Thursday, November 22, 2012

25 Muslim families shift a day before verdict fearing violence

Gujarat EDN

AM 29AUG2012

Victims’ kin and witnesses decide to move to safer areas despite police assurance

Zahid Qureshi and Vijay Zala 

Aday before the verdict in Naroda Patiya massacre is likely tobedelivered,about25Muslimfamiliesshiftedtosaferlocations fearing violence post judgment. Though the police assured them of protection, members of minority community, mainly the kin of victims and witnesses, decided to move as they did not want to risk lives.
    “Several Muslim families which bore the brunt of communal frenzy in 2002 had migrated long back. But today (Tuesday) 25 families also moved to other locations, anticipating riots after the court verdict though the police have assured them of security,” said a Naroda Patiya resident pleading anonymity.
    “The court provides protection to witnesses only till the judgment comes. But once the verdict is delivered, the witnesses are on their own and safety is a big issue then. The witnesses who deposed before the court are not willing to live here anymore suspecting security threat from accused’s families,” said one of the witnesses who wanted his identity protected.
    “The witnesses are in a fix whether to stay in Naroda or not. In the past, when they were given protection during the trial, attempts were made to lurethem.Andwhentheydidn’tfallin any trap, they were attacked. If this can happen during protection what could happen when security is withdrawn is anybody’s guess,” he said.

Amid speculation, tension gripped Jawaharnagar, Noorani Masjid and Gokul Society falling under the sensitive area. Naroda Inspector M A Vala said: “Wehavecalledtherelativesofvictims and accused and appealed to them to maintain peace in any circumstances. Whatever is the verdict, we have asked them to stay calm. We have told them tonotindulgeinanyactivitiesthatcan violate the communal harmony. Those who flout the guidelines will face police action. We have strictly warned them to not use any dhol or loud speakers and refrain from shouting slogans after the verdict.” Sources in the police said that DCPs, ACPs and otherseniorofficerswillkeepwatchon the situation here on Wednesday.
    “Police bandobast has been announced in the area from Tuesday night. Apart from this, 170 police personal have also been deployed in the area. About 14 sections of State Reserve Force, one Rapid Action Force unit and 10 Central Industrial Reserve Force units have also been deployed to thwart any attempt to violate peace in the area,” said Vala.
    Zone IV DCP Neeraj Badgujar along with local police visited Naroda Patiya and met residents.