Justice K G Balakrishnan
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi
Shri Naseem Ahmad
Chairperson National Commission for Minorities,
New Delhi 110 003
Smt. Anandiben Patel
Chief Minister and
Minister of General Administration, Home and
Mr. P.C. Thakur
Director General of Police and Chief Police Officer
Sub: Violation of Right to Life and Liberties, Right
to livelihood of the affected people in the villages
of Hansot Block, District Bharuch, Gujarat due to
communal violence and ineffective/biased state
A team of eminent citizens was constituted by the
People’s Union of Civil Liberties after the affected
people in the Bharuch District of Gujarat sought an
independent, civil society probe to ascertain the
facts about the violence in and around Hansot that
caused three deaths on January 14, 2015, the day of
Uttarayan Festival. This was not an isolated
incident but a part of a series of communal
incidents and build-up of tension since December
We, as concerned citizens of Gujarat, active in
protection of Human Rights and Social Movements, are
submitting this fact-finding report of Human Rights
violation as result of the communal violence that
took place in and around Hansot Block of District
Bharuch, Gujarat, from December 2014 onwards.
Three Innocent youth were killed, properties of
several people ransacked and families from Muslim
community forced to flee from their home and farms
in several villages.
Due to both delayed and biased action on the part of
police and administration, they are at the mercy of
their relatives as no compensation or support is
provided by the state. Their right to live with
dignity and safety is violated.
We are submitting to you a brief report of
fact-finding in English, which includes the
methodology of the fact-finding, chronology of
events, major conclusions and demands for your
The detailed fact-finding report is in Gujarati as
most of submissions and FIRs are in Gujarati.
The members of the fact finding team are as
Brief report in English (pages 1 to 9 )
Detailed report in Gujarati (pages 1 to 34)
Maps of the District Bharuch in Gujarat and affected
Report of Incidents of Communal Violence in Bharuch
The fact-finding process
was initiated after the affected in the region sought an
independent, civil society probe to ascertain the facts
on the violence in and around Hansot Block of Bharuch
District in Gujarat that caused three deaths on January
14, 2015, the day of Uttarayan Festival.
A team of eminent
citizens was constituted by the People’s Union of Civil
Liberties comprising of
Dr. Ghanshyam Shah
2. Dr Trupti Shah 3.
Adv. Sofia Khan 4. Mr. Rafi Malek
5. Mr. Krishnakant
Chuhan 6. Ms Reshma Vohra 7. Mr. Sharif Malek
8. Ms Mariyam
Agarbattiwala 9. Mr. Hiren Gandhi 10. Mr. Rohit
Prajapati 11. Dr. Sarup Dhruv
fact-finding team first announced its proposed itinerary
and agenda through a press note in the local newspaper
along with its contact details, so that representations
could be heard. On Jan 23, 2015, the team first met at
Ankleshwar. The affected persons who had fled their
homes or had their properties looted and damaged came
from Katpor, Ilav, Sahol and Hansot Villages. They along
with local leaders from Bharuch gave oral and written
submissions to the team submitting photocopies of their
correspondence, complaints to the official authorities.
The team also met Mr. D M Shukla, Deputy
Jan 24, 2015, the team visited the violence-affected
villages of Hansot, Ambheta, Sahol, Ilav, meeting the
parents of deceased, injured, other affected villagers,
community leaders, local leaders and also the newly
appointed Police Inspector, Mr. J B Sutaria.
Jan 27, 2014, the team met Mr. Bipin Ahire, District
Superintendent of Police, Bharuch and later on Feb 3,
2015 also visited the Ratanpor Village. The team also
used the Right to Information Act, 2005 wherever
required to seek details of police complaints and
This was not an isolated
incident but a part of a series of communal incidents
and build-up of tension since December 2014.
Three Innocent youth
were killed, properties of several people ransacked and
families from Muslim community forced to flee from their
home and farms in several villages. Due to both delayed
and biased action on the part of police and
administration, they are at the mercy of their relatives
as no compensation or support is provided by the state.
