Mapping the violence
Sixteen of Gujarat’s 24 districts were
engulfed in the most organised armed mob attacks on Mus
February 27, 2002
lGodhra: 58 persons torched alive in bogie of Sabarmati express.
l Stray stabbings at Ahmedabad and Anand.
l Stabbing at Vadodara of a Muslim vendor as kar sevaks returned
l Muslims of Rajpardi village, Bharuch, face the first round of arson and attack. (By March 4, Muslim property worth Rs.5–6 crore was either looted or burnt in this village alone).
February 28, 2002
l Ahmedabad: Civil Hospital, Sola. Bodies are brought, angry slogans raised.
l Gulberg Society, Chamanpura: Armed mob of 20–22,000 holds the whole of Gulberg society to ransom for over nine hours. Seventy persons hacked and burnt alive; 10–12 women and girls were raped before being burnt. Commissioner Pandey does nothing to save the victims.
l Naroda Gaon–Naroda Patiya: Armed mobs of 15,000 attack and kill women, children and men — over 150 lives lost; Ample evidence of private firing with rifles by the mobs also armed with trishuls, dharias, spears and other weapons. (Police simply watches).
l Naroda Fruit Market: Armed mob of around 10,000 targets Muslim wholesale shops selectively.
l Odhav, Gomtipur and Amraiwadi: Mobs attack.
l Paldi: Muslim residences in this posh locality attacked by huge mob. Even judges/police quarters attacked.
l Kabadi Market: Attacked by mob of 7–10,000; destruction carries on for four days.
l Vatwa: Attacked by mob of 10–20,000.
Restaurants and housing societies within minority areas are selectively targeted. 1,100 hotels in Ahmedabad, Baroda and on the Highways torched with special chemical between February 28 and March 1.
A mob first ransacked a Honda City car showroom on the Sarkhej–Gandhinagar Highway.
l Ahmedabad (Rural): Dholka, Jetalpur, Ramol, Mandal targeted by mobs of not less that 3,000, armed with trishuls, swords and agricultural implements.
l Gandhinagar: A mob enters the Old Secretariat building in the high–security zone and burns down the offices of the Wakf Board and the state Minorities Finance Corporation.
l Vadodara: At least 7 persons killed and 30 injured in mob attacks on the localities of Fatehpura, Chhipwad and Makarpura.
l Vadodara (Rural): Savli, Chhotaudaipur, Desar, Sokhda, Laxmipura , Padra, Vadu, Karjan, Vaghodiya, Udalpur, Tarsali. Kisanwadi, Sama Society, Madhavnagar, Ashabi Chawl were attacked. In rural parts, Sokhada and Chappad were targeted.
l Near Prantij: Three British Nationals travelling in a local taxi are attacked; one survives; the driver is killed, two are still missing.
l Villages/towns across this district are brutally targeted for four–five days: Meghraj, Bayad, Dhansura, Vadali, Prantij, Vijaynagar, Dolapur, Fazalpur, Madhavkampa, Talod, Modasa, Malpur, Sardoi, Himmatnagar, Idar, Khhedbrahma, Bhiloda, Tintoi, Gajra, Jadar, Zaledar, Faredi, Pandharwada, Kavath, Unjha, Dailol, Meghdharol, Sathamba, Shamlaji, Demai, Limkheda, Halol. The highway through Sabarkantha was targeted by rampaging mobs.
Mobs in the above–mentioned areas led by local leaders of the VHP and BD encircled and cordoned of the roads and stopped all vehicles carrying milk, vegetables and other basic food items.
l Himmatnagar: One young Muslim boy was allegedly shot to death at point blank range by the Superintendent of Police in Himmatnagar.
l Bharuch: Large–scale looting and arson of Muslim shops and factories in Bharuch and Ankleshwar (GIDC area) towns.
March 1, 2002
l Pandharwada: 70 people burnt alive Pandharwada village in Khanpur taluka of Panchmahal.
l Six persons burnt alive by large mobs near Dailol railway station located between Kalol and Halol, about 50 km from Godhra; The victims were walking on the highway when a mob of more than 200 people caught up with them, doused them in kerosene and burnt them alive. Of the victims, four were women.
l Other towns and villages brutally attacked: Godhra, Kadadara, Anjanva, Santrampur. Also affected: Limkheda, Dailol, Mora.
l Mehsana: Sardarpura village: 11 farm labourers belonging to the minority community burnt alive. Other towns and villages brutally attacked: Pansar, Visnagar, Unjha, Umta, Becharaji.
