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

Download / Print Report


Incidents of Post-Godhra violence


The entire district of Sabarkantha and its talukas namely Himmatnagar, Khedbrahma, Vijyanagar, Bhiloda, Modasa town, Modasa village, Prantij, Talod, Vadali are among the most severely affected areas of Gujarat state. In Sabarkantha district alone, 55 mosques, 40 tombs and 50 madrassas were completely demolished. This is one district where there were clear cases of attacks being launched on the night of February 27 itself.

The most ghastly incident took place near Kidiad village on March 2, when 74 persons escaping in two tempos were burnt alive and killed. Elsewhere, two persons were killed in Idar taluka, 9 stabbed to death in Khedbrahma, and 4 died in police firing in Modasa, 5 drivers killed on the Modasa-Godhra highway, 4 persons killed just outside Prantij, 3 burnt alive in Salal village. Two more persons were killed in the second bout of violence on March 19. Previously, Sabarkantha and Banaskantha were targeted with violence for 8 days in August 2000, after blatant incitement by VHP international general secretary, Praveen Togadia. (See Build-Up in Gujarat, Volume II.)


The Tribunal collected 7 written statements about the ghastly incident that befell residents of Kidiad village, Modasa taluka, on March 2. Muslims from Kidiad village were fleeing in two tempos after their neighbours created a severely threatening atmosphere in the night. They were intercepted and a total of 67 persons were killed, most of them burnt alive. Arzooben, the eyewitness who was living at the Modasa camp, made a complaint to the police in which she stated all the facts. Victim-survivors, whose written statements were placed before the Tribunal, claim that out of thoise trying to escape in one of these tempos, in all 67 persons were killed. But offcial record admits of only 8 deaths as only those many bodies were recovered. A complaint for the deaths of 8 persons travelling in only one of the tempos was recorded. The police did not record any further evidence. Arzooben could identify the culprits. One is the taluka panchayat pramukh, Kalubhai Malwad, who belongs to the BJP. He was arrested.

Kidiad village has about 45 households of Muslims and 200 of Harijans, Bharwads and Thakors. On February 28 and March 1, reports about burning of houses in neighbouring villages like Haloder had started pouring in and tension kept mounting. When residents asked for police protection, PSI Mukesh Patel of Malpur PS sent only one policeman to supposedly provide effective police protection. On March 2, the mobile police armed with .303 rifles came to the village at about 3 p.m. and told the Muslims to run to save their lives, as they would not be able to protect them. The sarpanch requested the police to escort them up to Malpur but the police flatly refused.

The frightened Muslims then started trying to cross the rivers Eru and Vatrak across the dryer parts of the riverbed. After trying for almost an hour, they returned to the village by 3.45 p.m. or so, where they were confronted by a mob of about 400-500 people from their own village and outside, shouting, "Kill them! Hack them! Don’t let them go!" The mob was carrying dharias (sickles), swords and trishuls. There were 224 Muslims in the village at the time, as well as 20 guests from outside. Desperate to flee, 118 of these boarded two tempos and set off. Those who could not do so, hid in the fields around the village.

About 34 people boarded the first tempo (GJ 17 T 9283), which left at about 4 p.m. to try to make its way towards Modasa. Zakirbhai Shamsuddin Sindhi was driving this tempo. The sarpanch of Kidiad, Saleembhai Jamubhai Sindhi was also travelling on this tempo. When they reached the Godhra – Modasa highway they found their road blocked at Malpur with stones and about a 1,000 people all around, who stoned the tempo, breaking windows and injuring the people inside. However, the tempo managed to turn towards Lunawada, and crossed Limbadiya chowki in Panchmahal district. On the way, from Naroda village near Limbadiya, a jeep and a motorcycle (with 3 riders) started following them. One of them was carrying a dharia. The road was blocked at various twists and turns. As they passed through villages, the tempo was stoned sporadically. Finally, between Sanparia and Badesara villages, the motorcycle overtook the tempo and forced it to stop. As the people in the tempo tried to jump off and escape, they were attacked by the men on the motorcycle. When the driver, Zakirbhai Shamsuddin Sindhi was attacked, his 4-month-old son Mohsin fell from his hands and died. He picked up his dead child and ran. The people ran towards Karanta village across the Bhadrod river nearby, hoping to take shelter in the dargah there. The Patels of Sanparia, however, came out in support of the attackers and killed 6 people. One woman, Sarabibi, who is an eyewitness to the murders, was able to hide beneath a tarpaulin sheet in a shed behind a Patel house. In fact, the Patel’s wife took her to the Modasa relief camp 2 days later. Other survivors somehow managed to reach the security of the Karanta dargah. The driver, Zakir Mian, finally buried his dead child there. The survivors complained to the police when they reached the relief camp at Modasa 10 days later.

The second tempo (no. GJ 9T 6439) left Kidiad for Modasa at about 4.15 p.m. over seventy people, including a large number of women and 32 children, were packed tightly into the cramped tempo. Heavy stone pelting started from village Punjarani Muvadi. When the tempo reached Choriwad crossing, a crowd of about 1,000 was standing there. All other roads were blocked. In desperation, Ayub Mian, the driver, turned the tempo towards Lunawada, Panchmahal district. From Babaliya, four motorcycles, a jeep, a truck and a tempo (No. GJ 7 Y 2131) started chasing the tempo. On one of the four motorcycles was Naresh Bhai, a resident of Gogawada. As soon the tempo reached Limbadiya chowki, about 15 km from Lunawada, the motorcyclists overtook the tempo and fired at the front tyre, which burst, bringing the tempo to a standstill.

