For the past four years,two SRP personnel have been guarding a pile of mud lying at the entrance of Vavwali Bhagol,a step well in Ode,said to be hundreds of years old.
The mud was dug out from the well in 2008 by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look for evidence after the locals alleged that the rioters had burnt the bodies of the massacre victims and disposed their last remains there.
According to residents,the SIT then called in the irrigation department staff,who pumped water out of the well for eight days.
They dug out a pile of mud from the well but no evidence was found. The mud still lies on the same spot, said a shopkeeper in the town who did not wish to be named.
SRP personnel deployed at the step well said they have been ordered to not let anyone remove anything from the spot.
Sadaru Khan Pathan,chief of BJPs minority cell in Ode,said: We had heard from a lot of people that the rioters,after killing the victims,burnt their bodies with some chemicals so that they couldn’t be identified. After that,the remains were thrown into the well. However,the SIT couldn’t find anything.
March 1,2002: Mob of 1,500-2,000 attacks Muslims at Pirawali Bhagol. Twenty-three people are burnt alive. FIR registered by one Rafique Mohammed Khalifa
March 2,2002: A mob gathers at the funeral procession of a young boy from Ode who was killed in police firing,sets Muslims vehicles on fire and then throws 80-year-old Gulam Rasool Saiyed in the fire,killing him
November 2003: On a petition alleging bias in police investigation,the Supreme Court stays probe in many cases,including Ode massacres
March 26,2008: SC appoints SIT to further probe nine post-Godhra riot cases,including Ode massacres
April 2009: SC orders special fast-track courts for the SIT cases. Anand District Judge S Y Trivedi appointed to conduct trial in the case of Pirawali Bhagol massacre in Ode village of Anand district
November 12,2009: Trial judge Trivedi frames charges against 47 accused and begins the trial
April 2011: Trivedi transferred from Anand at the fag end of the trial after she had reserved her judgment. She subsequently resigned under controversial circumstances
May 2011: Additional Sessions Judge Poonam Singh appointed to conduct trial in the case
October 25,2011: An undertrial prisoner in the case dies in the jail
April 9,2012: 23 accused convicted,19 for murder and 4 for attempted murder; 23 are acquitted