Concerned Citizens Tribunal - Gujarat 2002
An inquiry into the carnage in Gujarat

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Incidents of Post-Godhra violence


Dahod is close to Panchmahal district where Godhra is located. Bifurcated from the Panchmahal district, and close to the Rajasthan border, this district experienced acute violence and killings during the post-Godhra carnage. The first attack began on February 28, 2002 itself, the day after the Godhra tragedy, suggesting levels of pre-planning before the attacks took place. The destruction of property was so focused that it leaves no ground but to conclude that this was a pre-planned and co-ordinated operation carried out with military precision.

In Dahod district, the affected villages are Sanjeli, Vansia, Mandli, Kakreli, Picchoda, Anika (Jhalod taluka) and Dungarpur (Limkheda taluka.) Every single household and business establishment belonging to the Muslim community was looted and burnt in villages such as Sanjeli, Sukhsar, Piplod and Fatehpura.

Sanjeli has the largest number of Muslim households, (there are 89 Bohra houses in Sanjeli alone), with 311 families occupying 400 houses. Amongst the Ghanchi community, there were 1,921 affected persons from Sanjeli alone.

On the first day, the attacks were aimed at Muslim properties located either in Hindu-dominated areas like the market places or on the village outskirts. This initial foray was a mere warning of things to come — a build-up to what was to follow. Not much damage was done that day, and the mobs were not large. The same day, Hindu houses in Muslim bastis were marked with saffron flags or pictures of Ram and Hanuman or with crosses. Significantly, some places reported that this marking was done a few days before February 27.

In most places, the attacks started in the afternoon of March 1, 2002. For three days, Muslims were forced to flee, leaving everything behind. In every village they first tried to take refuge in the masjid or the few concrete houses that belonged to Muslims, but in many places, these were attacked and set on fire. Most people managed to flee in vehicles or on foot but in every case they were chased and attacked. Trees were felled to obstruct those fleeing from the clutches of frenzied, armed mobs.

Although some managed to reach "safer places", many were caught by the mobs, and dismembered, murdered and burnt alive. Women were stripped, and physically and sexually assaulted. Some of the dead bodies have not been found. Some people were killed or died while fleeing and were finally buried only when a "safe" place for the living, and the dead, was found.


In Randhikpur village, Singvad post, there were 71 houses belonging to the Muslim community, in addition to which there were 14 grocery shops, paan and various other Muslim owned businesses. There is a mosque and a madrassa in the village. On the night of February 28, 2002, at around 2 a.m., a mob of around 400-500 people, led by the below-mentioned accused, targeted this section with cans of petrol and diesel.

They first looted and then burnt four Muslim houses. The mob returned around 8 a.m. the next morning, with lethal weapons and material to carry on looting and burning. In addition, they also torched the mosque and the madrassa.

The crowd returned at about 10–11 a.m. on March 1, and looted and torched the remaining houses. In addition, a lot of livestock, about 200 cows, goats, bullocks etc. were stolen. These incidents were witnessed by the entire Muslim community from afar. The FIR was sent to the SP and collector by fax.

The mob was led by the following accused: Rameshkumar R. Chandana (sarpanch); Shailesh C. Bhatt; Mitish C. Bhatt; Pradip Ramanbhai Modhia; Naresh Ramanbhai Modhia; Govind Hukam Rawal; Jaswant Rawal; Gopaldas Babulal Shah; Shreepal Ajablal Jain; Vikas Subhash Jain; Gopal Dama Rawal; Govind Varsing Bilwad; Radheshyam B. Shah (lawyer); Ashish B. Shah; Bhagubhai Kuvar Shah; Kesar Khima Vahomia; Rajukant Modhia (came with jeep no. 3605); Mukesh Pawar Vanjara; Umeshkumar Shah (doctor); Maukabhai Mansingh Guniji; Raju Chhagan Harijan; Shankar Chhagan Harijan; Mafat Moghilal Prajapat; Harshad Kantilal Patanwadia; Natu Dala Parmar; Bharat Raval; Dave Raju Magan Maharaj; Khicha Vahomia; Pankajkumar Naran Luhar; Ashok Naran Luhar; Raju Karan Vanjhara; Mangalbhai Mogilal Prajapati; Pradyumbhai Majisaivik (came in car no. GJ-17-7-5728); Gopal Prakash Modhia; Jignesh Prakash Modhia; Dilip Manalal Darji; Vijaykumar Ramanlal Modhia; Harish B. Shah; Manish B. Shah; Kambhai Lalit Bairyawala (tailor); Dilip K. Chandana; Kanti Kadakia Shilot; Lakshman Bhabor (Dasana); Natu Dhirsingh Sangada; Bharat Dhirsingh Sangada; Kambhai Master (Dasa); Padamsingh Labana Bandibarwala; Kamleshkumar Manharlal Dave; Pramukhkumar Bhagabhai Dabgar; Rajubhai Babulal Soni; Mahesh Suvalal Shah; Budhabhai Shamabahi Bilwad; Umeshkumar Gopikrishan Shah; Nileshkumar Anadilal Shah (teacher); Rajeshkumar Anandilal Shah.— all named in the FIR, are residents of Randhikpur. From outside Randhikpur there were: Jaswantbhai Patel (Chhapan Road, Limkheda taluka) came in his car; Mahendra (driver, Chhaparwad) came in car No. GJ-17-C-2853; Narsingh, sarpanch Dhamanbhai (from outside).