A large armed crowd of 1,000-2,000 people, which had been alerted by the passing of the first tempo a little while earlier, surrounded the tempo along with the pursuers. The attackers were wielding dharias, trishuls, swords and guns. About 16 people, including the driver of the tempo, managed to run away. These were mainly men, with the exception of one woman and two small children. They hid in the fields and saw what followed. After hacking those who remained on the tempo with swords, the attackers threw tyres on them, poured petrol and set the tempo on fire. Eight people who tried to jump off were fired at and then hacked to death. One woman, Arzoo Bibi Ayub Mian Sindhi, sitting in the driver’s cabin was also attacked when she jumped off but she survived, albeit with severe injures, by pretending to be dead. They ran until the mobs caught up with them, beat them mercilessly and killed them. Those inside the tempo were burnt to ashes, as the fire raged for over 2 hours.

According to the SP Panchmahal, Raju Bhargava, only 8 deaths have been registered in the case as only the bodies of those killed while trying to jump off have been found in a half-burnt condition. In fact, Arzoo Bibi was told to identify these bodies but she could only identify 1 of the 8 bodies, as that of 80-year-old Pirzada Gulabuddin Imam Mian, a resident of Karanta, who had come to Kidiad on February 27 to offer Friday prayers. The other 7 bodies were charred beyond recognition. Yet, there are eyewitnesses who state categorically that 59 other people were charred to death, bringing the total to 67. The dead included 37 women and 30 men, of whom 15 were boys under 12 years. Four infants who were less than a year old, also perished in the attack. The eyewitnesses have also identified the accused.

Complaints have been given to all the authorities by the survivors and also to the Khanpur PS investigating the case. The driver of the tempo, Ayubbhai Subha Mian Sindhi, is the main complainant. In the absence of any concerted effort to collect evidence and locate bone fragments if any, the huge disparity between eyewitness accounts and the official story remained.

This was one of the most horrendous incidents to have happened in Gujarat. The deceased: 67 persons from Kidiad village were burnt alive. The accused: Kalubhai Malwad (BJP), taluka panchayat pramukh, and Naresh Bhai, resident of Gogawada.

Yusufbhai Bakrawala from Motiraanth, along with two boys from Lunavada, was trying to escape from the mobs when they were attacked. The army found 2 of the 3 bodies, when the fisherfolk handed them over ten days later. There was no trace of Yusufbhai’s body – only bones were found.

On the highway, there were Tata Sumos moving around tracking persons who were trying to flee. Refugees from other villages of Gujarat, bordering Rajasthan, had crossed over and were in the Pithgaon camp. On March 7, in the same area, one Muslim, Arab Saiyedbhai, was killed in police firing. The police never killed anyone from the mobs.


Four persons were killed brutally on the highway near Prantij town, near Himmatnagar, on February 28. Two were declared dead and 2 were ‘missing’. The testimony of a witness, the relative of the deceased victim, was placed before the Tribunal. The witness, Bilal Dawood, brother of Saeed Dawood and cousin of Shakeel Dawood, UK, had been earlier interviewed by journalist Teesta Setalvad. This witness detailed the circumstances that led to the brutal killings of three persons, including his brother, on the highway that leads from Ahmedabad to Himmatnagar, on February 28. Two of the 3 killed were British nationals.

On February 21, the mother of victim, Saeed Dawood, his cousin, Shakeel Dawood and two others arrived in Mumbai from Australia. Bilal Dawood, brother of the victim Saeed Dawood, who gave this testimony, reached the next day. On February 24, the witness’ brother Saeed Dawood, his cousin Shakeel Dawood, his friend from the UK, Mohammed Aswat, his nephew Imran Dawood and Yusuf, a driver from their village Lajpur, took a jeep tour to Jaipur. After visiting Jaipur, they were returning to Ahmedabad via Himmatnagar on February 28.

At Prantij, they were stopped by a mob of 15-20 persons. In no time, another mob of 40-100 arrived, circled the jeep and demanded of the occupants, "Are you Muslim or Hindu?" The answer, that they were British citizens, was not enough for the mob. "What about the driver?" they asked. Without waiting for an answer, Yusuf was dragged out and the moment they had established his religious identity, he was attacked with sticks and dharias and killed on the spot.

Imran Dawood, Mohammed Aswat, Saeed Dawood and Shakeel Dawood, who ran towards a farmhouse to save their lives, were chased by the mob. Around 6.30 p.m. that evening, a police team found Mohammed Aswat, who was near dead, and Imran Dawood, who was unconscious, on a dirt track that runs along the canal. At the Prantij clinic, to which the police took them, Dr. Dongri pronounced Mohammed Aswat dead while Imran Dawood was in such a state of shock that, even after regaining consciousness, he could not speak.

