November 9, 2006 12:56:20 am
It is one overseas connection that this Gujarati family would rather not flaunt. With Dhiren Barot, the UK-based Gujarati Muslim convert convicted for terrorist links, his maternal relatives in Vadodara would rather not comment.
Barot’s father Manubhai Barot owns property in Vadodara, but it has remained locked for years. His cousins and two aunts would rather not own up to the family association at all.
In Gymkhana Ni Pol of Vadodara’s walled city area, residents got to know something was amiss when the Crime Branch came visiting. But they could not get any link between Barot and the neighbourhood.
At the end of Gymkhana Ni Pol stands a locked-up building, which collapsed during the rains. This is where Dhiren’s maternal grandfather Ramanbhai Ghadiyali reportedly lived. Dilip Kothari, former councillor who lives nearby, remembers the family which had four daughters—Dhiren’s mother Bharti, Bhanuben who emigrated to the US and two others in Vadodara.
According to reports, the younger Barot had converted to Islam in the UK and thereafter was involved with groups having terrorist links. He is perhaps the lone Gujarati to be convicted for international terrorist links.
“He is my brother, but I don’t want to comment about him. The last I saw him was when he had come for a visit as a seven-year-old. We don’t have much contact with the family,” said Jignasha, about her cousin who has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a London court.
In the Kunj Residence-cum-Plaza on Vadodara’s Rajmahal Road, amongst the list of owners is Manubhai who owns the C-1 bungalow. But neighbours and the caretaker admit the family was never much to be seen and that the house remains locked up except for occasional cleaning and visits by relatives.
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