The Day Youhanabad Changed: Aftermath of the Tragedy

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christ church
The memoirs of Youhanabad attack still remain in our hearts but life has never been the same for those who lost their loved ones in the tragedy. As arrests are still underway and those who are under constant physical remand have no chance of getting justice. Life for their families is a daily ordeal.

Naz Bano still reminisces the morning she woke up her son Akash fro his security duty outside Christ Church. “‘I have to stand at the gates during the Mass,’ he told her the night before,” Bano remembers.

20 year old Akash lost his life while stopping a terrorist from entering the church. The posters of the “Christian martyrs” are now posted on the wall in front of Christ Church, in a dusty street of the city’s largest Christian Colony.

Naz Bano, Akash’s mother quietly sits in the church crying and remembering his young son. She can now only see him in pictures and listens to people talk of his bravery.

The young martyr’s mother says people kissed his sons coffin the day he was buried. “I never signed the registration form for him join the security detail, but he did it anyway. Perhaps it was God’s will. He prepared Aakash to save many lives.

In another household, Fozia has been left with her two year old daughter. Her 24 year old husband died in the blasts. Whenever she visits the church, memories of her husband flood back. She now sews clothes to make a living. Fozia says life in this country is a disaster and that her baby misses her father.

The tragedy has changed the face of bustling Youhanabad forever. Locals still fear living in the vicinity due to police raids and arrests. The Metro bus no longer stops on the Youhanabad stop forcing residents to walk in the scorching heat. Youhanabad churches have had to boost security after the March attacks. Some 20 young people patrol a 100-metre radius around Christ Church.

“We have gone back ten years, Rev Arshad. “At least ten Christians are still being sought and many families have left, afraid of the police, not the terrorists.”