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

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Incidents of Post-Godhra violence


The Tribunal visited Vadodara and its surroundings between May 8-13, 2002 and recorded detailed evidence of the violence in these places. During the same period, the Tribunal also paid a field visit to Ankleshwar and Bharuch and conducted detailed investigations there. Vadodara is barely two hours from Godhra, where 58 persons had been killed in the torching of coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express on February 27.

The violence in Vadodara city occurred in three distinct phases. The first phase, which started on February 27 itself, lasted until March 2, with the worst incident having taken place on March 1, when 14 persons were burnt alive at the Best Bakery in Hanuman Tekri. Thereafter, there was violence between March 15-20 and, following this, between April 25-May 2, with some incidents taking place in the intervening period, on March 25.

In terms of loss of life, the incidents in Vadodara do not compare with Ahmedabad. However, assaults on Muslims living in different pockets of the city, especially those inflicted by the police of Vadodara, were widespread. The most shocking aspect was the violence and sexual misconduct of the Vadodara police directed at Muslims in several places, particularly in the two latter phases of the violence. Sexual abuse and threats were a common feature of police behaviour. Numerous witnesses, who were victims of the most unspeakable brutalities by policemen from different police stations in Vadodara, deposed before the Tribunal. Many had serious injuries on their person, inflicted by drunken policemen who beat them mercilessly. From the accounts of the numerous witnesses who appeared before the Tribunal, the police emerge as the worst perpetrators of atrocities against Muslims, in general, and Muslim women, in particular, as far as Vadodara city is concerned.

Soon after February 28, a patrika (pamphlet) was widely circulated among Vadodara’s Hindus, exhorting them to an economic boycott of Muslims: "Don’t give them work, don’t sit in their autos and don’t buy anything from their shops." The anonymous pamphlet appeared to have had its effect on the ground. When the situation improved and Muslims started returning to work, their employers told them not to come to work any more. Many of those who deposed before the Tribunal said Muslim employees were dismissed from service after being told by their bosses, "If we employ you, it causes problems for us; so you can’t work here." Those who thus lost their jobs were schoolteachers, as well as women working in nursing homes, shops, hardware stores, etc. A lady teacher employed by Navratan School was told she couldn’t keep her job on any longer, "You are a Muslim, so don’t come back here." In another case, the doctors in charge of a nursing home informed the parents of an employee that they should not send her to work any longer.

Phase I: Feb 27-March 2

Tension built up from February 27 itself, when a Muslim bystander was stabbed in the presence of the police after the return of the kar sevaks in the Sabarmati Express. By the evening of February 28, vulnerable Muslim pockets in different parts of the city were targeted for attack.


Around 120 Muslim homes were destroyed at Kisanwadi after residents’ belongings were looted. There was no loss of life here, thanks largely to the efforts of Ramdas Pillai, who kept them safe through the night, and at great risk to himself, reached them to the Quraish Jamaat Khana the next day. (See section on Evidence—Witnesses, Volume I). About 500 Muslims took shelter with the Pillais that night. A builder by profession, Pillai and his wife Lakshmiben, his brother and a friend named Kanubhai opened their doors to the Muslims of Kisanwadi. Together they, along with an autorickshaw driver and a tractor owner, Mohanbhai Savalia, helped to whisk the Muslim residents of Kisanwadi away to safety. Were it not for their timely removal from Kisanwadi, the murderous mob may well have burnt them alive in the very tractors that were used to whisk them away.

The attacks started on the evening of February 28, when a mob shouting, "Destroy their shops! Kill them!" pounced on Muslim homes, shops and vehicles. Several witnesses from the area who deposed before the Tribunal said that about 100-150 people who appeared, armed with swords, sickles, etc. could be easily recognised as workers of the Bajrang Dal, whose office was located nearby. The mobs made repeated trips to Muslim houses, looting or destroying whatever they could lay their hands on: vessels, clothes, tape recorders, TVs, refrigerators.

A young witness from Kisanwadi, whose home and family belongings were looted, told the Tribunal that her mother had been assaulted and was badly injured. The mother was in no condition to go to work any more, her brother and father had both lost their jobs, at Kirit Hotel and Gurukul Vidyalaya respectively, and the entire burden of the family had fallen on her. She herself had not returned to work at the clinic where she was employed out of fear, since residents of Kisanwadi were still being threatened with dire consequences; young women, in particular, were threatened with rape.

In his testimony before the Tribunal, Pillai said that even two months after Kisanwadi’s Muslims were forced to flee their homes, the situation continued to be grim. The local goons were still stealing whatever little was left of Muslim homes — doors, tin roofs, etc. There was no safety for the Muslims who might want to come back. The terror-stricken Muslims themselves told the Tribunal they needed land in some other place to rebuild their lives. No political representative of any party had visited the victims, not even the local Muslim councillor.

And the police was of little help. Following some token arrests, the accused, along with the local police, had been pressurising the Muslims to withdraw their complaints. According to Pillai’s testimony, on April 4, PI Kanani picked up his brother, Krishnamurthy Swaminathan, on a false pretext, and subsequently arrested him on charges of attempt to murder (section 307). While Muslim complainants insisted that Swaminathan was, in fact, one of those who had saved them, police officer JD Rana was pressurising them to name Swaminathan as an accused!

The Ajwa area, close to Kisanwadi, was also severely affected in the post-Godhra violence.

Sama Area

The Sama area of Vadodara is a relatively new part of the city with a predominantly Hindu population. This area had not experienced disturbances in earlier communal riots in the city. During the Gujarat carnage, however, there were a series of incidents where Muslim homes, businesses were looted and torched.

It is in this area that on the morning of February 28, a mob of around 20 people attacked the residence of Prof. JS Bandukwala, a well-known and respected figure in Vadodara and an active member of the PUCL, who has consistently opposed both Hindu and Muslim religious fanaticism over the years. Prof. Bandukwala and his daughter managed to take shelter in the house of their Hindu neighbours. But one car in his compound was completely burnt and the other damaged by the mob. The attackers fled after about 10 minutes, when people from the neighbourhood came out onto the road. However, on the following day, March 1, a bigger mob armed with gas cylinders among other weaponry, launched a second assault and succeeded in torching Bandukwala’s house. When the fire brigade arrived to put out the fire, they were prevented from doing so by the mob. The Hindu neighbours of Prof. Bandukwala, who had sheltered the people trapped in his house, went into hiding for three or four days, fearing an attack for having sheltered their Muslim neighbour. After their return home, they were "interrogated" about why they had been so helpful to Muslims.

On the evening of February 28, a few persons living in Sama went to meet the BJP’s local municipal councillor, Pradip Joshi, to appeal to him for peace in the area. Joshi raved and ranted about the "unpatriotic" and "criminal nature" of the Muslim community, "their habit of abducting Hindu girls", and dwelt on the desirability of Muslims going and living in "their own areas". He also produced a list, to show how in the recent Assembly by-election, Muslim localities had voted against the BJP. Joshi spent some time describing how he had earlier dealt with Muslim "anti-socials" from Navayard. (Navayard saw serious attacks on Muslims in the days to follow.) On being repeatedly asked whether he could assure residents that there would be no further violence in the area, he replied that he could not do so. One of his associates explained that what had happened that day (February 28) was "only a sample", and that it was better to be prepared for what would follow the next day.

Madhavnagar II

March 1 saw more intense rioting activity, with larger, well-prepared mobs roaming the streets, looting and burning Muslim shops and houses. In Madhavnagar II, near Abhilasha Chowki, though a Hindu friend of the Safree family helped them escape, the mob attacked their house, taking everything they could carry, including cash, jewellery, clothes and electrical gadgets, before setting the house on fire. Later the same day, Amin Transport, the business owned by Abdulrrehman Safree, at Maruti Complex, was also broken into, looted and burnt. The house was left to smoulder for three days. When the family visited their house many days later, they found their neighbours and friends of many years distant, unresponsive, and inclined to disassociate from them and all that had transpired. The Safrees have since been seriously thinking of relocating to a Muslim neighbourhood.

Ashabibi Ni Chawl

A large mob shouting "Maaro Mian ko!" ("Kill the Muslims!") attacked the Ashabibi Ni Chawl, a mixed locality of pardesis (outsiders, Hindus and Muslims from UP). Despite frantic calls, the police failed to arrive. But residents of the chawl, both Hindu and Muslim, repulsed the attack. Witnesses deposing before the Tribunal named BJP councillor Joshi as the main instigator of the attack. Around 25 men from Ashabibi Ni Chawl suffered injuries; two with head injuries were admitted to Narhari Hospital in Fatehgunj, where they were treated and discharged. The 300 or so Muslim residents (40-odd families) fled the area and took shelter in the Kamatipura area of Fatehgunj. At Ashabibi Ni Chawl, the police, when they did arrive, fired two shots at the residents who were under attack, rather than at the mobs. Mobs were allowed to disperse without any attempt to arrest any of the attackers.

Sama area remained free from major incidents during the latter phase of violence. However, a certain level of tension was maintained for several weeks through the continuous circulation of rumours that armed Muslims were about to attack. In none of the incidents of violence did the police intervene in time. Calls to the police station went unanswered, or callers were told that the police was unable to attend to them, or, in one case, even that they must "reap the rewards of Godhra." Where help was promised, it arrived late. The police were also seen hobnobbing with mob leaders such as the BJP’s Pradip Joshi.

Makarpura area

The Bajrang Dal and the VHP set up an office in Indira Nagar, a mixed settlement in the Makarpura area, on the evening of February 27. In the attacks launched on Muslims the following night, Hindu neighbours actively participated and the large-scale destruction of homes and properties was systematic and thorough. Attacks in Makarpura area continued for three days but the police did not respond to repeated and frantic calls from the trapped Muslims. On the contrary, six Muslims were killed in police firing.

Later, when Muslims went to the Makarpura Teenlata police station to complain, they were told point blank that no complaints from Muslims would be entertained, nor any police protection be provided.

The following night, even as a local social worker (who deposed before the Tribunal requesting anonymity) was escorting Muslims out of Indira Nagar, one Farroukhbhai Samoosawala was killed by the mob. On March 2, the Hindu residents of Vanejagaon (where many Muslim residents of Makarpura had been moved) took the help of Hindus from the neighbouring localities to loot and then burn down all 150 Muslim houses there.