l Kheda: Villages/towns badly affected: Mehmdavad, Jinger, Ghodasar, Kheda, Nadiad, Rural: Ode, Vasad, Petlad, Khambhat, Sojitra, Dharmaj, Borsad, Mehmdavad, Kathlal, Virsad, Balasinor, Pij, Sarsa, Chikhodara, Dakor, Nilampura, Pahad, Thasara, Sevaliya, Ratanpur, Haldasvar, Timba, Khalsar, Chaklasi, Peej, Piplak, Dumral.
l Ahmedabad: Gomtipur, Vatwa: large bastis gutted and property looted.
l Gandhinagar: Curfew in Gandhinagar for the first time in 30 yrs. Mobs move freely in the capital targeting residences and establishments belonging to Muslims.
l Junagadh: This haven of communal harmony saw some tension erupt with a stabbing on March 1 but matters were handled swiftly by the local police.
l Banaskantha: Mankdi, Thalwad, Jitpur in Danta taluka:entire villages have been burnt.(Four Bohra Muslims burnt alive).Villages badly affected: Deesa, Sesanava, Danta, Dhanera, Thara, Tharad, Bhildi, Sihori, Bhabhar, Hadad, Mankdi, Panthawada, Malotra, Palanpur, Vijaynagar, Vadgam, Lakhani.
l Patan: Violence in Chanasma. In Radhanpur village three persons travelling in a jeep attacked, two killed; one survives.
l Vadodara: 14 persons burnt alive or otherwise killed at BEST Bakery. Violent attacks elsewhere too.
*Varodara Rural: Rahovpura, Tulsiwadi, Bhayli. Laxmipura, Bajwa, Maretha, Tejgadh and Kanwat in tribal parts of rural Varodara are targeted
l Anand: Villages badly targeted: Mogar, Sarsa, Chikodra, Bedwa, Samarkha and Odh, Vasad.
l Bharuch: Attacks loot and arson in Rajpardi, Rajpipla, Devaliya.
March 2, 2002
l Sabarkantha: 65 persons fleeing in a vehicle from Kidiad to Modasa in Sabarkantha burnt alive at Babaliya, Khanpur chowki Panchmahal.
l Mehsana: Even as chief minister Modi boasted about how "peace had returned" and made tall claims of "90 per cent violence ebbing down," as many as 29 Muslims were torched to death at Sardarpara village in Mehsana
l Over 39 people were killed in separate incidents in Surat, Bhavnagar, Sabarkantha and Vadodara.
l Bharuch: Looting and rson of Muslim property continues in Bharuch and Ankleshwar.
l Bharuch (Rural): Bhimpura, Amod, Valiya, Netrang, Jambusar, Nandod, Jhagadiya, Andada, Diva.
l Panchmahal: Factories, trucks set on fire; 5 units in Halol industrial belt set on fire; 9 trucks carrying 63 Opel astras from the General Motors factory in Halol are burnt. Lucky Studio, owned by film producer Sajid Nadiadwala, also gutted. The 5 units set on fire included four plastic factories and one engineering unit. The industrial town of Halol remains tense as only 17 policemen are on duty in the town limits and they are unable to stop the rampaging the mobs from targeting the factories.
l Rajkot: Rajkot that never experienced communal violence before this sees violence spread in the industrial areas of Ajit, Shapar–Veraval and GIDC estate. 25 small and medium industrial units are set ablaze in the Ajit industrial area alone. In the Shapar–Veraval area, units like Suraj Industrial, Nazeen Industries, Polymer Packaging and Antech Television are damaged by the mobs.
l Rajkot city and Gondal village are targeted.
l Latipot: About 15 units with stocks of wooden logs, are set on fire, causing a loss of about Rs. 5 crore. In the Kevdawadi and Gundawadi areas, units like Bazuki Industries and Kirti packaging which had large stocks of packaging material and cardboard , were torched. Eyewitnesses say that the police deployment was inadequate in these areas.
l Violence erupts in Mehsana, Godhra, Surat, Vadodara and Anand.
March 2, 2002
Families from far–flung areas in districts of of Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Banaskantha, Panchmahal, Ahmedabad, Kheda, Baroda, Broach, Surat and Bhavnagar flee to safer places as their houses and business centres have been destroyed in violence by unruly mobs since February 28.The worst hit districts were Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Sabarkantha and Panchmahal where a large number of houses and shops belonging to minority community were set afire after ransacking and looting of houses and shops, and family members being killed during the orgy of violence in the past five days.
March 3, 2002
l Gandhinagar: A large number of shops, showrooms, larri–gallas and even houses belonging to Muslims set on fire in all parts of the city on Feb 28, March 1 and 2.
