Hindu Terrorism in Gujarat?
No, it is not, as we can track down the individuals responsible for the crimes and punish them for messing with up with the peace. Blaming the religion will not get us anywhere. Blaming religion has not solved the problems of the world and it is time to take action against all criminals.
This report from ANHAD, India
Minorities Under Attack: Sangh Prepares for the Coming Elections
After receiving distress calls for help from members of the Muslim community from various villages of Surat district a team rushed there. Yusuf Shaikh, President All India Quami Mahaz and Convener, Samajik Nyay Kendra, Dushyantbhai S. Somabhai Unjakar from Samajik Nyay Kendra, Baroda and Shabnam Hashmi, a social activists from Anhad, Delhi and member of the National Integration Council visited the following places: Village Hathoda, Village Velaccha, Village Kosamba, Village Navi Kosadi, Village Kosadi and Kim Char Rasta.
This report is based on the visit of the team to various affected villages and other areas and interviews with the victims and other villagers of these areas. There are a number of other villages which have been attacked but we could not visit all of them.
Background: For the last few months, violence has been constantly taking place against minorities in Gujarat especially in the districts of Vadodara and Surat. In July 2007, an attack was organized against the Muslim community living in Kosamba. The Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti has been at the forefront of these attacks. Detailed Fact Finding report of Kosamba attack attached
On 18th around 11am approximately 20 goons led by Jasu Darbar reached Kasodi. Jasu Darbar –a local bad element and also the Vice President of the Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti, Mangrol was regularly visiting the village for over 6 months and harassing the people especially the butchers and he used to extract 'hafta' from them to allow them to continue their business.
On 18th under the pretext of inspecting and looking for a lost calf of some local tribal he entered the village along with 20 goons in two cars and 5 motorcycles. They reached the very end of the village near the crematorium. The whole group started abusing the local Muslims and threatened to burn the houses of local villagers. The local residents asked him to go back with his group and not to create a situation which will lead to tension in the village. Jasu Darbar took out swords from his car and soon an altercation started. The local people also brought wooden sticks for their protection. Most of the people who had accompanied Jasu darbar fled from the scene leaving their 5 motorcycles and two cars there and Jasu was surrounded by the local people and beaten up with sticks.
The village Deputy Sarpanch called the Mamlatdar and they put an injured Jasu Darbar in a vehicle to take him to hospital. He collapsed on the way.
Following this the Police arrived and entered the mosque where Muslims were praying and took away about 25 people on the pretext of taking their statements and till this report is filed no one knows where they are kept. The local people talked to the police a number of times asking them to arrest the culprits and punish them but release the innocents but to no avail.
We met the Sarpanch Laxman bhai Chotubhai Vasava and the Deputy Sarpanch Hasin Ismailji bhai and a number of local people who had gathered as our team arrived there.
Laxmanbhai Vasava and Hasinbhai informed us that there are about 1000 families and half of them are from the minority community, the others Adivasis, Lohar and Dalits. There has been no communal problems in the village between the communities.
Following this the Gau Raksha Suraksha Samiti and various units of the Sangh- VHP, Bajrand Dal etc organised attacks on a number of nearby villages and systematic attacks, looting and burning of property and businesses and terrorizing of Muslims by the Police and goons is taking place for since September 18, 2007. Constant phone calls are coming from different parts as we write and file this report:
Visit to Hatoda, Kosamba and Velachcha
1. Velachcha: Destroyed- 22 Muslim houses, 3 shops , 2 motorbikes- started at Time: 5.15pm
22 houses have been totally gutted. When we visited Valechcha on 19th September, 2007 the smoke was still coming out of the houses. There was nothing left in the houses. The families fled from the village.
The police was present and the fire brigade trying to douse the fire.
The victims whom we met in Hatoda told us that the attack on these houses took place in the presence of the Police and at that point there was enough police and could have stopped the attackers. Instead the attackers after reaching the spot spoke to the police and the police went and stood hundred meters away in front of the local school in Velachcha, while the attackers used petrol and kerosene to burn the houses. The fire brigades arrived too late to save any belongings.