Muslims fleeing Vanejagaon were walking along the Highway when they were set upon by a mob in a nearby village. Those caught were killed and then thrown into raging flames to be burnt. According to the social worker, Bipin Patel, a resident of the village and a local Bajrang Dal/VHP leader, was instigating the 500-600 strong mob. "If an investigation is carried out even now, the remains of Muslim victims will be found strewn in the fields even now," he told the Tribunal in the second week of May. In addition to the lives lost, about 500 Muslim houses were looted and subsequently destroyed in the Makarpura area. Among those affected were several Muslim families, each of whom had lost properties worth several lakh rupees.

The social worker, who deposed before the Tribunal, said that when he went to the police station to lodge a complaint on February 28, he found two local BJP leaders, Lakhawala and Brahmbhatt, already sitting there. He was told in front of the policemen that the BJP did not want any Muslims in Vanejagaon and that they could forget about police protection.

Whenever the social worker took the Muslims to the police station to lodge FIRs, the police would say, "Why are you leading them, you just mind your own business." When the Muslims go to lodge FIRs, they would be told that complaints would be lodged only if no names of the accused were mentioned. Muslims were also told that they would get no help in this connection, even if they went right up to Delhi. Finally, they registered some complaints, keeping out all the names of the accused. An assistant commissioner of police was named by the social worker for acting as an informant of Hindu aggressors and also getting innocent Muslims arrested.


The victims of Audhootnagar, Makarpura who had taken refuge in a relief camp went to check out the state of their houses under the protection of PSI Varecha, two junior officers and four constables on March 17. They were in their homes, trying to retrieve some of their belongings, when a mob of 5-6,000 set upon them. Witnesses told the Tribunal, "The police just sat there instead of defending us… PSI Varecha actually said to the mob, ‘Dus minute mein sab patado’ (‘You have 10 minutes to do your job’). He did not use any tear gas or fire to disperse the mob. The mob attacked us with pipes, swords and dharias (sickles) but we received no protection from the police. Munna Bhai (25-year-old) and Mushtaq Ahmed Nisar Ahmed (45-year-old) were killed." Niraj Jain (VHP mahamantri), Kaushik Shah, Shailesh Mehta (deputy mayor), Jatin Vyas (Bajrang Dal), Nagarjuna (from Ajwa Road), Jayesh Bhatt, Ajay Dave, Raju were identified as leading the assailants while PSI Varecha, two junior officers and four constables were blamed for their culpable negligence.

Tarsali area

Raghovpura is a village of about 100 families, Hindu and Muslim in almost equal number, about 12 kms from Tarsali, off the Vadodara-Mumbai Highway (NH 8). Out of a total of 41 houses belonging to Muslims, 36 houses and the masjid, along with two buildings belonging to the masjid, were burnt down by a 500 strong, armed mob late night on March 1. The families targeted were well-off agriculturists who collectively lost property estimated at Rs. 80 lakh.

The Tribunal recorded detailed evidence about this incident. In the afternoon of March 1, Subhashbhai Mafatbhai Chota, a local Bajrang Dal leader held a meeting in his village, Patarveni, adjacent to Raghovpura. A large number of villagers attended the meeting, including many from Raghovpura, Two of them, Hindu friends of Muslim boys from their village, returned to Raghovpura and warned Mubarak Bhai that plans were being made to burn Muslim houses. When informed, PSI Vadalia from Varnama who was posted in the village along with two police constables since that morning, told the Muslims, "Don’t worry, we are here."

But when a mob numbering 400-500 launched an assault later that night, Vadalia and the two constables acted as their accomplices. Shouting slogans like "Miya ne kapo!" ("Kill the Muslims!"; "Miya ne jalao" ("Torch the Muslims!"); "Unki auraton ki ijjat luto" ("Rape their women!"), the mob ransacked the mosque, made a pile of all they could find, copies of the Koran included, poured kerosene and chemicals over it and set it on fire. The mosque was destroyed along with two adjacent Muslim houses. It then looted the remaining Muslim homes after which they too were torched.

Anticipating trouble, all the women and children were shifted from Raghovpura to Dhaniyari village on February 27 itself. About 15-20 men, who had stayed behind, also fled to Dhaniyari when the attack was launched, except for Mubarak Bhai, who stayed behind and witnessed the destruction, loot and burning.

The fire brigade, which arrived several hours later, refused to help in putting out the fire, according to Mubarak Bhai. The PSI told him that if his people hadn’t burnt the train, this would not have happened.

The victims named the following: Bajrang Dal leader, Subhashbhai Mafatbhai Chota; Rabhipura village sarpanch, Deepabhai Patel; Raghovpura sarpanch, Shantilal Patel; Natwarbhai Naranbhai Patel, Mahendrabhai Patel, Bipinbhai Bhailalbhai Patel, Amitbhai Jashbhai Patel, Motibhai Gordhanbhai Patel, sarpanch of Megakui, Satishbhai Thakor, his brother Chandresh Thakor, and many others. PSI Vadalia, who said he would register FIRs and complaints only if no names were mentioned and the two policemen on duty were also indicted for their non-action.

Noor Park

The Tarsali area, in the south-eastern part of Vadodara city, has several pockets of Muslim population: Noor Park, Vishal Nagar, Govind Nagar, Sharad Nagar, Moti Nagar, Rajiv Nagar, Indira Nagar and Danteswar. Many of the people from Noor Park are vegetable and fruit sellers at the Tarsali market. The Tribunal has evidence to show that a meeting was held by the VHP around the end of January 2002, at the ITI grounds. Praveen Togadia addressed the meeting and the cable operator telecast this on a local channel. Shamshersinh, one of the residents of Dadu Nagar in Tarsali area, reported that in this meeting Togadia incited Hindus to an economic boycott of Muslims, telling them not to even offer the latter any water if they came to Hindu homes.

Gotri village

The various segments of Tarsali faced a similar pattern of attack. On March 1, Nasir Hussain Liaqat Hussain and his son were stoned, trapped in tyres and then burnt alive. The accused in the murders are Narendrasinh Solanki (BJP, taluka panchayat member), Sunil Patel (BJP), along with Sunil Bhoieto, Ajit Kalia (of Vishal Nagar), Sudhir Meldi, Pradip aka Padiyo, Kallo Jaiswal, Bhupendra, Ravi, Dharmendra, Kanchia, Manish Gurkha (all of Vishal Nagar). Jagdishbhai Shah, well-known Gandhian and resident of the Vinoba Ashram, testified before the Tribunal, giving details of the burning of the local mosque and other Muslim property in Gotri village and on Gotri Road. The property destroyed included three tempos, a car and a three-wheeler that its Muslim owners had parked inside the Ashram compound for safety.

The 10 Muslim families from Ramdev Nagar, Ghanchi Falia, Gotri Road, were given shelter by their Hindu neighbours for a while. But later, fearing imminent attack, they fled wearing the saris lent to them by their Hindu neighbours to disguise their identity. Rampaging mobs later looted and burnt all their homes.

On March 28, villagers of Gotri apparently attacked Muslim houses in nearby Umetha and burnt down 35 houses, 25 cabins and the standing crops on many fields. They also burnt the masjid. One of the local leaders telephoned the Tandalja relief camp. A truck came to Umetha with a police escort in the evening and Dilawarbhai and his family shifted to the camp in Amir Complex, Tandalja. Many others went to Anklav under police protection.

In Gorwa village, in the north-eastern part of Vadodara, where there are many public sector companies, Muslim slum dwellers were attacked on February 28 and their houses burnt down.


Many houses in Karelibagh and surrounding areas were burnt and looted. Immediately after the violence started, for about 10-15 days, many people from other areas sought shelter in the Kasamala Kabrastan area of Karelibagh. Ghaghretia, a small village near Dabhoi Chowkdi, had many Muslim houses of which several were burnt. The remaining were looted. Some of the affected families from Ghaghretia, who had acquaintances in Kasamala, were sheltered by local people in their own homes. Some people fled to other parts of the country after the incidents.

Evidence recorded by the Tribunal showed an inspiring example of Hindu-Muslim solidarity in Kasamala. One of the Hindu families in Kasamala was dependent on daily wages. The Muslim households gave them food, as they could not go out to work during curfew. They would also tell them that they would protect them at night; because of these assurances, the Hindu families in the area said they could sleep without anxiety. Because of the assurance of safety, the Hindu families did not migrate from the area. A house belonging to a Hindu boy named Raju was burnt down in the disturbances. His Muslim neighbours gave him food and shelter.

There are more Muslims in Kasamala than Hindus, while Ramdev Pir, an area nearby, has more Hindus than Muslims. This entire part of Vadaodara has had a history of peace and harmony. After the attacks, they resolved to be united and defend themselves together from an outside attack, whichever religion or caste the attackers might belong to. Because of this understanding between the two communities, the people could move around freely during the curfew with an assurance of safety.

Best Bakery, Hanuman Tekri

The most ghastly incident from Vadodara district was the one that took place at Best Bakery where fourteen persons were attacked with swords, trishuls, lathis and other weapons before being burnt alive. The Tribunal recorded the testimony of Shaikh Zahida Habibullah one of the victims whose family members were killed. The witness told the Tribunal that Jayanti Batija ‘Chaiwala’, Mahesh Munna ‘Painter’, and Sanjay and Santosh Thakkar, led a mob of about 500-700 people that attacked the bakery at around 8 p.m. on March 1. "They were flinging petrol bombs on us and were shouting that they will loot and burn us. Our three trucks full of timber were burnt and destroyed." The family made repeated calls to the police control room and also the policemen at Panigate police station. The police kept saying, "Hum aa rahe hain" ("We are coming.") An hour and a half later, around 9.30 p.m., a police vehicle drove by the bakery, stopped briefly and then drove away without doing anything to stop the mob.

The most shocking aspect of this incident is that it was after the police had come and gone away without any preventive stop that the mob started the loot and arson and subsequent massacre. There were shouts, filthy abuse and threats of rape, etc. from the crowd. The entire mob had surrounded the bakery, a multiple-floor structure. They first looted and torched the ground floor storeroom and workers’ room.

(Hanuman Tekri is located on Dabhoi Road, on the outskirts of Vadodara. It is a lower middle-class and poor neighbourhood. Most of the residents are Hindus; very few Muslim families live there. The Muslim family owning the bakery had shifted to this area only six months prior to this incident. All other Muslims staying in the area had already left their houses on February 27. Only this family stayed on because Jayanti ‘Chaiwala’, who is an influential person in the area, assured them safety).

