Wednesday, July 11, 2012


TRIAL AND TERROR Ahead of the judgement on June 30, Harinder Baweja
and Mahesh Langa revisit Naroda Patiya in Ahmedabad, where 95 Muslims
were killed in 2002
“Our Hindu brothers have been killed. We have to avenge their deaths.
Kill the ‘miyas’. I am with you. There will be no police enquiry.” M
Shakeela Banu remembers that day vividly. How can she forget February
28, 2002. That day, Naroda Patiya, a nondescript colony in Ahmedabad
resembled a gigantic bonfire hungry for bone and flesh. Mobs gathered
on the main road’s Noorani Masjid and then roamed its labyrinthine
bylanes shouting slogans of Jai Shri Ram; swords and trishuls firmly
in hand. The sharpedged weapons were used to wound and the fire to
char the bodies; many beyond recognition. Among the 95 hapless Muslims
that the fire devoured were Shakeela’s mother, two brothers, a
sister-in-law and two young nieces and nephews; the children flung
into the blaze like little pieces of driftwood.
Eight members of Shakeela’s family had been hounded to death and 10
years later, what makes it worse is the fact that their neighbours had
turned bloodthirsty and done them in. Naroda Patiya, a locality with
an equal mix of Hindus and Muslims had bled the most and Shakeela’s
heart still bleeds. She remembers the day death had visited them and
she shudders. The neighbours-turned-murderers have been out on bail
and every day one of the 300 witnesses, who stood steadfast and
testified in court, is being threatened. Judgement day is drawing
nearer and the threats and intimidation are increasing with each hour
that brings them closer to June 30, when judge Jyotsana Yagnik will
deliver a verdict on the 62 accused.
The list of accused tells the grisly story of 2002 and gives a clear
anatomy of the riots. Amongst them is one of Narendra Modi’s ministers
- Mayaben Kodnani, the local MLA from the area who was, in 2007, made
the minister of state in charge of women and child development. Then,...

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