Their right to live with dignity and safety is violated.
We, as concerned
citizens of Gujarat, active in protection of Human
Rights and Social Movements, are submitting this
fact-finding report of Human Rights violation as result
of the communal violence that took place in and around
Hansot Block of District Bharuch, Gujarat, from December
This is a summary report
of fact-finding, which includes the methodology of the
fact-finding, chronology of events, major conclusions
and demands. The detailed fact-finding report is in
Gujarati as most of submissions and FIRs are in
The chronology of events
will give an idea about the range of issues and
incidents along with the extent and intensity communal
tension that have taken place in the region since
The chronology of incidents occurred in Hansot
block of Bharuch District.
On 9 December, 2014, Sunil Patel alias Sajan of
Ambheta circulated a message on Whatsapp about Prophet
Mohammad and Muslims using abusive, pornographic
language; this message had very bad repercussions in the
On 10 December, 2014 protesting against this
message, leaders of the Muslim community gave a call for
Hansot Bandh (shut down), and police arrested Sajan
Mansukhbhai Patel who circulated this message.
The Muslim community organized a rally on 11
December, 2014 from Soneri Mahel of Bharuch to the
Collector's Office joined by more than 5000 people; they
also submit a memorandum to the Collector.
14 December a mob of
Hindus besieged the house of Mohammed Gulam Hafiz
Danavala in Katpor village and threatened his family to
convert to Hinduism or leave the village. A limit of one
night's time was given to the family for their
conversion. Fearing a deadly attack Hanifbhai left the
village with 10 members of his family. In this context
it should also be noted that in 1992 there were 12
Muslim agricultural families in Katpor, and now there
are only two. The village mosque has been captured by
the dominant Hindus who are using it to keep their
cattle and Muslims have no alternative but to perform
namaz in their village. There is reason to believe
that this is part of a plan to see to it that the
Muslims leave the village and some non-Muslims get their
land at a throw- away price.
15 December, 2014: Unrest in Hansot
receiving word that some people are hampering the
passage of Muslims' chakdas (Three wheeler for
passenger transport) at Sajod Bus Stand, some Muslim
youth gathered at Hansot circle.
District leader and Executive President of Ankleshwar
Taluka Panchayat, Bharat Nagjibhai Patel, lodged an FIR
against Sabir Kanuga, Papu Khokhar and others alleging
that they had made threatening phone calls to Patel.
21 December, 2014: A huge religious convention
was organized at Sajod Village under the banner of Dharm
Jagaran Manch. It was claimed that the convention was
apolitical, but the leaders of Bhartiya Janta Party
played major role in the convention.
As per the information
given to the team by the affected people, as a reaction
of provocative lectures, the mob returning from the
convention chanted abusive slogans against the Muslim
24 December, 2014:
Sarpanch of Ilav Village, Jayesh Patel, went to shops
belonging to the market and threatened the Muslims to
leave the village and then proceeded to vandalize the
shops. Fearing an attack Muslim families quit the
village that same day. In the night the poultry farm and
shop of Javedbhai Kureshi were looted by a Hindu mob.
accused of Hansot, Puppu alias Safi Khokhar was arrested
Shaikh’s shop at Hansot by was attacked by a Hindu mob
and Vinod Patel’s shop by a Muslim mob in Hansot.
25 December, 2014
Hindu areas were shut down in protest of the attack on
Vinod Patel’s shop.
N D Chaudhari was appointed in Hansot police station.
31 December, 2015 : The
leaders of Ilav Village brokered a settlement with
Muslim families in the police station in the presence of
PSI Dhobi, which would allow them to come back to live
in the village on the condition that they will not file
an FIR for the incidents of 24th December.
5 January, 2015: Soeb Isman Patel’s crop of
sugar cane in Shera village on 60 bigha land was set on
fire, leading to the loss of 17 lakhs sugar cane.
Incidents of 14 January, 2015
On the day
of Uttrayan on 14th January, 2015 there was
a clash between Hindu and Muslim youth over kite. The
Muslim boy was beaten by a Hindu mob at Ambheta Village.
