In a stellar example of interfaith brotherhood, the final rites of a Hindu man, whose father is an accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam massacre, were performed by a Muslim man, whose brother is a witness in the riots case.
Kishor Thakor, 23, died in a road accident last week, and at his condolence meet on Thursday, Yusuf Malek, 40, could be seen with a shaved head, in keeping with the Hindu ritual of tonsure.
Kishor’s father Baldev, a resident of Naroda who is accused in the post-Godhra riots, said that when his son’s body was brought home, he asked “Yusufbhai” to perform the final rites. “My son had an emotional and social bond with the Maleks. How could I take away the right to perform his last rites from them? For me, Yusuf is his elder brother,” said Baldev.
On August 23, Kishor was returning from Dholka after meeting his cousin sister, when he met with an accident. Since he didn’t return till late night, Yusuf called him up. But a cop answered Kishor’s cellphone and told Yusuf that he had been hospitalised.
“Upon reaching the hospital, we came to know that Kishor had been killed in a road accident,” said Sharif, Yusuf’s younger brother, who is a witness in the riots case.
“We couldn’t believe it. We brought his body back to Ahmedabad. Kishor was like a younger brother to us. Our family member is no more,” Sharif said.
Yusuf said Kishor actually grew up in their home. “He lived with us,” a distraught Yusuf said.
Kishor Thakor worked as a home guard and was a partner in an eatery business with the Maleks.
The Thakors said that when Kishor had got married, they had Yusuf perform all the rituals for him instead of Kishor’s father.