March 4, 2002
l Surat, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Morbi in Rajkot district. Violence spreads to the streets in several areas, including Surat, Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad. Police opens fire on mobs torching property and looting goods in Bhavnagar and Surat. Morbi in Rajkot district is also engulfed in violence.
l Police firing on rioting mobs claims two lives in Sabarkantha and one in Kheda, while six people are killed in other incidents of violence in Vadodara, Mehsana and Dahod.
l Vadodara Rural: Savli, Chhotaudaipur, Desar, Sokhda (Vadodara), Laxmipura village, Padra, Vadu, Karjan, Vaghodiya, Udalpur; (Violence in Chotaudaipur continued until March 12).
March 6, 2002
Mass burials sans relatives for Naroda, Gulberg victims
As many as 96 bodies of victims of the post–Godhra carnage are buried in a mass grave in the Dudheshwar graveyard.
A big grave was dug and the bodies, brought from the Civil Hospital morgue, lowered into it one by one. They are victims of the Naroda Patiya and the Gulberg Society carnages. Among them are 5 children, including a 6–month–old baby; 46 women, including one who was pregnant, and a handicapped man. 500 persons silently watch and pray. CM Narendra Modi, driving past less than a kilometre away, does not visit the graveyard.
The above, by no means a complete account of the vicious targeting of Muslim life and property across Gujarat in the wake of the Godhra tragedy, is merely a summary sketch. A somewhat more detailed account of some of the incidents during the carnage gives a clearer picture of the brutality and bestiality committed by the perpetrators:
Gulberg Society, Chamanpura, Ahmedabad
This is probably the first carnage to have been
The FIR lodged by KG Erda of the Meghani Nagar police station itself gives a detailed account of the utter failure of the police to put off the assailants or protect the trapped residents. The FIR admits that the arson and destruction began from that morning itself. The Tribunal recorded detailed testimonies of all the eye-witnesses to the Gulberg society carnage, including a Parsi, who was with Ahsan Jafri until the end, when, at around 2.30 p.m., he surrendered himself to the mob in a desperate attempt to save the persons who had sought shelter in his home from nearby chawls.
One of the most shocking aspects of the Gulberg society carnage, to which two eyewitnesses and two others testified, is the fact that the commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, PC Pandey, visited Ahsan Jafri at 10.30 a.m. that day, and assured him of police reinforcements. The CP stands directly indicted because he did not keep his promise of sending police help. The few men who were deputed from the Meghani Nagar chowki, merely watched as 70 persons were butchered and burnt in a macabre dance of death. The 10–12 women among the victims were brutally gang raped.
The centre of an Indian commercial city saw a medieval and macabre dance of death, humiliation and revenge heaped on women, children and men. Ten to twelve gas cylinders were exploded that day and used as arsenal in the attack. Members of the Tribunal visited the site on May 3. We found hundreds of little glass bottles containing a whitish powder scattered all round. This was used to heighten the impact and intensity of the fire and ensured that the bodies were burnt to ashes.
According to eyewitness accounts as well as the full list of dead and missing persons attached to the FIR, about 70 persons have died — 49 from the society, and 18–20 from outside, who had come to seek shelter at Jafri’s home. This is not the figure mentioned officially. (The official figure released is 59.) Evidence of one Manoj Kumar, a Hindu neighbour, has also been placed before the Tribunal. He testified to the fact that the attackers pulled the babies out with the men, then poured petrol over them and burnt them. The police merely stood back and watched.
The stoning of Gulberg society began around 11.15–11.30 a.m. Forty–five minutes later, at about 12.15–12.30 p.m., stones, acid bulbs, bottles and petrol bombs were thrown at Gulberg society from the rear side of the complex of buildings and bungalows. From the terrace of an adjacent bungalow belonging to a non–Muslim, between 12.30 and 12.45 p.m., there was heavy stone throwing, including big boulders. This caused the biggest damage, because, without this frontal attack using premises from within the residential colony itself, the residents might have been able to protect themselves. The volley of huge stones, along with acid bulbs and burning cloth balls, continued until 1–1.15 p.m. Around 1 p.m., one Yusuf, a resident of the society, was caught, cut up and torched. Fear amongst the residents had mounted.
By this time there were nearly 80 persons in Jafri’s house. Amid shouts of "Ghusijao" ("Get in!"), between 2.30–2.45 p.m., suddenly the gate at the rear end of the Society, near the railway tracks, was broken down. Between 2.30–2.45 p.m., Ahsan Jafri, who was clearly a specific target, allowed himself to be dragged out of his own house. There, just outside the home that he had so painfully created, for 45 minutes, he was brutally dismembered and then finally decapitated. He was stripped, paraded naked, and asked to say, "Vande Mataram!" and "Jai Shri Ram!" He refused.
