(Interviewed in Ahmedabad on March 9)
I have my relations in 12 villages in different districts of Gujarat. Sardarpur village in Mehsana district, where 29 persons were cut up and then burnt, is among them. Of these, 11 were from a single faimly. Besides, 65 homes were burnt down.
My sister lives in Matopur village. She and other Muslims from the village fled after 18-20 houses were attacked. In Umta village, Visnagar taluka, two persons — Yusuf Bhai Pathan and Faiyaz Khan — were burnt alive. Nearly 20-25 homes, a Muslim-owned hostel and around a hundred shops were gutted right behind the police station.
My own truck driver, Khwaja Garib Nawas from Vasad Gaon in Kheda district, was attacked by a 3-4,000 strong mob on March 5. There was one Hindu and one Muslim inside the truck cabin. Khwaja Garib Nawas hid his license while the Thakur with him showed his. Luckily they escaped but the truck returned empty yesterday (March 8) as it had been looted on the way.
The victims, including my sister and other relatives, are presently staying in different relief camps. There is a camp at Savala village, where there are 1,000-1,200 persons; at Lunva village, there is a camp with 4-500 persons and there is a camp at Kesinpa, where nearly 6-700 persons from Umta have taken shelter. The situation in Mehsana city, too, is very serious.
The deceased: Yusuf Bhai Pathan and Faiyaz Khan of Umta village, Visnagar taluka.