For first two women accused, acquittal not enough to wash off ‘notoriety’
- Trouble mounts for Sreesanth as Mumbai cops gather more evidence
- SIT to seek Supreme Court guidance on Maya Kodnani death penalty issue
- Tamil Nadu police bans Yasin Malik-linked pro-Eelam public meeting
- Kings XI Punjab end IPL 2013 campaign with a win
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
Ramila Rathod and her younger sister Gita were the first two women accused arrested by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team in the riots. Last year, both of them were acquitted by a special trial court from the Naroda Patiya massacre case, one of the most gruesome of the 2002 riots.
Except this consolation, the family has nothing to cheer about. Apart from being the first two women accused, the Rathod family had four members who were declared accused.
While the two sisters have been acquitted, their brother Mukesh Rathod has been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment and their father Ratilal Rathod alias Bhavani, who was also an accused, died pending trial.
"We feel nothing," says Ramila, her eyes full of tears, when asked about their acquittal. "My father is dead and my brother is in jail. After my father, who was an AMTS driver, Mukesh was the family's sole breadwinner. And now, after his jail term, we are surviving on the rent of three small houses in the chawls nearby and pension of our father," she adds.
Ramila, in mid 30s, stays at their house in Naroda Patiya along with mother Shantaben, sisters Nisha and Gita, Mukesh's son Daksha and her sister-in-law.
Recalling the 11 long years of legal fight, she says, "When the riots were on, we were inside the house and then went to a relative's place in the SRP quarters when the situation worsened. In fact, my father had helped some of the victims during the massacre. But, then our names cropped up as accused in the case."
"Since 2002, we have been living in constant fear of being forced into a criminal case by the locals on one or the other pretext. In fact, when my brother got bail, we made him stay at a different house away from Patiya," Ramila says.
- Destitute, orphan students outclass rest in Andhra Class 10 exams
- To re-energise ties, PM wants to visit US, waits for confirmation
- NIA court says no terror link, frees 'Hizbul militant' Liyaqat on bail
- CBI arrests its coal allotments investigator on bribery charge
- ‘Cricketer-bookie Amit may have used Jiju to reach Sree’
- BCCI chief N Srinivasan says police must prove spot-fixing allegations