The boy there after informed his friends of the incident
and some youth arrived from Hansot. A
violent clash ensued with weapons between Hindu and
Muslim youth. A few people of both the communities were
injured and some property was damaged.
As the mob
returned to Hansot from Ambheta there was a clash
between Hindu and Muslim mobs with weapons; in this
clash two Hindu youth were killed and one Muslim youth
was badly injured and succumbed to death on
17 January in the
injured Muslim youth was being taken to the hospital in
an ambulance under the police protection, he was
attacked at the Sunevkhurd Village.
neighbouring villages Muslim families were threatened,
their property was set on fire, and shops and houses
were looted, resulting in their exodus.
villages, unidentified Muslims were attacked while
passing on the roads. According to a report in Gujarat
Mitra, Surat’s Haquimji’s car was attacked while he was
returning with his family from Chotumiya Bava’s shrine
of Hansot. The family fled back to the shrine for
protection and phoned the police, yet police did not
come to help them till late. There after Haquimji phoned
a councillor of Surat, Arsad Kalyani, and the latter
along with Rajendrabhai, Trustee of Chosath Jogini Mata
Mandir, came to Hansot and helped 16 people relocate to
the secured place.
the community’s shops and Gallas were put on fire and
several people were injured including DySp and other
police personnel in Hansot.
Sarpanch in Ilav threatened Muslim families to leave,
and disallowed the police from entering into the
village. Meanwhile, they vandalized, looted and set on
fire the homes, shops and mosque belonging to eight
Muslim families . All of the Muslim families fled the
village without taking any of their belongings with
15 January, 2015
set on fire Jahirudin Sayeed’s house in Sahol village.
All of the 25 Muslim families of the village fled
leaving behind their homes, village, farming and
mob also set on fire a police tent deployed in the
village. In this fire a wireless system, and other
things were burnt, and police vehicles were wrecked.
SMS and bus service from Surat to Hansot were suspended
by police for a few days.
16 January, 2015
PSI K V
Chudasama was appointed in Hansot Police Station.
minister Mansukh Vasava visited affected areas and said
“elements who could not tolerate Gujarat’s development
are involved in riots.” He visited injured Hindu Kharva
youths but did not pay any visit to Muslim injured
including Sahol Sarpanch were arrested.
Sayeed’s Della, where livestock had been kept, and 3000
bundles of grass were set ablaze in Ambheta. A complaint
was registered against Manish alias Maniyo Vasava.
17 January, 2015: A meeting of peace committee
was held at the District Collector's office. The leaders
of various communities took part in this meeting but
MLA, Mr. Ishwarbhai Patel, remained absent. In this
meeting social worker, Dr. Safi, alleged that the
politics of illegal shrimp ponds were responsible for
the deadly riots.
18 January, 2015:
shrimp ponds as a reason for the riots came to
light, 200 elected members of Hansot Taluka
Panchayat, Ankleshwar Taluka Panchayat and corporation
including MLA Mr. Ishwarbhai Patel sent their
resignation to BJP office in protest against state
leadership, which had allegedly stopped action against
illegal ponds in May 2014.
Panchnama of the destruction of the property of the
migrated people of Ilav did not take place, Imran
Kureshi, nephew of Ismailbhai Kureshi from London,
phoned Vadodara range IG Anup Gehlot. It was only after
Kureshi threatened that he would register a complaint
from England, that the police went to Ilav on 18th
and completed a Panchnama of lost properties.
19 January, 2015
Sutaria was appointed as a Police Inspector of Hasot
reported in news paper that the reason for quarrel in
Ambheta Village on 14th was not for kite but
it was for assault of a girl.
announcement was made that CCTV cameras would be
installed in Hansot and Sajod and Aliyabet was put under
the observation of a drone camera.
21 January, 2015: The state IB inspected Aliyabet
and nearby 24 square KM area and gathered evidence.
21 January, 2015: The Sangh spokes person
declared in the newspaper that deceased youth were RSS
22 January, 2015:
program was held for two deceased Hindu youth.
