April 10, 2019 2:40:27 am
Two survivors of the 2002 Gulberg Society massacre – Imtiyaz Pathan and Firoz Pathan – have taken the plunge into electoral politics and filed their nominations for Kheda and Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituencies in Gujarat. The brothers lost 10 family members, including their mother, in the massacre. Imtiyaz is also a prime prosecution witness in the case.
Firoz, 45, is contesting as an independent candidate from Gandhinagar constituency from where BJP president Amit Shah is fighting the Lok Sabha election for the first time, while Imtiyaz, 42, has filed his nomination as a candidate of Apna Desh Party and has been allotted the election symbol of pressure cooker.
Incidentally, Firoz is the one who filed a case against social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand and a few residents of Gulberg Society, alleging that they had embezzled funds collected for the riot victims of Gulberg.
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“We have not got justice in Gulberg (massacre case) and nobody is raising our issue. There is no minority MP who raises our issue,” said Firoz. “The situation would have been different had Jafri Saab (former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed in the massacre) been there. So, I want to raise the issues of minorities by getting elected as an MP,” Firoz said.
Speaking of his candidature in this election, Firoz said he has a group of friends in Vejalpur from various castes like Dalits, Thakors, Rabaris, Bharwads and others, with whose help he was conducting a door-to-door campaign.
The Pathans do not think that their candidatures would benefit the ruling BJP by splitting the anti-BJP votes. “In Gandhinagar constituency, there are about 19 lakh voters. Out of them, there are hardly one lakh Muslim voters. And it is not that Muslims do not vote for the BJP. In the Assembly elections, BJP MLA Kishor Chauhan got a lot of Muslim votes. So, I do not think that it will affect the BJP,” said Firoz
Imtiyaz too spoke of being the voice of the minorities. “Today, there are leaders of every community, whether it is Dalits or Thakors. If I win the election, I will be the voice of minorities,” he said.
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