Witnesses from Randhikpur who deposed before the Tribunal said that until the evening of February 28, there was no apparent tension in the village. One survivor, told the Tribunal that it was late in the evening of February 28 when the wife of Mehmoodbhai Majod started shouting to alert other Muslims because she saw that fields had been set on fire. Muslims from the village ran to the mosque, which was being attacked. Although there is a police chowki in the village, where the victims did appeal for help, the police just did not come. With no help forthcoming, the Muslims from Randhikpur fled the village and escaped to a hillock close by. After hiding there for a few hours, they walked to Chunadi village nearby, where the Congress MLA, Bijalbhai Damor lives. After a drink of water here, they then left for Kujaval village, where they took refuge on the terrace of the local mosque.

For the next three nights and four days, the Muslims lived in abject terror. Each night they would hide in the hills, and during the day, they would go on foot to the next village, seeking water and shelter. Women and children went without water and food. Unable to take it any more, they returned to Kujaval village, where one pregnant woman whose baby was due, gave birth to her child. Seventeen persons stayed back at the village with her. The rest, about 150 persons, including children (but no men) left that night, to go to Chunadi village where the Congress MLA lived. They appealed to him to do something for them, saying that their children would die of thirst and hunger. They had gone without water and food for four days. He organised a vehicle for them at around 4 p.m. on March 3. They first went to Limkheda, and then, four days later, on to Godhra. The witnesses had been in the Godhra relief camps ever since.

They chose not to go via Baria because, that very day, four Muslims had been killed on the road to Baria. They were hung from a tree, doused with kerosene and burnt alive, screaming. The witness’ nephew, (her brother-in-law’s 18-year-old son), a father of five and two other young boys were the 4 who were killed on the road to Baria.

Another witness, who was part of another group of persons fleeing from Randhikpur village, testified about their escape. She said that a mob started pelting them with stones, after which they torched the houses with tyres. Though two companies of police, with guns, came from Limkheda, they did not fire on the attacking mob. The Limkheda police told the victims to flee if they wanted to stay alive. When the police said this, and seeing how the police were allowing their homes to be burnt before their eyes, this group of Randhikpur residents rented a tempo, and headed towards Baria. They went hungry and were without water for two days

On the way, at Hawanti, a crowd of 200 to 300 people stopped them. They were carrying weapons like sickles, axes, swords and sticks. They stopped the tempo and went after them. Half the persons in the crowd surrounded the witness’ 25-year-old son, Kalu Razzak Ibrahim Shaikh, who had got separated from the others, and killed him as the rest of his group watched. After killing him they burnt him. The witness, a mother of two sons, lost one of them this way. She was then beaten up and her arm was broken. Her younger son was beaten unconscious and his backbone was broken. "I don’t know which weapon I was beaten with but my whole body was bleeding. We were rescued later and given water to drink."

When the Tribunal recorded this witness’ testimony, two months after the tragedy, her misery was palpable. A widow, she had been living at the Godhra camp with her younger son, torn apart by the fact that her other son’s body had not been found, for her to perform the last rites. She said many persons were killed in this attack but the exact number was difficult to state because everyone was running helter-skelter. She had lost consciousness. None of the witnesses from Randhikpur had dared return to the village until May. She had received no compensation until then.

The testimony of a 19-year-old woman, a victim of sexual assault and rape, along with that of her neighbour, was placed recorded by the Tribunal. Both residents of Randhikpur, they were interviewed at the Godhra relief camp on March 22. They were set upon by a mob just outside the village, on the highway going towards Baria, as they were fleeing on February 28. Fourteen persons from the witness’ natal and marital family were butchered and killed — 7 from her father’s family and 7 from her in-laws’ side. Women and young girls were raped before being killed. The witness’ 3½-year-old daughter was brutally killed after being swung on a sword. This witness was also a victim of gang rape. She survived because she was mistaken as dead, on a heap of other dead bodies. The victim was five months pregnant when she was so criminally assaulted. The family had stayed behind in Randhikpur because of the impending delivery of her cousin.

This victim has filed an FIR: "On February 23, it being Id, I had gone to my mother’s home with my little girl. On February 27, because of the incident at Godhra railway station, there was tension and violence in the surrounding villages. In order to save our lives, at about 10 o’clock on the morning of February 28, a total of 16 people from our house — I, my two sisters and two brothers, our mother, my little girl, my maternal uncle, my paternal aunt and her husband and their daughters — left Randhikpur for Baria on foot. When we found out that there was violence everywhere, we stopped at Bijal Damor in Chuddi village. Around midnight, we went and hid in the Kujaval mosque.

"The daughter of my paternal aunt who was pregnant, gave birth to a girl there. Around 10 o’clock the next morning, we went to Khudra and stayed with Adivasis for two days. Two days later, early in the morning, we came to Chhaparwad. We were walking down a kaccha road to save our lives. While passing between two hills, two vehicles came in the direction of Chhaparwad and Randhikpur with 30 to 40 people in them. This included Shailesh Bhatt, Raju Soni, Lala doctor, Govind Nana, Jaswant Navi, Lalo Vakil, who is the son of Bhagu Kuverji and Kesar Khima, Baka Khima Vasava. All of them are from Randhikpur so we recognised them. The others were from Chhaparwad, whose names we did not know, but whom I would recognise if I see them.

"All had lethal weapons in their hands — swords, spears, scythes, sticks, daggers, bows and arrows. They started screaming, ‘Kill them, Cut them up!’ They raped my two sisters and me and behaved in an inhuman way with my uncle and aunt’s daughters. They tore our clothes and raped 8 of us. Before my very eyes they killed my 3½-year-old daughter.