Bilal’s brothers, Saeed and Shakeel were last seen by the woman owner of the farmhouse, running to save their lives. Since then, there has been no trace of them. The British Consul General, Ian Reeds, and Bilal Dawood visited the site of the killings, along with the Gujarat DGP and the Ahmedabad CP, on March 8. The lady at the farmhouse, obviously afraid for her own life, was not very cooperative but Dr. Dongri was very forthcoming.

During their visit, they found a totally burnt down factory about 100-200 yards away from where Mohammed Aswat and Imran Dawood had been picked up by the police. Behind the factory structure, they came across a spot where it looked as if a fire had been built, possibly to burn the dead bodies. A little distance away, they found some teeth and bones, which were then sent for DNA sampling.

The police gave the complainants a copy of the FIR lodged by them, and said that they had arrested 17 people. Bilal’s nephew, Imran, the only one to have miraculously escaped, had returned to their native village. He seemed to recall that, while they were being set upon, a police jeep was driving past but did not stop to help. The case was referred to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs, India) and the FCO was also following it up with the MEA. With regard to the murder investigations, Salman Kazi (related to Mohammed Aswat) had written a note to the home department in Britain and the family was actively pursuing the case to find out what exactly happened in Mohammed Aswat’s and Yususf’s case. As for Bilal Dawood’s brother Saeed Dawood and cousin Shakeel Dawood, they were put in the ‘missing’ category. The family had obtained the FIRs and the post-mortem reports. The entire sordid saga was reported on BBC, Star News and even the Gujarati papers. James Watt, from the chamber of FCO, met Salman Kazi, Ahmed Aswat and Salim Dawood in the UK. The family had also taken a delegation to the Indian High Commissioner in the UK, PC Haldar.

Madhopur Kampa

Five drivers were killed on the Godhra-Modasa Highway on February 28. Three of them from Modasa were killed at Madhopur Kampa in Bayad taluka. Their names are Kasimbhai, Anwar and Gaina. Of the 2 other drivers killed, one belonged to Rajasthan and the other to Mewat, Haryana.

On 28 February, at about 9.30 a.m., several trucks were stopped on the Godhra-Modasa highway by a mob of 2,000-3,000 people at Madhopur Kampa near Bayad taluka town in Sabarkantha. The Gujarat bandh was observed on this stretch of the highway by burning 5 truck-drivers alive and setting 20 trucks on fire. Kasimbhai, the driver of one of the trucks (GJ 9 V 1654) owned by GA Suthar of Modasa, was first badly beaten by the mob as he got down from the truck. He managed to escape and dragged himself behind the wall of a nearby petrol pump. He was injured and lay down in a daze.

The Hindus from nearby Sadgal village, who came to loot the trucks, happened to know him and helped to revive him. He came to the petrol pump and saw the burning vehicles. Unthinkingly, he shouted out to the mob to let his truck be. The mob then dragged him out and threw him into the blazing truck. The driver’s helper, Hanif, and another person travelling in the truck when it was attacked, managed to escape. Both of them were helped by the Sadgal villagers, who also dropped them to the relief camp at Modasa. The Bayad PS refused to lodge an FIR on the incident, despite Hanif’s statement naming some members of the mob whom he was able to identify with the assistance of the Sadgal villagers.


Talod is a taluka in Sabarkantha district. On February 28, a crowd of about 150-200 persons took out a rally in the town, which terminated at the temple. Then, on March 1, at 12.30 p.m., a mob of 4,000-5,000 people gathered in the town and started attacking the 80-odd Muslim households, scattered in different mohallas all over Talod town. The Muslims took shelter in the houses of their Darbar neighbours.

When they, too, were threatened by the mobs, some of the Muslims, whose houses were still intact, went back to their homes. On March 2, a mob of 500 people came again to destroy the remaining Muslim houses. The mob looted the houses and the Muslims managed to escape through the fields. They were trying to reach Harsol, a neighbouring village with a large Muslim population. After walking for about 7 kms, they reached a place near Salatpur, where this group of about 50 fleeing Muslims (including several old people and 20 children) was surrounded and attacked by a mob of about 150 people carrying arms and kerosene. An old woman, Bashiran Shamsuben Lohar, was injured on her head and arm with a dharia. The attackers then piled up dried thorn bushes around the group of Muslims, shouting that they would light a ‘Holi’ (bonfire) around the Muslims. They had just sprinkled kerosene on the dried thorn scrub and lit it, and had started stripping the women, when a group of 20-25 Rabaris from nearby Khokhra Kesarpur ran to the defence of the Muslims.

It was because of their intervention that the Talod Muslims were able to escape. After going back to Talod, staying in hiding that night and facing one more attack, they finally took refuge in the police station. The police then dropped them to Harsol, where they stayed for 10 days, after which they went to the Panpur relief camp just outside Himmatnagar. Bashiran Shamsuben was refused treatment at Talod civil hospital, and had to be taken to a hospital in Modasa for treatment. This group of Muslims from Talod were unable to recognise the attackers. They did not complain to the police. They had not gone back to Talod since the attack.


