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Zahira kin upset

Siddharthnagar (Uttar Pradesh), Dec. 25 (PTI): Zareena Shahu, the maternal grandmother of the key witness in the Best Bakery case, Zahira Sheikh, today expressed surprise at her granddaughter allegedly compromising with the killers of her blood relatives 'in exchange for hefty sums'.

'Zahira's sister and maternal uncle were among those killed and it is not right to forget blood relations for money,' Zareena said, expressing grief over reports of Zahira turning hostile after allegedly receiving money. Zareena, who witnessed the incident from the terrace of her house on March 1, 2002, said Zahira recognised all the accused as they were her neighbours.

She said lack of security might be one of the reasons for Zahira going back on her statements in court.

Zareena said there should be no mercy and the accused should be punished. She, however, regretted that had Zahira alerted those present in the bakery when it was set on fire, some of them could have managed to save their lives.

She said all attempts to reach the police proved futile as the phone calls made to the police station on the fateful night were not answered. 'I was brought down (from the terrace) the next day by the police but my statement was not recorded,' she said.

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