His fingers were chopped off and he was paraded around in the locality, badly injured. Next, his hands and feet were chopped off. He was then dragged, a fork–like instrument clutching his neck, down the road, before being thrown into the fire. A man who had devoted his life to public service, had met a brutal end. In this attack, Jafri was killed along with his three brothers and two nephews.
At this time, 2.45 p.m., Anwar, another resident, was also killed. The main accused brought in logs from the nearby Sansar Bakery and began, ominously, to prepare four funeral pyres. Anwar was killed and then cut up into pieces and burnt. There was a relentless barrage of stoning, throwing of fireballs and frontal attacks on Jafri’s house in particular. This was confirmed by many eyewitnesses to the tragic carnage, all of whom deposed before the Tribunal.
After this, Shafi Mohammed Munawar Sheikh was also cut into three pieces, and burnt alive. It was between 3.30–4.30 p.m. that 10–12 women were first raped, then cut into pieces with guptis, and then thrown into the fire. The police finally arrived between 4.30–5.00 p.m. At 5.20 p.m., the police party which was trying to rescue the people, was stoned. Finally, at around 7 p.m., the survivors were taken out of the area under police escort.
There are 21 eyewitnesses to the entire case who have been consistent in their depositions before other human rights and fact–finding teams. Each of these have lost from 1–7 family members in the brutal violence. The Tribunal benefited from the detailed records of this incident, the FIRs etc., published in Communalism Combat’s ‘Genocide – Gujarat 2002’ issue. The accused, who have been identified by eyewitnesses to have launched the first attack, are: Girish Prabhudaas Sharma, Bharat Rajput, Kapilkumar Munna. Bharat Rajput stabbed Ayyub.
Several eyewitnesses saw the CP arriving and talking to Jafri. "He said to Jafri, ‘We are making all arrangements for you and sending additional police force, you don’t worry." Jafri sa’ab told Pandey sa’ab, ‘If you cannot make arrangements for us and if you don’t have enough men, then arrange for us to go away from here — just let us know."’
In his desperation, Jafri made over 200 calls that day. He called PC Pandey, Amarsingh Chaudhry in Gandhinagar, Naresh Rawal, and even the chief minister and the home minister. According to a witness, "At about 2.30 p.m., Jafri sa’ab, who was standing at his door with folded hands, was pulled out by four men. The four who pulled him out were: Narayan Kabra, a cable operator in Chamanpura, Ramesh Choti, a ‘Bhaiyaji’, Manish Jain, son of the owner of Rajasthan grocery store, and Krishna, son of Champaben. (Eyewitnesses have also recorded these names in the statements made during police investigations.)
As they were pulling him out, they were slashing him with a sword and they cut him up into three pieces. After burning Jafri sa’ab, the people who had come in started burning tyres, etc. They broke all the doors of Jafri sa’ab’s house and torched it from all sides. There were 35 children and everyone was begging with folded hands but they could not go out. By about 3.15 p.m., Jafri’s house had filled with smoke and all persons trapped inside for their safety were finding it difficult to breathe."
Some women from inside were lured out on the pretext that they would be kept safe. Eyewitnesses who testified before the Tribunal saw Dinesh Prabhudas Sharma, who was carrying a sword, killing Yusuf. It was Lathia who tore the clothes off the niece of one eyewitness, raped her and then killed her. Lala Mohansingh Darbar, who was also involved in the incidents of torching earlier, killed another woman.
When some witnesses returned to the area later that evening, they saw neighbourhood goons ‘playing cricket’ with the skulls of the dead. That such a massacre could take place in broad daylight, and lasting several hours, after innumerable attempts and pleas, desperate pleas, for help had been made, is a pathetic and chilling reflection on the quality of governance in Gujarat under CM Modi. A strong case of personal vendetta by Modi, against Jafri was made out by these witnesses, while CP Pandey stands individually indicted because he failed to send in reinforcements, either of his own choice or on orders from above, although he knew how bad the situation was when he visited Gulberg society at 10.30 a.m. that day.
Another eyewitness who is a close associate of Jafri denied the story widely–circulated by the CM and the police: that Jafri had fired at the crowd. This witness was clear that in this attack, Gulberg society was the singular target. He said that in earlier riots (1969), too, Gulberg society had been attacked but then there was trouble elsewhere in Chamanpura, neighbouring Asarva and Chakla. This time they came directly to Gulberg and zeroed in on this society. It appears clear that Gulberg was the focus of a pre-meditated plan and attack. Some eyewitnesses also spoke of a clear personal vendetta that CM Modi had against Jafri, which is why Jafri was specifically targeted and his death, the manner of killing, etc., was carefully planned and carried out. The witness had accompanied Jafri to Rajkot, where the CM was contesting a by-election, only a few days before the Godhra tragedy. This witness clearly felt that the CM’s personal revenge and vendetta against Jafri found expression in the gruesome carnage that devastated all of Gulberg society. Jafri campaigned against Modi. In a public meeting in Rajkot, he had urged people not to vote for him because he was an RSS man, and to vote for the Congress instead. The election took place on February 23, 2002.
