The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Zahira relative rejects threat slur

Vadodara, July 20 (PTI): Zahira Sheikh, the key witness in the Best Bakery case, was not pressured to lie in court, her sister-in-law, Yasmin Banu, said today.

Yasmin, 20, added she would urge the National Human Rights Commission not to reopen the case.

Zahira and her mother Sehrunissa had not been threatened to lie during the trial as they claimed, Yasmin said. Zahira is the prime witness in the case in which 14 people were killed at a Vadodara bakery during the Gujarat riots.

When witness upon witness, including Zahira, turned hostile, the 21 people accused of the killings were acquitted.

Zahira later retracted her statement, saying she was pressured to lie and asked for the case to be reopened outside Gujarat.

“None of the 21 persons acquitted in the case were involved in the massacre. In fact the people staying in the area had saved us,” Yasmin said.

She said she was driven out of the family house by Zahira and her mother because she was against mentioning the names of the accused.

Yasmin, who is in Chhotaudaipur, 100 km from here, said over the telephone that she was prepared to go to Delhi to meet commission members.

A rights panel team visited Vadodara soon after the verdict to examine case documents and termed the verdict a “miscarriage of justice”.

Yasmin said though she was a witness in the case, Zahira and her mother refused to include her name in the statement given to police. She said she had sustained burn injuries on her leg on the day of the attack on March 1 last year.

Email This Page