Syed Khalique Ahmed | India Tomorrow
AHMEDABAD—Minority Coordination Committee (MCC)-Gujarat’s fact-finding report on the communal violence in two villages of the state’s Kutch district bordering Pakistan, has alleged that the violence was “state-sponsored”, with “the police and administration” being “hand in glove with the anti-social elements and part of a larger conspiracy” to create “fear among the Muslims and force them into ghettoization”.
The report prepared by a four member team comprising MCC convener Mujahid Nafees, social activists Usman Ghani Sherasia, Ibrahim Turk and Mohammad Lakha says that despite all this, the violence did not take a serious turn due to “the restraint and understanding” shown by the local villagers.
But the report observes that the incidents in two villages have “increased the disharmony between Hindus and Muslims”.
“If the atmosphere of communal harmony is not restored, it will pose a serious threat to life, property and safety of the people of Gujarat”, points out the report.
The report alleges that the “Muslims were provoked, with the help of police and administration” to ensure that there is reaction from the Muslims’ side.
“On the one hand, it(police) tried to create panic in the Muslim community, and, on the other hand, through media, they (Muslims) were proved stone-pelters and put behind bars”, the report alleges further.
Stating that the statements of those in positions of power and responsible people in the ruling party “encourage fringe elements to commit violence against minorities”, the fact-finding report accuses “the police and administration of failing to discharge its constitutional duties under pressure from the state government”.
Pointing out that the “police failed to take action against the fringe elements and FIRs of the victims were not lodged”, the report alleges that “the police machinery was under great pressure in the face of this state-sponsored and majority-led communal violence”.
Kidana village in Gandhidham taluka and Sadav in Mundra taluka of the district witnessed communal violence on January 17 when mobs belonging to Hindus entered the Muslim villages on the pretext of collecting funds for the construction of Ayodhya Ram Mandir, raised communally provocative slogans and attacked mosques and houses and shops belonging to Muslims. One person was killed and several injured in the violence.
The report says that about 300 Hindus riding bikes and a tractor trolley and armed with sticks, tridents and spears entered Kidana village, chanting provocative slogans like “babri Masjid Todenge, Ram Mandir banayenge ( We will demolish Babri Masjid and build Ram Temple”.
According to the report, the tractor trolley was full of stones and the mob was accompanied by police personnel. The mob, as per report, began pelting stones on Muslims when they reached deep inside the Muslim village. However, the police men accompanying the mob did not take action.
It was only after the Superintendent of Police reached the village with additional force that the mob turned back. However, the returning mob attacked Muslim houses and damaged vehicles parked outside their homes. On learning that there were clashes with the Muslims, more Hindus from the nearby villages blocked entry and exit points of the Muslim locality but police dispersed them by firing teargas shells. Some police vehicles were also damaged in the mob violence.
The returning mob attacked an auto-rickshaw driver Noor Mohammed by a trident, injuring him severely in his neck. The mob also attacked a passenger-Arjun-in Noor’s autorickshaw and killed in on the spot, as the mob mistook him as a Muslim due to his beard. Arjun hailed from Jharkhand and worked in the village as a labourer.
The report says that within 15 minutes of the stone-pelting in the Muslim locality, Hindus from nearby villages were mobilized, indicating “a planned conspiracy aimed at communal conflict in the peace-loving village and deliberate attempt to cause damage to Muslim properties in an attempt to scare Muslims and force them to leave the village”.
The report points out that despite the fact that many Muslims were injured in self-defence, an FIR was lodged against them in which 30 people were arrested and inly 13 people forming part of the mob were arrested.
It also has noted that a “tiranga” yatra was taken out in the village on the occasion of the Republic Day, some Hindus walked with saffron-coloured flags, raising objectionable slogans in the village, resulting into a minor clash between Hindus and Muslims. “It is clear from this that the events of January 17, 2021, is part of a pre-planned conspiracy devised to cause communal riots”, the report alleges.
Similar modus operandi, according to the fact-finding report, was adopted in Sadav village of Mundra taluka on the same day and around the same time. The Hindu mob raising objectionable slogans against children playing outside their homes attempted to enter Muslims and provoke them. “Police was present but as a spectator only during the entire episode”, says the report.
Demands of the Fact-Finding Team:
- Curb on armed rallies for collection of donation.
- Deployment of police force in large numbers in areas where these rallies are planned.
- Video recording of all such rallies to ensure police maintain impartiality.
- Release of innocent people arrested in the two incidents and adequate compensation to people whose houses and vehicles were damage.
- Compensation for those having died or injured in the two incidents
- Book those raising provocative slogans under UAPA.
- Such rallies should not be allowed through Muslim areas.
- No permission be given to use DJs and rallies near religious places.
- Storage and transportation of stones, sticks, baton, trident, hockey, baseball bat inside the tractor trolley or tempos be banned during such rallies and those violating it be booked under treason.
- A policy be formulated for rehabilitation of people affected by communal violence.