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‘Face’ of Gujarat riots to share stage with Karat

Ansari,a tailor,praised Jaleel's efforts in “bringing integration of people of all communities”.

Written by Syed Khalique Ahmed | Ahmedabad |
November 7, 2013 12:41:59 am

Eleven years ago,Qutubuddin Ansari became the “face” of the 2002 Gujarat riots,after his photograph appeared in national and international publications. On Thursday,Ansari,now 40,will be the guest of honour at the release of the first edition of a Malayalam research journal,Mukhyadhara,in Kozhikode,where he will share the stage with CPM leader Prakash Karat.

The quarterly publication is being launched by Independent MLA from Thavanur,Malappuram,K T Jaleel. While Karat is set to release the journal,the first copy will be presented to Ansari. The CPM supported Jaleel,who is also the editor-in-chief of the publication,in the last elections.

Asked why he had picked Ansari,Jaleel said the main purpose of the journal was to bring Muslims into the social mainstream. Stating that the Gujarat riots had led to isolation of Muslims,he said he decided to invite a Gujarat riot victim.“I agreed to attend the function after I was told that its objective was to bring together people of different communities. I felt that I can also become a part of the effort to bridge the gap between two communities,’’ said Ansari.

“We want to highlight Muslim issues in a proper and impartial manner,” said Jaleel,adding that he was also planning an English edition for pan-India circulation. “Prior to 2002,people lived in mixed localities in Gujarat without any tension. Now,you can’t think of living in a mixed locality,” he said.

Ansari,a tailor,praised Jaleel’s efforts in “bringing about integration of people of all communities”.

After the 2002 riots,Ansari first shifted to Malegaon in Maharashtra,from where he moved on to Kolkata,reportedly on the invitation of the CPM. He was reportedly given a house and four sewing machines to run his business. But he returned to Ahmedabad within a year.

“I found the tag (of bechara — helpless) derogatory,so I decided to return,” he said,adding that CPM MP Mohammed Salim sent his household goods,including his sewing machines,to Ahmedabad.

“Two of the four sewing machines are out of order. I work on one and my nephew works on the other. I earn enough to support my family,” said Ansari.

While he was grateful to the Hindu garment manufacturers here for giving him enough work,he complained that he was not given any financial assistance by the state government or by the centre.

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