AHMEDABAD — Tension prevailed in Gujarat yesterday when the Vishva Hindu
Parishad held a noisy demonstration in Vadodara to protest the Best Bakery
case verdict sentencing nine Hindus to life imprisonment but Muslims saved
the day by abandoning plans to celebrate the judgment of a Mumbai trial
court by dancing on the streets. Frenetical VHP activists, accompanied by
saffron-robed religious leaders, later also went round the homes of the nine
convicts near the ill-fated breadhouse and consoled their weeping families,
saying the ruling would be challenged in a higher court on their behalf.
"We will also see to it that the Muslims who burnt alive 59 Hindu passengers
of the Sabarmati Express received their just deserts," a VHP leader here told
this correspondent yesterday and added that the Parishad would offer all
kinds of help to the relatives of the convicts, a promise similar to the one
made by BJP mayor Sunil Solanki who caused a flutter by visiting the Hindu
colonies opposite the bakery in which 14 Muslims were burnt alive by a
Hindu mob four years ago.
The minority community has been happy also because the court has let off
Yasin Khokhar, the only Muslim among the 17 accused who had been in
judicial custody in a Mumbai jail for the last three years.
Zaheera Shaikh, the prime witness in the case, had told the police that
Yasin, a truck driver married to a Hindu, had instigated and guided the
fanatics to attack her family-owned bakery, and even looted sugar and
flour from there.
The Narendra Modi government has not reacted to the verdict but
Congress leaders said the he should own up the bloody riots and submit
his resignation on moral grounds.