Ahmedabad (Gujarat): Ashok Parmar and Qutubuddin Ansari, who represented two sides of Gujarat riots, feel that whatever happened in 2002 was against the identity of their state.
“The 2002 riots were against the identity of Gujarat. Mahatma Gandhi hailed from here and his legacy is the real identity of Gujarat,” said Parmar, while Qutubuddin Ansari nodded.
The duo on September 6 joined hands when one of them inaugurated a shoe store opened by Parmar in Delhi Darwaja area of the city.
The two photographs — one of Parmar showing aggression and the other of Ansari pleading with his folded hands — had widely been used by the media.
Parmar said that his image was wrongly portrayed by media as one of the perpetrators of the riot.
“The media projected my face wrongly. It was alleged that I was one of the perpetrators of the riot against the Muslim community. But in reality, no Muslim person was killed in my area. Similarly, Qutubuddin Ansari was portrayed as the affected Muslim in the riots,” said Parmar.
“In 2014, when the CPM called us to a seminar in Kerala, we got to know each other and became friends. Earlier, Ahmedabad was seen as the city of riots. But I have named my shoe shop as ‘Ekta Chappal Ghar’,” he said.
“It is located in the area which has a mixed Hindu-Muslim population. Now Ahmedabad is different. Its image is entirely different. We want to send the message of communal harmony across the world. If Hindus and Muslims live in unity, then no one can start riots among us,” he added.
Ansari also concurred that there has always been a sense of harmony among the people of various communities of Gujarat. “The riot in 2002 was an exception,” he said.
“In 2002, there was a different atmosphere created due to the riots but generally, the environment is harmonious. Ashok Bhai had called me for the inauguration of the shop. I believe people can move forward and take care of humanity,” added Ansari. (ANI)