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Forcible Conversion of Muslims by Gujarat Administration

Justice for the

Dangs, Gujarat



September 16, 2008



The Prime Minister

Dr Manmohan Singh

Government of India


Dear Sir,


Two villages in the Dangs district, dominated by the Muslim minority have been subject to brute police torture (photographs attached) and villagers forced into the forests. Speaking to the writer IG Gujarat Shivanand Jha said that everything was under control but this appears to be administrative gloss.


The Combat Human Rights Forum (CHRF) has dispatched a factfinding team late last night consisting of Shri Suresh Bhosle, a Dalit Panthers activist, Sumedh Jadhav and Avinash Kamble. The report will be submitted before the media at the earliest.


It has been reported to us directly that this morning a battery of Forest officers and police descended on the village of Nandapeda near Ahwa in the Dangs, Gujarat. They pulled out the doors and the windows, pulled out the wooden ballis which support the roof; they pulled out wood from the roof of the huts of the villagers. The forest department decided late night that it was illegal wood and they must recover it.  The Gujarat ATS meanwhile rounded up a few people.


Nandapeda is the only village with majority Muslim population in the Dangs district, considered the poorest district in the whole of India. The families have been living in the village for over 100 years.      From the reports made orally (that need to be verified) it appears that state government officials have has been pressurizing the Muslims to convert to the Hindu religion or face eviction from their land. Some of the residents of this village moved the Gujarat High Court against the government's pressure of converting and changing their religion. The CJP had assisted this legal initiative and a stay obtained from the Gujarat HC.


Legal Interventions:

Gujarat Administration No Respect for the Law, the Courts


The shocking thing about the developments in Dangs is that the petitionetrs had alleged a month ago that the state of Gujarat officials were behaving in an Unconstitutional fashion and coercing poor people to convert to Hinduism. The petitioners are Ahmedbhai Dalaabhai Vani, Noormahammed Musabhai Vani, Ibrahimbhai Kalubhai Vanzari, Yusufbhai Rasoolbhai Aagevan, Razzak Radakiya Nayak, Ahmed Radakiya Nayak, Saiyed Danubhai Vani, Gafoorbhai Ismailbhai Chauhan, Ibrahimbhai Ahmedbhai, Shabbirbhai Bhaliyabhai Vani, Gulam Rustam Vani, The petitioners have stated that they are residing in village Nandanpeda of District Daang since long back. That the land, upon which the petitioners are residing, is in possession of the petitioners and their ancestors since about 100 years. That the respondent no. 1 (that is the The In-Charge Secretary, Daang District) had  called the petitioners at the Circuit House, Ahwa, Daang at 4.30 pm on 13/06/2008 in presence of the respondent no. 2 (the Sarpanch, Village, Nanderpeda),and others and asked them to change their religion and faith and convert themselves as “Adivasi” and if they defy the authorities they shall have to face ‘dire’ consequences and even threatened them of forceful evacuation of the present land of the petitioners where they are residing since about 100 years.  Other respondents in the special application were The Collector of the District,and the Mamlatdar.

There are unconfirmed reportthat on June 13th 2008 a senior officer had called a meeting in Ahwa and asked them to change their religion or vacate the land. CC is in possession of photographs showing the damages and a VHP leader making inflammatory speeches. Many of the poor people have been put in jail.

After this meeting police and forest officers had been harassing them. Police have been searching old cases registered against any person of the community and asking them to furnish bail papers. The police targeted 33 people against whom some petty crime or a scuffle with the neighbors was registered.  

Claiming that repeated representation before authorities for regularization of their land has been in vain, petitioners requested the court to restrain the government from pressurizing them to convert from their religion. Justice Jayant Panchal had in July sought explanation in this regard from the secretary in-charge, district collector and the village sarpanch.

After hearing all parties, Justice Anant Dave admitted the case on September 11, 2008 and ordered to maintain status quo on the disputed land. On the next day the police captured approximately 80 villagers for transporting cattle into Maharashtra and also apprehended some villagers who were going on motorcycles using the reason of cow slaughter, though there were no cattle in the tempo.  

The villagers gathered. There was a clash between the villagers and the police. People were beaten on both the sides. One policeman was also beaten up. Police then opened fire and a number of villagers got bullet injuries. They were taken to Ahwa civil hospitals. The relatives were not allowed to meet them. Police apprehended eight villagers for beating a policeman and though a local lawyer went for their bail, it was not given.


Next day the police came and in the name of combing operation attacked and ransacked the village. Villagers were beaten up brutally including women and children. All men fled to the jungles. The police not only took away all the goods but before going they poured kerosene into the eatable good so that they could not eat anything too.


VHP proposed a rally on September 15After a lot of pressure the VHP rally was stopped but they declared a Bandh on September 16, 2008.The VHP gave a deadline to the collector it is heard to get the village vacated.  (Inflamatory speeches by the VHP are in our possession)


We urge that urgent action is taken in this regard


Teesta Setalvad, Suresh Bhosale, Sumedh Jadhav, Avinash Kamble

Citizens for Justice and Peace

Combat Human Rights Forum


Copy to


1. Shri AR Antulay

Hon Minister for Minority affairs

2. Shri Shivraj Patil

Hon Minister for Home Affairs


National Human Rights Commsision

4. Chairperson

National Minorities Commission





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