"The people who raped me are Shailesh Bhatt, Lala doctor, Lalo Vakil and Govind Nana, all of whom I know very well. After raping me, they beat me up. Having been injured in the head, I fainted. They left, assuming I was dead.

"After two to three hours, when I regained consciousness, on seeing the corpses of my family members, I was terrified. I climbed a hill and stayed there all night.

In the morning, when the police came to know about this attack, they came to take the corpses and found me alive. My clothes were torn so they brought me some clothes from the house of an Adivasi staying at the foot of the hill. Then they brought me to Limkheda and from there I was brought to the relief camp at Godhra.

"The above-mentioned people raped my deceased sisters and me, as well as the daughters of my maternal uncle and my paternal aunt. They killed all the people except myself. For all these reasons I say that legal action should be taken against the above-mentioned people."

The accused are Shailesh Bhatt, Raju Soni, Lala doctor, Govind Nana, Jaswant Navi, Lalo Vakil, who is the son of Bhagu Kuverji and Kesar Khima, Baka Khima Vasava (all from Randhikpur).


Sanjeli in Jhalod taluka, has a population of around 550 Hindus and about the same number of Muslim families. For two full days on March 1 and 2, 2002, a 10-12,000 strong mob armed with swords and guns wreaked havoc in the village. Thirteen to fourteen people were butchered. The local police did nothing. 550 Muslim families from Sanjeli shifted to Dahod camp for shelter. Sanjeli was cordoned off for two whole days. It was the Dahod DSP who took the survivors to the camp in his car. In the villages of Dahod, 2,500-3,000 strong mobs went on the rampage.

On February 28, there was no trouble in the village. The next day, on March 1, after the afternoon namaaz, the mob came and started throwing stones. They also attacked the houses on the outskirts of the village and burnt some of them. All through the night they created trouble outside the village.

The next day, on March 2, a large crowd, maybe 15-20,000 people, entered the village. They set fire to shops, houses and vehicles and attacked the Muslims. They carried guns, bows and arrows, dharias (sickles), swords, trishuls, and they were shouting slogans and hurling all kinds of abuses. The sort of slogans they shouted were, "Musalmans go to Pakistan, Hindustan is ours."

The police did not do anything to stop the mobs. At that time, one person died in private firing by the mob. All over the village, the mobs had set things on fire. Then the SDM came and ordered a curfew in the village and talked to the villagers. The Muslims were told to go inside their houses and, because shoot at sight orders had been given, they went inside. The curfew, however, was not implemented and the mob kept up the attack in the presence of the local police and Home Guards. The mobs were not dispersed or asked to leave.

Much later, the SP came and spoke to the Muslims, and said that if they wanted to be safe, they should move to Dahod. He personally escorted them out of the village to Dahod. Even when the Muslims were fleeing the village in vehicles, there was stone throwing and private firing all along the way. While taking them to Dahod, the SP put his own life at risk, too. On the way, one of the vehicles had a punctured tyre near Rayaniya village. Four people were burnt alive here. Two of these were women, who were raped and then burnt. Due to the stone throwing and the suffocation, many people lost their lives while fleeing.

Even after all the Muslims had left for Dahod, the destruction continued. They removed all the windows and doors from Muslim houses and destroyed the houses completely. The Hindu houses were saved because they had been marked with a cross or saffron flags that were put on them previously. To date, the local police have not taken any action against those responsible.

After the people left the village, every house and shop was burnt and looted. All the religious books were burnt. The masjid and madrassa were also completely destroyed. There are obscenities scratched on the walls. Inside the masjid it was written, "Hindustan is for Hindus and Muslim should go to Pakistan." On the walls, the names of Hindu Gods were written. The masjid was dug up inside, all the minaras (minarets) of the masjid were broken and it had saffron flags mounted on it. There is one church in Sanjeli, which was also destroyed in the same manner. It is now completely bare and a saffron flag has been mounted on top. All the surrounding trees were cut and the garden was completely destroyed.

The VHP, Bajrang Dal and the RSS have been running membership drives in these areas. They have opened and have been running new shakhas (cells) since 1995. Before this too, in 1998, there was violence against Muslims in the villages of Sanjeli and Randhikpur. In 1998, on August 14-15, Muslims from Randhikpur and Sanjeli were threatened, traumatised and boycotted. They had to live outside their villages for 2-3 months. A leaflet distributed at the time propagated the relentlessly divisive strategy of these groups. (See Annexure 11 Hate Writing, Volume I). Fact-finding teams from the PUCL and other local groups, who visited the area had also published a report of the same. There had been an incident where two Adivasi women, one of whom was married, had eloped with two Muslim men from Sanjeli and Randhikpur. The VHP and the Bajrang Dal used this incident to incite the local Adivasi community in these villages against the Muslim community. At that time, four years ago, the villagers had finally returned to their houses, which were not looted or damaged in the manner that they were this year. The eloped couples were found, a police case filed and settled later.

In Sanjeli there are still some Dalit and Adivasi women who have married Muslim men and live with their husbands. This has always angered the RSS and Bajrang Dal. This time round too, the VHP has been demanding that any Adivasi women married to Muslims should be handed back to their organisations. They are also demanding that the children of the Dalit women who are married to Muslims should be handed over to them.

Evidence placed before the Tribunal records statements of Muslim residents of Sanjeli that this kind of mobilisation had been consistently going on in the village before the attacks. Just three months prior to the recent attacks, for example, there were huge meetings in which the VHP and Bajrang Dal had announced that "Sanjeli will Burn." And burn it did.

