12 years on, two faces of Gujarat riots come together
The two representative faces of the Gujarat riots - Qutubuddin Ansari and Ashok Mochi - met each other at a function held at Taliparamba under the aegis of the CPI(Marxist) on Monday.
Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Kannur: Nearly twelve years ago, the national media published pictures of two youths - one representing the fear and agony that gripped thousands of Muslims during the communal riots in Gujarat, and the other who was part of a mob that was determined to avenge the alleged massacre of 53 karsevaks in a train in Godhra - which shocked the entire nation and got etched in people`s memories as the most inhumane face of the riots.
More than a decade later, the two representative faces of the Gujarat riots - Qutubuddin Ansari and Ashok Mochi - one victim and the other suppressor, met each other at a function held at Taliparamba under the aegis of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Monday.
When Ansari, whose frightened face captured what became an iconic image of the riots, met Ashok Mochi, a former Bajrang Dal activist, who was clicked shouting slogans carrying an iron rod, the two sought to bury the bitterness of their past by shaking hands, and exchanging pleasantries and flowers on the stage.
Both of them, now in their forties, stood there in front of the crowds and narrated the unforgettable pain, agony and circumstances that possibly triggered the bloodbath in Gujarat to those who attended the function.
Both of them were the guests at a public seminar titled ‘12 years after the genocide,’ organised by a CPI(M)-sponsored cultural organisation at Taliparamba.
Speaking during the function, Ansari said, "I realized what is love only after leaving Gujarat and today hundreds of people come to meet me but I interact with only those who have humanity."
Ansari, a tailor by profession, told the gathering that the society should realize who the masterminds of the riots were and said that he had no hatred towards Ashok Mochi, who was only a tool in the hands of the rioters.
On his turn, Mochi too admitted that he knew love only after he shed his past.
"I have abandoned the politics of hatred and revenge once and for all, and my life was changed completely after the 2002 riots," said an emotional Mochi. "Now, I realize Ansari is my brother."
Mochi was even vocal of Gujarat government`s repeated claims of inclusive growth and development and said that state`s progress had not benefited the common people.
"Even now, we are living in the streets and our life has not improved at all," said Mochi, a cobbler by profession.
The seminar was inaugurated by CPI(M) leader and former minister TK Hamza.
At the function, Ansari’s autobiography in Malayalam, Njaan Qutubuddin Ansari, prepared by Saheed Rumi, was released by CPI(M) district secretary P Jayarajan.