March-April  2002 

Kheda district


Attacks in this part of Gujarat took place on March 1, 2002. They were widespread and organised. Villagers that CC spoke to from Memdavad and Jinger said that the crowds were 5-7,000 strong and attacked from three sides; three-four leaders had mobile phones; saffron headbands and abusive slogans are the lasting impressions that a shattered rural and small-town community has about the attacks.

It was only on March 5 that the massacre carried out on the hapless residents of Godasar was made public. Their maimed and gorged bodies were found in the fields outside Jinger. No less than 13 persons met their end this way. The survivors are in the camps at Kheda.

Memdavad, a Muslim majority township, held out bravely under the attack that carried on through the day.

Place: Memdavad, Kheda district

Witness: Karim Bhai Mallick

(Interviewed at Memdavad on March 8)
n March 1, the day after Gujarat Bandh, Memdavad, which is a village with a history of communal harmony, saw violence and hatred for the first time. Sarvar Khan, a karigar who carved mandirs from wood, was brutally slaughtered by a mob that even tried to attack us.

Nearby villages like Ghodasar and Jinger, which have 50 or 100 houses belonging to Muslims, saw brutal murders and homes being burnt. In Ghodasar, 14 persons were hacked to death and there was nobody left to pick up the dead bodies. In Jinger, 13 persons were buried.

We found that in Jinger, which has a population of 14-1500, 80 per cent of the Muslims have disappeared. Mobs as large as 5,000, surrounded all our villages and attacked us relentlessly. The DIG of Memdavad range, Kuldip Sharma, reached within an hour of the incidents. For one to two hours, they had surrounded the whole village and we were in danger.

In Ghotas village, Hindus and Muslims are together even today. Haldasvar village, which had around a hundred Muslim homes, faced a violent attack from the Bajrang Dal and the VHP. We managed to save Memdavad kasba but the farms on the outskirts were vulnerable and we lost three lives. Three persons were killed in their homes. Two were Sayeds from the Bori Roji Vista and one was Sarvar Khan Pathan.

The deceased: Sarvar Khan, killed in Memdavad; 14 hacked to death in Ghodasar; 13 persons buried in Jinger. Three killed in Memdavad kasba.

The accused: Bajrang Dal and VHP activists.

Place: Memdavad, Kheda district

Witness: Shafi Bhai Mansuri, ex-President of the municipal corporation

(Interviewed at Memdavad on March 8)
emdavad faced an attack from three sides. We were completely taken aback. The mobs were carrying weapons like swords, trishuls and guptis. Twenty shops were looted and destroyed; mine was one of them. There are nine villages in the Memdavad area, where unfortunately, all the Muslim homes and shops were attacked. The shops and businesses belonging to Muslims in Ghotas village and Khatrad Chowki were destroyed completely, reducing people to abject poverty.

The terrorist violence that the Bajrang Dal and the VHP unleashed, leaves the ordinary person terrified. Their attack is both physical and mental. It is meant to crush the victims.

The accused: Bajrang Dal and the VHP.

Place: Memdavad, Kheda district

Witness: Shafi Mohammed Mansuri

(Interviewed at Memdavad on March 8)
ven after Godhra, there was complete peace in Memdavad. We even had a meeting of the Shanti Samiti on Friday, March 1. And then, as if from nowhere, we don’t know what happened, a mob of 7-8000 attacked us. There are 40 policemen in all, available for Memdavad range and they were not enough. The idea behind the attack was clear: destroy businesses, burn the shops and wherever there are Muslim peasants, kill them. 14 bodies have been found and buried but 15 to 20 persons are today missing.

There was tremendous pressure put on the police and the Revenue Department to let the mobs do their work unhampered. But here we must praise DIG Kuldip Sharma, who resisted the pressure.

The real question now is going to be the question of rehabilitation. When villages are being wiped out and entire businesses targetted, how do we deal with this question? In Kani gaon, even the fields and crops belonging to Muslims were burnt.

My son lives in Vasad Gao village in Anand district. The village is dominated by Patels and the 50 businesses belonging to Muslims there were targetted. Dinshabhai Patel, the sarpanch, was leading the attack. My son Mehmood, his wife and four children, were attacked by the mobs carrying revolvers. They were lucky, they escaped because the mob that arrived was more interested in looting. The mob took away 15-20 tolas of gold. The masjid and dargah at Vasad was destroyed using a bulldozer. The Darbar sarpanch of Ghodasar, Gansham Singh, saved the lives of 13-14 Muslims who were in danger. But in Sardarpura village in Mehsana district, 28 persons were burnt to death and in Ode village, 40 persons were similarly killed.

Today, even as you are talking to us, the Sandesh newspaper has published a story saying that arms were found inside the Memdavad masjid. They also reported that in Daudpura area, externee criminals are to be found. This is a blatant lie. We ourselves got the police to check the masjid, but we know such news is used to generate more hatred and violence. There are Hindus living all round us in Memdavad – Lohars, Thakurs and Parmars. We do not let anything happen to them.

