Skip to main content

Gujarat's Hansot communal clashes on January 14 were "provoked" by right-wing forces: PUCL

By Our Representative
A People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) fact-finding team has found that the communal clashes in and around Hansot taluka of Bharuch District in Gujarat, which led to the death of three innocent persons on January 14, 2015, the day of Uttarayan Festival, was “not a sporadic incident” but “a gradual build-up that started on December 9, 2014, which the local administration failed to anticipate.”
While Hansot has a sizable Muslim population, communalism is a recent phenomenon has begun only in recent years, it said. For example, during the 2002 riots the area did not witness major untoward incidents. Things have reached such a point now that “both the local people and the authorities tend to perceive any dispute between two members of different communities as communal conflict”, it added.
Those who consisted of the PUCL team included academics and activists – Prof Ghanshyam Shah, Dr Trupti Shah, Sofia Khan, Rafi Malek, Krishnakant Chuhan, Reshma Vohra, Sharif Malek, Mariyam Agarbattiwala, Hiren Gandhi, Rohit Prajapati, and Dr Sarup Dhruv.
“The violent turn of events began on December 9, 2014 when Ambheta resident, Sunil alias Sajan Patel, circulated abusive messages about Prophet Mohammed and Muslims on instant messaging app, Whatsapp, the report said, adding, “On December 10, 2014 offended Hansot Muslims called for a bandh and police arrested Sunil on December 10, 2014. On December 11, 2014 more than 5,000 Muslims participated in a protest rally at the district headquarters in Bharuch”.
The rally – a show of strength – “triggered a spate of retaliatory incidents in surrounding villages, including telling Muslims to convert to Hinduism in Katpor Village, forcing them to leave their 95 bigha farm land, home and property on December 24, 2014”, the report said.
In retaliation, on December 21, 2014, at Sajod Village, a Dharma Jagran Manch rally was attended by local BJP leaders. This was followed at Ilav village's eight Muslim families being “forced to leave their homes, shops, and properties on December 24, 2014”. And, in Hansot, “a Muslim-owned farm was burnt on January 5, 2015”.
Things culminated on January 14, 2015, when a “minor dispute” led to a Muslim youth being beaten by a Hindu youth, which flared into communal clashes that swept across the villages. In a retaliatory attack Muslim youths from Hansot took to violence, which egged on Hindu mobs turning in communal clashes leading to three deaths”, the report said, adding, “All the three youths who died in the Hansot clashes were innocent bystanders, with no part in the rioting Hindu-Muslim mobs.”
Meanwhile, “in surrounding villages retaliatory violence continued with Muslims fleeing their homes, shops and farms, their properties looted and burnt”, the report said, adding, “Many who fled to Surat and nearby safer places did not returned to their homes and farms when the fact-finding team visited the region.”
The team said, “Though there exists a tradition of sharing food, participating in each other’s festivals, visiting Dargah, helping each other in religious gatherings, the increasing presence of rightwing Hindu groups is putting a strain on the shared traditions.”
It added, “While we did not observe a complete break of social and cultural ties, there is definitely a trust deficiency between the two communities, which blames the other for `high handedness’. Partisan role of local elected leaders, which are usually from the BJP and that of the local authorities during any conflicts, tends to aggravate further relations between the two communities.”
The team further accused the “authorities” of failing to “check the right-wing mobilization that has been happening for a long time in the villages by groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, amongst others. We cannot also deny that the presence of fundamentalist Muslim elements in the region, which find their raison d'etre due to growing assertion of right wing Hindu groups.”

