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

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.