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‘Wanted to be a Doctor’: Shot in the Head, Delhi Teen Laid to Rest as an Entire Locality Lines Up to Mourn

Family, friends and neighbours walk in the minor’s funeral procession on Thursday. (Rounak Kumar Gunjan/News18.com)

Family, friends and neighbours walk in the minor’s funeral procession on Thursday. (Rounak Kumar Gunjan/News18.com)

The 15-year-old was shot in the head when he had stepped out to buy milk from a nearby shop in riot-hit Brahmpuri. The bullet went through his skull.

New Delhi: All roads leading to 15-year-old Itminaan Ahmad’s* house in north-east Delhi’s Brahmpuri were closed on Thursday. At 4:30pm, amid heavy security and a gathering of close to 100 people, he was taken to the nearby mosque, before being buried.

Ahmad was shot in the head on Tuesday. He had stepped out of his house in the evening to buy milk. His family had to no clue about his whereabouts till they received a phone call from an acquaintance.

“We don’t even know when our child reached the area where violence broke out. We got a call at around 5:30pm from someone saying your child is in the hospital. We rushed to Anwar Hospital to find that he was shot in the head and the bullet had gone through his skull,” said Irshad Ahmad, his paternal uncle.

At 2am that night, he was declared dead.

Meanwhile, at Itminaan’s house there was a long queue of neighbours and other locality members who wanted to be part of the funeral procession and pay their last respects. Several women in the area wanted to see him for the last time.

“He grew up in front of us. It is almost like losing a family member for everybody who is present here. The child died for no fault of his,” said Razia, a family friend.

People had gathered outside the house close to an hour before the scheduled time for his funeral. Locals were informed that the police would cordon off the area. They had walked from their houses well in advance to avoid blockades, some even walked close to a kilometre.

The funeral procession also had Itminaan’s friends. The 9th grader went to Pandit Madan Mohan Lal School. “We used to play cricket together generally in the afternoon. That day there was no school. We were at our respective homes. We had not met since last Friday,” said one of his friends.

The 15-year-old wanted to be a doctor. He was planning to join the required coaching classes in a few months.

After stopping at the mosque for namaaz and the final rites, the procession headed for the burial ground. Male members of the entire locality, along with several police officers, accompanied the family.

Discussions of the riots that had enveloped all of north-east Delhi for three days were ripe. The deadliest clashes to have been witnessed by the national capital have claimed 38 lives, so far. More than 250 residents have been injured. Houses and shops have been torched, petrol pumps, tire markets, and innumerable vehicles have been gutted during the three days of violence.

While young boys expressed suppressed anger against what had happened, others only hoped for peace to be restored. A large section of the crowd was also visibly scared.

“We have never seen anything like this before. Even during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the violence was not this rampant. We have lost Itminaan, we don’t want any more deaths and clashes,” said Sultan, part of the procession.

Back home, Itminaan’s mother and two younger sisters were inconsolable. They were not part of the gathering that went to the cremation ground.

Family members informed that all three women had forgone food and water ever since they heard the news. Itminaan’s father had fainted several times since Tuesday.

“He was the most well-mannered kid in the house. Never loitered around with others, went to school and came back home. I don’t know why this happened to him,” said Irshad Ahmad, his paternal uncle.

(The boy’s name has been changed to protect his identity since he was a minor.)