Friday, July 20, 2012

‘It will be a culmination of our fight for justice’

Families of victims and accused believe the verdict in the Naroda Patiya case will mark an end to their suffering

They belong to opposite ends of the Naroda Patiya riots. But
families of the victims and those of the accused are united in
suffering. They expect the verdict in the Naroda Patiya case,
scheduled to be announced today, will mark an end to their suffering.
For Jannat Bi, a victim, the verdict will be the culmination of
her fight for justice. A key witness in the case, she lost two family
members in the massacre at Naroda Patiya where 95 people were burnt
alive by a mob in 2002.
Talking to Mirror, the 52-year-old who lost her nephew and
son-in-law in the riots, said, “We have been waiting for justice for
the past 10 years. The day has come for us to get justice for all the
suffering we have endured.”
Jannat Bi, who subsequently lost her son after the riots and her
husband due to shock, said, “When I decided to fight, initially I got
no support from the authority. We were even threatened by unidentified
persons to give up our case. But we have faith in the judiciary and
hence continued with our battle.”
Dildar Umrao Saiyed, 68, whose house was burnt in the riots has
given testimony to the special investigation team and other
investigating agencies. An optimistic Saiyed said, “I was witness to
the rampaging mob in 2002. I have given detailed statements to the SIT
and other investigating agencies. I have faith that those responsible
will be punished.”

Also waiting impatiently for the verdict is the family of an accused
who have fallen on bad times as the only earning member is behind bars
as an accused for the past five years.
Babu Marwadi’s wife Kantaben, 37, and their five daughters — the
eldest one is 15 years and the youngest 6 — are hoping he will be
proved innocent and return home.
With tears in her eyes, Kantaben said, “The clouds of despair
gripped our happy family in 2007 when my husband was taken away by the
police after a rival named him as an accused in the riots.
“The days that we have spent in the past five years, God forbid
nobody has to go through it. My husband was the sole earning member of
the family. With him gone, the entire responsibility of running the
family came upon on me.”
They were in dire straits. With not enough even for two square
meals a day, to get money to get Babubhai out on bail was a distinct
When we could not even afford two square meals a day, how could we
pay court fees.
“I and my daughters worked day and night to save the Rs 5,000
needed to fight for my husband’s bail. My daughters contributed
working to package medicines. However, our efforts were in vain as he
was not granted bail by the court,” the 37-year-old mother said.
Only once was Babubhai was allowed 4-hour parole by the court to
perform the last rites of his elder brother when had died in 2009.