The Tribunal recorded 31 testimonies and statements from witnesess residing in Himmatnagar, the district headquarters. The Godhra incident occurred on February 27. By 9 a.m. on the morning of February 28, VHP/BJP leaders with lists of Muslim-owned establishments had arrived all the way from Bhavnagar, a 6-hour journey from Himmatnagar. A large mob was organised, which systematically went about looting and burning Muslim shops, factories and showrooms, all of which were closed for the bandh. In all, 232 establishments were burnt in Himmatnagar town. Eyewitnesses state that most of the main perpetrators of the arson were outsiders, though local VHP members did participate in the attacks. The shops burnt included the grand showroom of Harsoliya Motors owned by Bohras, who have been in Himmatnagar for 9 generations. This is the first time that they have faced such an attack.

The attackers were intent on following, quite literally, the directions that they had been given. For instance, Raj Auto Traders on Dahod Road, owned by a Hindu from Godhra, was set on fire since a Muslim partner was mentioned in the list. They did not listen to onlookers, who pleaded that it was indeed Hindu-owned. Similarly, a soft drink factory, earlier owned by a Muslim, Saleembhai, but recently bought by a Kutchi Patel, was burnt down, despite the owner’s pleas, since the factory was marked as Muslim-owned. Some of the Muslim shop owners and factory owners who suffered losses have gone to court to get their own complaints filed as FIRs. The police have not yet complied with the court directions to do so.

By mid-March, just as communal tension was beginning to ebb, an incident led to escalation of tension in the entire region. On March 19, Kamlesh Patel, a local youth, parked his scooter outside a Bohra shop, went to the market, and then simply disappeared. His body was found on March 21, a short distance away from Himmatnagar. The Bohra shop owner was picked up for questioning and wild rumours that Muslims had killed Kamlesh Patel started circulating. The VHP made this into a big issue, held many meetings, and fanned communal tension. Several prominent Muslims in the town wanted a thorough investigation to get to the root of the matter. This was, however, not done and rumours and communal tensions continue to fester. There was a surfeit of circulars distributed in Himmatnagar, advocating the boycott of Muslims. On March 20, a dargah near the Markaz was set ablaze and a mob gathered there shouting ‘Jai Ram!’. At 11.45 p.m. a caller informed people that the SP had reached the sight and was able to bring the situation under control. Maulvi Yusuf Islampuri and Mufti Ghulam Mohammad Patel of Himmatnagar presented their fervent appeal for aid and assistance, describing in detail and quantifying the unprecedented losses suffered by the Muslim population of Sabarkantha district.


Witness Mohammed Hanief (45) from Salal village, Prantij taluka, is the owner of a grocery store. This is a small village of 8,000-10,000, with 20 Muslim families. On February 28, Muslim shops were closed but at about 10 a.m., a mob of about 500-700 came and they first torched a hotel on the highway, Sarvoday Hotel.

The witness and his family were in their houses. There are two parts to the village, the market area and the general area. Muslims live in the market area and when Sarvoday Hotel was attacked, they called 5-7 people from the village. The villagers assured them that they would have no problems as the villagers would protect them. Hence, they were not worried.

Then, at 6 p.m., the brother of the witness, Valibhai Ibrahimbhai Memon, was attacked. His wife was burnt alive. Valibhai’s was the first house to be attacked. The attackers wanted him to say ‘Jai Ram’. Then, they started beating up Valibhai. His two sons tried to save him and they beat them up also. They told them that if they wanted to live, they should run away from there. The whole family ran towards the witness’ house, which is a little further away, and took refuge in a mosque, which is next to the witness’ house.

From there, Valibhai called the witness to say that the situation was serious. He described how they were beaten up and mentioned that his wife was missing. It was then that 15 Muslim families got together and ran towards the village. At about 7.30 p.m., they took shelter in a Rajput house, that of Prahlad Parmar. They stayed there the whole night. Parmar protected them and gave them food.

On the morning of March 1, their relatives in Himmatnagar informed the police station and the police took them to Himmatnagar. The nephews of the witness have identified the assailants and have named them in the FIR. Among the assailants, there were many from the village and a few from another village. Many of them were from the Patel community.

In Himmatnagar, the people with whom the witness and his family stayed owned two trucks. The witness’ brother kept calling the drivers on March 1 and 2, to find out about his wife. The family thought that she might have been hiding in the village. On March 3, the family registered a complaint with the police. On March 6, the police informed the family that they had found a dead body in the house of the witness. The police van came to pick them up in Himmatnagar, where there had been indefinite curfew since March 1, and hence, it had not been possible for the family to go to the village. The witness’ cousin recognised the dead woman from the ‘payal’ (anklets) on her feet. Her name was Jubeidaben. She had been burnt alive. In addition, two others were burnt alive from this village.

The ironical thing about the testimony of this witness is that he said that he was the leader of the minority cell of the BJP. On the night of February 27, at 11 p.m., the BJP’s vice-chief of the taluka, Rajubhai Patel, who lives in the village and is a member of the district panchayat, woke the witness up and told him that he had been informed by higher ups in the state cabinet, that there was going to be a lot of trouble the next day, and he, therefore, advised the witness to run away during the night.

The witness asked him how he could just run away like that when he had lived there for 50 years and had property there? Rajubhai told the witness that he would not be able to do anything for him. The witness’ younger brother owns a TV and electronic repair shop and Rajubhai had called him over on February 27, at 5 p.m., for repair of his TV. While the witness’ brother was there, Rajubhai was talking about all this on the telephone. He said that a call for a Gujarat bandh the next day had been given by BJP and they would torch all the Muslim shops in the village and that if there were anyone left alive, he too would be torched.

