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Mob raped Muslims: Riot victims
August 29, 2003 01:46 IST
Some people from the mob that went on a killing spree in Naroda Patiya area on February 28, 2002, raped Muslim women and children, two victims of the violence on Thursday told the Nanavati Commission, which is probing the Gujarat riots.
Deposing before Justice (retd) G T Nanavati and Justice (retd) K G Shah, Naeemuddin Sheikh, a bread vendor of the area, described how the mob, some with saffron headbands and shorts and vests, gathered and began torching houses and hacking people to death.
Sheikh, who witnessed the massacre of eight members of his family, said, "Since morning the attacks began and even police drove us towards the mob. Even our long-time Hindu neighbours of Gangotri and Gopinath societies took part in the massacre and while we were running, Hindu youths poured kerosene from the terrace and set ablaze whoever was drenched."
Sheikh told the commission that some youths took advantage of the mayhem and molested several women.
"They behaved worse than dogs and scratched and bit our girls and tore their clothes off and chopped off my wife's hand. The worst part is that our long time neighbours also took part in the killings and plunder," Sheikh said.
He told the panel that a local sweeper, Manu, snatched a bundle of money that his bleeding mother was holding and fled with the mob.
Bibi Bano Sheikh, a resident Kumbarni Chawli in Naroda Patiya area, said, "A local man called Bhavani Singh promised us protection and while leading us also signalled to the armed mob to come and attack. While we were near Gangotri Society some youths from the Hindu mob pounced on women and children and molested several.
"My sister-in-law was raped and then set ablaze right in front of my eyes while my brother-in-law was hacked with a sword. In all eight members of my family were butchered by the mob."