The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rs 100 to remake a lost home

Ahmedabad, Aug. 22: Mehrunnisa Sheikh, whose house was attacked by rioters last year, waved the cheque of Rs 100 she had received as compensation from the Narendra Modi government.

Far removed from the Nanavati Commission hearing out the Gujarat riot victims, in Geneva Modi held up an urn containing the ashes of Shyamaji Krishna Varma, a freedom fighter who died in exile.

Sharam aani chahiye, lene wale ko aur dene wale ko (It’s a shame),” said Justice G.T. Nanavati, of the cheque whose photocopy 55-year-old Mehrunnisa was waving.

“This is a glorious moment for us,” said Modi, accepting the black marble urns of Krishna Varma and his wife Bhanumati from the Swiss authorities.

Deposing before the two-member commission which began the third phase of hearing today, Mehrunnisa said the Modi government offered a compensation of Rs 100 after a government official who surveyed her house estimated the damage at about Rs 3 lakh.

A resident of Mehendi Kuva area of Madhavpura, Mehrunnisa told the commission she survived because she hid on the first floor when the mob attacked her house. The rioters had damaged the ground floor.

“We heaved a sigh of relief only after a social worker, Inamuk Iraki, took us to a relief camp around midnight. There was no one else to help us,” the commission was told.

Every one of the 107 witnesses from Shahpur and Madhupura had a similar story.

Rafiq Ahmed, a petrol pump owner, said his pump in Madhavpura was looted thrice: on February 28, March 18 and April 4.

It was looted even during curfew, he said. Rioters took away 20,000 litres of petrol and ransacked the godown.

The loss ran into several lakhs, Ahmed said. But though the pump was insured, his insurance claims were yet to be cleared.

Moinuddin Sayed, from Mirzapur, named three policemen of Shahpur police station who, he said, had fired randomly without provocation on April 22 last year.

But though he had filed a written complaint against them, no action was taken. Instead, Sayed was arrested.

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