Twenty members of the Shaikh family, including an aging mother, remained trapped and terrified on the terrace, as the murderous mob burnt eight people to death on the ground floor. Thereafter, the mob went after the people trapped on the terrace. The witness’ mother kept appealing to the better sense of the killers saying that she had no support except for her sons. However, two of the witness’ brothers were burnt alive. Two other brothers who received severe injuries were in hospital until early May. Other family members who were seriously injured included the mother of the witness and one sister. The uncle of the witness, her sister, Shabira and her maternal uncle’s (mama’s) children, Zainab and Shabnam (twins) were burnt alive along with the workers in the bakery. The stomachs of the three Hindu employees at the bakery were slit open before they were thrown into the fire. In all, 14 persons were killed and burnt in this incident of carnage.

Even the domestic animals, like goats, were not spared. All the attackers were from the mohalla. This included four children and three women. The remains of two of the victims could not be found. Jayanti Batija ‘Chaiwala’ is the main culprit. He first reassured them of their safety and then led the attack at night. The assault went on for a staggering 14 hours and yet there was no help from the police. A Hindu, who owns the Phoolchand bakery, was also among the attackers and he took away the ample stock of flour, ghee and other things. A copy of the complaint of the accused has been submitted to the National Human Rights Commission and other human rights organisations, besides the collector and police commissioner, Vadodara. The accused here are Jayanti ‘Chaiwala’ and his sons, Mafat, Mahesh Munna ‘Painter’, Sanjay Thakkar, Santosh Thakkar, Jagdish Rattiwala, and Dinesh Bakerywala. The policemen indicted are the Panigate police station

Hajimiyan ki Sara, Baranpura

Located in the south-eastern part of Vadodara city, the Baranpura locality had around 15 per cent Muslim households, flanked by Gujarati and Marathi-speaking Hindus. There were two police points in the area, possibly because the locality has seen communal riots in 1969 as well as in 1992. But residents say that the violence then was not as severe as this time.

Between February 28 and March 1, an entire Muslim mohalla in Baranpura was looted and burnt. A few houses escaped damage, probably because of their location next to Hindu properties. In Baranpura, a total of around 700 persons have been rendered homeless. On March 8, when some victims went back to check their homes, they found them still burning. This is a shocking comment on the conduct of the Vadodara police. When victim-survivors from 8-10 families went back a second time, on March 22, to record their panchnamas, they were attacked by a 500 strong mob and forced to flee. The mob set fire to the scooters on which they had come. Though the police were present they could not or did not do anything.

Among the Muslim homes destroyed at Baranpura was that of Gaman, an internationally renowned epigraphist who was formerly with the Archaeological Survey of India. His collections of more than 200 rare manuscripts and hundreds of ancient coins were lost in the fire. Ganam’s wife (aged 75) shifted Ganam, who was 90-years-old and paralysed, to a safer house, which was also later attacked. Ganam died in late April.

In all, 39 homes were looted and burnt. Three houses in the mohalla where there were to be weddings had gold, expensive clothes and grain, which were all looted. One such family alone lost goods worth Rs 12-13 lakh. Besides homes, 19 shops, a bakery and a coal depot were looted and burnt while the local dargah was damaged.

According to statements before the Tribunal, the persons who came to attack on March 2, were from the neighbouring falia, several of whom the Muslims recognised. Those named are: Bhaya (Machi), Bhuriyo (Soni), Mochi, Ramesh, Dr. Thakor’s son, Hardik and Vimal, and Maniyo (son of Ranjeet from Chobdar mohalla).

Roshan Nagar, Tulsiwadi

Tulsiwadi is the name for the whole complex of slums, including Sanjay Nagar, Roshan Nagar and others. The Tulsiwadi area is a mixed area, with almost equal population of Hindus and Muslims. However, Roshan Nagar is mostly a Muslim majority area. The Tribunal recorded testimonies from here too. There were intermittent attacks in the area between February 28 and March 31. Some major incidents are given below.

On February 28, Tulsiwadi main bazaar was the scene of stone pelting and attacks. Witnesses said a mob led by Umakant Joshi (BJP’s ex-mayor), Kanubhai Panwala, Narendra Pandya s/o Parvati, Rajubhai Kuberbhai and Suresh Sharma STD walla of Tulsiwadi, burnt houses in Sanjay Nagar shopping centre. Hillayyabe, an ex-corporator was also active in these attacks. Victims told the Tribunal that the police joined in the attacking mob and broke up houses. In their combing operations they even took away the rods of a baby’s cradle saying that these were weapons. They made abusive and sexually threatening statements like, "Tumhaare yaar ayenge, woh tumhe zinda maarenge" ("When your ‘lovers’ arrive, they skin you alive"), "We enjoy thrashing you Muslim women", "We can rape you", "Run away to Pakistan". "Gandi gaali bolte the"("They used filthy language") was a widespread complaint.

In Sanjay Nagar, on March 1 and 2, what remained of the mutton shops that were set on fire on the night of February 27, was cleared out and a temple constructed on the same spot, blocking the lane leading to the Sanjay Nagar slum. On the evening of March 2, prasad was distributed here and bhajans blared over a loudspeaker from the temple.

From the testimonies recorded by the Tribunal and other evidence collected, it is clear that the police did not limit itself to offensive language. Among those who were injured by the police were:

- A pregnant woman injured by two bullets, who had to be admitted to

SSG Hospital.

- Rubina, a 6-year-old girl, whose hand was injured and contused.

- Mumtaz Bano, who received a black eye in the beatings.

- A 9-month-old baby whose eyes were affected by a tear gas shell that burst at the feet of the woman holding her.

The women victims, whose testimonies were recorded by the Tribunal, were extremely agitated and upset at this role of the police. They complained bitterly that the police, who were supposed to protect them, had instead used abusive language and trampled on their sense of dignity. The women stated how, with their menfolk behind bars, the family members had been starving for days.

From the evidence recorded by the Tribunal, it is clear that many Muslims were illegally arrested and detained by the Vadodara police. Eyewitnesses testified saying that the police came at the same time as the mobs. One such witness described how they pulled her out of the house, dragged her in the mud, beating her all the while. When asked whether she had lodged a police complaint with the commissioner of police about the atrocities, her angry response was: "What is the point of complaining to him when his men did all this to us? We need to complain to the chief minister or the Prime Minister." This witness has submitted her testimony to the NHRC.

Mansuri Kabrastan was another area in this locality where women and young men were brutally assaulted by the Karelibagh police on March 1. Many victims, agitated at the illegal arrests of many boys, had registered a complaint that they were being brutally beaten by the police.

Wadi, Panigate

On March 1, 2002 a big mob entered the Madarmohalla basti in Wadi, near Panigate in the old city area of Vadodara and burnt down five Muslim houses. Residents told the Tribunal that there were Bajrang Dal people in the mob. But instead of going after the culprits, the police, too, turned on the Muslims, most of them daily wage earners. The Tribunal found that this was a clear and sinister pattern to the violence in Vadodara, where poor and vulnerable Muslims were first attacked by mobs and then set upon by the police.

They systematically dragged out men from their houses while families were sitting down to dinner or watching television. Forcible arrests were then made from different areas beginning with Wadi, Panigate. Seventeen-year-old Deewan, trying to flee from the police, was badly injured on her earlobe by shrapnel from a shell, causing her to faint. She was hospitalised for 13 days, had been vomiting blood, and was still on medication three weeks later.

Other people related how the police went on the rampage, breaking down houses and everything that came in their way. Children were terrified and hid in all kinds of places, but the police pulled them out while terrorising all the residents. Forty-two basti dwellers were arrested that night, taken to the Panigate police station and detained for 13 days. The police continued to visit the area for days after the incident, threatening and intimidating the people further. Victims of Panigate had severe injuries inflicted on them by the assault. There were burn scars, multiple fractures etc. Almost all those affected were daily wage earners.

When the Bade Masdada Ki Chaali was attacked on the night of February 28 by a large mob, there were police jeeps accompanying the mob. The attackers came armed with swords and other weapons. When approached for protection, the police said, "Save yourselves, we cannot save you." The people fled, leaving behind everything they owned. Their property was first looted and then their houses were burnt to the ground. The police not only refused to protect them but also joined the mob in beating them up. Some sustained injuries, including two with serious head injuries and had to be hospitalised. The brutal police did not spare even the elderly. Young Muslims were chased and beaten by the police during curfew while Hindu boys moved around freely on scooters.

The hapless Muslims took shelter in a nearby dargah, helpless witnesses to the night long burning of their houses and belongings. The worst part was the sense of betrayal by neighbours: they were being attacked by Hindus with whom they had shared meals, they had visited each others’ homes for 40 years. Ganibhai Qureshi said, "Hamare saath salon se khane waale bhi hamen bhagaye us din. Aaj hamara kisi par bharosa nahin. Saara bharosa toot gaya hai." ("People we shared meals with for years chased us off that day. Today, we trust no one. All trust has been broken for good.")

Phase II: March 15-20


The significance of the Machchipith violence in the second round of violence lies in the fact that by March 14, Vadodara was getting back to normal. There were many areas where no untoward incident had taken place till then. The event at Machchipith was used and reported by the media as an attack by Muslims on peacefully passing ‘rambhakts’, an echo of the Godhra event. This was used to trigger the second round of violence in Vadodara, which then spread to many areas.

Machchipith, in the old city area, is inhabited by middle and lower middle-class Hindus and Muslims. Many of them run businesses and some are in the service sector. About 40 Hindu families and 400 Muslim families reside in the area. In the aftermath of Godhra, harmony had prevailed in Machchipith, despite instances of violence in the immediate vicinity — Tulsibhai Ki Chawl, Salatwada, Haribhakti Ki Chawl — in which Muslim homes, shops, madrassas and mosques were looted or burnt.

On March 15, The VHP and Bajrang Dal had given a call to Hindus to organise ‘Ram dhun’ meetings all over India. In view of the prevailing tension, Tuteja, Vadodara’s police commissioner imposed section 144 in the city. In contravention of the above order, a 500 strong rally, all outsiders, reached Machchipith naka at around 3.10 p.m. About 6-7 police personnel also accompanied the rally on foot, with a police van bringing up the rear. The rally was quite unruly, with many Muslim-owned shops (including Indian Boot House and Tower Shoes) en route being looted and burnt.