The witness and his family had been living in a relief camp in Himmatnagar, and until May 5, when they deposed before the Tribunal, although two months had passed since the incident, they had not been able to go back to the village because they had been threatened. Once or twice, they had tried to go and see their homes and properties but they had received threats. Some BJP Hindus had even put up cabins in front of their property. All the Muslim families have been out of the village and they felt strongly that the Hindus were trying to take possession of Muslim property.


Rafikbhai Janmohammed Memon is the witness from Bhiloda taluka town, who deposed before the Tribunal. On February 28, at 10 a.m., the witness’ neighbour, Arjunbhai Panjabi, came and informed him that shops were being looted in the market. When they called the police, they were told, "Well, this is bound to happen". After about an hour, all the Muslim shops had been looted. All day there were shouts of "Kill, slaughter."The BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and police (Jhala was the PSI, Chawda was the CPI - circle police inspector) and mamlatdar Waghela, all of them were in it together.

Many victim-survivors who deposed before the Tribunal described how they made desperate calls to everyone in the police station. In response, inspector Chawda said that it was the Muslims’ turn next! This was at about 7 p.m. Then, the witness called the SP of Sabarkantha, Nitiraj Solanki on 4733 and on his mobile phone. He said, "You must protect yourself, we cannot do anything, we have no police." At 8 p.m., they called the SP again saying, "The Bajrang Dal and the VHP have been pelting us with stones for the past hour." The witness also stated that a meeting of about 500-700 persons was held at a school opposite the witness’ house. There are 7 Muslim houses in their area. At about 8.30 p.m., the mob came and threw stones at them. There was a policeman standing there. The witness and his family locked themselves in their house. But the mob broke down their iron grill with steel angles. About 12 to 13 persons entered the house and started vandalising everything.

The witness came out from a side door and found CPI Chawda standing near a van. He started running but Chawda saw the witness and started shouting, "Catch him, don’t let him escape, he is to be burnt alive." After breaking everything, they sprinkled petrol in the house. Some people ran after the witness, but he went to their jamaat khana — community hall — while his children and wife ran towards their locality in the village, where there were 20-30 Muslim houses.

The other 6 families also went to the jamaatkhana with the witness and waited there with him. CPI Chawda was waiting there with his jeep and a constable, Divaji, was also there. Petrol and kerosene cans had been readied. There were 11 other persons, including Gunvantbhai Bhagwandas Trivedi, a BJP member. They were saying, "He is to be burnt alive". The witness named sarpanch Rupesh Trivedi, RSS pracharak (propagator/worker), Prabhudas Lalabhai Patel and 8 other people. Prabhudas Patel is the joint secretary of the RSS for Banaskantha and Sabarkantha.

The witness and others heard CPI Chawda saying some Muslims were hiding upstairs. They came up to the second floor carrying a gas cylinder, which they had brought along in a van and which they set on fire. CPI Chawda also said that not a single house should be spared.

Subsequently, the witness’ family ran to their relatives, who live in the village, and immediately thereafter, went to the police station to meet the PSI. He bluntly said, "We have received orders from above and we cannot take your complaint." The witness warned that he would go to the SP and the PSI replied, ‘You can go wherever you want to.’ The witness took a deputation from the village to SP Nitiraj Solanki and told him everything. Solanki himself said, "I am VHP and not SP". The witness warned of complaining to higher ups and he was once again told, "Go wherever you want to." The witness repeatedly told him that he was siding with the VHP and the Bajrang Dal — and pleaded with him to at least record his FIR. He said, "You can go wherever you want to but I will not take your FIR." The FIR had not been registered until as late as May, when the witness made his deposition. Copies of the witness’ complaint had been sent to the President of India, the National Human Rights Commission, the SP, collector, mamlatdar and the taluka PSI. However, no arrests had been made until May, nor was there any response to his complaints.

The witness was staying in a relief camp in Himmatnagar with his family all in a state of terror. They did not go anywhere out of fear for their lives. They could not go back to the village because their house had been destroyed and they believed that, with the trust broken, the police was set to kill them.

Witness Makrana Asiyaben Shaikh Mohammed, who deposed before the Tribunal is from Kisangadh village in Bhiloda taluka. She said that there are 15 Muslim houses in Kisangadh and that Muslims had been living there for the last 60-70 years. On March 1, at about 8 p.m., 3,000- 4,000 persons came in vehicles, with swords and other things. Some were from the village and the others were outsiders. They were shouting, "Kill, slaughter!" and were set on looting. They had swords, sickles, chemicals and kerosene cans with them. They started throwing chemicals whereupon the walls of the buildings became black and then started burning.

They pelted Muslims with stones. Two-three Muslims were killed and the witness was hurt in one or two places. They ran to the house of the Darbar, Vikramsingh Thakore, who sheltered Muslims. But someone told the crowd that Muslims were hiding there and then the crowd harassed them the whole night. Thakore tried to save Muslims but he had nothing with which to fight back.

He called Bhiloda village and informed them that 72 Muslims were trapped in Kisangadh and that they should come and take them away. As the people from Bhiloda, including the witness’ brother, tried to make their way to Kisangadh, the road was blocked so they could not reach the village. At 5 p.m., the mob went away and the victims then walked to Bhiloda. They were barefoot and they had to cover their children’s mouths so that they would not cry. Finally, they reached Bhiloda police station and there, they were told that unless they left quickly, they would be attacked again.

