The Web


 Latest News on mobile: sms NEWS to 7333

Home > News > Report

The face of Gujarat riots is moving to Kolkata

Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | August 07, 2003 19:52 IST
Last Updated: August 07, 2003 22:22 IST

His was the face flashed across the world as the face of Gujarat riots -- eyes welling with tears, chubby cheeks caked with mud and dried blood, dusty hair and hands folded in a plea for mercy. He was pleading with a bunch of blood-thirsty fanatics -- armed with choppers, crowbars, kerosene cans and torches -- to spare his family's life.

That was March, 2002 and Gujarat was in the throes of one of the worst communal flare-ups ever seen by the state.

Today, seventeen months later, Qutubuddin Ansari believes his face is his worst enemy. "I wish my picture were not splashed across newspapers ..then I would have been free to lead a normal life," he said at a press conference in Mumbai organised by a non-governmental organisation which is helping him start a new life in Kolkata in West Bengal.

He says he can no longer have a life in Ahmedabad, where he was born and brought up. "Wherever I go in Ahmedabad, people surround me and stare at me. Once, I went to a garden with my family and soon a crowd of around 40 people had gathered around us. On another occasion, I went to a theatre with my friends, but there too people recognised me. I feel very uncomfortable in Ahmedabad now and therefore I have decided to shift to Kolkata."

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) government in West Bengal has offered Ansari financial support to set up a tailoring shop. They will also provide him free accommodation for a year.

"I am grateful to the West Bengal government for helping me out. I am just not feeling comfortable in Ahmedabad. I am also grateful to them for giving admission to two of my children in a Kolkata school," Ansari said.

Asked how law and order situation is in Gujarat now, Ansari said: "Everything is normal all over Gujarat. It is just that I cannot stay with this face in Ahmedabad any longer. I have no complaints against anyone. I am going to Kolkata for a better life for my family. I only hope there is no repeat of this kind of riots ever again anywhere in the country. My state Gujarat was like a beautiful has been charred. But thank God everything is normal now."

Ansari had earlier tried Malegaon in north-west Maharashtra to regain his anonymity. "I moved quietly to Malegaon in Maharashtra two months after the riots. I got a job in one of the tailoring shops was normal. But then a local Urdu daily published my picture and soon I was the talk of the town. My employer asked me to leave. He said he did not want any trouble."

Asked whether he felt used by politicians, Ansari said: "I hope I won't be used as a political pawn. I want to be as far away from politics as possible."


7333: The Latest News on Your Mobile!

More reports from Gujarat
Read about: Gujarat Riots | Earthquake hits India

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: Comments

I would like to have openion of Narendra Modi about this migration. He always blaims media and secular people for what he call the defamation ...

Posted by UZMA

Sub: Good for him...

I think its good for the poor guy to lead a peaceful and quite life elsewhere. I hold the media entirely responsible for blowing this ...

Posted by Rajeev Venkat

Sub: The face of Gujrat riots moves ...

He is a simple and innocent citizen of India. We must do everything to make him lead normal life.

Posted by aman

Sub: Ansari's face

But poor Ansari is already being used by anti-national thugs who wearthe mask of progressives and secularism.Why should west bengal govt go out of way ...

Posted by ved


Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Write us a letter
Discuss this article

Related Stories

Ahmedabad: Muslims laud cops

Guj victims blame minister son

'Modi influencing victims'

People Who Read This Also Read

Face of riots to be sheltered

Defence motto: Divided we stand

Parl security lapse: 3 suspended

Copyright © 2005 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.