The moot question is: Why was a procession allowed in open defiance of curfew orders? What was the police doing when Muslim shops were being looted and burnt by the processionists? However, these questions did not seem to trouble the police then or later. The processionists reached Machchipith, raised provocative slogans, like "Bandiao (abusive word to refer to Muslims), go away to Pakistan," "Babar ki aulado, Hindustan chhod do," ("Babur’s sons, Quit India!") and resorted to lewd behaviour, provoking the Muslims to respond with stone throwing. It is only then that the police intervened and only Muslims were the focus of their wrath.

Apart from the municipal councillors and other local leaders involved, various police personnel were explicitly named. They are 1) MS Patel of Raopura police station; 2) Bhagirathsinh Jadeja, PI of Goonda squad; 3) PI Rao of Karelibaug police station; 4) Kanu Patel of Karelibaug police station; and 5) Fatehsinh Patel of Karelibaug police station. No action has been taken against them.


Taiwada, a prominent but communally sensitive area of the walled city which has a majority of Muslim households, but also quite a few Hindu families, was among the targets in the second round of violence that began on March 15. There were no serious problems between the two communities during the worst phase of violence between February and March 1. But the area was affected in the second phase and badly so in the third bouts of violence. It was the police that was the source of the greatest harassment for Muslim residents.

On April 20, the police killed two residents when they were on a night vigil outside one of the houses in the area. The police tried to justify the firing by manufacturing a scene of rioting. Women were subject to physical assault by the police under the pretext of ‘combing’.

On March 15, the date on which the ‘Shiladaanpuja was scheduled at Ayodhya, there was a lot of tension in the area. The Muslims were repeatedly warned by the police to stay indoors, but Hindu boys were allowed to roam around freely. The arti in the temple that day was very aggressive and provocative. Slogans were shouted and threats issued but the police took no action. In the evening, the house of one Kalubhai, situated right next to the Gajrawadi Police Chowk, was set on fire. The police posted there said that they could not do anything and the residents themselves doused the fire. A little later, Saiyyad Photo Studio was completely burnt. The owner, Saiyyad Masood, who lived in the vicinity, had no option but to watch his investment of around Rs.1.5 lakh go up in flames. "The police point was right next to the studio, and so was a temple. If they had wanted to, they could have prevented it… If we had stepped out, we would have been killed that night," Masood told the Tribunal.

At night, ostensibly in response to stone throwing by members of the minority community, the police, led by police inspector PP Kanani of the DCB, entered the area for a combing operation. They broke open doors of Muslim homes, beat up men and misbehaved with the women. Deposing before the Tribunal, one resident of Taiwada said, "We were sleeping. They broke open our door, beat us and dragged us out. They used filthy language and openly leered at our women (‘buri nazar’). I told them that we were businessmen, not trouble makers but they wouldn’t listen. They damaged the furniture in our house. They took all three of us brothers and thrashed us. A police officer leered at my wife. God forbid, even if he’d done something to her, I was in no position to do anything to protect her. I urged him to let at least one of us brothers go. He replied, ‘No, we’ll burn you all alive.’ In the lock-up, too, the police said the same thing: ‘We will burn you Muslims alive.’ We were given neither food nor water in the lock-up. I heard them talking of slapping a murder case on us even when no murder had taken place and no weapons had been found on us."

The conduct of the Vadodara police during combing operations needs special investigation. These operations were arbitrary and brutal, with women being subjected to highly abusive treatment. The Tribunal recorded the testimony of several witnesses who had suffered in the police action.

Hamida Banu, (40) was arrested by around 15 policemen led by PI Kanani, on the night of March 15, when she stepped out to go to the toilet just behind her house. She was so badly beaten that she had four fractures on her right hand, for which she underwent four operations at SSG Hospital. She told the Tribunal, "The police have no right to lift a hand on women. They should not be allowed to get away with this. Whatever happened to me happened, but other women should never have to suffer this." A police case was registered in SSG Hospital against the erring policemen, but no action was taken.

Apart from Hamida Banu, 13 other women were similarly injured in police attacks that night in the Taiwada area, all requiring medical attention. One young woman had a baby born hardly a month earlier. The police smashed open the entrance door, which fell on her back. They smashed her foot with the butt of a gun. This witness has three small children. She pleaded with the police not to take away her husband. They hit her on the back. They took away her husband after beating him up. Another Muslim woman, who lives opposite the mandir, said, "They beat my son-in-law a lot, upturned all the grain containers (atta and rice) in the house, did a lot of nuksaan (damage). One of them stepped on a 6-month-old baby who was crying a lot and said, ‘Let them all die’."

Another victim lives in Raffai mohalla. She is a social worker who works with widows and helps poor people get loans. "I tried to stop the police. Afterwards, they hit me, too, and used filthy language. I told them that I would register a case against them. We filed a report at Jamnabai hospital. But no enquiry has been held. Yesterday (the day before she testified before the Tribunal) I was at Bavamanpura. A kite landed at my feet. On it was written, ‘We will burn you, we will burn your houses and your children. We will play Holi-Dhuleti with your blood.’ I showed it to the police commissioner. His response was, ‘This will go on. Do we focus on you people or focus on these people?’ I told him that we had no choice but to defend ourselves with stones when they attack us with swords and the police does nothing. To this, the commissioner himself said, ‘Aap aamne saamne ladh lo’ (‘Fight it out among yourselves’)."

Incidentally, women from Taiwada had played an active role in maintaining calm in the area by forming peace committees (Shanti Abhiyan) and trying to dissipate tension soon after Godhra. Even after the combing operations began, they continued to be vigilant. Sherbano from the Shanti Abhiyan, an initiative to promote peace in the area, told the Tribunal, "The whole area was under curfew and it was these women who were more alert in preventing untoward incidents instead of the police." Women kept vigil on terraces, balconies and verandahs to prevent trouble by the police. "We had to keep the men inside because they get beaten more easily. If we women do not do it, who will?" asked one of the women. But trying to keep the situation from going out of control was not easy. The area had continuously been under curfew and everyone was tense with lack of sleep.

Bahar Colony

Witnesses from Bahar Colony on Ajwa Road testified at length about police brutality during the second round of violence beginning March 15. There were continued attacks on the Bahar Colony for 72 hours. Large mobs would attack the locality even while police patrolling was on. On March 17, around 50 women from the Bahar Colony rushed out when there was an explosion from a hut that had been torched. They tried to stop a police van that was driving past. The police van drove a little distance, suddenly started reversing, and police started firing. One man was killed on the spot and another was injured. The FIR registered for this incident distorts the whole picture, the police claiming that they were confronted by a mob of 1,500-2,000 when, in fact, there were only 50 women.

The witness to this incident who deposed before the Tribunal, told inspector VM Chauhan that if guns were targeted at the attackers, things would not be so bad: "The inspector replied, ‘No, only you will be shot at. Bullets will be directed only at you.’ He ended with an order to the policemen, ‘Beat them with lathis, shoot them.’" The witnesses have submitted full details of all the police atrocities – photographs, FIRs, etc — to the police commissioner and the collector. On March 18, a meeting was held with the ACP in charge, Piyush Patel, at Farookbhai Boxwala’s house. They complained bitterly about the mistreatment of women but despite the promise, no action was taken.

On the night of May 2, for no apparent reason, the police entered people’s homes and beat up women. So drunk that they could hardly walk straight, they entered homes forcibly and mercilessly beat up women. Those named in this criminal action by the Vadodara police were PSI Parmar of Panigate (in civilian dress) along with about 40 constables in civvies and another 15-20 in uniform.


Bawanpura in the old city of Vadodara, inhabited mostly by daily vegetable vendors and daily wage earners from both communities, was targeted on March 25 (Muharram day) and again on March 28. The following account is based on testimonies gathered from women of the area:

Kagda Chaal in the old city of Vadodara is a predominantly Muslim area, with a few Hindu households and two temples amidst them, flanked by Hindu shops and households on two sides. Hindu residents said that they had faced no problems here and that they felt totally safe in the area. People from both communities said that they had no problem with each other, the only problem being police atrocities against Muslims.

Even a 3-year-old boy, Arbaz, was beaten by the police. There were instances of pregnant women being beaten on their stomachs. Most of the injuries were in the lower parts of the body, below the waist. A few women showed bruises in the groin area. A woman, 9-months pregnant, told the Tribunal, "I told them that I was pregnant (‘pet-se’). They said that they would beat me nonetheless. My mother-in-law pleaded that I was pregnant. They said, ‘We have to kill it before it is born’." Unwell and elderly women were not spared either.

Many witnesses said the police had not beaten and misbehaved with women in earlier riots. However, this time, women were being very badly treated, badly thrashed for no reason. A 60-year-old victim was hit so hard on the stomach that the scars from an old caesarian operation almost split open. Others were dragged by their hair and beaten. Another woman who had recently had a tumour operation was beaten on the back and legs. The policemen were all drunk. In many of these cases, FIRs have been filed but no action had been taken. Many women victims were refused treatment at Jamnabai hospital where they were told that they had deliberately injured themselves.

Although the people of the area had not suffered major losses and destruction in mob attacks, when the Tribunal recorded detailed testimonies, they were in a constant state of fear and apprehension and were bitter about the injury, abuse and humiliating treatment that they had to endure at the hands of the police.

But it was the attack on April 19 that proved most brutal. A PUCL-Shanti Abhiyan team submitted a report on police atrocities committed on March 25 and April 5 to the National Commission for Women. They also appealed to the police commissioner to take strict action against these policemen for committing such atrocities. At that time, the commissioner gave an assurance that such incidents would not recur. Despite this, the police set upon the Muslims of Kagda Chawl on April 19.

On the night of April 19, sensing fresh trouble from the Panigate police station, the men folk of Kagda Chawl had left the area; only women and children were there when approximately 30 policemen, in both civilian clothes and uniform, forcibly entered the Kagda Chawl area from three sides. They said that they were PI Parmar’s staff; the women easily recognised police constables Deepak and Mahesh Rabari in the group.