Men, women, small children fled from the houses to save lives, hid for a few hours in jungles, then walked through the night and only on 19 th morning at 5.30am some of them reached Hathoda- a Muslim dominated village, some reached Kosamba and some were still missing. Most of them had left without chappals or slippers and they reached with thorns all over their feet in bruised state.
The families have lost everything except a set of clothes that they were wearing. The local residents of Hatoda village are looking after the families.
The government has made no arrangement for any relief. We spoke to the DSP on the phone. He refused to file their FIRs as he said police has already filed the FIR. In fact the DSP told us that we are disturbing the peace in the district. Later when the paralegal team of the Centre for Social Justice team after documenting individual cases went to the police station, he again refused to file any FIR.
Those whose houses were burnt:
Bazar Vistar Padar- 3 houses
1. Ismail Yakub
3. Sairabibi Shaikh
1. Shaikh Usmanmian Gulzarmian
2. Irfankhan Pathan
3. Mehranbibi Gulzarmian Shaikh
4. Hanifmian Gulzarmian Shaikh
5. Salimmian Gulzarmian Shaikh
6. Gulammian Rehmanmian
7. Hydermian Rehmanmian
8. Jabbarmohd Rehman Shaikh
9. Chotumian rehmanmian
10. Shabbibmian Gulzarmian
11. Bikhanmian Amirmian
12. Amirmian Rasulmian
13. Usmanmian Gulzarmian
14. Shaikh MOhd Noormian
15. Mian Mohd Hydermian
16. Mohd Aslam Ghulam Nabi Shaikh
17. Rafikmian Hydermain
18. Fatimabibi Mohdmian Shaikh
19. Farookmian Bambayya ( Chelliya)
20. Ahmad Mohd Shaikh
1. Cycle and Cutlery:
2. Chicken shop
Those who attacked, burnt and looted the houses:
Attackers who came from Tarsadi village
1. Kishore Singh Kosada
2. Dayabhai Rabari
3. Jango Rabari
4. Chetan ( Raj Mobile shopwala)
5. Mohan Rabari
6. Kalu Chotalia
7. Jaideep Gabbar
8. Guddu Bhaiya
Attackers from the Velachha village
1. Dharmendra Singh Chauhan
2. Chandra Singh Chauhan Urf Umesh Arvind tailor
3. UdaySinh Ramsinh Chauhan
4. Hareshbhai Jeevanbhai Prajapati
5. Naveenbhai Hiralal Shah
6. Ghemalsinh Chauhan
7. Chattrasinh Gambhirsinh Chauhan
8. Pankaj Panchal
9. Dinesh Sukha Koli Patel ( tempowala)
10. Bharat kalidas Adivasi ( rikshawwala)
11. Haresh Mulji Makwana
12. Samir Sawawala
Visit to Mosali village and Mosali Char Rasta
Jasu Darbar's body was brought for postmortem to referral hospital situated in Mosali around 4pm. About 150 people from outside the village had gathered at the hospitals. Most of them were on motorcycles.
After coming out of the hospital they attacked the Muslim shops which were near the hospital and then they went on a looting and burning spree across the village.
According to the eye witnesses the Police was though out present and did not take any step to stop the looting and burning.
Names of victims whose shops were burnt and looted (we could not meet some of the victims, so there shop names are mentioned instead of their names:
1. Ibrahim Panchbhaiya
2. Ayub Panchbhaiya
3. Umar -Radio Service
4. Lucky cloth store
5. Rashid bhai- Shan Footware
6. Kasimbhai Khalifa- Takdeer hair Art
7. Fatimaben Farook- Tailor House
8. Steel furniture-recently opened
9. Pan Centre shop- Musabhai Bobat
10. Hashimbhai- Paras Watch Centre
11. Tea Stall- Sureshbhai Vasava
12. we saw three more burnt shops but could not get the names of the owners.
