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Yasmin Sheikh?s day of triumph

Remember her? The lone spark of fair play and truth in the web of the Best Bakery legalese.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 02:47 IST
Gigil Varghese
Gigil Varghese

Remember her? The lone spark of fair play and truth in the web of the Best Bakery legalese.

The only eyewitness from Zahira Sheikh's family who did not turn hostile. Yasmin Sheikh, Zahira's sister-in-law, had identified 11 accused, named 10 and was largely instrumental in getting nine convicted in the case.

On Thursday, when HT contacted her soon after the special court's judgment in Mumbai, at her Ahmedabad residence, a composed Yasmin said, "I am glad that the Mumbai court has convicted the accused, the same rioters who were let off by the Gujarat court." The Gujarat Court strangely never summoned Yasmin to testify.

Yasmin had named ten accused, but a memory jog failed to throw up the name of the eleventh. Nine of the accused, awarded life sentences by a special court in Mumbai on Thursday, were the ones named by her. The convictions were reportedly hinged on Yasmin's testimony. But memories linger. Four years on, the 24-year-old says she will never forget that fateful night. "I watched the incident from the terrace of the bakery. Along with me were Zahira, my husband, mother-in-law Sehrunissa, brother-in-law and my four-month-old baby. We had taken refuge on the terrace when a mob armed with swords, knives, fire torches and cans set the place on fire."

“We were scared to come down from the terrace and stayed there till early next morning. The rioters came again, propped up a ladder and asked us to come down. Then they herded the women to one side and the men to another. They tied the men with a rope and attacked them. And killed two of my husband's siblings." They asked the women to line up and move towards the bushes, recounts Yasmin.

"But I managed to run away with my baby. They ran behind me screaming. I reached a stationary police van and informed them. And they came.” Her ties with the Sheikh family soured after her husband married again and the family testified that she was not at the bakery on the day of the incident.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 02:47 IST