They pleaded with the police to do their job and protect them and asked the police to escort them to Idar. They were told, however, that they must leave. The police officers, Jhala and Chawda said that they had received orders from above three days ago, so the Muslims must just go away.

So the victims carried on walking and reached Bhilodi. Here the Patels spread rumours that they had come to attack the village. They were driven out, and walked through the night without any food until they finally reached Idar, where they were given shelter in the camp. All their belongings and property were destroyed, including the graveyard where the mob had set fire inside the graves as well. As late as May, when she deposed before the Tribunal, the witness had not received any compensation.

There are 15 Mansoori houses, in another village of Idar taluka. The village had 10 shops and one mosque. The village has a population of 2,000 Hindus in the village. Mansoori Rasoolbhai Rehmanbhai, a resident of the village, deposed before the Tribunal. He stated that on February 28, at 6:30 a.m., he opened his shop. Suddenly, a mob came to his shop, which is the first in the row of shops, and one of them caught the witness by the collar and threw him down. He tried to stand up. They told him to close his shop and go to the bus stand. He agreed and closed his shop, but went home over the hill instead of going to the bus stand. That night passed off peacefully.

On March 1, at 8 p.m. a mob of about 500-700 came to the village. The witness and his family was just sitting down to dinner. They torched his house and shop and then they torched all the other shops in the village as well as the 15 other houses. The witness and his family escaped narrowly and went up the hill and hid — men, women and children. The mob came looking for them twice but they could not find them. After the mob went away, they walked to the nearby Adivasi settlement, which they reached at 3 a.m.

They spent the night there and at 8 a.m. the next morning, they started walking towards Sabri relief camp, which they reached at 2 p.m., having gone without food or water for all this time. When they tried to go back, they were told not to return. They saw that their houses had been completely burnt down — nothing was left. All 15 houses and 10 shops had been burnt to the ground. All the goods in the shops and the household goods had been looted.

The witness sent a written complaint to the police by registered AD, mentioning the names of the people involved in the attack. He was given a compensation of Rs. 25,000 for his house. Depending on the extent of damage to houses, people received varying amounts of compensation, ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 50,000, though he estimated his loss due to the damage to his shop and home at approximately Rs. 12 lakh. The witness had no idea where he would go when the camp closed down. He had been threatened with his life if he returned to his village. The aggressors also said that he would not be allowed to do any (work) business there. His poignant question to the Tribunal was, ‘then what should I do?’


The Tribunal recorded the testimony of the imam of the local mosque in a village in Vijaynagar. On February 27, at 10 p.m., the uncle and son of the witness were in their shop — they have about 4-5 shops in the village. They called him to say that they had been surrounded by an unruly mob, which was shouting, "Kill, slaughter!" When the witness asked who they were, he was told that they were all Bajrang Dal people and many of them were their regular customers. His uncle and cousin recognised about 15-17 people in the crowd and named them. The father and son did not know what to do. At this point, they broke contact with the witness. The next morning the witness found out that the shop had been burnt, with both father and son inside it.

When the witness and others went there the next morning, they saw the two corpses lying in the burnt shop. At first, no one came out from the village. Then, the witness, along with others, went to Vijaynagar and brought the police with them. They were recording the panchnama when a crowd gathered and started throwing stones at them. They were threatening to kill them too, and said that they would not allow them to take the corpses away from there. However, they somehow managed to escape and take the corpses to Vijaynagar for post-mortem examinations and for the panchnama to be recorded.

PSI PT Panchal told them that this was the last statement he would record. While the witness and others were trying to flee with the corpses, they were stopped in several places and had to take diversions. After meeting the SP, the witness gave the police his statement, mentioning several names, but no arrests were made. Some 30-35 people were arrested, but when he called the police to inquire if any of the people named by him were amongst them, he was told that he had no right to ask such questions.

He said that those arrested were treated like VIPs and felicitated. Air-coolers were sent to the jail in Himmatnagar. All those he had named in the FIR were still moving around with naked swords as late as May. Muslims from Vijaynagar could not even go and check out their shops, which had all been burnt. The FIR was filed under section 395 for looting, but Panchal cancelled it and made it sections 433 and 436 (destruction of public property) so no arrests were made. The compensation this witness received amounted to a few hundred rupees whereas his losses amounted to a few lakh rupees.


The owner of Hotel Asopalav, on the Sabarmati highway in Asad village, Viroda taluka, also deposed before the Tribunal. At about 11 p.m. on the night of February 27, a local doctor came to the witness’ house and asked him if his hotel was safe. When the witness replied in the affirmative, the doctor wondered aloud how his hotel remained untouched when so many others had been burnt. Then, he went away only to return to the witness’ hotel with some men in his jeep. He then told the witness’ assistant that he was going to set fire to the hotel.

The assistant and the other people staying there realised that their lives were in danger so they ran to a factory opposite the hotel. They called their employer, who then called the SP. The SP advised him to call Shamlaji police station. When he called there, it was about midnight. There was a constable there, who told the witness that he was alone, and could not do anything. He advised him to call the collector. The witness then called the collector who told the witness that he would keep calling the police station and that he should also keep doing the same till such time as help arrived. They did not get any help at night. The next morning, he got a call to say that both the STD booth and the hotel had been looted but no major damage had been done.

