Mohd. Rahim.

Mohd. Rahim said he would appreciate our help in obtaining the Rs. 5 lakh cheques. I have spoken with my brother-in-law who is a lawyer and has agreed to add Mohd. Rahim's case to the PIL a group of citizens is filing to obtain timely compensation from the govt. I will give him further information once I get through to Mohd. Rahim.

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