The policemen, who were very drunk and armed with thick, metal-capped wooden lathis went on the rampage, attacking property and people for about one hour. They broke open the doors of the houses, smashed TV sets and furniture, scattered food items and other household effects. They beat up nearly 20 women, their lathis aiming particularly at their breasts, thighs, hips and arms. They also beat up children and household animals and caused extensive damage.

Some women attempted to bar their doors from the inside, but the police broke down the doors and started a lathi-charge. In one house, where there was only one woman with her 8-month-old baby, the police beat the woman and flung the baby across the room. Fortunately, the baby fell on a mattress. Filthy language accompanied the beating. "Itni gandi gali dete the police wale, ki hum aap ko bata bhi nahin sakte" ("They used such filthy language that we cannot repeat them before you") the traumatised women said. "If this is how the police are going to behave, where are we to go?" Medical examinations were conducted on the women at Jamnabai hospital. The women lodged an FIR at Panigate police station on the same night.

The residents of Kagda Chawl submitted a written memorandum to the police commissioner on April 20, a copy of which was submitted to the Tribunal. Subsequently, a Muslim police officer called the women from Kagda Chawl and pressurised them to withdraw their complaint. The local media only helped fan the flames by misreporting the incident.


Muslims from this area felt deeply betrayed by the police. Despite all their efforts to maintain peace notwithstanding repeated provocations, it was Muslim houses that were combed, and Muslims who were arrested and falsely charged under section 307 (attempt to murder). Speaking before the Tribunal, Mustuffa Sheikh said that they were the ones whose houses were combed, they were the ones whose shops were looted and then they were the ones who were charged under sections 151 and 307. What were they to do? Who could they turn to for help with even the police conspiring against them? Their people were living in inhuman conditions with nothing to eat. They had left their homes with only the clothes on their backs. They were being intimidated constantly.

The police atrocities followed reports in The Times of India and Sandesh that a handicapped Hindu boy had been stabbed in the area. It was later discovered that he had sustained a self-inflicted scratch in a minor accident.

Phase III: April 26-May 2

On the night of April 30, around 1.30 a.m., two men, Abid Ibrahimbhai Delawala (26) and Noorbhai Yaroobhai Karvania (40), were killed in police firing. The police claimed that they were shot when police fired to disperse a mob which had attacked a temple, tried to burn a SRP tent, and was indulging in throwing stones, bottles, acid bulbs, etc. Two Gujarati newspapers, Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar carried this story in their morning issue. While correspondents of national newspapers who rushed to the area after receiving phone calls from the locality were not allowed to enter the area, the local VNM and DEEP networks worked under police protection to trot out the police version.

But according to the widows of the two victims who, along with other eyewitnesses, had made a written complaint to the police commissioner and who also deposed before the Tribunal, the police shot the two victims in cold-blood, without any provocation. Both were shot in the head, indicating that the police were shooting to kill. They have named PI Parmar and five other policemen as those responsible for this. Family members were not allowed near the victims, who were dying and crying out for water. The police burst tear gas shells near the two bodies. The police said ‘pati gayu’ ("its all over") and began dragging away the bodies as if they were dead dogs. Nobody was allowed to accompany the bodies. The bodies were returned after the post-mortem examination, but none of the personal effects were handed over to relatives.

Earlier, around midnight on April 26, the police forcibly entered Muslim homes, where only women and children were asleep since the men stayed elsewhere for their own safety. The policemen abused them in filthy language, "Where are your bhadwas?" "Where are your hijdas?" and threatened to sexually molest them. A woman who deposed before the Tribunal said that the police beat her as well as her 30-year-old sister. Her sister, who is partially disabled and was recovering from a recent appendix operation, was beaten on her stomach, thighs and private parts. In all, the Tribunal has details of 13 women who were assaulted by the police at Taiwada as well as a 5-year-old child who was hit on her back with a baton. Women from Taiwada who were brutally assaulted by the Vadodara police, led by PI Kanani, have had to undergo prolonged sessions of physiotherapy.

Raja Rani Talav

Raja Rani Talav a Muslim-predominant basti just behind the Panigate police station was completely peaceful all through the two months since the Godhra incident. But on April 27, a mob numbering several thousand people from Bhoiwada attacked the basti. All the homes were looted while 35 houses were subsequently burnt. Two dargahs were also burnt down and the madrassa, too, was destroyed. (Around 520 Muslims from over 100 families took shelter in Doodhwala Hall in Moghalwada from April 28 to May 5. A Hindu family, Dilipbhai Patel, his wife Kokila and their children also took shelter along with their Muslim neighbours.)

Even as they were under attack from mobs, the police unleashed terror on the victims in the name of combing operations – hitting people, especially women, with lathis and rifle butts and smashing electric meters. Many women from the area, whose testimonies have been collected, were assaulted and abused by the police. The pattern of brute violence against Muslim women by the police here is chillingly similar to other areas of Vadodara. It is clear that this was a strategy adopted by sections of the police to assault, abuse and terrorise the Muslim minority in this manner. Several women have complained about police victimisation, harassment and violence. At least 25 women were assaulted by the police.

Suleimani Chaal

Suleimani Chaal is a slum settlement at Ajwa Road that was apparently targeted by the hired hoodlums of Shailesh Mehta, the deputy mayor of Vadodara who is also a builder, keen on extending his neighbouring plot of land.

Apart from the looting and damaging of Muslim property, by the police, on the night of April 30-May 1, the Tribunal recorded gross cases of violence against women. Pregnant women were threatened with rape. Thirteen women were physically beaten on all parts of their body, including private parts, and verbally abused in the filthiest fashion. All the policemen were drunk. Young children were also badly assaulted.

Tandalja : hope survives

An area in Vadodara that was in the news throughout the post-Godhra violence was Tandalja. Even in places as far as 10 km away, like Gorwa, Manjalpur, Nizampura and Sama, rumours were kept afloat by the VHP/ Bajrang Dal since March 1 about impending attacks by Tandalja’s Muslims. The local press reinforced the baseless rumours. The Muslim-predominant village was painted as a hotbed of weapon-wielding criminals. A term widely used by outsiders to describe this area is ‘Mini Pakistan’, simply because it is a Muslim majority area. Systematic attempts were made to vilify this area and thereby also further stereotype Muslims as bloodthirsty marauders. The Tribunal is happy to record its deep appreciation of the tireless work of people from both communities in Tandalja and its neighbourhood, to maintain peace, frustrating the designs of the mischief-makers.

Situated on the western border of Vadodara city, Tandalja is an area with about 40,000 people, spread over some 50 housing colonies and slums. The Muslim population is about 80 per cent and Hindus constitute about 20 per cent. Besides Gujaratis, the Hindu population includes people from the Sikar district of Rajasthan and Agarwals from UP. Tandalja also has a small Christian population.

The slums and some of the housing colonies in the area have a mixed population. After the 1969 riots, the area provided shelter to Muslim and Hindu refugees from Vadodara as also from villages like Jambusar. In the early 1980s, middle-class and upper middle-class housing societies came up in the area. Many of these societies were developed through partnerships of Hindu and Muslim builders, partnerships that continue even today.

There are a number of temples and mosques in the area. Ibrahimbhai, a Muslim, built one of the temples, Shankar Ka Mandir; which shares a wall with a masjid. Another mandir, the Raneshwar Mandir, has been there for much longer. New temples have come up near Muktinagar, Gautam Sarabhai housing colony and Mahabalipuram, predominantly Hindu residential colonies. There are ten mosques in the area. After the1982 riots in Vadodara, the Dar-ul-Uloom was shifted from Mandvi, in the walled city, to Tandalja.

While Tandalja village has substantial mixed areas of Hindu and Muslim houses, in some of the newly developed parts, Hindu and Muslim areas are clearly demarcated. However, there is plenty of social interaction between Hindus and Muslims; they visit each other, are invited to each other’s weddings, and also eat together. Hindus and Muslims give gifts and sometimes perform ‘kanyadaan‘ at each other’s weddings. Muslim- and Hindu-owned shops are intermingled; not one of these was touched throughout the carnage.

Until 1994-5, corporators from the area were always from the Congress. The presence of the BJP in local politics is a post-Advani rath yatra (1989-90) phenomenon. It was only after the rath yatra that the BJP was able to win three out of four seats (the electoral ward includes many surrounding Hindu societies as well). The BJP has also won a few supporters amongst the Muslims.

As soon as violence erupted in other parts of the city, residents of the area got together and formed peace committees. Muslims as well as Hindus reached out to as many adjacent societies as possible to build an atmosphere of mutual trust. Thanks to this, there was no incident of communal violence, burning or looting in the area in the two months following the Godhra incident, despite the violence raging in other parts of Vadodara and the influx of thousands of refugees from affected areas.

Often round-the-clock vigils were maintained. The strategy of the BJP-VHP was to create insecurity in the minds of Hindus warning them that the other side would attack if they were not vigilant. While vigils help maintain peace, youth organised for ‘self-defence’ can easily be given a different turn, with rumours flowing thick and fast. It is especially creditworthy that in this delicate atmosphere the residents of Tandalja kept in constant touch with each other and thus frustrated the designs of the motivated rumour-mongers.

During the first two days of violence, two laaris (handcarts) belonging to Muslims were burnt in the adjoining Hindu area, allegedly by ‘outsiders’. Yet the Muslims remained calm and did not allow their locality to be held to ransom. On the other hand, some representatives from surrounding Hindu societies visiting Tandalja were so moved by the condition of the refugees that they decided to contribute food grains to the relief camp. With this gesture, mutual trust became even stronger.

Some ground rules were set. If anybody had any suspicion about movements from the other side or any rumours were spread, they must immediately contact responsible persons from the other side and verify the facts. In this way, an active system of communication was developed between the 50 housing settlements so that, within a matter of minutes, rumours were quashed. On at least two occasions, rumours were dispelled thanks to the swift system of communication that was evolved.

On one occasion, a Bajrang Dal-VHP mob of about 500-600 people from outside got as far as Ashwamegh society, a Hindu residential area adjacent to Tandalja. The mob had come to attack Tandalja. Ashwamegh was part of the peace committee. Local leaders from Ashwamegh stood between the mob and Tandalja. They did not allow the mob to cross the road. The masterminds of the mob later sent bangles to the residents of Ashwamegh, to suggest that they were cowards for not supporting the attack on Muslims for the cause of ‘Hindutva’. But the people of Ashwamegh said that their understanding of Hinduism was different.