Three months later, this town looked like some ghostly archaeological sight. In lane after lane, all one could see were rows of houses that had been completely devastated. There were no roofs and no walls; everything had been burnt, with not a shred of anyone’s belongings being visible. Every house had been stripped to the ground.

In one lane in the midst of these ruins, there were two Hindu houses, which had saffron flags fluttering and Ram and Hanuman written on them. These houses were intact, undamaged. Even the paint on the outer walls looked untouched by the destruction all around. If one raised one’s head to look beyond these lanes, then one saw life going on uninterrupted in other houses.

Many women and men recounted that when they were fleeing the mobs in tempos and trucks, many people were gathered alongside the road with stones and threw them on the people in the trucks, tempos and jeeps from the surrounding hillsides. Almost all had some sort of injury, several were severely injured in these attacks and many died in this nightmarish escape. They also recounted how not all people could escape in vehicles so many escaped into the jungle and walked to Dahod for three days without food and water, several with young children.

There was extensive sexual abuse of women. However, there was a great reluctance to talk about these incidents on the part of women victim-survivors. It was only alluded to in the case of women who had been killed. "Only we know and our Allah knows what we have lived through." However, they did recount, repeatedly, how the two women who had been pulled out from the tempo while fleeing were raped and then burnt.

Among the accused identified by the villagers, there are many who were also responsible for the brutal attacks against Christians in 1998. The accused named here are Dalsukhdas Maharaj, Mukesh Nandkishor Purohit, Jagdish Premchand Jain, Dimple Occhavlal Desai, Vijaysinh Dalpatsinh Raolji, Prakash Jagannath Dhobi, Ramchandra Ghanshyam Agrawal, Digvijaysinh M. Chauhan, Vaktabhai Salabhai Khant, Chandubhai Prajapati, Ramesh Maharaj (Nenki sarpanch), Shankar Kotha Prajapati, Bhopat Luna Prajapati, Chadiya Ghala Harijan, Prakash Shomabhai Raval, Popat Somabhai Raval (driver), Mansingh Ravat (Picchhoda), Shashikant Mahida, Pardhibhai Kamabhai Marel, Dalsingh Bhagabhai Marel, Tajsingh Bhundabhai Marel, Ashok Bhoi.

The residents of Sanjeli have made a consolidated written complaint and also attempted to file individual FIRs with the police. The police made a general FIR for the village and did not include any of the names of the accused in it. They did not register any individual FIRs and no action was taken against anybody. The police also added something in the FIR against the Muslim community, which was not there in the complaint submitted by the residents. The police record said that some Muslim people attacked a few Adivasis whereupon the crowd got out of control and attacked the village. No such incident had taken place and this was a complete fabrication. The Muslims made an affidavit correcting this in court. All these documents were submitted to the Tribunal.

In Vasia village, there are only 12 Muslim homes amidst 200-300 homes belonging to Adivasis. On March 2, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., a crowd of 3,000-5,000 attacked the Muslims and started looting but the 12 Muslim families somehow managed to escape. The Dahod police station has not registered an FIR.


Fatehpura and Karodia in Fatehpura taluka, are not two separate towns - they are almost like one settlement. Together, these towns have a total population of about 6,000. The Muslims in these areas did not have a separate locality as such. Their houses were scattered all over the town, on different roads like Ballaiya Road (also known as Karodia), Ukhreli Road, Ghooghas Road, Jhalod Road, Main Bazaar, Palod Falia, Naik Wad, and Talav Falia. In all, there were about 200-250 affected Muslim families from Fatehpura. When the Tribunal visited the place, some of the families were staying with relatives in an adjacent district of Rajasthan.

About 200 Bohra persons were also staying in separate localities in Dahod and Lunavada. The total affected population from Fatehpura and Karodia, was1,920 people, including around 200 Bohra Muslims.

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.

At around 8.30 p.m. on February 28, a mob of Hindus from the village came to the main bazaar area near the mosque and shouted slogans and threw stones at the mosque and at the people. Threatening slogans were also shouted.

On the evening of March 1, one house was looted and burnt and more than two vehicles were burnt and destroyed on Ukhreli Road (which is about 2 km from the main village, on the outskirts of Fatehpura). There was verbal abuse and physical harassment of women. In Fatehpura proper, a mob from the village came and shouted and made a lot of noise, threatened people and then went away. The identification of Hindu homes, by putting some Hanuman/Ram photographs and posters on them, took place at that time.

At 9 a.m. on March 2, curfew was clamped in the town. Witnesses say that a police patrol car with two policemen in it drove up and asked people to go into their houses. At this point the mob was still some distance away. After this round by the police patrol, a large mob approached. When the mob entered the village, the police was nowhere to be seen. People’s perceptions of the size of the mob varied from 8,000 to 20,000, but it was clear that the mob was large and the attackers were both from the town and from outside.

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 then sent to the police station, since the family who had sheltered them were also in danger.

The 100 people who had taken refuge in one of the houses, hid there from 9 a.m. to about 3.30 p.m. This house was set on fire and people managed to escape only after they broke through the roof and came out on the roofs of neighbouring houses. As the women came out, many of them were stripped and harassed. It is certain that one woman was raped. It is probable that there were more instances of rape as well but the victims and others are reluctant to be identified or talk about it. Finally, the people who got out of that house then managed to reach the police station, where they all took refuge, on the evening of March 2.

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 3 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 thousands of 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 or 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 vehicles were overcrowded and there was barely place to stand. It was during this journey that a mother lost her grip on her 3-year-old, and the child fell down and died.

