Banu Ansari cannot forget the horror of the night of Feb 28, ten
years ago when she lost her entire family to a murderous mob in
Naroda Patiya. Though she is happy with the court verdict
convicting 32 people for the massacre of 97 Muslims, including her
kin, she wonders why the mayhem had to happen.
"I was living in Naroda Partiya in 2002 (when the riots happened),
and I still live there. I lost my whole family, my mother, my
brother, four innocent children. I stayed in Naroda Patiya because
we did not want to leave before we get justice," said Shakeela,
who testified in the case.
A special court in Ahmedabad Wednesday convicted 32 people,
including former minister Mayaben Kodnani, in the Naroda Patiya
"What was our fault. Whatever happened in Godhra, we did not go to
burn the train. But we were punished for that. Where ever we went
to seek help, they said you have to die, this is the order from
above," she said.
"They poured petrol and burned them. My two-month-old nephew was
burnt alive... what was his mistake," she asked.
Another witness, Jannat Biwi Kallubhai wondered what will happen
"In the court we said whatever had happened with us (during the
riots). But now we are a little afraid, the atmosphere is such...
what will happen to us, we don't know," she said.
"Till last night I was tense, I had to hide," said another witness
Umrao Sayyed, adding that he was happy with the verdict.
Shakeela said: "We were women who never stepped out of our homes,
but we went to court after 2002. We were threatened for days, they
said we would meet a worse fate than what happened to our
Citizens for Peace and Justice (CJP) Secretary Teesta Setalvad
said they have applied for security for the witnesses.
"There is some concern over their security over the next one week,
with a bandh being called at Patiya tomorrow (Thursday) so we have
appealed to the SIT to ensure their protection and we are sure
that will be complied with," said the activist.
A statement from CJP said 11 eyewitnesses have deposed in
testimonies assigning in detail the role played by former minister
Maya Kodnani, in inciting the mob to murder; 15 witnesses deposed
against Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, and 48 witnesses
testified to the crimes committed by Suresh Langda Chara.