Twenty-two years after Godhra violence, desolate Gulbarg society has reason to smile

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Twenty-two years after Godhra violence, desolate Gulbarg society has reason to smile

| Updated: March 6, 2024 21:29

Gulbarg Society in Chamanpura plunged into darkness after 69 people lost their lives in the 2002 post-Godhra violence. The place, which turned into a parking zone, sees occasional visitors in the form of former residents who arrive once a year to offer tribute to the dead.

It has taken 22 years for a semblance of light and happiness in the society. The people around witnessed a celebration for a nikah of 19-year-old Misbah Mansuri. According to a report, the nikah will be solemnised in Barwani district in Madhya Pradesh, but the family, which hails from Rajasthan, invited friends and neighbours over dinner in the forsaken place on Monday.

Upholding community customs, the family also had their haldi rasam. Women and young girls grooved to Hindi film songs, and the wedding party left for Barwani on Tuesday afternoon.

Misbah was born after the Gulbarg Society massacre, regarded as one of the most horrific events of the 2002 Gujarat riots. The Mansuri family, whose home is located near the society’s entrance, lost 19 relatives, including six children, out of the 69 persons who died. After the violence claimed his wife and their five-month-old kid, Rafiq remarried in Madhya Pradesh, home to a large portion of their community.

Not all of the Mansuri family’s neighbours who have lived there for over 20 years could make it. Firozkhan and Imtiyazkhan Pathan, two brothers, realised that no other previous inhabitants had shown up for the occasion.

“Most of us go to Gulbarg Society every year to observe the anniversary. Perhaps, people would have found it difficult to come here for some other purpose,” Imtiyazkhan was quoted as saying.

Firozkhan recorded the event and the forsaken parts of the society, remembering former residents there. Mansuri’s house is the only one freshly painted, with a tri-colour drawn on the entrance.

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