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. Some of the fleeing people also had relatives in Rajasthan. It was only after they reached Rajasthan that they were given some food and water, and also received some care and attention from other people. After being deprived of it since Saturday morning, they got their first taste of food and water at around 3 a.m. on Monday morning.

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 majority of Muslims in Sukhsar, Fatehpura taluka belong to the Ghanchi community. Prior to the beginning of this round of anti-Muslim attacks, there were 605 people belonging to the Ghanchi community living in Sukhsar, with a total of 110 buildings, and 70 people belonging to the Dawoodi Bohra community, with a total of 14 buildings. Sukhsar had sawmills and brick making bhattis owned by Muslim people.

No communal incidents had ever occurred in Sukhsar prior to February 28, 2002. People also reported living without discrimination before. However, statements of witnesses did mention specifically that from 1992 onwards, the VHP and Bajrang Dal had been distributing saffron flags at various meetings and been distributing provocative (anti-Muslim) literature to surrounding areas. This affected business and the general attitude of Dalits, tribals and other working class people toward Muslims.

One month before the Godhra incident, efforts were visibly underway to instigate tribals against the ‘Muslim exploiters’ (most traders in the area were Muslims) and also to create a fear psychosis, warning them about an impending communal attack by Muslims. Under the pretext of the Godhra massacre on February 27, witnesses stated that the Durgavahini, Bajrang Dal and VHP had gathered Dalits and tribals at around 5 pm on February 28. They started breaking and looting shops, buildings, vehicles and then set them on fire in the bus stand area. Muslims in the area feared attack at night.

Between February 28 and March 1, Muslim leaders made at least 300 phone calls to the district collector, CD Rathod and the SP, Jadeja, to ask for protection. On March 1, people went and personally met the mamlatdar and the police inspector. The PSI had recently been transferred to the area. One witness claimed that this was significant, as the previous PSI would have been opposed to these attacks, and would have done more to protect the Muslim community in the town.

On March 1, at 12.30 in the afternoon, around 5000-6000 Dalits and tribals who were instigated against Muslims surrounded the Muslim basti, which has mostly properly built cement houses and saw mills, and three entry points. The residents of the basti were frightened by this sudden attack and asked for police protection. The police claimed that violence was happening all over Gujarat, "so how can we give you protection?" And "We have orders from the Gujarat government not to give any kind of protection to Muslims."

Muslim community members pleaded for the second time for help but local police refused to give protection. On further persuasion, the police came to the basti and aimed their guns at the people inside. People in the basti were told to keep quiet and let the mob do what they wanted, as they were given orders not to take any steps against the Sangh Parivar. They were also ordered by the government to shoot those Muslims who take any action, they added. On continuation of the attack by the mob, identified as having been mobilized by the VHP, residents of the basti became frightened and ran for shelter to the concrete buildings in the area.

All three entry points to the basti were blocked off by the mobs. They had come in trucks and tempos. They were shouting "Kill the Muslims" ("Muslim ko maro!") and other slogans. Around 1.00 p.m., the mob first burnt Neel Kamal Saw Mill, and then Haruni Saw Mill. The Masjid was also destroyed. Police were present during these incidents; they watched the violence but did not intervene. The mob seemed to have a very clear division of labour. There were around 40 people who were continuously firing. When a gun would run out of ammunition, it would be passed to someone in a waiting truck whose job was only to reload used weapons and hand newly loaded weapons to people who were firing. People had both machine manufactured revolvers and ‘katta’ rifles.

Another group in the mob was mainly involved in looting and setting structures on fire. They had pouches of chemicals, which they would throw to start the fires. One jeep contained all the material for setting fires. Evidence of these chemicals could be seen in burnt buildings more than a month later, as white powdery residue in pools of black oily liquid on the cement and stone floors. People were seen in the mobs carrying mobile telephones, and were observed coordinating their activities. People from Muslim households kept running from the mob and gathering in various houses for safety. By 2.30 p.m. it was very clear that the Muslims being attacked would have to leave the village. By then, police were openly encouraging the crowd to attack by shouting "Muslim ko maro, kato!"

By 4.00 p.m., everyone in the Muslim basti gathered in one household. There were approximately 600 non-Bohra Muslims and 35 Bohras present there. The burning and looting continued around them, forcing them to leave this house as well. At night, the mob tried to break open shops and buildings, looted, and set fire to this house in an attempt to kill people. The sarpanch, who is a tribal, tried helping the Muslims. He called a member of Parliament, and described the situation. The MP told the sarpanch to send all the Muslims of Sukhsar to the nearby village of Kundala.

At midnight, they left for Kundala in two cars provided by the sarpanch, and two cars belonging to Muslim community which had survived the carnage. These four cars were used to make many trips to Kundala, where they were hidden for three days. People kept hiding at various places, as the journey to Kundala was full of hazards. On March 2, the entire basti of Sukhsar reached Kundala by 10 a.m. In order to save their lives, people left behind all their property, jewelry and cash. Two women were injured and died in the process.

The looting and burning continued on March 2, 3 and 4. On March 5, the BSF arrived and did a flag march, and shifted all the people to the Jhalod relief camp under police escort. The Jhalod camp was opened on March 6. Many people were reunited with their family members in the camp. The two women who died enroute to Kundala were also carried to Jhalod relief camp and buried there. People from Sukhsar stayed in the Jhalod camp for almost one month.

It was reported that 5 to 7 women were sexually assaulted, but no one in the community was willing to talk about it openly. Usually the report was given in such a way as to convey that, yes, sexual assaults did take place, but the assaults happened in other places, not in Sukhsar itself.