Then, on March 1, after the Friday prayers, he got a call from a family member informing that a mob of 400 to 500 persons had collected at the hotel. He immediately called the collector but the collector wasn’t there. Then, he called the police control room. The CRP force was there but they did not help at all. The mob looted and then burnt the hotel. The witness had opened the hotel just 8-9 months previously, it had cost him Rs. 70 lakh to set up and he was astounded. It had yet to start making profits.

His men were trapped near the hotel, in the nearby jungle, so he called the collector and asked him to provide protection so as to enable him to rescue his men. His men remained in hiding for 3 days, and only then, with the help of the highway police they managed to come out. Two months later, they had still not received any police protection. In Sabarkantha, all the Chillia hotels — the Chillia group had a reputation in the area for running good hotels — were burnt and looted. Many of the business partners had sold their farmland and invested in these hotels.

The collector called the witness and told him that he could get another loan to rebuild the hotel. The witness replied that he had already taken a loan on which he was paying an interest of about Rs. 30,000 per month. How could he pay interest on a new loan? His urgent plea to the Tribunal was that all such affected persons be given long-term loans with no interest.

Another problem they faced was that they had been unable to return. Where could they rebuild their lives? When the victims had gone to register an FIR on March 8, a general FIR had already been made out. The victims told the police that their FIR listed names — they had recognised people and there were eyewitnesses to the crimes. They were told that the two FIRs would be combined and the persons named arrested. In May, when the Tribunal sat, these arrests had still not been made. The witness strongly felt that the only reason groups like the RSS/BJP/VHP and BD could be so brazen about their crimes was because they were sure of police support in subverting the process of justice. When the witness said as much to the SP, the SP told him that he was wrongly accusing him. The witness replied that the situation in Gujarat was such that people felt that they could kill whomsoever they wanted because the police was not going to do anything to them; if you wanted to burn a shop, burn it, the police was not going to do anything to anyone. It was because there was no fear of punitive action that they were blatantly doing what they were doing.


Deposing before the Tribunal, witness Nasreenbano Raiskhan Pathan from Mujethi village, said that on March 1, the deputy sarpanch of Mujethi village, Idar taluka, gathered Muslims together and assured them that they were safe and that no harm would come to them. But at about 7.20 p.m., they were suddenly told by a mob that they should run away or they would be killed. The crowd included Adivasis and villagers as well as the deputy sarpanch, who had come with them. The deputy sarpanch gave the Adivasis liquor and they attacked Muslims.

They chased Muslims out who went and hid in the school where the villagers cooked for them, but they were chased away from there as well. They went to the sarpanch and asked him to help but he refused and told them to flee. They did that, going to the house of a Darbar elder (Bade Darbar), who helped them. However, he was also threatened for helping them, so he used his influence to get the victims a police van and a tempo, and all 120 Muslims got into the vehicles and escaped. The mob threw some chemicals on their houses and burnt them. The government has given residents amounts varying from Rs. 800-1500 as compensation for what they have lost. The witness said that when Muslims went back to their village, the villagers told them to go away. They also spread rumours that Muslims were going there to poison the wells. When some Muslims returned, two Adivasis told them that the whole thing had been done by the deputy sarpanch and the villagers, not Adivasis.

Witness Sadikbhai Rahimbhai Mansoori (40) is from another village in Idar taluka. He said that he was asleep at home at 11 a.m. on February 28, when the peon from the panchayat came and told him that the sarpanch had sent for him. So he went to the panchayat. The sarpanch, Dhanjibhai Patel and a few others were sitting there. All of them were armed and as soon as the witness entered, the peon pushed him and the witness fell down. The sarpanch started abusing him, saying that he had told the witness not to build his house in the village and yet he had built one. The witness explained how with great difficulty he had got a loan and then built his house. They started beating him but the witness managed to break away and ran home. The name of the sarpanch is Kantibhai Hiralal Patel and the other men present with him were: Jayantibhai Patel, Nalinbhai Bhogilal Mehta, Devarkumar Chandrakant Tulsi and Saratkumar Kantilal Doshi.

The witness locked himself inside his house. In the afternoon a mob of several hundreds came. They broke down the door and he ran to his brother’s house across the road. From there, he watched as that they took out all the things from his house. They threw some things in the well and they took away the rest in an HMT tractor (the number plates had been removed). The witness said that the things were still lying in the well, two months later, and that the police refused to take a complaint. The surveyor said that he had not seen the house, so what would he survey? The police refused to take an FIR and had told him to effect a compromise. They even threatened the witness with his life. The police tore up the witness’ report. He was not allowed to enter his house and the attempt seemed to be to falsify the surveyor’s report and snatch his legitimate property from him.