Togadiya of Vishva Hindu Parishad, came as chief guest
in a Sanatan Dhram Convention held at Sajod village.
Earlier Muslim youth used to do service in this annual
convention, but this time they avoided the convention
fearing the presence Togadiya.
23 January, 2015:
of Hansot partly opened after eight days .
100 affected people represented before the PUCL
investigation team visited the Bharuch Deputy Collector,
(in-charge of Ankleshwar), Mr. Deepak Shukla.
24 January, 2015: The fact-finding team visited
the families of three deceased, other affected villages
and PI, J B Sutariya of Hansot.
27 January, 2015
investigation team visited Bharuch DSP, Bipin Aahire.
demolition of more than 1200 illegal shrimp ponds on
Aliyabet, worth more than 1500 crores of estimated
illegal turn over, was initiated by state machinery.
23. 30 January, 2015:
The fact-finding team wrote a letter to the Bharuch
Collector with interim demands expecting her to take
immediate steps to provide compensation to the affected
persons,, attempt to build the environment of trust so
the people who have fled can return to their villages,
that the accused including murderer and attacker on
innocent people of Hansot village be arrested, and the
Panchnamas of lost property be done quickly and
statements of affected people taken. It was also
demanded that action be taken against
those who profited from the illegal ponds and the
government and non government people who helped them.
Further, the government should not stop at only
catching a few agents but rather it should restore the
employment and human rights of Kuchhi pastoralists who
live on Aliyabet from the era before independence.
24. 31 January, 2015: an
incident regarding a land dispute in Ratanpor Village of
Block Zagadia, Dist. Bharuch was converted in to a clash
between Muslims and Tribals.
As this fact finding
report is being written the administrative and police
department’s entire attention is towards illegal shrimp
ponds though many people could not return to their
villages. Incidents of personal differences and personal
animosity in different villages are given communal form
and new reasons to attack the minority community are
1. A Three-Week Long Build up of Events:
communal violence that led to three deaths on 14 January
2015 was not a sporadic incident but rather a gradual
build-up that started from Dec 9, 2014 which the local
administration failed to anticipate and take proactive
steps to contain.
is significant that communal strife in the Hansot Block
of Bharuch region, with a sizable Muslim population, has
begun only in recent years. For example, during the 2002
riots the area did not witness major untoward incidents.
Now both the local people and the authorities tend to
perceive any dispute between two members
of different communities as communal conflict. Also, the
right wing Hindu groups like VHP, Dharma Jagran Manch,
etc. frequently hold their public programs which are
well attended by local BJP leaders.
violent turn of events began from Dec 9, 2014 when
Ambheta resident, Sunil alias Sajan Patel circulated
abusive messages about the Prophet Mohammed and Muslims
on instant messaging app, Whatsapp, with his friends
that found way to the local Muslim community too.
Dec 10, 2014 offended Hansot Muslims called for a bandh
(shut down) and police arrested Sunil on Dec 10, 2014.
On Dec 11, 2014 more than 5000 odd Muslims participated
in a protest rally at the district headquarters in
Bharuch and submit a memorandum to the Collector.
rally perceived by right wing local Hindus as Muslim
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
14th Dec 2014.
Dec 21, 2014 at Sajod Village, in a Dharma Jagran Manch
rally attended by local BJP leaders, allegedly
provocative and abusive speeches against Muslims were
Village's eight Muslim families were forced to leave
their homes, shops, and properties on Dec 24, 2014. In
Hansot, a Muslim-owned farm was burnt on 5th Jan. 2015.
Sunil was released on bail on Jan 12, 2015 and Muslims
alleged he received a hero's welcome at Ambheta, though
Hindus deny it.
turn of events indicate clearly that the law and order
situation was deteriorating. On the Uttarayan Festival
on Jan 14, 2015 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.
2. Innocents killed,
properties ransacked, forced to flee home and farms.
the three youths who died in the Hansot clashes were
innocent bystanders, with no part in the rioting Hindu –
Muslim mobs on that day. Coming from lower, middle class
backgrounds, they unfortunately were present at that
place and were caught up in the hateful violence between
sections of youth of the two communities.