On February 28, just five days after the election, when the premeditated attack was launched, Jafri made as many as 200 calls to various people, desperately seeking help. Among others, he also called the CM Modi, home minister Gordhan Zadaphiya and Union home minister LK Advani, the witness said. Jafri had even sent a fax to Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. In Ahmedabad, he called the mayor Himmatsinh Patel, and Badruddin Shaikh (chairman, standing committee of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation). When Jafri called CM Modi, he received a callous response. It was after the chilling nonchalance of Modi’s response to his plea for help that Jafri lost all hope and gave himself up to be killed, the witness added.
The Tribunal also recorded testimonies of victim–survivors from Dhoopsinh ni Chali, Janakbehn ni Chali, Chandulal Chali and Santookbehn ni Chali. These are lower middle class tenements, from where 70 residents had fled to Gulberg society, to Jafri’s home for support, thinking that they would be safe there as they had been in the past. During earlier bouts of violence in Ahmedabad, Jafri was able to protect them. But not this time. When the Tribunal recorded their testimonies, these persons were living in various camps in Ahmedabad. It is shocking that months after the tragedy there are still so many persons missing, and that there has been no proper computation of the dead by the state. It reflects the attitude of the Gujarat government to the tremendous loss of life, faith and dignity that was the Gujarat carnage.
On the day of the Tribunal’s site visit to Gulberg society, May 3, the entire society was still in a terrible condition. Homes had been completely destroyed, the beams and iron rods and fans in houses were twisted, bent out of shape. Though there are Hindus who live in the Bhagwatinagar society opposite, these persons were not involved in the attack.
Naroda Gaon & Naroda Patiya, Ahmedabad
Naroda Patiya and Naroda
Gaon have a long his
However, things were different this time round in Naroda. In fact, the attack by rioters on Naroda Patiya, and thereafter on Naroda gaon nearby — a settlement of about 1,000 Muslims — left the entire area completely destroyed and devastated.
According to several dozen survivor witnesses, who until August 23, 2002 were living in many different relief camps across Ahmedabad city, the first attack on Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon began at 9 a.m. on the morning of February 28, the day the Gujarat bandh had been declared by the VHP and Bajrang Dal, supported by the government in power.
That morning, a large mob of 5,000 to 10,000 people dressed in half–pants (khaki chaddies) and saffron vests (banians) with black bandannas tied around their heads, set upon the hapless minority residents of the area. They were armed with spears, swords, acid bombs and petrol bombs. They used gas cylinders for their work. The assaulters were mixing petrol with some solvent. According to the evidence gathered, diesel and petrol used was from the ST warehouse, too.
One of the elderly witnesses who deposed before the Tribunal testified that after the first attack on the Mosque, when the persons attacked were running towards safety into their homes, the assailants overtook them and burnt 2–3 people. One of the first to be so burnt was a physically handicapped youth. He was a Madrasi Muslim lad from Hajira, about 20–25 years old. They put him in a small paan–kiosk/shop (paan ka galla) put petrol on him and burnt him. The victim–survivors ran into their homes and remained there till around 3 p.m. By this time the attack had intensified and, instead of using a single bullet at the leaders of the assault at Naroda, the police was firing at the victims. It was between 5 and 6 p.m., when the mob was at the height of its frenzy, that many women and girls of Naroda Gaon and Patiya were first raped and then doused in kerosene and petrol and burnt.
Survivors of the attack recall that the local police sided totally with the riotous mob. Witness after witness testified to the brazen refusal of the police and even the SRP personnel to do their bounden duty and protect those under attack. ("Nahi, aaj to upar se order aaya ke aaj tumhari jaan bachane ki nahi hai." ("No, today we have orders from above that you are not to be saved") one witness testified that a policeman, KK Mysorewala clearly told her.) Commissioner of police, PC Pandey was aware of the attack on this lone Muslim settlement on the outskirts of Ahmedabad from the morning of Feb 28 itself, when over two dozen calls made to his mobile phone were desperate cries for help from residents in the area. His team and the local police station with PI, KK Mysorewala, have been directly indicted by the evidence recorded by the Tribunal.
