Thursday, November 22, 2012

Impending verdict brings fear of repercussion to Naroda Patia


DNA 29AUG2012

Impending verdict brings fear of repercussion to Naroda Patia
Many of the residents avoid talking to media, others leave for minority ghettos
Roxy Gagdekar l Ahmedabad
Whatever be the verdict in the Naroda-Patia case, the residents are already on the edge.
Justice may finally be done to the victims of the most gruesome incident of communal riots during the 2002 carnage, but those who escaped the killings are scared of the repercussions that the verdict will bring. Hence, many of the families living here are migrating to minority ghettos as the Judgment Day looms ahead.
The fear in the air can be known from the fact that not many are willing to speak to the media. Given the infamy that accompanied the massacre, the residents are used to regular visits from journalists. Yet now they are afraid to utter a word.
“What if the guilty are not punished? Then they will come for us and harass us,” said one of the witnesses to the massacre who did not want to be identified. 10 years on, the wounds may have healed but the fear festers. “I am scared,” he says matter of fact.
A community leader and a victim Nazir Pathan is just a handful of people willing to speak. “Some people have left, while others will leave on the day the verdict is pronounced,” said Pathan.
Locked doors stand testimony to the fact that a decade has not managed to instill confidence in the residents. Some of the women, who will be leaving on the day the verdict is pronounced, discuss the incident as if it happened yesterday.
The lane adjacent to the ST workshop that houses the Patia police chowky is the broadest of roads leading to the minority locality. Youth on bikes discuss the possible verdict while keeping an eye on any 'new entrant' to the locality.
“There is fear among the people and they want to leave the place on the day the verdict is given. They want to be safe if something happens,” said another victim Razia Shaikh. “They still fear the mob, even imaginary ones,” said Shaikh.