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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Victims and their families

As the police prepare to reopen probe into 1993 riots, HT starts tracking down the victims and their families.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2007 04:57 IST
Jyoti Shelar and Sweta Ramanujan-Dixit
Jyoti Shelar and Sweta Ramanujan-Dixit
Hindustan Times

Shahnawaz Wagle | Age: 16, Killed on January 10, 1993
It’s been 14 years since police barged into the home of estate agent Hasanmiyan (56) and — according to the commission of inquiry into the 1993 riots — shot dead his 16-year-old son Shahnawaz Wagle.

“They shot him like a criminal,” said Hasanmiyan. The family cannot forget the moment Shahnawaz — a first-year science student at Elphinstone College — died on January 10, 1993 outside their home at Reay Road’s Pathan Chawl.

“My daughter Yasmin saw the policeman shooting Shahnawaz and she screamed,” said Hasanmiyan’s wife Akhtari. “But the policeman pointed the gun towards her as if to kill her. She did not utter a single word after that.” Yasmin is now married and in Kuwait.

Akhtari and Yasmin ran down from their second-floor home when they saw Shahnawaz shot. But police officials had dumped him into their vehicle, said the family. “We begged for Shahnawaz,” said Akhtari, “But instead they hit us with rifle butts.”

Shahnawaz’s killing was described as “cold-blooded murder” by the commission of inquiry headed by Justice B N Srikrishna.

“The police officials were merciless,” said Shahnawaz’s mother. “My son showed them his college identity card as those police officials dragged him out of the house. But it had no effect on them.”

“Those policemen indicted by the Srikrishna commission should be punished,” Hasanmiyan said.

Narendra Shinde | Age: 26, Missing since January 3, 1993
A day before the Babri Masjid was demolished, Lina and Narendra Shinde celebrated their first wedding anniversary. A month later, on the night of January 3, 1993 — barely a fortnight after their first child was born — Narendra went missing. Today, 14 years after the riots, his 37-year-old wife waits for him to return.

“There were no riots that night. And they didn’t find anything,” she said, implying that his body has not been found. The Shindes are among the hundreds of riot-affected families who lost dear ones in the violence that ripped Mumbai after the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992.

Lina and Narendra, who were childhood sweethearts, lived in Dharavi. “I was at my parents’ house in Mahim for my delivery,” Lina recalled, seated in her sister’s house where she and her 14-year-old son Tejas now live. “He was with me until 2 pm that day.”

Narendra, who was 26 years then, left for a family function. “He was at my sister’s place in Kandivli until 11 pm. They tried to convince him to stay back but he insisted on leaving. As Dharavi was under curfew after 9 pm, he planned to stay with me in Mahim,” explained Lina.

Narendra never returned. What followed was a frantic search. “We went to every jail, every hospital, every morgue looking for him,” she said. Ten days later Lina decided to file a missing persons’ complaint and publish his photo in newspapers.

“He was from Dharavi so he was used to fights and could tackle seven to eight goons at a time,” she said with pride. “Nothing could have happened to him.”

The stress took its toll on Lina and her family. Weak and depressed, she contracted tuberculosis. And nine months after Narendra went missing, her mother passed away. After a seven-year wait, the government declared him dead and Lina received Rs three lakh as compensation in 2003.

She wants those guilty of destroying homes like hers to pay. “When they are punished, they will know what it’s like to live without someone you love,” she said.

She is satisfied with the verdict of the March 12, 1993 bomb blasts case. That is another date she will not forget. “My husband’s birthday is on March 12.”

First Published: Aug 09, 2007 01:37 IST