On March 10, an official from Sukhsar and circle inspector of Fatehpura came to Jhalod to inform people that their buildings and property had been totally destroyed in this violence. Everything had been looted and burnt. The official of Sukhsar and circle inspector of Fatehpura noted down information from people living in the Jhalod camp, acquired the judgment of arbitrators, gathered separate facts of the damage, and made a list.

The total damage calculated was around Rs.6.5 crore. Over 80 permanent structures had been destroyedReligious places like masjids and madrassas were also damaged and there were anti-Muslim graffiti and orange flags on the buildings. People report having spent one month living in fear in the Jhalod camp. Out of 178 cases, 110 were given anything between Rs.1,000-1,250 for ‘ghar vakhri’ (household belongings). The rest have not been paid anything.

People claim that, when they applied for compensation for destroyed, stolen and damaged property, the government did an unjust survey of the buildings. As they were living in Jhalod camp, they received Rs. 10,000 - 15000. In a few cases, they were paid between Rs. 25,000-40,000. Only in 2 cases, people were paid Rs. 50,000. Against 84 buildings destroyed, people were given compensation for only 50 buildings. As with the general pattern of compensation for these attacks, people were generally compensated far below what the replacement costs will be for all property damaged or destroyed in these attacks.

Muslims in the area owned roughly 72 shops, and have submitted evidences about them, but were facing discrimination in receiving full remuneration. Small businesses have not been listed, even though there were repeated attempts to have them listed. People felt discriminated against by the Hindu surveyors because of instances such as this. Though the damage suffered is in the region of lakhs, in the case of many families, the government had paid only up to Rs. 50,000. A government officer told members of this community that even if a person owned any number of houses or property on record, the government had declared only Rs. 50,000 as compensation. According to Hindu law, if a father is alive and he is very aged and his inheritors are staying with him and the property is in one name then government will give remuneration as if losses were incurred by only one person, they said.

Muslims said: "We would like to demand adequate compensation for all those who lost their property in burning or looting. Even in May, anti-social elements from the Durgavahini, VHP and Bajrang Dal were instigating tribals to damage Muslim property and to kill them. Police also knows about it but government is not taking any steps," the complainants said.

The witnessess, all of whom requested anonymity, were bitter at the fact that their stolen goods were still lying in the homes of neighbours and perpetrators.


In Jhalod, Jhalod taluka, Muslim families are primarily engaged in the agriculture and transport business. There is also a section of poorer daily wage Muslim labourers. The violence targeted all sections of the Muslim community in this town. In Jhalod, all the Hindu houses were marked with saffron flags several days before February 27, 2002.

This was done the day before Id, i.e. on February 22, and people said that this had surprised them, since there was no Hindu festival at that time. In addition, there was a rally of around 100-150 people at 4 p.m. on February 22, after which they held meetings all over the area.

The following BJP leaders from Jhalod were named by the local people as being involved in these meetings: Bhagwan Panchal, Agnesh Panchal, Bhavesh Babubhai Katar (son of the MP), Subhash Agrawal, Sunil Agrawal, Kaloobhai Sangada, Chhagan Bhunatar (ex-corporator), Narainbhai (from Limli), Mukesh Karnawat, Dalsukh Maharaj, Mukeshkumar Nandkishor Purohit, Shankar Labana, Maheshbhai Bhuria, Suresh Charal, Ramanbhai Admat Khutawala (sarpanch) and others.

On February 28, during the Gujarat Bandh nothing happened in Jhalod itself. However, there was a spurt in the sale of petrol from the petrol pumps and acid from the chemical companies. All night, vehicles belonging to Babubhai Katara (MP) ran back and forth from his house and the houses of others and the surrounding villages. Later, it was realised that this was done to get all the weapons together and to collect people in preparation for the violence that was to follow.

At about 8-8.30 a.m. on March 1, two motorcycles and one Bohra-owned TVS showroom were burnt in Mowada. After this, at about 9.30 a.m., at the bus stand in the Nagar Palika Bureau, first a gift shop and then other Muslim-owned shops were looted. At the same time, a shoot at sight order was in force in the Muslim area of the village. Whilst people were at home, working, in the morning, a large mob entered the village, beat up the men and women and looted their homes. The attacking mob was equipped with guns, swords, revolvers, mobile telephones, petrol, truckloads of packaged chemicals, and drill machines. Starting at the taluka panchayat office, they started looting all the Muslim establishments on the Highway - Banswara road. Muslim homes and establishments faced extensive destruction and burning, particularly along the Highway. Fires gutted shops, godowns and businesses as well as houses owned by Muslims along the road.

Muslims in Jhalod also suffered terrible abuse, including severe physical attacks. Those who survived the attacks were often covered in burns and serious wounds, many of which required but did not receive surgical attention. The people said that even if 4 policemen had patrolled the area, the carnage and destruction could have been avoided.

One of the first persons to be stabbed was Bibiben, who was stabbed by the mob inside her house and who died on the spot. Her daughter, Safiya, who tried to save her, was also attacked and was seriously injured. Safiya’s niece, who is 12 years old, was also stabbed and injured. Safiya was shifted to a hospital in Dahod after a few days and remained in a serious condition. At the time, people could not get to hospital easily because the situation in Dahod was also quite bad. For a long time, she could not be shifted to Vadodara or Ahmedabad due to the continuing violence in these cities. It was only after May 1 that she was shifted to Ahmedabad, but by then it was too late; Safiya finally succumbed to her injuries on May 6, in Ahmedabad’s Al Amin Hospital.