After the first attack on the morning of February 28, the second assault began around 2.30 p.m. when the mobs gathered on all sides of the basti. There was ample time between the first round of attacks and the second for the police to have galvanised enough forces. This time, according to witnesses, many from the attackers were carrying jerry–cans (kerba) filled with kerosene, diesel (kaala tel) and black oil from the ST workshop. They first poured this on some of the victims nearest at hand. The workers present at the ST workshop were observed supplying them with black oil (diesel?) which they then used in the arson. The aggressors were lighting balls of cloth and throwing them on the victims.
The falsity of the official figures, which suggested only around 70 deaths in the Naroda Patiya incident, was evident from the testimonies of so many survivors who have listed in detail the missing persons from that area and who named their kith and kin, whom they had seen dying in front of their eyes. The actual death toll has to be much higher.
Dozens of eyewitnesses who deposed before the Tribunal described gory incidents where children were burnt alive and women were raped. One woman, Kauser Bano, who was nine–months’ pregnant, had her belly cut open and her foetus wrenched out, then swung on the edge of a sword before being dashed to the ground and flung into the fire. According to eyewitness accounts, at least two more women were subjected to a similar fate. The enormity and ferocity of the attack forced all the surviving residents of the settlement to run away. Every house was looted and some burnt. The entire settlement was completely devastated.
The Tribunal also recorded the testimony of an eyewitness to the rape of Khairunissa, daughter of Marukh Bano. An animal–like mob of 11 gang raped her. Soon after the brutal act, they burnt the family alive one by one. The mother’s head was cut off. Those bodies of this family that could be found were in a horrifying brutalised condition.
The violence at Naroda Gaon and Patiya was marked, as in other areas of Gujarat, by pre–meditated and sinister levels of violence and, at the time of the Tribunal’s visit, arson burn among was a recurrent factor. Sexual crimes against women and girls, including rape, were determinedly used.
An eyewitness to the murder of 6–year–old Imran also deposed before the Tribunal. The witness described how petrol instead of water was poured into his mouth. A lit matchstick was then thrown into his mouth and the child just blasted apart.
The 76–year–old father of Kauser Bano, who lost seven family members including his pregnant daughter, has survived along with his nephew, Javed Ismail, a 14–year–old who was working. This witness testified before the Tribunal. Kauser Bano’s father told the Tribunal that he now had little with which to live. The gold ring that he wore would be used for the costs of his funeral.
Naroda Gaon and Patiya possibly witnessed the worst intensity of violence as also the most planning. Close to 150 persons are estimated to have been burnt alive after being hacked, cut, gang raped. It is shocking that months after such gruesome carnage the state has made no attempts to compute exact figures of loss of life. Bodies were thrown into a well. Women have been killed in very large numbers. At the mass grave that was dug on March 6, to provide burial to 96 bodies from Naroda Patiya, 46 women were buried.
Victim–survivors of Naroda Patiya do not have any papers to show proof of existence or residence. There are no death certificates since no remains were found as bodies were burnt to ashes. The government has done nothing to address this problem. A majority of families from here have migrated back to Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan.
One of the significant testimonies recorded by the Tribunal was of young men from the area of Naroda Gaon and Patiya who had attended Bajrang Dal Camps at Sardarnagar and Dwarkanagar on a weekly basis. These camps had started since August–September 2001. Some of these meetings were secret, only meant for trusted mantris. Swords and trishuls were distributed at these camps. Youth were galvanised to be in a constant state of military preparation for a ‘war’ about to take place.
The regular indoctrination at these camps, as recorded by those who had attended them, and who divulged details about the same to the Tribunal, was that the main ‘target of hatred’ was Muslims. Members who attended and were being trained were also assured of protection from the police and from the organisation if anything were to happen to them. Many persons who deposed about the camps expressed the opinion that the training made ordinary young men become terrorists.
Several witnesses who deposed before the Tribunal were eyewitnesses to Dr. Jaideep Patel (VHP) — second in rank to Praveen Togadia of the VHP in Gujarat — and Maya Kotdani (BJP MLA) actually leading the mobs. They were also instrumental in encouraging other accused to commit violent sexual crimes.
A total of 368 Muslims were residents of Dailol
Nearly 70 Muslims were butchered on
March 1, after
On March 1, 2002, brutal killings also took
In this village the well–planned attack began
Fatehpura and Karodia in
Fatehpura taluka, are
The violence here took place from February 28 to March 4, 2002. Four people were killed. A 65–year–old man who was mentally ill (Mohammad Ishabhai) was burnt alive and two others (Yusuf Mohammad and Ahmad Karim) were stabbed to death when they tried to intervene and prevent aggressive violence on women. The fourth death was that of a 3–year–old child who fell and died while people were being taken away in an over–crowded vehicle.
