As the faithful kneeled down for the zohar namaaz on Monday afternoon in this unusually quiet Muslim resettlement of Visnagar,tears rolled down their cheeks when they heard about the acquittal of politicians who had allegedly led the riots in their native Dipda Darwaja village.
These 17 Muslim families,uprooted from their native village,are now living a secluded life in Ayazi Colony,built by the Islamic Relief Committee at outskirts of Visnagar.
All the eleven who died in the massacre the youngest was a one-and-a-half-years-old boy were from Yusuf Sheikhs family. A helpless Yusuf now says after the verdict,Das saal ki mehnat thi jo lagta hai aaj bahut kam pad gayi (It was hard work of 10 years that I feel now was too little to get justice).
His old neighbour Shabbir Baloch,an auto-driver,points towards the former BJP MLA Prahlad Gosa and says,He has got acquitted by the court here but we wont leave him. Shaking in uncontrollable anger,Shabbir had to be calmed down by his wife.
Shabbirs daughter Parveen,now a grown-up young beautiful girl,was only 10 years old during the riots. Parveen misses her old mohalla and friends,all Patel girls who went to school with her.
Saidabibi Sindhi,who stays next to Shabbirs house,says,We had a kuccha roof in Dipda but that gave us more happiness than this new house.
A 60-year-old Aafisabibi Baloch says,We are living here as we had no other choice. We toiled to begin our business again and educate our children in the last 10 years,but now we see all our hard work has come to nothing. Those we saw burning our houses have been let free.
The longest was the struggle of Baloch family that had lodged a complaint with the police after the riots. Iqbal Baloch and his family shifted away from everyone,including their own community members.
Iqbals mother Aminabano,visibly upset with the verdict,couldnt stop crying. I have given my testimony twice to the police and the special investigation team that I saw Prahlad Gosa inciting the mob. It was the same Gosa who came to my house two days before the riots to give invitation for her daughters marriage. Hes the same man who torched my house, she says.
Anwar Hussain Pathan,now 60,says,The accused used to stare at us to scare us in courts during hearings. I used to feel I should go there and kill those leaders who supported the riots blindly. However,in my prayers,I kept asking God to give me patience. Today,I feel I cheated myself with this belief.
Most of the Muslims in Dipda Darwaza were poor labourers,working in shops and grocery stores owned by Patels.
After 10 since,only three of them own shops while the rest are working as auto-rickshaw drivers and newspaper vendors.