During this first bout of attacks, Yusufbhai Kaira was also hit on both hands, with a sword, as he was sitting at home. After this, people came out of their houses and started running to save their lives. Yunus Yusuf Patel was shot by Bhavesh Katara (the MP’s son) and then Nanda Bagabhai Dindor’s son stoned him to death. All the houses here were looted and burnt. Here the mob was about 500 strong. From here they moved towards Koliwada, destroying everything on the way, and then, in Koliwada, Ishaq Abdul Karim Kooka was shot at in private firing.

Some residents reported that the following people were seen carrying guns: Subhash Makhanlal Agrawal, Bhavesh Babulal Katara, Gopal Makhanlal Agrawal, Kirit Makhanlal Agrawal, Mukesh Makhanlal Agrawal, Suresh Charel, Balji Patel and Rajni Patel. The mobs continued these acts of violence all through the day and finally, in the evening, they went to a large timber mill and burnt that to the ground.

Then they proceeded to make a big disturbance all night, firing shots, bursting crackers, hooting, keeping everyone in tension and fear. The entire Muslim community had gathered together in the Mandli Falia main bazaar. They said that they managed to protect themselves through the night because all of them had gathered in one "safe" area of the town; they were also defending themselves in any way they could.

On March 2, around 15-20,000 people blocked and surrounded the whole town from all sides. They were trying to enter it but could not. Although the Muslim community was trying to defend themselves, they were finding it very difficult to do so. In that situation, at about 3 p.m., some of them agreed to attend a peace committee meeting, which was held with Congress leaders, BJP leaders and Muslim leaders. They had a lot of discussions but could not arrive at any ‘solution’ so they decided to meet again the next day. Even as the meeting was in progress, houses belonging to a community of Fakirs next to Loharwada, were burnt. The settlement, Bapunagar, where the Fakir community lived, was completely destroyed; the roofs and walls of about 10 houses had been brought down. Bapunagar faces a huge open space, and residents could see large mobs of people approaching, shouting loudly as they advanced towards them. The mob consisted of Adivasis from the Kaljiki Saraswani, Velpura and Lakhanpur communities. At that stage, all the people from the settlement fled towards the main village. The mobs then proceeded to loot and burn the basti as well as the graveyard nearby; they even dug up the graves. The destruction included breaking down all the rooms, the water pumps, the tanks and even the pipes. All the trees, including fruit-bearing trees, were cut down and all the stored grain was burnt. The Fakirs have since requested that they be given some land in the middle of the village in exchange for their land.

On March 3, the peace committee meeting was again held at around 12 noon. Amongst those who attended this meeting were the deputy collector Pagi, the mamlatdar Pateliya sa’ab, the BJP MP Babubhai Katara, and VHP leaders Bhagwanbhai Panchal, Agneshbhai Panchal, Subhash Agrawal, Bharat Patel. At this meeting, the BJP leaders put some conditions before the Muslim community in exchange for being spared any further violence. The conditions were as follows:

1. No Muslim boy should come out of the house after 10 p.m.

2. No azaan on the mike in the masjid.

3. Close Muslim students’ hostels.

4. Close slaughter-houses on the Highway.

5. Whenever our (Hindu) band crosses the masjid we will not stop playing.

6. No Muslim children should even stand and watch a Hindu Baraat.

At the time, the community panch agreed to these conditions because they were all under tremendous pressure. As one of the persons who submitted his written testimony to the Tribunal said, "Our condition was very bad. We were moving around with three dead bodies from March 1. They had not been buried, as we could not go to the graveyard. All the Muslims from the town were in this Mandli Falia, main bazaar, and were surrounded from all sides by this large, violent mob. Finally we buried the three bodies in our bazaar, in our jamaatkhana, the place where we eat. Jo zinda thhe unki to halat kharab thi hi, jo mar gaye thhe unki bhi kahin jagah nahin thi. (Those who were alive were of course in a desperate situation, but even the dead had no place for a decent burial.) At that time we had no choice but to accept the conditions."

Until about March 13, people stayed inside their houses, in their mohallas in Mandli Falia, not coming out at all. From March 4, people from the villages around Jhalod also started coming there and then, on March 14, the camp here started and all the people from Jhalod whose houses had also been destroyed, went and started staying there.

Modus Operandi

Evidence recorded by the Tribunal from Dahod district indicates that the mobs arrived in vehicles such as trucks, tempos, jeeps, Marutis. The attacking mobs were led and directed by local Hindu community leaders belonging to the Sangh Parivar. These leaders were using mobile phones, while the attacks were being carried on. These were the people that were identified by Muslim survivors and who have been named in the complaints sent or the FIRs recorded.

The second group had all the weapons, guns, trishuls and swords, and the arsenals, petrol, diesel, kerosene and chemicals to start the fires. They had vehicles loaded with chemicals and weapons. This was the group that was primarily responsible for the brutal burning, the deaths, the sexual assaults and other abuse. In more than one village, Muslim survivors described how these men carried identical backpacks from which they took out pouches of chemicals. The planning was so thorough that there was a select group, which only performed the task of loading guns.

The third group was mainly involved in looting property from the houses and shops. In many cases, this group consisted of Adivasis. The mobs were very large in number, in thousands, and not always recognisable. There were some known faces in the crowd but many seemed to be outsiders. In some villages people said that not all of those who were part of the mobs spoke Gujarati. Some of them were also speaking in Marathi and Hindi.

