For residents of Petlawad, Dussehra this year is a subdued affair. A Photoshopped photograph of Rajendra Kaswa - the main accused in the September 12 blast - depicting him as the 10-headed Ravana has been doing the rounds of the town and residents insist that he should be burned just as Ravana is.
“Rajendra Kaswa is Ravana for many of us. Jis tarah Mata Sita ka haran Ravan ne kiya tha, usi tarah humaree khushiyon ka haran Kaswa ne kiya hai. (The way Ravana abducted Sita, Kaswa destroyed the happiness of our life.) He should also be caught and punished like Ravana,” Mukesh Sisodia, a resident, told HT.
Several children in the area burned Ravana effigies with Kaswa’s face on Thursday.
On September 12, 84 people were killed and nearly 100 injured after a massive blast, caused by mining explosives stored illegally, ripped through a crowded area in the town.
After the blast, police seized 59 detonators and two batteries from Kaswa’s house in Petlawad while officials said they expected to catch him in a day or two as information trickled in from witnesses.
“He is alive. He will not die, he had 10 heads. The police and administration are not making serious attempts to trace Kaswa,” said Anil Damor, whose relative had died in the blast.
Kaswa went missing after the incident, and initially police were also suspicious about his death in the blast. But after conducting a DNA test of Kaswa’s family and matching it with the unidentified bodies found at the blast site, they concluded that
Kaswa was alive and in hiding.
“No one is celebrating Vijaydashmi with fervor. Everyone is pained because 84 people died in the blast and here, everyone is connected to each other. We believe that Kaswa is the real Ravana and he is still alive,” said Chenalal Ji Gahlot.