Even as the Polan Bazar pipe-bomb case in Godhra is yet to be solved,the residents of the area have entrusted a small-time steel owner and president of Muslim Ghanchee Samaj Panch to provide security cover to the area during festivals.
The panch,Firdous Kothi,will not only have a force of 50 people at his disposal,but also have gadgets such as metal detectors and CCTV cameras.
Kothi said that security during Eid and other festivals in the area is his responsibility,as he does not trust the police after the incident in 2005. The Polan Bazar pipe-bomb blast had claimed three lives and injured several others.
Kothis men will be armed with guns,too. They will keep a check on people coming for Eid celebrations despite police presence in the area in the form of Chowki no 3.
The police,meanwhile,said that only the best of policemen can be posted in the communally sensitive area. I have employed private security personnel in my factory. They even provide security during festivals. I dont think there is anything wrong in that. If Navaratri venues can be guarded by private guards,whats wrong in securing an Idgah? said Kothi.
When asked why he was employing his own security men in Polan Bazar,Kothi said: Muslims do not feel secure in Godhra. The government never paid money to the Polan Bazar blast victims. If a disaster of similar nature reoccurs,who would take responsibility?
Newsline asked the Panchmahals Superintendent of Police,Vipul Aggarwal,about the presence of private security guards in Polan Bazar. He said they are for the protection of Kothis own industry. We do not have any information about his private security force used in the Eid celebrations in Polan Bazar. Police presence is always there during any celebration,as the area is communally sensitive, added Aggarwal.
Polan Bazar pipe-bomb blast: 3 years on,police grope in the dark
There have been neither leads nor arrests in the case even though there were suspects. The blast had killed three persons on October 28,2005. The case wasnt solved and was handed over to the Local Crime Branch, said Deputy Superintendent of Police,R V Asari,who was in Godhra when the police started investigating the case.
Inspector K B Khant of Godhra Local Crime Branch has been in charge of investigation for a year now. He said his office is no longer handling the case.
I wasnt here when the investigations were on, Khant said. A Godhra Town Police officer said no arrests had been made after the incident. He,however,could not confirm if the investigations are still on.
Interestingly,there were several demands made by the Muslim Ghanchee Panchs to transfer the case to a special investigation team or the Central Bureau of Investigation,as the police had connected the case to the serial blasts in the GSRTC bus stands in Delol and Lunawada. Those blasts had killed at least 30 people.