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BJP opponents in Gujarat being implicated in false cases

Vadodra: It is said that Congress councillor, Harbans Vaghela was leading the rioters who had set the houses of Iqbal Khatri and his relatives on fire in Gujarat on 28 February in Navi Dharti locality of Nagarwara. The FIR registered in Kareli Bagh’s police station also indicates that Vaghela had instigated the rioters to do this. But according to Iqbal Khatri and his relatives, Vaghela and his men had in fact saved the lives of many Muslims and also protected their properties. Khatri is surprised and asks as to how and at whose behest Vaghela’s name is included in the FIR. He is trying his best to get his name deleted from the FIR and accuses that police is implicating Vaghela and BJP’s opponents in false cases. 

When many houses were set on fire by the rioters and many people were rendered homeless, three camps were set up in the city. Iqbal Khatri, who was living in one of these camps, said that when he went to the police station on 28 February to register cases against the rioters who had set his house on fire, he was told by the police that the report will be registered only if Vaghela’s name is also included among the rioters. 

Khatri firmly claims that after his objection to include Vaghela’s name, police agreed but his name was written in the margin. But when he was given a copy of the FIR, he was astonished to see Vaghela’s name therein and that too in the manner that the rioters who had attacked Muslims were being led by Vaghela.

Iqbal Bhai Khatri’s daughter, Kareema Behan who was in the police station at that time repeatedly said to the policemen that Vaghela’a name should not be included in the FIR but they did not listen to her objections. She also said that in mohalla Rohit, where Vaghela lives, houses and shops of Muslims are quite safe. 

The FIR is signed by sub-inspector, BS Joshi. His colleague, Paras Makwana who is officiating in his absence, said in his defence that accusations because of political bias have become quite common these days. He also expressed his surprise and ignorance as to how Vaghela’s name was included in the FIR. But he assured that on inquiry if the corporator was found innocent, his name would be deleted from the FIR (Qaumi Awaz, 21 May 2002). 

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