Defying Danger

Three UP teens who saved Muslim neighbours from mob are honoured

Siblings showed great courage during a communal clash in a village near Kanpur.

Insidious campaigns about "love jihad" and temple loudspeakers seem to have their limits. As if to prove this, three Hindu teenagers in  Uttar Pradesh's Ghatampur braved a rioting mob last month to help their Muslim neighbours escape from a burning house.

Earlier this week, the three siblings were given awards by the Indian National League for their bravery. “It is an act of humanity and an example set for those who value religion and hatred over an innocent human life,” said Rajiv Yadav, a human rights activist in the area.

Fourteen-year-old Divya Vajpayee, sister Kavya, 15, and brother Abhay, 11, of Bhitargaon village were honoured for risking their lives to rescue Usman Khan and his family.

The riot occurred after a boy named Guddu Tiwari was beaten up on August 22, after he was allegedly caught red-handed stealing Rs 13,000 in cash and five gold rings from the home of Ramzan Ali, who runs a grocery shop.

But the police at Ghatampur station refused to register a case against Tiwari, said human rights activist Yadav, telling Ali to work out a compromise.

Two days later, a mob assembled in front of the homes of Ali and his relatives in Bhitargaon, claiming that they had murdered Tiwari. They broke into the homes of 17 Muslim homes and set them on fire.

“These anti-social elements were local BJP cadre in the area,” alleged Yadav. “In this village there are about 150 Muslims and 5,000 Hindus. They have tried for a while to instigate a communal clash to drive the Muslim families out.”

Ejaz Husain, 33, a poultry farmer, and Zahida Khatoon, 23, a relative of Ramzan Ali, died from burn injuries. Seventeen others are seriously injured and are being treated at the Ursula Horsman Memorial Hospital in Kanpur.

“Those three children managed to save five lives,” said Mohammad Sulaiman, the president of the Indian National League. “They did not care about the religion of the family. For them what mattered was that their friends and family were inside a burning house. If a teenager can understand this, why can’t these political or religious groups show compassion?”

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

Play
Play
Play

2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.