On March 2, the mob surrounded the whole town and started looting and destruction from one end of the village. Since the houses were scattered, people ran out from there, towards the bigger, concrete houses. About 500 people took refuge in one such house in the main bazaar. Similarly, about 100 people hid in a house on another road. Some people hid in the mosque until the mobs reached there and then fled to the police station. One or two families were also sheltered for a day by an Adivasi family near the town. In the night they were sent to the police station, since the family who had sheltered them were also in danger.
On the same day, in another part of Fatehpura, people from around 15 households took refuge in a concrete house. At about 12 noon, a mob attacked them. They were surrounded from all sides and then the mobs entered the house. They snatched away all the money and the jewellery, and kept up a constant spate of verbal and physical assaults on the women, saying, "Give us all your young women and girls. We will take them." There were about 30 women and 10 children, and several men as well. They kept pleading, "Please take away our money, our jewellery, our houses, but leave the women alone."
About two hours later, the women were dragged out of the house and their clothes were stripped. The children were snatched from their hands and flung aside, as a result of which, some of them were also injured. Then, in front of the house, and in full view of the others in the area, these women were sexually assaulted by the mob. The three men who came out to protest and intervene were killed. The other men were also warned and told not to intervene, and were hit. This went on for three hours, until 6 in the evening.
Meanwhile the concrete house, which was supposed to be safe, was also set on fire from the front and the back. Petrol was poured on the house and on the people inside as well. People escaped by walking over burning doors as they collapsed. All of them had severe burn injuries. The women who had been abused were left to flee, violated, hurt, bruised and naked, and doused with petrol. There were several thousand people around. These women had been repeatedly raped and assaulted in full view of their children, men, the neighbours, and the mob on the road. The police station, where all the Muslims had fled for refuge, is almost a kilometre away from this location. These women had to walk all this distance, naked and brutalised, and no one, not even the women who were very much a part of the watching crowd, gave them anything with which to cover themselves. Trying to cover themselves with rags (chindis), some leaves on the road, whatever was available, they managed to flee to the police station.
The police station was filled to overflowing, with almost 2,000 people, and there wasn’t even enough room to sit. So most of them just stood there from the evening of March 2, to early morning on March 4. During that time, some water was given to the children once, but otherwise everyone just stood there without anything to eat or drink. There were 4–6 policemen at the station. The police did not allow them to go out and did not try to help them in any way at all. In fact, the police said that if people did go out, then they would not be able to stop the mob from killing them. In silence, pain and terror, these people waited, standing for two days, until help arrived. The inhuman treatment suffered by the residents of Fatehpura, and the sheer inaction and indifference of the local Fatehpura police station, amounts to nothing short of criminal negligence of duty for which immediate action needs to be taken.
In the time that these victim–survivors were at the police station, the mob continued looting and burning and destroying all the property belonging to these people. This continued for over two days and it was early on Monday (March 4) morning that the police escorted most of the people out of Fatehpura, crammed together in police and other vehicles.
The people were then taken to the Rajasthan border, where they were handed over to the Rajasthan police. The child who had died was buried in Rajasthan; no post–mortem examination was done, so no compensation was paid for the death of this child. The behaviour of the Rajasthan police contrasted sharply with the treatment meted out within Gujarat. The victim–survivors stayed in Rajasthan for ten days, until March 13. The areas in Rajasthan where they were kept were: Galia Court, Gadhi, Pratapgarh, Shergah, Sajjangarh, Kalinjra, Kasarwadi, mostly in the Banswada district. They were helped by the Rajasthan government as well as its people.
On March 13, the collector from Fatehpura came to take the victim–survivors back. The women did not want to go back to Fatehpura at all. The men agreed to go because they were told that they would lose out on their land and property compensation claims if they did not return. The collector also assured the people total safety. He and police officials said that they took full responsibility for their safety and that no harm would come to them. The women were told that they were being taken to Jhalod, but were then tricked and brought to the camp at Fatehpura.
Months later, there was still a huge schism between the non–Muslims and Muslims at Fatehpura. According to evidence before the Tribunal, the women who were abused were being specifically targeted and were being mocked by all the others. They were also being threatened, that the same thing would be done to them all over again if they tried to go back to their houses. They did not at all feel confident about going back to their homes. They had not been able to go back to their mohalla at all as tension still prevails.
