Gulberg Survivor takes on BJP, Cong from Gandhinagar

Firoz Khan Pathan, one of the survivors of Gulberg Society Massacre of 2002 post-Godhra riots, is contesting from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat from where BJP president Amit Shah is debuting his parliamentary election.  DH photo

Firoz Khan Pathan, one of the survivors of Gulberg Society Massacre of 2002 post-Godhra riots, is contesting from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat from where BJP president Amit Shah is debuting his parliamentary election. 

In 2014, Pathan, who lost ten members of his family in the riots, had filed a complaint against Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad of cheating funds she collected for converting Gulberg Society into a museum. 

"I am contesting for Muslim community who has no say in the development. Both the main parties Congress and BJP takes Muslims for a ride. There is no development in Muslim localities in Vejalpur and Juhapura. There is a severe water crisis, there are no roads or street lights. I want to bring these issues to the people of the community," Pathan said.

On February 28, 2002, Pathan lost 10 members of his families including his mother, brothers, sisters-in-law and their children. He was living in bungalow number-18 and his neighbour, bungalow number-19, was former Congress MP Ahsan Jafri. A total of 69 persons of the society, which was one of the poshest Muslim locality, were burnt alive by a mob. In June 2016, a special trial court convicted 24 accused while 36 were acquitted.

Pathan lives in Juhapura area among the thousands of riots survivors who have settled over the years. He said that he is going to start door to door campaign from Tuesday in the line of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. "I will not be restricted to Vejalpur and Juhapura but will also meet voters from across the Lok Sabha constituency of Gandhinagar," he said.

When asked that his candidature will divide Congress votes Pathan said, "Certainly, it will hamper Congress vote share. But this party has not done anything. Leaders from both parties don't visit us. So, what is the point in voting them every time? They take Muslims for granted."

In 2014, Pathan had a complaint with Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch against Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, accusing them of corruption and misappropriation of funds collected for rehabilitation of riot victims and converting the Gulberg Society into a museum of conflict.

When asked how is he going to take on BJP candidate Amit Shah, he said, "I will tell Muslims about the fake police encounters and his involvement in them. In Hindu areas, I will also highlight who I am and what all had happened in 2002."

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Gulberg Survivor takes on BJP, Cong from Gandhinagar

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