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Gujarat epicentre of targeted violence against minorities, says compilation of 55 'attacks'

By Our Representative 

Last year as many as 55 “attacks” on minority communities in Gujarat took place, a compilation of each of these incidents by a state civil rights group has said. Compiled by the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a report enumerating these incidents was released in Ahmedabad at a meeting of around 70 minority community leaders from different districts of Gujarat.
Before releasing the compilation, district leaders spoke about recent atrocities committed against the minority people in their respective districts, agreeing on the need for a coordinated effort to stop the atrocities against the minority community in future and what should be done to protect minority rights “as per the Constitution of the country.”
Claiming that the minority community has been “pushed on the margins” of the mainstream society, MCC in its introduction to the report, titled "Targeted: Documenting Incidents Affecting Minorities in Gujarat", which carries the compilation, said, main aim of the organisation is to “promote and protect the rights of minority communities and advance social justice, equity, and inclusion for all”, even as envisioning a society where diversity is celebrated and differences are respected, where individuals can live their lives without fear of discrimination, harassment, or prejudice.”
As for the compilation, the report claimed, they show that “Gujarat has been the epicentre of targeted violence against minorities”, pointing out, “The nature of violence has now changed.” Thus, while “earlier the violence was prominently in big cities”, now violence has “reached the villages.”
It underlined, “In particular, religious festivals, which are occasions of social harmony, were also used by communal organizations as opportunities for violence against minorities”, adding, “Through this report, we are bringing out different incidents of 2022 in the hope that we understand the destructive designs and work better together for communal harmony and peace.”
Mujahid Nafees, convener, MCC, said, the incidents of violence against minority community people qwew taken from local newspapers, mainly “Gujarat Today”, run by a minority community leader of Ahmedabad. “We have compiled newspaper cuttings as proof of violence”, he said, adding, “It is most disconcerting that over the three few, religious festivals, which have been symbols of communal unity, are also being used to divide society.”
The date-wise compilation starts with an incident on January 1, 2022, in which a Muslim auto driver was stopped at the gate of a society by a security guard in Ahmedabad. After knowing that the auto driver was a Muslim, he was abused, and dogs were let loose on him. He was threatened not to lodge complaints with the police, lest he would not be spared.
The last incident in the compilation is of December 30, 2023, when, in Junagadh, BJP leader Raman Vora openly stated that those Muslims who will not vote for BJP, their water and electricity connections would be cut and demolition will be done in their areas.
The incidents compiled are not just confined to the Muslim community. Thus, in one incident, there was violent attack allegedly by Hindu fringe elements, in which the house of a Christian community person in Makarpura extension of Vadodara was vandalised and a person dressed as Santa Claus was killed.
Also included in the compilation how, following violence in Borsad village of Anand district due to an attack on two Muslim boys with knives at midnight “in an attempt to kill them”, the police fired 30 rounds of rubber bullets and 50 shells of tear gas, and “took unilateral action only against Muslims.”
Then, the compilation shows how, during Ram Navami procession at various places in Gujarat, one person died in Khambhat district of Anand, following which police fired tear gas and shops and vehicles of Muslims were set on fire, and the huts of four Muslims were demolished with bulldozer. However, “the police took unilateral action against the Muslims”, and did not “even register an FIR on behalf of the Muslims.”
Giving details of the incidents which took place in 2023, which are now in the process of being compiled, Nafees advised participating leaders to be vigilant against attempts of certain sections to spread hatred against the community.
“We must videograph, wherever possible, hate speeches delivered against minorities. We must try to document each incident. We must be equipped with better understanding of the law and the Constitution in order seek justice from the law and order authorities, including courts, he insisted.

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