Sunday, November 25, 2012

'Now I can face my son in heaven'

Guajrat EDN
DNA 01SEP2012

Claims Haroon Shaikh, father of an 1.5-yr-old infant who was burnt alive by Babu Bajarangi
Roxy Gagdekar
Wednesday brought him partial relief, but Friday instilled the much-needed peace in Haroon Shaikh, a tortured soul, who for the past decade couldn't erase the violent memory of that fateful day when his infant son was sacrificed in the altar of hatred, in front of his eyes.
Hearing the punishment to the convicted in the Naroda Patia massacre, Shaikh (40) couldn't stop the stream of tears that poured out his grief down his face. Amid the emotional storm, this riot-ravaged father could only utter: “Now I can show my face to my 1.5 years old son in heaven.”
Imagine the plight of an agonized father who was a desperate witness to his infant son's death from being thrown into the raging fire by a mobster -- that rage turned Shaikh into the most crucial witness to nail Babu Bajrangi's gruesome role in the mayhem. Haroon's statement to the Special Investigating Team (SIT) turned Bajrangi's last nail in the coffin.
The hurt from his son's agony was further fuelled by the death of 11 other members of his family in Naroda Patia massacre. However, till the commencement of the SIT probe, Haroon maintained his silence, never even uttering even a single word against Bajrangi, after he found that he will not be heard by the government. “Immediately after the riots, I decided to record my statement and reveal Bajrangi's name to the police, but no one ever dared to write his name,” Haroon told DNA. He also said that he soon realized that for the time being, he also needed to keep mum, as his voice will not reach up to the power corridors.
Then, in 2008, Haroon recorded his official statement for the first time with the SIT officials, mentioning each and every step of how his family was mindlessly annihilated in cold blood. “I spend many sleepless nights, thinking of avenging the riots. But now, I am satisfied that my fight to get the justice has borne fruits,” he said.
Haroon said that, “I always think of my son and fear facing him in heaven. The day of judgment has removed my fears!”
Haroon was one of the key witnesses who had to undergo severe trials -- from being threatened to be eliminated and assaulted to being involved in fake police case -- in lieu of retracting his statement. “I was also offered few lakhs of rupees, but I know that money is of little use if justice is not delivered to my family,” he said. “I am glad and thankful to God that he gave me the strength to stand up against all odds and keep going strong to face them and finally see this day,” he said. “My only wish now is that no one should dare to repeat what Bajrangi did,” the tired, but triumphant father said.