'Tight police security could have averted Naroda Patiya massacre'

Even a decade later, the Naroda Patiya locality which became synonymous to Gujarat riots, continued to be on the edge on Wednesday even as the verdict was delivered and 32 people were convicted including former minister Maya Kodnani.

Amidst heavy police security, the residents of the locality preferred to remain indoors fearing a backlash and came out only when the verdict was pronounced.   “This verdict will not bring back our loved ones but yes, the 10 long years of wait has finally given some reason to get solace,’’ said Shakeela Bano, who lost her children in the massacre.

She says that the quantum of punishment was important but the fact that the guilty have been punished was a reason enough to give her some comfort. Even after a decade, she’s still haunted by images of her children who were brutally murdered.

Another victim, Nazeer Mohammad is still trying to piece his life together. His family managed to escape the rioters, but lost their home, business and all their savings to the rioters. Pointing out at the police security, Nazeer said, “Had it been like this a decade ago, this tragedy could have been averted.”

Another witness in the case, Nazir Master said that the conviction of people like Kodnani and Bajrangi will definitely restore faith in the judicial system on those awaiting for  justice in other riot cases. “Though 10 long years have gone by, but it does bring solace when you see such people being finally put behind bars.’’

Meanwhile, the scene outside the trial court too was that of tense and pensive. Though the media was not allowed inside but the relatives of the accused who were waiting outside had a mixed feeling. “Either way, it is a loss for us,” said one of the relatives of the accused.

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