Other efforts were also made to generate fear and tension here. On March 19, at around 1.30 a.m., Hindus from a small settlement of about 25 huts fled on being fed the information that there was a plan to burn the huts at night. Witnesses who deposed before the Tribunal said that they had learnt of a sinister plan to burn these huts at night with the connivance of the police and later blame it on the residents of Tandalja. A spotlight was quickly organised by the peace committees to generate security among the slum dwellers. For three days and nights the entire neighbourhood protected the empty huts so that no outsider could come and burn them. After a few days the people of the slum returned to their huts.

Early in the morning of April 19, one Chandrakant Patel, who managed a milk distribution centre on the main road outside Tandalja, was murdered by two unknown persons. According to police reports, two motorcyclists came from the direction of Atladra and shot him at point-blank range, killing him on the spot. Patel was politically connected with the BJP. Tension developed in Tandalja following the incident. Both Hindu and Muslim community leaders expressed their grief over the death. They condemned the attack and observed a spontaneous bandh for the same. According to preliminary police investigations, the assault may have been a case of personal rivalry.

Both these incidents had the potential for sparking trouble in the area. But the peacemakers from both sides were vigilant and could check such elements from within as well as outside the area. The role of the police, particularly in the second incident, was positive and contributed to the peacekeeping efforts. The fact that this was a neighbourhood where communities were mixed, could interact and thereby develop faith in each other and maintain peace, only emphasises why the Sangh Parivar finds it critical to discourage social intercourse across religious communities and enforce ghettoisation.

The first batch of victims of violence from elsewhere in Vadodara arrived here on the evening of February 28. Thereafter, a continuous stream of refugees poured into the area. Some came on their own because they had relatives here, others because they were aware that they could get support from their community members and still more were brought by police under police protection. Formal relief camps were functioning at four places in the area from March 1 and at one point as many as 5,000 refugees were being provided shelter. To protest against the government and the police’s failure to protect Muslims elsewhere in Vadodara, those in-charge of the relief centres in Tandalja refused to accept relief material from the government when this was offered at a later date. That Tandalja both opened its heart to the victims of violence from other parts of Vadodara and simultaneously participated in keeping peace in its own area makes their effort even more commendable.



Several villages around Vadodara city were targeted on March 1, 2002. The Tribunal received statements and testimonies from 66 victims living in relief camps who are originally from these villages.


A mob of between 500 and 1000 people attacked Muslim villagers in Atladra on March 1, 2002, after which 60-65 people took shelter at Saudagar Park (Tandalja).

According to testimonies received by the Tribunal, the mob came at around 11.30 a.m. and, after looting the shops near the bus stand, set them on fire. The mob then began looting the utensils, grain and provision stores owned by Muslims. They even carted away the windows and doors before setting the structures on fire. Sulemanbhai of Patel Falia said that the shops were looted but the houses were not, because there are Hindu-owned houses in the locality as well.

According to Rehmanbhai, the aim of the mob was to cause economic damage exclusively to the Muslim community. So, for example, Sulemanbhai’s paan shop was moved a small distance to save a neighbour’s shop, and then burnt using kerosene torches. About five shops and one house were burnt, after which the mob went towards the post office and burnt Moosabhai Mohammad’s flourmill, two-wheeler and cycles.

That night the rampaging mob went to Kalali crossing. Ibrahimmiya of Kalali crossing said that by this time, it was 1,000-1,500 strong. Ibrahimmiya fled the scene, after which his house was looted by the mob. Victim-survivors say that Arunaben Pandya, the former BJP corporator, helped the mob identify Muslim houses. Yogesh Patel of the village, Hari Krishan Patel and Nikeshbhai G Patel were also responsible for inciting the mobs. The victim-survivors also stated that when the police came to the area to investigate, the very people who had abetted the violence plied the policemen with food and drinks. They also said that when victims went to register an FIR, the police refused to cooperate.


Bajwa village was targeted between March 1-3, 2002. Bajwa or Bajuwa is an old village which is gradually being absorbed by Vadodara’s petrochemical complex. It also has a few small industries. Rajasthan colony on Karachiya road comprises 150 to 200 housing units, of which 12 to 15 belong to Muslims.

According to a witness whose statement was placed before the Tribunal, the attack in this village took place on the afternoon of March 1. The mobs started attacking Muslim shops and houses, and then setting them on fire. They reached Karachiya around 2.30 p.m., Dhankuva at around 4 p.m., and finally, Rajasthan colony at around 7 p.m. Sajjak Ali’s house was the first one to be looted, even the ornaments for his daughter’s wedding were robbed and then the house was set on fire with petrol. After that Saiyyad Sikandar’s house was burnt. A scrap dealer’s house was razed to the ground and a Hanuman temple was built in its place.

At around 8 p.m., 35 Muslim men and women from Karachiya village finally approached the army unit near Gujarat Refinery for shelter. By the afternoon of March 2, the numbers had increased to 200, with other refugees having arrived from Dhankuva. All of them were fed, sheltered, given blankets, tarpaulin and utensils by the army for two or three days. On March 2 and 3, Jagdish Patel, Dhirubhai Patel and about 10 others came and told the army men to expel the refugees from the camp and even some police officials, including PSI Sarvaiya, asked the army to hand them over. But the army—including a commander called Jasvinder Singh, V.S. Reddy and Cdr. Javed—remained supportive.

On March 2, the victim-survivors were informed that the mobs had looted their belongings and set fire to their homes. They repeatedly contacted the police commissioner through some prominent people from Maheshwari Society, but received no help. They requested police protection but the police bluntly told them, "If you are brave, leave, since we do not have the manpower to provide you protection." After three days, the refugees were finally sent to Chistiya Masjid in Tandalja under military escort, and on March 4 they left Bajwa for Vadodara.

When the victims later contacted their neighbours, they were told that those involved in the violence were still going around saying that no Muslims should be allowed back into the village. The mobs were led, among others, by Jagdish Armanbhai Patel and Arun Patel of Karachiya village, and Sampat Vadhri of Rajasthan colony. Mukesh Patel was also a part of the mob. The victims stated that Jayaben Thakkar, BJP MP, incited the mob which included a number of women. A lot of the attackers belonged to the Bajrang Dal unit of Chhani village. Others belonged to Karachiya village. At Bajwa, PSI Sarvaiya had apparently told the Bajrang Dal volunteers and Jayaben Thakkar that they should move on to other places and could do what they liked over there.


Bhayli is a village on the outskirts of Vadodara on the Vadodara-Padra Road, which was attacked on February 28 and March 1, 2002. The people here make, among other things, mattresses for a living. On February 28, a mob of around 100 people came to the village. About eight quintals of cotton belonging to one Muslim family were burnt, as was the mattress-making machine. The mob returned on the evening of March 1, took out all the family’s belongings from the house and burnt everything. According to the family, the house itself was spared because it is adjacent to a Hindu house.

In Bhayli, the Masjidwala Falia was not damaged. There is a police chowki there with four policemen. When the trouble started, there were two policemen present. The mob attacks took place in the presence of the police, who remained silent spectators. The victims suspected that the police had been bribed. Some of them complained, "If we go to tell the police they abuse us. ‘We’ll fire on you,’ is what they say."

The victims had to make arrangements for food, tea etc. for these policemen. Every day, IR Vohra had to give them grain, milk and cash. The police warned that unless they were taken care of, they would no longer protect the victims and their property. So the terrorised Muslims took turns to get food on credit and give it to the policemen.

The victims said that they were looted by people from the neighbourhood. They said they were ready to identify their belongings and take them back if the police provided protection. The victims who came from Bhayli to the Saudagar Park Camp in Tandalja said all their businesses had been destroyed. About 25 out of 70 houses were damaged, four flourmills, two tailoring shops, and a flour-shop were broken. Of about 50 neem trees, half were cut down. The room attached to the cemetery was broken as well.

Samiala, Laxmipura

In Samiala, two houses, one shop and one tempo were burnt on March 1,2002. Although the driver of the tempo was a Hindu, the vehicle was burnt because it belonged to a Muslim. The Muslim families staying in the village were not willing to give further details. The sarpanch, Bachhubhai Vaidya, said that all details regarding the incident had been collated and were available with the talati. He also said that the people there lived peacefully and that there was a police point in the village.

Laxmipura is a village near Samiala. On March 1, 2002, at about 10.30 p.m., a mob started burning the houses of Muslims in the village. PI PRGehlot of the Vadodara Rural police was present during the attacks. All 38 Muslim houses in the village were destroyed over several days, and the attackers, Hindus, told Muslim villagers not to return to the village. On March 1, all the Muslim residents had to flee Laxmipura with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They left for Padra, Samiala and other areas, but the looting and burning continued well into May.

An FIR was filed by PI Gehlot himself; victims said it was highly misleading. Around mid-March, panchnamas were made, but the attacks continued. The victims made several representations to the collector and DSP, but nothing had come of them,even two months later, and the attacks on the remains of the Muslim dwellings continued.

The following is a list of those named by witnesses as persons responsible for the attacks. The victims had been demanding that these names be included in the FIR, which had not been done. None of these people had been arrested; on the contrary, some innocent Hindus from the area were arrested by the police. The names of the accused from Samiala are: Narendrabhai Gordhanbhai Vaid (sarpanch), Kamlesh Gordhanbhai Patel (dy sarpanch), Bhogilal Mohanbhai Patel, Mahendrabhai Harmanbhai Patel, Kishorebhai Laljibhai Baria, Natubhai Dayabhai Patel, Jagdishbhai Dayabhai Patel, Hiteshbhai Bacchubhai Patel. The names of the accused from Laxmipura are: Bhagatsinh Gaikwad (panchayat member), Labhubhai (gramsewak), Bharatbhai (Doctor), Rameshbhai Bakorbhai Solanki, Chiragbhai Maganbhai Panchal, Narendrabhai Raojibhai Patel, Lakshmansinh Bodana, Poonambhai Solanki, Ranjitsinh Chatrasinh Gohil, Umeshbhai Natubhai Rawal, Kantilal Bhatt, Shantilal Shanabhai Vaghri, Rameshbhai Chimanbhai Padiyar, Punitbhai Solanki, Sukhabhai Vaghri, Dilipsinh Gaikwad, Sureshbhai Rajput, Chandrasinh Maganbhai Rajput, Dilipbhai Shantilal Valand.