Comments

TRENDING

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Kailash Satyarthi NGO makes slum kids laud RSS founder Hedgewar as freedom fighter

By Rajiv Shah  In a move which may raise many an eyebrow, a Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi-supported child rights NGO has celebrated Prime Minister Narendra Modi-intitiated Har Ghar Tiranga by commemorating 75 freedom fighters by "narrating their famous deeds and chanting slogans of each leader", including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai and a person who had little or nothing common with the freedom movement -- RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. A communique from the Kailash Satyarthi Childrens Foundation (KSCF), which organised the event, said among the freedom fighters celebrated by 75 children on the occasion of 75 years of India's independence placing photographs of each freedom fighter included that of Hedgewar, who is alleged to have maintained a distance from Indian Independence movement led by Gandhiji. According to Hedgewar's biography, when Gandhiji launched the Salt Satyagraha in 1930, Hedgewar sent information ev

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Gujarat's 'low-key' communalism: right-wing groups compete for anti-Muslim space

By Rajiv Shah  Noticing the emergence of a novel trend, a just-released report based on a fact-finding team's observations following its interaction in particular with Hindu and Muslim political activists, administrators and police officials, has claimed that a major reason why chasm between the two communities in Gujarat has lately reached new heights is, a veritable competition between Hindu right-wing groups and leaders to capture the existing communal space. Titled "Hindu Right, Communal Riots and Demolitions: Emerging Pattern of Communal Riots in India", the report has been prepared against the backdrop of what it calls "low intensity" communalism which has characterised rioting in Gujarat in the recent past, especially after the 2002 communal carnage, one of the worst in Independent India. Especially focusing on riots in two Gujarat towns, Himmatnagar and Khambhat, which took place on April 10, the day clashes broke also out in different parts of India on

Why global recession is 'big threat' to India, despite Nirmala Sitharaman’s bravado

By Prasanna Mohanty*  It would be imprudent to assume that a global recessionary trend will bypass India. In fact, a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman categorically ruled out the possibility of recession and stagflation (with high unemployment and high inflation India is technically witnessing stagflation) hitting India in her responses to the Parliament earlier in the week, Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam dropped a bomb shell. He released latest trade data showing fast deteriorating trends. The data showed, in July 2022, exports fell to five-month low of $35.2 billion and imports sequentially increased to $66 billion. The details revealed a fall in seven of top 10 export items: engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, readymade garments, cotton yarn and plastics. All this happened, Subrahmanyam acknowledged, due to the growing recessionary trends in developed countries and elevated commodity prices. The trade deficit (merchandise g

RSS, Sangh Parivar consider tricolour as "state flag" and not "national flag"

By Teesta Setalvad* Today, when the nation has been independent for 67 years, the Sangh Parivar is set to launch ‘Tiranga yatras’ and Satyagrahas to defend the honour of the flag and the nation. Yet when the Indian people were involved in the decades-long struggle for freedom against British imperialism, the RSS was conspicuous by its absence in the struggle. When thousands of people faced lathis, bullets and jail sentences for hoisting the tiranga and participated all over the country in satyagraha during the Civil Disobedience and Quit India movements against the British Raj, the Sangh publicly took the stand that it would not take part in the movement and seldom missed the opportunity of assuring the British rulers that they would keep to the right side of colonial law and avoid any clash with the authorities. Of course the reason given for this was that the Sangh was secretly strengthening itself and would take on British imperialism only when it was strong enough to do so! A simil

Bangladeshi women crossing borders: Demand to sensitise cops, BSF personnel

Counterview Desk  Bringing more instances of how the security personnel along the borders in West Bengal refuse to probe the human trafficking angle while arresting Bangladeshi women, human rights leader Kirity Roy has said, they are treated as accused in violation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh on Bilateral Cooperation for Preventing of Human Trafficking, especially trafficking in Women and Children. In a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, said, “The victims should be immediately repatriated to their own country and the criminal charges against them must be withdrawn at the earliest”, insisting, “The matters must be handled by the police or the BSF personnel with a human approach.” Text: I am writing this complaint regarding det

Need to ask at today's 'critical juncture' of India's history: Whose Freedom@75?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  The official propaganda states that: “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of it's people, culture and achievements. This Mahotsav is dedicated to the people of India who have not only been instrumental in bringing India thus far in its evolutionary journey but also hold within them the power and potential to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of activating India 2.0, fuelled by the spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The official journey of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commenced on 12th March 2021 which started a 75-week countdown to our 75th anniversary of independence and will end post a year on 15th August 2023.” So as India completes a landmark seventy-five years of freedom – a platinum jubilee – the only question one needs to ask at this critical juncture of the country’s history is “whose freedom@75?” Since March 2020, it has been a di