Imrana and Ruksana, whose husbands died in February 2020.|Gobindh VB

Saiba and Imrana have a lot in common. They’re both in their early thirties and live five minutes away from each other in northeast Delhi’s Mustafabad. But they were strangers to each other until February 2020, when both their husbands died during the Delhi riots.

Three years later, their struggles have brought them closer. “Whenever we need someone to understand us, she comes to my place and we speak our hearts out,” Imrana said.

So, when Newslaundry asked Saiba for an interview, she asked this reporter to meet her at Imrana’s house. “I am afraid to share my story in the presence of my in-laws,” she said over the phone. “Could you please meet me somewhere outside?”

The communal riots in Delhi claimed 53 lives. About 26 women lost their husbands and 60 children their fathers. Newslaundry spoke to 10 of these women, who all told similar stories of abuse or abandonment following the deaths of their spouses.

Saiba is one of them. She was married to Aas Mohammad, with whom she had three children. On the morning of February 25, 2020, he left as usual for work but he never returned. Thirteen days later, his family found his body at the Gokulpuri police station.

This story was originally published in  . Read the full story here