Maretha village was attacked between February 28 and March 2, 2002.This village is on the outskirts of Vadodara city, near Maneja. Out of a total of 400 houses in Maretha, 73 belong to Muslims and the rest to Hindus.

According to residents, arguments between the two communities started on the morning of February 28, but were immediately resolved through talks. The shops were kept closed on February 28 as well as on March 1. Threats to the Muslim community started on February 28, and on the next day, 73 Muslim families left their homes and hid in different places. Only one family stayed back. Shops, dargahs and mosques were looted, and then the shops were burnt. Twelve shops and five flourmills were destroyed. On March 2, at noon, some more shops were burnt. That night, all the remaining Muslim properties in Maretha were burnt. Most of the fields had vegetable crops. These were destroyed; the Hindu villagers let loose their animals in the fields. It was harvesting time, which meant a complete loss of income. Water pumps and diesel sets were stolen.

Victims said that the main person behind the violence was Sanabhai Ishwarbhai Thakur, who called people from the neighbouring villages of Maneja, Tarsali and Chappad to attack Muslim houses in Maretha. The mobs that attacked Maretha were led by Bipinbhai Patel of Alamgar, Sukhdeo Thakur, the sarpanch of Talsat, Pramodbhai of Chappad, and some others.


On March 2, 2002, at about 2 p.m., Maneja village was attacked. Nearly 100 houses were completely destroyed and 6 people were grievously injured. All the Muslims ran for their lives. Between March 2 and March 12, the mobs looted all the Muslim homes in the village.

On March 2, the mob started looting houses and shops. A police van finally arrived, but only after the houses and shops had been burnt. The police personnel said that their numbers were too few and they could do nothing. They refused to provide Muslim villagers any protection. After three hours, at 4.30 p.m., five police vans arrived. The police then told the victims that they had no vehicles and that they should arrange for their own transport out of Maneja. With great difficulty, a family managed to contact acquaintances in Gorwa. The people in Gorwa were ready to come there with a tempo, but said they would wait for the Maneja victims at a certain point since they could not move around easily because of the curfew. The tempo was made to wait at that point for two hours, and the police even stalled all efforts to take a dead body to Gorwa.

The mobs in Maneja village were led by Sanjay Chiman Thakur, Mahendra Magan Thakur and Vishnu Raisingh Bhuria (all residents of Bhathuji falia), Sana Thakur (a resident of Santoshi Nagar) and Prakash Mulchand Wagh (a resident of Magan Park). All these are well-known members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal. Sarpanch Kantaben Sanabhai Vasava was also one of the leaders of the mob, which comprised of people from the backward castes and Thakurs. Nilesh Bhogilal Patel, Mahesh Haribhai Rabari and Raghubahi Bharwad, all Bajrang Dal leaders, also led the mob. In addition, Veenabhai Chagganbhai Patel, a former BJP leader, Govindbhai Ramsibhai Rabari, Haribhai Ichhabhai Rabari and Narayanbhai Chottabhai Thakur were also named.

Ankodia, Koyali, Sevasi

In Koyali village next to the Vadodara refinery, two laaris (handcarts) and one shop were burnt near the masjid. According to newspapers (The Times of India/The Indian Express), on March 3, 2002, two nitroglycerine sticks were found by the police in the Koyali mosque. A man had also received burns in a godown there in the first few days of violence. In Sevasi village, one Muslim house with a shop attached to it was burnt. In Ashapuri, a hamlet in Sevasi, a shop belonging to a Muslim was burnt.


Sokhada village is situated 3 to 4 kms from the Gujarat State Fertilisers Corporation (GSFC) plant near Vadodara on the Vadodara-Ahmedabad Highway. It is a prosperous village, known as the headquarters of one of the Swaminarayan sects. Attacks on Muslim homes and properties took place between February 28 and March 5, 2002. The refugees then shifted to Tundav.

According to victims, they were aware that the Bajrang Dal had been holding meetings in Sokhada, but they had not viewed these as communal at the time. They also reported that they had heard that sadhus from the Hari Prasad Swaminarayan Mandir had been using slogans to ‘awaken Hindus’, saying that the country belonged to Hindus not Muslims, that the Ram Temple had to be built, and so forth.

Fifteen days before the incident on February 28, one Hashubhai Patel, alias Tikka, had said that the Hindus would destroy the mosque.

There was tension on the evening and night of February 27, and there was a meeting of a few Hindus at the local Gujarati school. The trouble started on February 28 at around 8 p.m. when a mob of between 500 and 700 people, all from Sokhada itself, gathered and started breaking the cabins and shops of Muslims. According to women victims in Tundav, at 8 p.m. the sarpanch had come and told all of them to have their dinner. But then, a mob from the village (led by the sarpanch, Mahendrasinh Patel) attacked the dargah, masjid and then the shops through the night. The people watched from their terraces and shouted ‘Har har Mahadev’, ‘Have Miyanbhai Ungo Tame’ (‘Now you Muslims will sleep.’) The crowd carried iron rods, dharias (sickles) and axes.

About eight or nine shops were burnt that night. Later, another 19 shops were burnt and the Muslims were threatened and told to leave their houses, or they would be killed. After the shops were burnt that night, the sarpanch told the Muslim villagers that they could return to their houses as nothing further would happen. Nevertheless, the people could hear things being broken and see houses being attacked around them. They could not sleep that night.

Those with children fled the village on the night of February 28. On March 1, the mob attacked again between 8-9 p.m. Most of the 100-odd houses were destroyed and more people started fleeing the village. They hid in the nearby fields and watched as the mobs looted and burnt their homes, workplaces and places of worship.

The masjid in the central part of the village, which shares a wall with a temple, was completely damaged (including the first floor and roof of the semi-basement/ground floor) over the nights of February 28 and March 1, 2002. The dargah and shrines were all destroyed. It appeared that the masjid had been destroyed with the intention of creating a second entrance/pathway to the adjoining temple.

Almost all the 100-odd houses belonging to Muslims were looted, destroyed and burnt – in that order. According to eyewitnesses, the mobs broke down doors, took away all the vessels and other belongings in tempos. In most cases, the land was levelled after ransacking and burning the houses. There were about 15 Muslim-owned big and small shops, all of which were looted and burnt.

This continued for five days. There were, at most, a couple of cases where Hindus helped the victims, but these were in the poorest sections. The plight of the Muslim poor was pathetic, with all their carefully accumulated possessions destroyed beyond use.

For a few days, the Muslims of Sokhada hid in the fields around the village and sought shelter in nearby villages. According to Feroz Mohammed Malik, the Hindus had warned that they would be killed if they returned. Nathhubhai Chhottubhai and Salim Ashraf tried returning to Sokhada but were threatened by Jagdish Tailor (‘Mian ke body ko kaat dalo’ - ‘Cut the Mians up’ ).

In Sokhada, many women were brutally abused – both sexually and verbally. One woman victim was sexually assaulted by 10 Hindu men, another was taken away and physically abused. The women found it difficult to describe the brutality and viciousness of the attacks. Many witnesses, Mehmooda, Bismalla (who had a baby with her), Mahmuda Badran, Madina, Mumtaz and Sabeera (also with babies), and Amina Badshah shared details of this.

One witness, Roshanben, said that what they most needed at that point was some assurance of physical security. They also needed material to set up their homes again. "My two sons are in Shivam High School in Sokhada. We rang up the teacher (Sir). He told us to send the certificate (An application stating that they cannot do the exam, on the basis of which they would be promoted to the next class). They cannot do the exams. We have wasted one year’s fees. He says they will consider promoting them if we send the certificate."

The brutal displacement of Muslims from Sokhada had an eerie postscript — the reported change of the village name to Hari Dham Sokhada. Apart from having lost their property and livelihood, those displaced were afraid to return to an environment of terror and insecurity. As one woman told the team, "We don’t want to go back, suppose they do this again. We heard the crowd say ‘Miyabhai ni chhokri ni izzat looto’ (‘Rape the daughters of Muslims.’) If there is bandobast (police protection), we will go back. If someone takes the responsibility (jawaabdari), we will go." Ameena, an elderly woman, agreed, "They will burn us while we’re asleep. It is not worth going back… the sarpanch came and told us don’t leave your homes, don’t go anywhere. But that night itself they burnt our houses…" The Sokhada women said that the sarpanch and the Patels of the village had said that if they came back, "we will looto their izzat (rape them); we will force them to flee without their clothes."

The Sokahada sarpanch has held office for nine years and the people cannot get over what he did. "We’ve lived here for generations, never before has something like this happened."

According to victims, a mob of 500 from Patelgaon caused most of the damage. Motiya Pura, Lalji Pura and Vashna have also been named – they apparently distributed alcohol to the villagers who went on looting and burning sprees after drinking. One Madhusudhanbhai Muljibhai Amerikawala from the USA, who was present during the initial days of the looting/burning, reportedly encouraged and urged the mob to go ahead and make a good job of it. One of the victims, Nizambhai Abbasbhai, saw and heard Amerikawala saying that he was prepared to spend about Rs. 1 crore for this. Other prime instigators were the sarpanch, Mahendrabhai Ramanbhai Patel and Jagdishbhai Mohanbhai Tailor who, the people say, was drunk most of the time. According to eyewitnesses, those actively involved in the destruction of the mosque were Hiteshbhai Purushottam (STD Pangallawalla), Manojbhai Thakorebhai Patel (newspaper dealer) and Sanjaybhai Thakorebhai. Hydermiya Chandmian testified that he had given 12 names to the police, but FIRs had been lodged against only 6 of them. The victims also said that they had repeatedly tried to contact the police (562600). Each time they were told by one Leelaben that the police van would be sent, but the police never arrived.

One woman victim told the team, "Three policemen came, roamed around and went away. On the afternoon of February 28, the police was there, they were there at night. We couldn’t see them around – they ran away. With a mob of 1000-2000, who would remain present?"

FIRs were filed at Badarpur, but the police did not come to take statements. Copies of the FIRs were also submitted to the Tribunal.


Tundav has a population of 800 (50 per cent Muslims and 50 per cent Hindus). Almost 90 households of refugees came here from Sokhada village to stay with relatives and friends. But in May there were only around 50 people from Sokhada still living there – half the original inmates had moved to Gothada, and some others to Savli and Bena.