Most of the shop owners were able to fled in time and were not physically attacked but a young shop owner Rashidbhai who was inside the shop after putting the shutter down was badly beaten up. The attackers opened the shutter, Rashidbhai ran to the first floor of the shop, he was dragged down and severely beaten up. The Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti members looted from Rashibhai's shop- a laptop, mobile phone and 60,000 cash. His motorcycle Honda was burnt down.
We spoke to a large number of local residents from the majority community who had gathered there. They told us that both the communities lived together peacefully and there has been no history of communal tension between the, they ate together, celebrated together different festivals. The attackers they sad had all come from outside.
Mosali Char Rasta
After attacking and burning the shops inside the village the mob moved outside and reached the Mosali Char Rasta. The mob used stones and bricks to break open the locks of the shops and looted and burnt down the shops:
1. provision store- owner-Shuaib Mohd Patel- totally burnt down
2. hotel— cold drinks-safari telecentre- 40 crates looted, partially burnt
3. auto part shop- super auto garage
4. biku auto parts garage- owner-yakub ibrahim biku- totally burnt down
5. hotel vasraiwala-owner- ibrahim tadwala-dhabha- From this shop it is interesting to note that the members of the Gau Rakshak Suraksha samiti looted -two cylinders, one chulha, a sack of Potatoes , sack of onion, oil and wheat floor.- Partially burnt
On the Char Rasta the following was burnt too:
truck burnt- owner- Yusuf Musaji Ugraddar- GRV 7602
Jeep-belongs to Mehmood Shaiklh's wife
There were 12 policemen present throughout this period when the shops were being burnt. According to the eye witnesses they did not take any steps to stop the attackers.
On our way to Kasodi we had briefly stopped at Nava Kasodi and met some of the victims from different places who had taken refuge there.
Abdul Kada's bike was burnt in Vadoli, his house attacked, glasses broken
Those who attacked included:
Bhalabhai Darbar, pradeepbhai, sukhabhai, rajubhai, shambhubhai, ( sarpanh), jitubhai, vikram, rakesh, arun, bhupendra, babubhai, haresh.
Kim Char Rasta
We received several calls from the Kim Char Rasta as it was being attacked while we were visiting other villages.
As we reached the Kim Char Rasta we saw 5 motorcycles on the main Char Rasta which were recently burnt. Smoke was coming out and a stench of rubber being burnt was in the atmosphere.
We had visited several calls from the mosque so we went to the Madani mosque.
Prakash Manjra LCB constable and PI Rabari along with approximately 25 policemen stormed the mosque with rifles and wearing shoes. Because of the month of Ramzan there were a lot of people resting in the hall of the mosque. It was around 1.15pm. The policemen immediately started breaking the glasses and mercilessly beat up many people who were inside the mosque. When we reached the mosque it was littered with broken glasses and there were blood stains all over the mosque floor. It was evident that people were attacked in every corner of the mosque. We were told that many people, young and old were mercilessly beaten up on their thighs, on their shoulders and all over the body with rifle butts.
The police then picked up around 15 people and took them away. It is only now after 24 hours that we have been able to find out that they have been taken to a place near Navi Pardi in galore police quarters. One of the boys Arshad was beaten up in custody and his condition is very critical; sources have informed us today on phone.
Places we could not visit
Kemraj Char Rasta- mosque attacked, Asarma village- attacked
1. Immediate arrest of culprits – the members of the Gau Rakshak Suraksha Samiti and other hoodlums who attacked the villages.
2. The people responsible for attacking Jasu Darbar should be apprehended and innocent people released immediately.
3. Release of innocent people arrested from the mosques.
4. Open Relief Camp and provide relief urgently to the victims who have lost their houses.
5. Suspend DSP Jha responsible for the safety of the citizens of his area and other lower rank officers, who were present at the spot but did not do anything to stop the attackers.
6. Suspend PI Pardi and Prakash Manjra LCB constable.