Massive blow for family of murdered men

The men from Batley were travelling back from a visit to the Taj Mahal when they were caught up in sectarian violence.
The men from Batley were travelling back from a visit to the Taj Mahal when they were caught up in sectarian violence.

Four Batley men were travelling through India on a sightseeing tour when they became the victims of a violent mob.

They were caught up in some of the worst sectarian clashes the region had seen in decades as they drove back from the Taj Mahal through Gujarat.

Saeed Dawood.

Saeed Dawood.

A gang of attackers dragged the hired driver from their car, beat him to death and set fire to his body.

Cousins Saeed and Sakil Dawood ran away and were chased to a nearby farm along with their nephew, Imran Dawood, and family friend Mohammed Aswat.

Only Imran, then 18, survived.

Since 2002 their loved ones have fought to see their killers brought to justice – but now they have learned of the acquittal of six men accused of the slayings.

The family will not rest until the Indian government fulfils its legal duty and responsibility of bringing the real culprits to justice.

Dawood Family Justice Campaign spokesman Suresh Grover

The court’s verdict was announced 13 years to the day since the violence began.

Dawood Family Justice Campaign spokesman Suresh Grover said: “The family has learned of the acquittal of six men charged with the murders of Saeed and Sakil Dawood, apparently on the basis that none of the accused were identified. Unfortunately and sadly the verdict does not come as a surprise.

“It is an established fact that the Gujarat police failed to investigate the murders properly and thoroughly.

“This negligence was especially noticeable in two key aspects of the investigation – the police’s unwillingness to identify, interview and support crucial witnesses, and their apparent inability to collect forensic evidence.

Sakil Dawood.

Sakil Dawood.

“How can a country continue to claim that it promotes rule of law when it can take 13 years to deliver a verdict in a case that should have been completed within 12 months, and, as importantly, fail to deliver justice for victims?

“The tragedy, something that the family has to live with on daily basis, is that the mob responsible for killing their loved ones are still loose on the streets.

“The family will not rest until the Indian government fulfils its legal duty and responsibility of bringing the real culprits to justice.”

The group’s car was stopped outside a village in Gujarat by a mob who demanded to know their religion.

Imran Dawood.

Imran Dawood.

The day before there had been reports that a train had been set alight by Muslims in the city of Godhra, killing 59 Hindus.

After the holidaymakers identified themselves as British Muslims, driver Yusuf Palagar was pulled from the car and beaten to death.

Imran and the three other men from Mount Pleasant and Soothill ran to a farm.

The mob caught the group and stabbed Imran and Mohammed, a 42-year-old father-of-five who worked at Fox’s Biscuits in Batley.

Saeed, a 42-year-old sales manager and father-of-three, and Sakil, a 37-year-old optical technician, pleaded for their lives but were killed.