“I still find it difficult to sleep at night,” said Rupa Mody, whose son Azar was 14 when he went missing following the Gulberg Society massacre. “The nights are particularly tough to endure, said Rupa, who now lives in Thatlej locality. “We have good neighbours and police protection but I am a little wary of Amit Shah’s bungalow next door.”
Ten months ago, they got a call from a Muslim family in Kasargode, Kerala, about a Gujarati boy living with them. “But we found that the boy, Asim, was 17 while my son would have been older. I do feel close to that boy as he too is a Gujarati and I am in touch with him.”
She is happy with the 24 convictions but upset about the rest being let off “because of political connections”. “I cannot believe that Bipin Patel has been let off; many people had recognised him as among the rioters.”
“Even the tears have stopped coming,” said Sairaben Salimbhai Sandhi, 57, who lost four of her family including son Mohammad Hussain, then 24 and a law student.
Her husband, Salim Noormohammad Sheikh, 65, said: “Punishment to all the accused was imperative. The pain of losing a child can’t be described; I can never forget the heap of bodies I saw either.”
“If we look at the conviction of Atul Vaidya (VHP member), yes it looks like justice has been done,” said Feroz Khan Pathan, who was 32 in 2002. “But the acquittal of the main accused has disheartened us.”