Deceased, Pratik Patel (age 29) who came to the village
for a kite flying festival and Sandeep Patel (age 32)
who was returning from work, both Hansot residents,
were taken by surprise and became victims of the
avenging Muslim youth-led mob. Armed with iron rods and
sharply edged sticks, they beat both Pratik and Sandeep.
Pratik’s father and brother who tried to intervene
sustained serious injuries. Some distance away,
similarly, Mohammed Rafiq Shaikh (age 34), also a Hansot
resident and a tempo driver who was returning home,
ignorant of the violence, was attacked by Hindu youths
armed with rods and swords. Later, Hindu mobs attacked
the police escorted ambulance on the way to the hospital
near Village Sunevkhurd and further injured Shaikh, who
later succumbed to injuries on Jan 17,
2015 in a Surat hospital.
surrounding villages retaliatory violence continued with
Muslims fleeing their homes, shops and farms, their
properties looted and burnt.
Many of the Muslims who
have migrated to Surat and nearby safer places had yet
not returned to their homes and farms when the
fact-finding team visited the region.
inter-community trust and relations
observed that while mobs of Hindu and Muslim communities
indulged in violence in villages and around, the
community elders or local authorities did not
proactively restrain them. The family members of the
deceased Patel youths, as do most Hindus in the area,
now tend to derogatively refer to Muslim dominated
areas, as the `alien, unfriendly territory’ labelling
them as `Pakistan.’
Though there exists a tradition of sharing food,
participating in each other’s festivals, in visiting
Dargah, helping each other in religious gatherings, the
increasing presence of rightwing Hindu groups is putting
a strain on the shared traditions. 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 instead of
normalizing them. There is a complete lack of any trust
building exercise, like a peace committee or any
inter-community dialogue at the village level in this
region and any misdemeanour by Hindu right-wing
group/activist is routinely underplayed by local police
interference and biased police action
During our interaction with local police and
administration, they labelled the rallies first by
Muslim and later by right wing Hindu groups as a show of
strength. While we do not deny it, we can clearly
observe that the authorities failed 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.
actions of BJP-supported village sarpanch as in Sahol
village who participated directly in the rampaging
incidents of Police Tent and Muslim properties indicate
how right wing Hindu groups are emboldened and misused
their offices. Local BJP MLA Ishwarbhai Patel failed to
turn up for the peace meeting called by the district
January 17, though other
Hindu community leaders were present with those of
Muslims, clearly indicating that the dominant political
mood is to aggravate tempers instead of soothing them.
Union minister Mansukh Vasava from BJP, who later
visited the riot affected villages, though only met the
injured Hindu youths in the hospital and did not visit
the injured Muslim youths, clearly demonstrating the
appointment of police inspector J B Sutaria and K V
Chudasama later on 16 January 2015, in Hansot, known for
their questionable track record of high handedness and
biased action further demonstrates lack of official
attempt in confidence building measure between the two
communities. Instead, Muslims complained that local
authorities resisted efforts for official evaluation of
their material loss and also lodging complaints. The
police bandobast was removed 2-3 days before 14 January
2015, concurred both Hindus and Muslims from villages
around and diverted to Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar for Vibrant
Gujarat Summit arrangement. Police officials also
admitted that they focussed on Hansot and Ambheta
instead of the surrounding region, leading to more arson
and violence that spread to other smaller villages.
5. Fostering trouble - illegal shrimp farming
While talking to police, administration, and members of
both communities, it became clear that the illegal
shrimp farming in and around Alia Bet is perceived as
one of the major reasons for triggering communal tension
in the area.
control over illegal shrimp farming which is about
Rs.1500 crore industry uses anti-social elements that
resort to inciting trouble to retain control over their
Bet a small islet nearby Hansot is originally home to a
community of tribal Muslim pastoral community since
centuries, but they are not involved in this illegal
shrimp farming, an activity that has much more recent
According to most, the illegal shrimp ponds business
have ownership of Hindus who are based in Surat-Olpad
region and not the locals from Bharuch, but are
protected mainly by local Muslims.
this illegal nexus between owner/investor in the shrimp
ponds based in Surat, the local strongmen, politicians
and government officials, protection money is paid up to
state level to protect their interest.
