The charred shells of the houses continue to stand, the families that lived within long gone. Bits of papers, prayers scribbled on them, hang from the branches of a tree.
“This was a bustling locality, with children playing in mornings and evenings, and people living happily. Now, everything is in ruins,” said Dara Modi.
The violence of February 28, 2002, is seared in Modi’s memory. That night, his son, 14-year-old Azher, went missing. Seven years later, in 2009, he was declared dead.
The travails of the Modi family were captured in celluloid by Parzania – a Bollywood movie that is banned in Gujarat to this day.
Besides Azher, 69 others were brutally killed that night at Gulbarg Society, among them former parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri.
On Monday, over a thousand survivors gathered at the spot to honour their memory. The event was organised by over two dozen NGOs working for the riots victims.
What rankles all is the denial of justice. “Ten years since that bloody week, justice has not been delivered and wounds have not healed. What could be more unfortunate?" said noted social scientist Shiv Visvanathan, who was among the organisers.
“We suffered very badly but justice still eludes us,” said Zakia Jafri, the wife of Ehsan Jafri.
“The tragedy continues to haunt us,” added Qassim Mohammad, the only survivor to return to his house.
"Some say it is time to forgive and forget, but does reconciliation mean letting off the perpetrators?” said Hosbet Suresh, former Supreme Court judge who was part of the Citizens’ Tribunal that conducted a probe into the riots.
“While those who committed mass murder are free, with no sense of remorse or regret, there can be no reconciliation."