The violence continued on March 1 between 11.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m.

I am a teacher in Memdavad and for 25 years I have performed the Dhwaj Vandan (Flag Hoisting) on 15th August and 26th January. Last year, when the local RSS shakha tried to unfurl the national flag, they did not know how to do it. They had to call me to teach them the proper way. Who are the nationalists and who are the patriots?

Towards the end of the interview, Mansuri recites a poem:

Kisne banayee mandir

Aur kisne banayee masjid

Mandir masjid banakar adam jaat ko juda kar liya

Humse vah bezuban parinda achcha

Kabhi mandir par baitha kabhi masjid par

(Who built the temple

Who constructed the mosque

Temples and mosques have split up Adam’s children

Better than us are those birds

Who perch themselves on a temple sometimes, sometimes on a mosque)

Place: Memdavad, Kheda district

Witness: Amar Singh Parmar

(Interviewed at Memdavad on March 8)
e were awake, along with everyone in Memdavad, battling the mobs that were trying to attack us. There has never been any disharmony in the city. The news of the kind that Sandesh has published, lying about arms inside the mosque and of the externee, are meant to generate more hatred and lead to violence against innocents.

Place: Memdavad, Kheda district

Witness: Yusuf Sheikh, film distributor, living in Mumbai.

(Interviewed at Kheda on March 9)

The Asha Cinema in Memdavad, which I own, was completely destroyed causing me a loss of around Rs. 20 lakh. It was thoroughly burnt from inside and the equipment and machinery totally destroyed. In Kheda town, I was witness to the destruction of shops and businesses. What was most disappointing was the utter lack of response from the police to our pleas.

Property lost/destroyed: Rs. 20 lakhs.

Policemen indicted: ‘Utter lack of response from police to our pleas.’

Place: Kheda town

Witness :Yasin Bhai Mohammed Bhai Vora, ex-president, Kheda Municipal Corporation.

(Interviewed in Kheda town on March 9)
heda had not seen violence in the past 60 years. At 12.30 p.m. on March 1, shops in the bazaar near Jama Masjid were destroyed and a rickshaw burnt. A rice mill, two kirana shops (Lucky trading and Ismail and Co.) belonging to Mehta Bhai Gafur Bhai were burnt. One bakery (Gujarat Bakery), two shops belonging to Noor Mohammed and five cars belonging to Zubeidabehn were also destroyed. About 150 local Hindus, living near the Hanuman Mandir, Balapir and Baghod areas, were the one’s who led the attack.

In Kheda town, the dargahs of Baban Shah Pir, Dawood Shah, Shikaru Pir and Utavla Pir were destroyed and the sarpanch and Inspector of police must be blamed. The Kheda Relief Camp has about 2,000 people who have taken shelter from the villages and towns around.

Of the total population of 32,000, there are 10,000 Muslims in Kheda. However, business is totally in the hands of Muslims and the total damage to us is Rs. 70-80 lakh. For the past two years, the RSS, VHP and the Bajrang Dal have repeatedly sought to provoke the population. Sentiments are kept on the boil. At least 3-4 times a year, provocative pamphlets are circulated. In fact, the last such pamphlet was circulated a month before the Godhra incident. The purpose is to create hatred against Muslims. Published anonymously, the pamphlets ask every Hindu who receives it to make at least 10 copies so as to keep the circulation chain expanding.

In Nadiad city, where three people died in police firing, there is not a single Muslim shop left. 15-20 shops selling TVs and other electronic goods, watch shops, Diwan Bakery, a kerosene dealer and timber mart right next to the police station and the bus stand, were destroyed on February 28. At the same time, the 25 shops selling vegetables in Santram market, belonging to Hindus, were left untouched.

The two persons who died were Hafiz Zuber Memon, a maulvi (25) and Yakub Bhai Indori (22). Pankaj Bhai, Vinod Bhai Patel (known as Gotya and belonging to the BJP) was accompanying the police as they carried out their destructive act. Mogar, Sarsa, Chikodra, Bedwa, Samarkha and Ode in Anand district are villages with 100-500 Muslims in each. These have been wiped clean of the Muslim population. Timba and Khalsar are similar two in Kheda district, which have been wiped clean like Jinger. Chaklasi, Peej, Piplak and Dumral are villages in Nadiad that have been severely affected.

The deceased: Muslims have been wiped clean wherever they were in small numbers in villages, in Kheda, Anand and Nadiad districts; Hafiz Zuber Memon and Yakub Bhai Indori (Nadiad).

The accused: RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal, Pankaj Bhai, Vinod Bhai Patel (BJP), Sarpanch of Kheda town.

Policemen indicted: Acting at the behest of the BJP’s Pankaj Bhai, Vinod Bhai Patel (BJP) in Nadiad, IP of Kheda town.

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