Ankleshwar BJP MLA, Ishwarbhai Patel in his letter to
the Sate BJP authorities after this violence allegedly
named some of the BJP MLA who were pressurising state
authorities to stop the investigations initiated in May
2014, against this illegal business. Incidentally, one
of Ishwarbhai Patel’s relatives was amongst the several
arrested for arson and violence.
government action, which began again on Jan 27, 2015, to
crackdown on illegal shrimp farming, destroys some
illegal ponds and arrests the ‘anti-social’ elements and
so called owners of the ponds is inconsistent. They have
not yet arrested any big name who has the power to
influence the state government to stop the investigation
of this business initiated in May 2014.
use-misuse of social media to incite trouble
is not the first time social media has been used to
incite communal passion. It is happening across India as
well as in Gujarat, with provocative content posted on
social networking sites and phone message groups. As in
Pune (http://www.kractivist.org/communal-attacks-on-muslims-of-pune-fact-finding-committee-report/ )
and Khandwa (http://www.hindustantimes.com/madhyapradesh/khandwa-riots-21-year-old-posted-objectionable-content-on-fb-to-take-revenge/article1-1255097.aspx)
and many other parts of the country, the police arrests
are only after the hateful, inflammatory messages are
spread around. A bailable offense, the police action is
no deterrent for those who plan, plot and distribute
those hateful messages which incites trouble.
authorities have responded by banning messaging and
internet services on mobile phone for few days, which is
not a solution to stop misuse of the medium to create
is clear that the fundamentalist forces intend to incite
communal passion, provoke violent reaction and
hatemongering through such messages. We appeal to
community leaders and citizens not to succumb to the
design of fundamentalist forces. Any violent response to
such messages only leads in the loss of life and
livelihood for ordinary people from both the
Make necessary arrangements for those families
who are forced to leave their home, farms, livelihood
and stay out from their village, so that they can return
back to their houses-shops-lands. These families should
also be provided with protection for a minimum of two
years so that they can live safely in their own villages
and earn their livelihood.
Death compensation to be provided to families of
three youths who died in the incident with immediate
Provide compensation to the affected families of
Elav, Katpor, Sahol, Abheta and Hasot Villages for the
loss of lives, goods, and property damage. Those whose
houses are fully damaged and are forced to leave the
village and take shelter in their relative’s house
should be provided immediate cash assistance as per the
In order to create an environment of trust, take
appropriate action to arrest all the accused and take
stern legal action against them, so that those who are
forced to leave their houses can return back.
Instead of arresting real a crushed, harassment
of innocent youths in the name of combing should be
Appropriate action should be taken against police
officers who have not registered complaint or
investigate the complaint effectively and impartially.
Judicial investigation to be conducted against
responsible police officers like PI, DySP, DSP of Hansot
for non-performing their duties. Strict action to be
taken if the complaint against their non-performance is
Organize collective programs in order to create
an environment of trust between two communities.
Bring to a halt all the public programs for show
of strength, which can create hatred among communities
or increase fear of communal violence in the area.
Constitute a Judicial Committee for neutral
investigation in time bound manner, to investigate the
role of all the government employees at all levels
including, officers, political leaders whose connivance
is responsible for the illegal shrimp ponds at Aliyabet
and around. Judicial Committee should comprise of
retired High Court Judge, Expert on issue and
Representative from local people’s organization. Based
on the report of Committee legal action should be taken
against all the accused.
While investigation procedure is on, proper care
should be taken that the human rights of Kutchi
Maldhari’s who are leaving in Aliyabet even before
Independence does not get violated.
program should be planned in collaboration with local
leaders and village people in order to revive and
strengthen composite, collective culture in this