All the masjids, dargahs, madrassas and, in some places, churches, were completely damaged, burnt. Obscenities and statements like, "Hindustan is for Hindus, Muslims should go to Pakistan," as well as names like "Ram" and "Hanuman" were written on whatever walls remained, and saffron flags were hoisted on them. All the property around, including gardens and wells, was damaged.

Once the Muslim residents of the villages fled to safer spaces, the mobs looted and then burnt the houses and shops at leisure. In many villages it has been reported that houses were being burnt until as late as March 10, and in some instances, even later. There was no damage whatsoever to the marked Hindu houses. In Sanjeli the saffron flags were still there, as late as May. What was also quite evident was that the attacks and destruction was effected in such a manner that the Hindu houses were not damaged. In one village, the adjoining Hindu houses were first sawed away from the Muslim houses and then the latter were set on fire.

In every structure in Sanjeli, be it a house or a shop - every door, window, window frame, grills, electric wiring, water pipes, taps, switch boards, electric meters, every piece of movable property, even the roof, was missing. There were traces of the chemical powders that were used. Every area had been burnt completely. In many places there are burnt, bare walls remaining, while in some places, even walls have been broken down. The areas look as though they have been bombed. Even bore-wells have been damaged/blocked. Every single big tree, including all fruit bearing trees, were cut down. The mobs made sure that there were no signs of life left anywhere.

In most places, the looting and the destruction of property went on for days after the Muslim residents ran away from the villages. People claimed that many of their goods could still be found in the Hindu households in their villages, but the government has made no attempt to look for them so far.

Violence against Women

Along with Ahmedabad (Naroda and Chamanpura) and Mehsana district, the districts of Panchmahal and Dahod experienced some of the most brutal acts of sexual violence against women during the Gujarat carnage. The attackers used verbal and physical abuse on them in full public view. The clear desire to attack the very dignity of the Muslim community through violent acts against women and young children was a pattern in the violence. The tragedy of women from the villages having to go back to the intimacy of a rural atmosphere – where all families are known to each other — and continue to live with the perpetrators of such crimes on their person cannot be imagined. That many of the leaders of these crimes are prominent leaders of the RSS/BJP/VHP/BD, carrying wealth and influence, makes the situation even more shocking. The threat of sexual assault was openly voiced all through the attacks. When the mobs came into the villages, one of the things that they kept saying was, "Give us your women and girls. We shall look after them." Similar things were also written on the walls of the houses that had been damaged.

In most cases where people were able to escape, women did not have to go through actual physical sexual assault. But in all places where the crowd managed to catch hold of them, there was all manner of sexual violence and abuse, such as stripping them, pawing them, making them run naked on the streets of the village and even gang rapes. Two women, among a group of three dozen people fleeing in tempos from Sanjeli, were caught by the mobs and later found dead. Tied to trees, their torsos were burnt above the waist, suggesting gruesome violence.

After the bitter realities faced on their return to life in the village in question, over-exposure in group and media testimonies, and pressure from the community, the initial testimonies of women have now dwindled into stony silences. Knowing how difficult it is for women to come to terms with such violence, and also knowing the pressures that act on the women from outside and within the community, these gender crimes require urgent attention from the jurist and activist community.

Many women also hinted at sexual abuse, but no one actually acknowledged the prevalence of rape during the attacks, other than the rapes of women who died. But most women expressed a strong sense of insecurity and sorrow for those who had to run across the land and make their way, on foot, to Dahod. "Our feet were full of thorns which we did not pull out till we reached Dahod." "Only we know and our Allah knows what we have lived through."

Dalsukh Maharaj: A Study of ‘Vanvasi’ mobilisation

The Tribunal has recorded evidence about Dalsukh Maharaj and his ashram in Sanjeli. Dalsukh is an ayurvedic vaidya (doctor), who runs a hostel for school children and is a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Samiti as well as the VHP Margdarshak Mandal. A Bhil tribal himself, Dalsukh Maharaj is a tribal who is of the view that ‘Bhils are Hindus from the beginning.’ He asserted that the attack by the Bhils/Vanvasis on Sanjeli was "swaymbhu" (‘spontaneous’) as they had been oppressed for ages and have now risen.

This Maharaj mobilised Bhil tribals by spreading his message through the spoken and written word, through pamphlets, some of which have been documented in the PUDR report on the Gujarat violence.

"Muslim behaviour on ‘our’ (Adivasi) women;" "At least 100 Bhil women have been violated in Sanjeli alone;" Muslims consider ‘our’ widows to be everyone’s property;" "In Godhra Urdu School, they sent the Muslim teachers and students away and killed two Hindu women teachers and put iron rods in their vaginas"

The Maharaj also spouted axioms about the character of Islam and Muslims: "In the Koran, it is written, Work for four months and cut up kafirs for eight months in a year." He also stated that Rs. 80,000 had been collected from Sanjeli alone to plan for the train attack at Godhra and claimed that there are receipts.

While being the agent of such venom, the Maharaj could not provide the name of even one of the 100 women supposed to have been violated in Sanjeli, nor could he produce any receipts for the Rs. 80,000 that was supposedly collected for the Godhra train attack. Even the alleged killing of two Hindu women teachers could not be detailed with any facts or proof.

(The continuing reign of terror and the resulting insecurity in Dahod district, nearly nine months after the orgy of violence, can be gauged from the fact that as this report was about to go to press, a few witnesses from Dahod district telephonically contacted a member of the Tribunal team, expressly requesting that the names of the witnesses (16 oral and 29 written testimonies) who had deposed before the Tribunal in May be withheld. It is in deference to that request that no witness has been named in this section.)

Published by: Citizens for Justice and Peace