UK fights for Britons killed in Gujarat riots

LONDON (TIP): Britain has asked India to speed up action against the killers of three Britons murdered during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat. Foreign secretary William Hague made the request while raising British concerns about the delay in justice for the three during his recently-concluded India visit. “The Foreign Secretary raised this case during his call on Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, the appropriate person to raise consular issues with,” said a foreign office spokesperson. “The foreign secretary raised our concern about the delays in taking forward these cases and undertook to follow up with more detail in writing. Mrs Swaraj took note of our concerns.” British brothers Saeed and Shakil Dawood were killed along with their friend, Mohammed Aswat. They were among over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, killed in the riots.

The three men of Gujarati origin were visiting the state as tourists when they were killed. The remains of the three are yet to be returned even after 12 years. Six men were initially charged with the murders. But they were released on bail and a number of key witnesses turned hostile. The Dawood family is running a campaign to get justice for them. “Whilst returning from an excursion trip to see the Taj Mahal, their (the trio’s) adventure turned into a nightmare. Within hours of crossing the Gujarat border, a roadblock, manned by a well-organized mob fuelled by religious hatred, stopped the British tourists,” the family said in a statement.

The mob circled the jeep and asked the occupants their religious identity. “The tourists answered they were British citizens and were Muslims. The hired driver was then dragged out of the jeep and attacked with sticks and killed on the spot,” the statement said. “His body was then thrown back into the vehicle and set alight. In the meantime, the British tourists were chased to a nearby farm. Mohammed Aswat and Imran were stabbed and left to dead.

Imran miraculously survived and he recalls Saeed and Shakil pleading with the mob to spare all their lives.” The family said it has endured this terrible tragedy and their grief is compounded by the lack of serious Indian police investigation. “The family has had to visit the crime scene themselves, find vital clues and collate forensic evidence including the charred remains of bodies,” the statement said.

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