New Delhi: Twelve years ago Qutubuddin Ansari and Ashok Mochi unwittingly became the faces of 2002 Gujarat riots— as victim and perpetrator-sat together, smiling and talking at a seminar organised in Thaliparamba in Kerala's Kannur district on Monday.
The first picture — of a tailor named Qutubuddin Ansari — was taken in Naroda Patiya, which saw some of the worst violence of the riots.
The Ahmedabad tailor came to national limelight by means of a caption to a March 1, 2002 photograph put out by Reuters news agency:
"An Indian Muslim stranded in the first floor of his house, along with a few other Muslims and surrounded by a Hindu mob begs to the Rapid Action Force (Indian paramilitary) personnel to rescue him at Sone-ki-Chal in Ahmedabad, March 01, 2002"
The other picture, of Shahpur cobbler Ashok Bhavanbhai Parmar, or Ashok Mochi, was taken in Dudheshwar.
The men were brought together by journalist-activist Kaleem Siddiqui, who travelled with them to Kerala from Gujarat for the launch of a Malayalam edition of Ansari's autobiography.
Speaking at the seminar, Mochi apologised to Ansari and the entire Muslim community for the killings of 2002.