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Reunion after four years

Jamal during his visit to Labhpur on Tuesday.
Picture by Indrajit Roy

Labhpur, July 15: Jamal Sheikh, who had been given up for dead on the night three of his brothers were killed allegedly at a kangaroo court at Manirul Islam’s home, today came to Birbhum’s Labhpur after four years and met his mother and other family members.

Jamal, 29, had been in hiding since his three brothers were hacked in front of his eyes.

On June 29, Jamal had spoken to The Telegraph over phone from an undisclosed location and recounted how one of those present at the kangaroo court on June 3, 2010, had set his right leg on fire to check whether he was dead or alive. When Jamal did not move despite unbearable pain, Trinamul MLA Manirul and his aides thought he was dead and left.

Jamal had spent three months in hospital and never set foot on Labhpur since till today.

His mother Zarina Biwi today met Jamal’s two sons — Saidul, 2, and Maidul, 3, for the first time. Jamal’s eldest son Habibul, 5, also came.

“I could not come to Labhpur after I escaped from Manirul’s courtyard alive. I was given up for dead and they had carried me to a field with the bodies of my three brothers. Since then, I have been living in a cousin’s home in Murshidabad. I came to Labhpur today after I heard that (leader of the Opposition) Surjya Kanta Mishra is coming here to meet my mother,” Jamal said.

“I met my family members for the first time in the past four years,” he added.

Zarina, who changed homes 20 times in the past four years because of alleged threats by Manirul’s aides, now lives in the house of Jamal’s elder brother Sanwar Sheikh, who too was present in the kangaroo court called to settle a business dispute and had fled by scaling a wall.

“I have been living in constant fear since that day. I returned from the jaws of death. But today, I felt happy after meeting my mother and other family members,” Jamal said.

His reunion with his family members was brief.

Jamal reached the Labhpur house at 1.30pm and left around 2.40pm for Calcutta to attend a TV programme. Jamal’s wife Rejina left for Murshidabad around 5pm with her sons.

Zarina broke down in tears on seeing Saidul and Maidul and pulled them to her lap.

“I had a happy family with my eight sons and their wives and children around. We are passing through a difficult phase now because of threats by Manirul’s aides. I am thankful to Allah for keeping me alive to see my two grandchildren,” Zarina, 80, said after CPM leader Mishra left.

Zarina fed chicken curry and rice to Saidul and Maidul. “I told them that one day, we will all live together,” she said.

She rued the fact that Habibul could not recognise her. “I had last seen him when he was one year old. When I saw him today, he could no longer recognise me,” Zarina said.

Zarina requested Mishra to ensure that the accused are punished. “Please see that we get justice. Please see that those who wronged us are punished. I want to go back to my village (Buniadanga in Birbhum),” she told the CPM leader.

Mishra replied: “I will see to it that you are able to go back home.”

One of Zarina’s grandsons, Firoz, 26, said Jamal’s visit reminded him of the past. “Memories of how we used to chat in our courtyard in the evenings came flooding back. We saw Jamal chacha after four years. It was a great reunion,” Firoz said.