The total population of Rajpardi village is
Late on the night of February 27, advocate Rohit D Shah, who belongs to the BJP and the VHP, and others, paid a visit to the witness and other Muslims from the village, all of whom had stayed awake, to assure them that there was nothing to worry about. In less than half an hour after the promise of peace, the gong rang out from the local school building, announcing that it was midnight. It turned out to be a signal for an all–out attack on local Muslims. In the first act of violence, a Muslim house on the eastern edge of the village, adjoining the hotel owned by the witness, was bolted from outside and set on fire. Had the head of the household not run out of the backdoor and raised an alarm which had other Muslims running out to help, the nine persons trapped in the house would have been roasted alive.
Almost simultaneous to the torching of the house, another group of assailants, comprising of local Hindus and others from the neighbouring Avidha village, launched an assault on the mosque that is to the west of the village. Meanwhile, in the village bazaar in the north of the village, 7–8 Muslim-owned shops were set on fire.
Two of the miscreants, who had put the shops in the bazaar on fire, were nabbed by the Muslims and handed over to the police. Both were Patels from Avidha village. When they made inquiries two hours later, it was found that PI Ninama of Jhagadiya Police Station had already released the culprits. Having unitedly warded off the late night attacks, in the course of the next day about 20 per cent of the Muslims moved out of the village. Aware that there were at least 40 unlicensed revolvers with the Patels of Rajpardi village, Muslims felt increasingly insecure. Women and children started fleeing the village, moving to Bhalod Tarsali village, 7 km away, which has a higher Muslim population. By the night of March 3, most of the Muslim population had fled because of the repeated threats that all Muslim homes would be burnt down. That very night, all 18 Muslim homes in Bakkanagar colony and the kaccha houses in Diwan Falia locality of Rajpardi village were all burnt. A few cabins at Char Rasta and a few shops near the railway crossing were also burnt. Through that night, the police arrested 8 men, 7 of them from the BJP plus a Congressman — the former village sarpanch and taluka pramukh, Bhupatsinh Kesrola. But the rest was to follow the next day.
In the morning, Yogesh Kanti Patel contacted the Muslims who had stayed behind and threatened that if they failed to procure the release of those arrested (the previous night) by 11 a.m., every Muslim home in the village would be burnt down. Panic-stricken Muslims made desperate appeals to the police; even the state’s home minister, Gordhan Zadaphiya, was contacted on his mobile phone, from the residence of advocate Ranjitsinh Parmar. The chairman of the Police Aavasth Nigam, Bharatsinh Parmar also spoke to Gordhan Zadaphiya from the Jhagadiya police station in the presence of the witness. But even Zadaphiya, a BJP minister and a VHP leader, said that since the FIR had already been filed, those arrested could only be released after a bail application was heard in the sessions court.
As the Muslims came out of the police station and faced the assembled mob, Sunil Patel, a friend of the witness, took him and three others to his car, telling the crowd that he was taking them to Rajpardi to bring back the 200–300 Muslims who were still there for a satyagraha outside the police station, to press for release of those detained. Once in the car, he informed the witness that messages had already been sent out to villages as far as 60 km away and the threatened attack was imminent.
And at 11 a.m. sharp, the attack was launched, starting with the hotel owned by the witness, Abdul Ismail Khatri. They first looted goods from all Muslim business establishments and homes. Tempos, trucks and jeeps were piled up with the loot; the rest was then consigned to flames. The loot and arson continued until the evening but there was no sign of the DM, the SP, the DySP or the policemen lower down the hierarchy.
It was all carefully planned. They had allotted 10–15 minutes per structure. Each group of marauders, about 500 strong, would loot and destroy some 20 homes in one area and then, after about 30 minutes, move to the next block. In this manner, divided into four squads of around 500 each, the assailants set upon the village from different directions simultaneously. In a matter of approximately five hours, they had wiped out the entire Muslim locality in the village. It was all a matter of precise planning — loot all you can, burn what remains. A small group in each case was assigned the task of breaking the locks; the looters followed; and then came the arsonists for the final act. The attackers were armed with 3–litre petrol pouches. Specially crafted nozzles were fitted to spray gas from cooking gas cylinders at high pressure, then petrol pouches and fireballs (kankdas) were flung from a distance to ignite the place. Some chemical powder was also used to intensify burning.
Abasna, Ahmedabad (Rural)
There was a ghastly incident in Abasna village,
Soon after the Godhra incident, fearing trouble, the family had shifted to Kalol for a whole month. At that time, the same people who later killed members of his family had come and persuaded his father to return to the village. The family returned to Abasna on March 31, and they were attacked at midnight on April 2–3. A group of villagers led by Metaji Diwanji Darbar, first slaughtered the unsuspecting victims and then burnt them as well as the house.
(Nearly 200 pages of Volume I of the Tribunal’s report are accounts of the statewide, state–sponsored carnage).
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