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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Kashmirisation of India? Ayodhya communal harmony meet: Activists stopped, detained

Counterview Desk
In a joint statement, three civil rights organizations, Rihai Manch, National Alliance of People's Movements and Lok Rajniti Manch, and Socialist Party (India), have taken strong exception to the Uttar Pradesh government taking "preventive" steps against those seeking to hold a meeting on communal harmony at Ayodhya.