March 4, 2021

Our sacrifices will lastly bear fruit, however we now have misplaced all the things, say kin of Sabarmati victims

AHMEDABAD: As one million lamps mild up the Saryu on the eve of bhumi pujan for the Ram mandir in Ayodhya, septuagenarian Radhaben Vaghela will add extra oil right into a lamp that she lit in her residence greater than 18 years in the past.

“Ever since they introduced my brother’s physique residence, on February 28, 2002, my mom has saved the lamp burning,” mentioned Bhagavatiben Thakore, Radhaben’s daughter. Rakesh Vaghela, 27, was one of many 59 burnt alive within the Sabarmati Specific in Godhra on that fateful day.

Greater than 18 years later, the family stays devastated. Octogenarian Sardarji Vaghela, Rakesh’s father, is paralysed and bedridden. His spouse has problem transferring round. They haven’t any means for sustenance. Rakesh’s widow collected the Rs 5 lakh compensation the state supplied however by no means shared it along with her husband’s family. Rakesh’s elder brother Pravin works as a safety guard. He lives close by and visits his dad and mom. So do his sisters.

“I can be praying once they perform bhumi pujan tomorrow. All our sacrifices will lastly bear fruit. However we now have misplaced all the things,” mentioned the patriarch.

“No one has cared to investigate about our welfare after my brother’s dying. Nobody has visited us. We have been by no means prosperous and my sister-in-law obtained the compensation,” mentioned Rakesh’s sister Bhagavati, who’s married and works as a each day labourer. “Our dad and mom don’t have anything to stay on and our prayer on the eve of bhumi pujan is that they be relieved of drudgery,” she mentioned. Many different households, who’ve in myriad methods formed the Hindutva politics in Gujarat, driving on the Ram temple motion, have comparable tales.

“The excessive courtroom had ordered railways to pay Rs 5 lakh every to victims of the S-6 carnage 4 years in the past, however not a penny has been paid until date,” mentioned Vipin Thakkar, who misplaced his brother-in-law, Jesal Soni, and father-in-law, Hasmukh Soni, in Godhra. “We’re the forgotten lot. When a pacesetter like Pravin Togadia isn’t invited for the bhumi pujan, what can we count on,” requested Thakkar.

“This isn’t the time to say something adverse. However many households have misplaced their family members within the motion. It’s also the time to recollect them,” mentioned former Durga Vahini convenor Mala Raval. She has been related to the mandir motion for the reason that late 1980s and was on the web site in the course of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

“It will have felt good if Pravin Togadia was invited for the occasion, but when Advaniji and Joshiji haven’t been invited, what can one say?” Raval, parted methods with VHP in 2018, together with Togadia.

“It’s a wonderful day within the historical past of unbiased India,” mentioned Gordhan Zadafiya, a former acolyte of Togadia and BJP’s co-incharge of Uttar Pradesh, who constructed his political profession in the course of the mandir motion.