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Gujarat riot victims say police failed in their duty


Ahmedabad, Press Trust of India:

More Gujarat riot victims on Tuesday complained before the Nanavati Commission that police had failed to carry out their duty during the violence and had even told them to "protect themselves."

As many as 120 persons, mostly of minority community, deposed before the two-man riot inquiry commission in Ahmedabad on the last day of recording of statements for the first phase.

Owing to a large turnout of victims from the mixed population area of Madhavpura, the Commission, comprising Justice (Retd) GT Nanavati and Justice (Retd) KG Shah, recorded statements of victims after dividing them into batches so that most of them could be heard.

Many women turned up for deposition and some of them complained that police in their localities had failed to prevent mobs from going on the rampage during the communal riots.

Noorjahan Pathan, a victim from Madhavpura, told the Commission that on February 28, the day VHP had given a call for Gujarat bandh, a mob comprising 5,000 persons went on the rampage in her locality and when she contacted police for help, they told her "to protect themselves".

"The mob, comprising Hindu youth from my area also, attempted to tear off my clothes and threw me onto a burning scooter. They even robbed my ornaments," Noorjahan said.

Yesterday, a witness had claimed that when he called the police commissioner and asked for help, the latter replied that he could not do so as he was not God.

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