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Eyewitness identifies 15 accused in Best Bakery case

By Our Special Correspondent

MUMBAI, NOV. 29. Eighteen-year-old Shailun, an eye-witness in the Best Bakery case, today identified in court 15 of the 17 accused — the most any witness has identified — and even named four.

Mr. Shailun, who had his ear slashed and also suffered head injuries during the attack on Best Bakery on March 1, 2002, pointed at the accused lined up in court. He named Dinesh Rajbhar, Sanjay Thakker and Lala and a fourth, Jitu, whom he could not identify.

Earlier, there was much excitement as Zaheera Sheikh was brought to the court premises. Her lawyer, Harshad Ponda, told the court that Ms. Zaheera was available if the prosecution wanted to examine her and he could produce her in court.

However, the Special Public Prosecutor, Manjula Rao, said she would like to examine Ms. Zaheera last. Ms. Zaheera's mother, Sehrunissa, who was expected to testify today, is unwell.

Mr. Shailun, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, has been living in his native village since the incident. He was severely affected by the riots and was under treatment for trauma for more than a year. Mr. Shailun seemed to be still suffering from the effects of trauma. He was also shivering when identifying the accused, according to the police officer who escorted him.

Mr. Shailun said a mob, comprising between 1,000 and 1,200 people, had come to the Bakery. "We were all up on the terrace of the adjacent building. The rioters harassed us till morning, when they asked us to come down with the help of two ladders. When we got down, our hands were tied and they assaulted us with swords. ."

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