On that day Ibrahim returned from school and his mother told him to wash up and then come to eat. He went into the bathroom and screamed in agony. Then it all cascaded into something tragic.
He kept saying 'mein mar jaoonga mummy (I am going to die, mummy)', as his father carried him and I kept telling him not to talk like that— Zarina, Ibrahim's mother
They live in a largely aspirational, middle-class Muslim locality, in an apartment block surrounded by similar ones, mushrooming all around the place. Tolichowki has become modern.
The walk-up apartment of Zarina and Abdul Mujeeb is on the third floor. A load of footwear outside suggests the number of people inside. The visitors are all close relatives and have come to commiserate with the young couple on their loss of their six-and-a-half-year-old son, Ibrahim. He died early morning on July 16, Saturday, after being kicked in the groin four times by a schoolmate.
He was in class I at the Promising Scholars School in the Hyderabad suburb. It remained closed on Monday following Ibrahim's untimely death. The school compound projects a sense of calmness around it, with palm trees and a lot of greenery within. Although a number of schools are there in and around the place, a few from the IAS Nagar colony went to this school.
Ibrahim's little brother Omer too went to the Promising Scholars. The younger boy, who has just got into LKG, while smiling all along, is noisy and destructive, hitting every toy car on the floor, standing on the rim of a huge mirror and attracting attention to himself.
He spits on the wall and gets reprimanded by his mother, but continues to look for things to take apart. Apparently he knows his brother has gone to 'Allah' but it does not seem to have affected him.
All the toys though belonged to Ibrahim. This was where he studied and played. The youngest in the family is Anisa Fatima, all of one year, crying for her milk, unaware why the attention is not on her.
While Mujeeb, a Meru cab driver, is broken, Zarina is communicative. Mujeeb wanted to die along with his son. It took 12 men to hold him back and console him in his moment of utter tragedy. While he did talk to a few television channels, he now refuses to talk, though is polite enough to greet a visitor.
He just lies down and shuts his eyes and tells Zarina not to cry, because he says he cannot see her sorrow.
There is no anger in Zarina's voice and she says: “What is the use? My son is never returning. He is gone.” She does not cry but when a photo of Ibrahim is brought on her mobile, she holds it with both hands and rubs it softly.
“He was a gentle boy,” she says. “Soft-hearted and did not like to hurt anyone... which is why he kept running away when the other boys beat him, four times during that fateful day.”
She had asked him why he did not complain to the principal. Ibrahim had told her, “He would just dismiss us if we complained.”
Obviously, the principal will not get involved in small skirmishes at school, although he can watch everything going on there through CCTV cameras from his office room.
“They have only two ayahs and one watchman,” says Zarina.
“We pay enough and they could have hired more help. Perhaps, that could have saved my son’s life.”
No one pays attention to the children, she claims, for she has seen boys pushing one another or playing pranks or fighting on the stairs sometimes when she carried lunch for her son. She would always tell them not to hurt each other.
She was looking to change the school of the children the next year. The boy, who preyed on Ibrahim, was a mere eight-year-old and in class II. Not too big, but there was enough anger in him for him to kick Ibrahim in his crotch four times, so hard that the testes had inverted and gone into the body.
In fact, the doctors told the parents that Ibrahim would lose one testicle. They were willing for anything, provided their son lived.
But the boy, wired and tubed from all sides, succumbed to his injuries in hospital, though two surgeries had been performed on him.
“And when I started crying, he raised a finger and asked me to stop. He never liked seeing me cry,” says Zarina.
Ibrahim was far more mature for his age, for he would hold other children spellbound with his story-telling ability.
“I bought him English books so that he could improve in the language,” says Zarina. Omer is keenly looking at the books and itching to take them apart.
But Ibrahim would read the stories and then retell them to a ready audience. On that day, Tuesday, Ibrahim returned from school and his mother told him to wash his hands and then come to eat. He went into the bathroom and screamed in agony. Then it all cascaded into something tragic.
The father, Mujeeb, who was at home then, quickly carried the boy and rushed him to the Niloufer Hospital, for they had heard it was a good hospital for children.
“He kept saying 'mein mar jaoonga mummy (I am going to die, mummy)', as his father carried him and I kept telling him not to talk like that,” says Zarina.
Paediatric surgeons say vasovagal shock might be the reason for the boy's death. They said injuries to private parts can be dangerous, irrespective of the victim's age.
Mujeeb later went to the police station where he filed a complaint against the boy who had injured his son so badly. Inspector K. Srinivas of Banjara Hills Police Station said a case has been registered for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under 304(II) of IPC against the Class II student.
“As he is a minor, we will inquire into the case and proceed as per the guidelines of the Juvenile Justice Act,” Inspector Srinivas said.
He will probably be sent to a juvenile home.
Zarina wanted to find out what would happen to the boy. Her face scrunched up when she heard that whichever home the boy went to would be worse than hell.
“Ibrahim was the chirag (light) of our family. He was the first male child we have had in a long time,” says Ibrahim’s aunt.
Hyderabad has seen such incidents earlier too, where school students fought with each other over petty issues resulting in deaths.
In May 2015, Nabeel Mohammed, a 17-year-old boy, died after a street fight. Nabeel and another youngster entered into a ‘friendly boxing match’ in which they exchanged blows. Later, Nabeel died.
Though friends tried to hush up the incident, following a complaint filed by a family member, the police recovered a 1.05-minute video of the incident, which revealed the cause of death.
In September of 2015, two class 10 students engaged in a fist-fight. One of them, Mohammed Ameer Siddiqui (14), collapsed and succumbed to injuries. A CCTV footage of the incident shocked the school authorities as Ameer was seen collapsing after receiving blows.