KERALA

Of rebuilding bonds

KOZHIKODE OCT. 10. Time can heal. But not so quickly.

Kachibeevi, like many others, believes peace is still some distance away at Marad. Hers was the first family to be rehabilitated in the rife-stricken area.

Shortly after her family returned to their house at Vallancheriparambu on the Vayanasala Road on Friday morning, she said that the conflagration last year and the May 2 carnage had left deep suspicion between the Hindu and Muslim communities living in the seaside village.

She said that she had maintained a good relationship with the Hindu families near her houses.

"In fact, they were the ones who helped me and my children during times of trouble," said Kachibeevi, whose husband is employed in Dubai.

"Now after the massacre we don't know whether the warmth will continue."

She complained that the district administration had not taken any steps to repair her home.

The doors of her house were destroyed. So she and her children would have to spend the night at her relative's place, like they did all these months, said Kachibeevi, whose family was rehabilitated in the area along with the families of Rashid, O.P.Hamsa and Hasain.

T.K. Mammed Koya, a cook at the Meenchanda Government School, had to get his children married on the school premises on May 11.

He said that his family and that of Dasan, who was killed on May 2, had been good neighbours. "But the ghastly incident changed everything".

Now after being rehabilitated on the road leading to the Sree Kurumpa Bhagavathi Sree Vettaorumakan Temple at Chulliyanvalappu, Mammed Koya feels that there was an air of suspicion among the Hindu community. But he brushed aside fears of another clash. "Because the lost affection for each other would return one day.... without any pretensions or compulsions from anybody," he said.

Rema, one of the Hindu women residing near his house, expressed fears whether the return of the Muslims would pave way for another bout of violence in the region.

"Now we have not started mingling with the Muslims. But all we want is to live here peacefully," said Rema.

Hamsa and his wife Sukhara, who returned along with their two kids, said that they had to flee out of fear that the violence would spread.

"We have no enmity with the Hindus. We only want to continue our relationship with them," says Hamsa, who had purchased three-and-a-half cents of land at Vayanasala three years ago. He is a fruit seller in Kozhikode.

Aravan, who left with his five children on May 4, said that he had to flee because he had been threatened with dire consequences by some people residing near the beach. His house has been partially damaged and the well dirtied.

"I have been living here for the last 23 years. I did not have any problems with my Hindu neighbours. But the violence destroyed our friendship," said Aravan who runs a shop at Areekad.

One of the Muslim families resettled at Danthankavu said they had provided an electric line to their Hindu neighbours. "But now we are not sure whether they would accept any help from us," said an elderly person of a family.

"We just hope another untoward incident won't happen here again to divide us on communal lines," said his school-going daughter.

At the same time, the Araya Samajam leaders said that they would not take the first step to establish cooperation with the d Muslim families. "Last year, we took efforts to bring the two communities together. Did that prove any good for us," asks the Samajam president, K. Dasan.