Another witness from the same village, Iqbalbhai Rahim Mansoori, described how on February 28, at 5 p.m., members of the gram panchayat along with the sarpanch, Kantibhai Patel, came to their house with a mob. They carried swords, knives and rifles. They told them to leave the village and chased the witness and others from the village. Then they came from the other side with a tractor with one Jayantibhai and another person in it. At first, when the witness heard the sound of the tractor, he thought it was someone passing by, but as they got off the tractor, he realised that they had come to kill the Muslims. The witness put his mother over his shoulder and fled from there with the others. They hid in the nearby wheat field for 5 hours. The mob came looking for the victim-survivors, and even made barking sounds, and fired their guns. Two young daughters of the witness had to have their mouths held shut so that they would not give their hiding place away. They were thus kept quiet until 11 p.m. The witness’ children had been without water or food since 5 p.m. when they had left their homes to flee. If they asked for water, their father would slap them. Then, at 1.30 p.m. he put his mother over his shoulder again and left with his two girls, until he reached the refugee camp.

This witness said that Suryakant Joshi, the BJP taluka leader, refused to listen to the complaints and said, "Don’t go to the police station, because if you do you will be killed." The witness was unable to visit his sister, who lived near the police station. He has not been able to visit her at all. The villagers have told him that if he wants to come back to the village, he must remove the names of key leaders mentioned in his complaints. They threatened to sell off his land and destroy his well if he did not comply. They had already cut the wheat belonging to the witness and sold it off.

The Tribunal recorded the testimony of Kaderbhai Memon, a social worker, who also ran the refugee camp at Himmatnagar. This witness complained bitterly of the treatment of camps and camp leaders by the government. (See Annexure on Status of Relief Camps, Detailed Annexures, Volume III).

A hotel in Himmatnagar, called Bombay Hotel, was attacked by a mob of 3,000. The owner begged them to go away, pleading for his life. He said, "Why are you doing this to me, I have always helped you in so many ways." They did not listen to him and started pelting him with stones and damaged the hotel. So the owner started firing at them in self-defence. In the firing some minor injuries occurred and he was arrested under section 307. After his arrest, his hotel was torched. Two months later, he had not been granted bail even by the High Court. He had a licence for the gun. Eight people from the mob had tried to torch his hotel and he had fired at them. This is one more example of the obvious discriminatory treatment meted out to Muslims in Gujarat.

Some people’s showrooms were being robbed and the witness and the others in the camp called the SP. He was on the highway near Motipura, where a shop was being looted. The kingpins behind the attacks in this district could be easily identified from the complaints filed by victims. Though inspector Chauhan first arrested 5 persons who were named, they were released because they were not charged with any serious offence.

As communities, Adivasis and Harijans are very poor so some of them are tempted towards theft. But many members from the 2 communities as well as the Rajputs, saved thousands of Muslims — they gave them shelter in their homes for as long as 10 days and fed them.

Jagdish Taral, a VHP leader from Khhedbrahma personally intervened and stopped reconciliatory measures launched by the collector in Sabarkantha. This happened in the presence of Ranajit Sinh Naharsingh Chawda, elected MLA from Himmatnagar and minister of state for cottage industries in the Gujarat government. When attempts were being made to take victim-survivors back to the villages, some of the young men there, said, "We do not want any Muslims in the village." In the presence of minister Chawda, the collector and the SP, Taral said, "In 1947, Muslims killed so many Hindus, now the Muslims have to pay for it. If they want to return, it is at their own risk but we will not allow Vohras to come, only the Mansooris can come." And so they were trying to create divisions amongst the Muslims.

The witness stated that the ongoing law and order situation in the district was very bad. The collector and the SP of the district had not controlled the situation anywhere and should be asked if they had managed to save even one Muslim establishment in Himmatnagar. There were Muslim shops at the crossroads only 100 meters away from where the collector and SP live, in an area, which they pass frequently. Forty-eight Muslim shops were burnt there, not even a bidi shop was spared, but they did not try to put out the fires anywhere.

There isn’t a single instance where they called the mobile (van) so that the fires may be put out. The only recourse that Muslims have is the law. But even there one has seen the few culprits who were arrested go scot-free. Members of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal used to move around with the police in their vans. Shops would be burning for as long as 4 days and the SP would be do nothing.

State minister from Himmatnagar, Ranajitsingh Chawda, aided by Jagdish Taral, the vitriolic VHP leader from Khhedbrahma, who was named for mass-scale destruction in August 2000, were directly involved in the violence this time round as well. Witness Kaderbhai Memon, who deposed before the Tribunal, stated that both Chawda and Taral would sit in the premises of the Bombay Hotel, which was ultimately destroyed at their behest, and conduct operations from there. Chawda would point at a shop or house on the map and ask why it had been spared and why their people were not doing anything about it.

After the first bout of violence that started on February 27, on the night of March 9, Modasa town witnessed the worst ever arson and plunder of the Muslim community. On the morning of March 19, three young Muslim girls, who were returning from a school examination, were molested. They were asked why they had not applied teeka (vermilion) on their foreheads. As punishment, they were stabbed. When the Tribunal sat in May, they were still under treatment at the local hospital. Two persons, Abdul Rahman and Nizam Husain Imam were burnt alive here. Kirat Shah Ballabhbhai and Jagdeesh Gandhi, chairman, Modasa Nagrik Co-op. Bank, are reported to have attacked children. Khhedbrahma village had to be vacated by its Muslim inhabitants under coercion. A board renaming it, ‘Hindu Nagri’ (‘Hindu Town’) was fixed on its bus stand declaring the village out of bounds for Muslims.


Published by: Citizens for Justice and Peace