The Tundav population, both Hindus and Muslims, hosted a kitchen run on local donations for about 300 persons every day. The women told the team, "We live in harmony, our village is our family. No one from outside can come and take us away from here. If anyone dares to come, they won’t be able to go back." The sarpanch of Tundav village is Pratapsingh Bharatsinh Rathore. The ex-sarpanch is Chhatrasinh.


The population of Asoj is 5500. There are about 120 Patel and 30 Muslim families in this village. A Shanti Sabha (Peace Forum) was formed in Asoj and there was no problem there.


The population of Manjusar village is around 5000, with about 400 Muslims. Manjusar was affected in the violence and about 20 cabins belonging to Muslims were burnt. The 40-50 Muslim households were generally undisturbed, except for the house of Syed Hussain Mian Bapu Mian (loss of Rs 1-1.5 lakh), who did farming.

Asraf Malik, Mir Sahab Goram Khan Pathan and their two brothers, all long-term employees of Vadodara Tiles, were dismissed by their boss on March 3, 2002, because he did not dare face the wrath of the mob because of their presence. Vadodara Tiles is jointly owned by Maheshbhai Govindbhai Patel (from Morbi) and Dineshbhai Patel. Sadduben Ashrafbhai worked as a plasterer for nine years in Vadodara Tiles, before being fired on February 28, 2002. Ten other workers of the company were also dismissed on February 28. Some then went to Khamba, Khanpur and elsewhere.

Rabiaben Mirsab Pathan, 35, has a 10-year-old daughter, Shabana. She and her husband both worked for Vadodara Tiles and they lived on the factory premises. Her daughter studied in Class 4 in a school in Manjusar. Her brother Zakir Hussain worked in the neighbouring company (Jagadamba Tiles). He also fled the village after violence broke out. Rabiaben said, "They (people from the village) came to hit us on February 28, 2002. The Seth (boss) told us to leave...We didn’t recognise the people in the mob because we are pardesi (from another area). When the mob came, the Seth threw us out in half an hour. We couldn’t even collect our things. We walked all the way here, eight of us, we left at 2 p.m. on March 1. We reached here (Tundav) around 4-5 p.m. We stayed in a school in Tundav for 15 days, and have now shifted to a rented house in the village (Tundav). We have not found any work as yet. They took away our four goats…" The family hailed from Kanba in Borsad taluka. They could not go to Kanba because Muslims had fled from there too. They did not know where to go. They could not even phone and find out where the Muslim villagers from Kanba were.


There are 200 Patel families in Chappad, which is close to Bhayli village. Yakubbhai Rehmanbhai Mustafa, grain kirana (provisions) shopkeeper, was the only resident of Chappad whose house was burnt, along with his shop on February 28, 2002. His mother, Doriben Rehmanbhai, 60, was widowed ten years ago. She has two sons, Yakubbhai (30 years), who is an epileptic, and Mafatbhai (40 years).

At 9 p.m. on February 28, the dairy horn/whistle was blown as a signal for the Patels to gather. The mob surrounded the Muslims. There were 60 persons, all from the village. They shouted, "Kill the men, leave the women."

Doriben said that they hid for a couple of hours in their Waghri neighbour’s house before going into the fields. They then phoned her son-in-law, who came and took them away. They walked 15 kms to Sarsavni and spent two nights there. The mob looted Doriben’s house and then burnt it. They took away her goats and chickens. They suffered losses amounting to around Rs. 1-1.5 lakh. While the mob burnt down Doriben’s house, they managed to save the Waghri neighbours’ house from burning down. The family had been told not to return to Chappad.

The perpetrators of the looting and arson were: The sarpanch, Pramodbhai Shankarbhai Patel, Rajubhai Shankarbhai Patel, the sarpanch’s daughter-in-law(who was seen sitting behind him on the scooter when the mob came), Pradipbhai Tarjabhai Patel, Manojbhai Laljibhai Patel, Somabhai Himmatbhai Patanwala, Pramod Thakkar, Pradip Patel, Jyotishbhai Vasava and Kanu Ratilal Vasava.


Ranoli is located next to the Gujarat Refinery. Many of the residents are lower-level employees of the Refinery and of other petrochemical industries in the area. There are mixed bastis of migrant workers around Ranoli. Refugees from Ranoli were present at a relief camp in Tandalja, Vadodara.

There are 25 Muslim families living in Ranoli, which is around 17-18 kms from Vadodara. The other residents are all Hindus, numbering 5000 or so. Some of these Muslims had small shops, while others worked as daily wage earners or in the local cinema hall, Dawal Cinema. Stoning began on March 1, 2002, and the Muslims were told by local people to leave the area. The local sarpanch, Chandrakant Patel, was the main instigator. The Muslims ran and hid in the fields "like animals, without anything to eat for 2-3 days." One of them had a mobile phone and kept calling the police, although they were scared to tell the police where they were hiding. But the control room repeatedly told them that there was no help for them. They made their way to Vadodara, having lost everything.

The mob comprised about 100 people and included the sarpanch of Ranoli and his sons (Kirti and another one). Kaushik Patel, an employee of GACL, also took part in the looting.

Usmanbhai, an employee of Gujarat Dyestuff lived in Ishwarbhai Ni Chaali in Ranoli. On March 1, at around 3.00 p.m., when mobs advanced towards his home, he fled with his family to Pharma SMX, Gujarat Dyestuff. Later, he found out that his house had been completely looted. The victim said the house had not been set on fire because it belongs to a Hindu. The family went to the Jawahar Nagar police in Ranoli at around 10 p.m. on March 3, 2002. The police then escorted them to Musra Park and sheltered them in a building under construction. By March 14, there were already about 40 people staying there and the kitchen fed about 180 people.


Vadodara—Tribal Belt

The Tribunal recorded the testimonies of 18 witnesses from the Chhotaudaipur tribal belt in Vadodara district and received statements from another 17. This area saw unfortunate attacks by the instigated Adivasi section of the population, which has been influenced by the BJP and VHP systematically over the past years. Kanwat, Tejgadh, Panwad and other villages in this region have been virtually wiped clean of any Muslim population. Shops and homes have been looted, destroyed and then burnt, often in the presence of the police. The VHP had been having late-night meetings with Adivasis for two months before the Godhra incident. Chhotaudaipur is located close to the Madhya Pradesh border where on January 17, the RSS had held a massive two-day meet of tribals.


The violence in Tejgadh took place from March 2 onwards, though tension had been brewing since the day of the Godhra incident. Witness Khatri Abdulkader Nishar Ahmed who has lodged FIRs against both the SP Keshav Kumar and the collector, …… has detailed the cynical manipulation of the Adivasi population against Muslims. The other complainants are Khatri Usmangani Daudji, Khatri Daudji, Massombhai V, Khatri Mahmedji Umerji, Khatri MY, Khatri Ahmed Ahmedji, Fakirmohammed, Khatri Yusuf Umerji, Kureshi Amjadali, Khatri Abdul Majid A Kadar, Khatri Shabbirbhai M, Khatri Abdul Kader Mahmoodji, Syyed Mahboobali Husseinmiya, Khatri Suleimanji Usmanji, Khatri Abdul Karim Usmanji and Khatri Ahmedji Usmanji.

These witnesses have stated that on February 27, the day of the Godhra train killings, there was complete peace in their village. The next day, the traders of the majority community, including the sarpanch and the deputy sarpanch, had requested Bohra Muslims to shut their shops in response to the call of Gujarat bandh. To show their opposition to the inhuman killings on the train, the Muslims had closed their shops all over. The next day, on hearing about Bharat bandh, the minorities again kept their shops closed to show their opposition to the train killings. On the third day, all the shops in the village had opened as usual.

There was, however, an uneasy feeling prevalent in the village. On March 2, the village sarpanch came to the area. While he was there, a person from the minority community, Khatri Yusufji Daudji, suggested to him that in order to maintain peace in the village, they should call a meeting of the Peace Committee so that through an exchange of confidence in each other, peace could be maintained. The sarpanch informed them that there was no need to call a meeting of the Peace Committee and no reason to be worried.

But Muslims began to suspect that some scheme was being hatched in the village, and 4 families of the minority community living in the mixed locality of Limdi market came to live in Tejgadh on March 1. On March 3, around 10 o’clock at night, the sarpanch came to this area and told Muslims that they should not sit around in groups but stay in their houses, otherwise he would invoke section 144 and arrest them under it. Muslims, however, replied that they needed to be awake and in groups to protect their properties, as one jamadar and three police constables at the village outpost were not enough to protect the village property. In this way, the night of March 3 passed in uneasy peace.

On March 4, through an inhabitant of the village, Abdul Latif Rehmanji Khatri, Muslims informed the leader of the BJP, Ashwinbhai Rawal (village Chichod), that as the atmosphere of the village was not good, he should use his position to contact the zilla police chief and get more policemen. To this Rawal replied that he was going to Chhotaudaipur right then to make appropriate arrangements.

But up to the evening of March 4, no additional police force was seen. At about 11.05 that night, a Muslim farmer, Yakubji Daudji’s shop was set on fire. Fifteen minutes later, the shops and buildings of the minority community situated in Limdi market were also set on fire, even as 8 persons of the minority community were present at the spot. They saw with their own eyes that a crowd of 150 to 200 people was screaming and howling, spreading fear through the village.

The Muslims who were present told the jamadar on duty to stop the crowd from indulging in arson. He replied that as the place had already been set on fire, he was going to the police station to call the fire brigade on the wireless. Saying this, he left the place with his staff. But on the spot was Home Guard commandant, Arvindbhai Desaibhai Patel, who was performing his duty.

Meanwhile, on noticing the Muslims standing there, the crowd rushed towards them. The Muslims ran into their area to save their lives. Just then, the telephone and electricity connections in the Muslims area went off. Half an hour later, the water tanker of the fire brigade arrived but the unruly crowd did not allow the brigade to do its job because of which the fire continued raging.

In the meantime, more police arrived from Chhotaudaipur and started firing tear gas shells. As this seemed to have no effect, they started firing in the air. When even that was not effective, they thought it their duty to fire into the crowd. Meanwhile, the Muslim houses and shops in Limdi market continued to burn. Then, from a rear approach road to the market, on Kikawala Road, another mob arrived, screaming and howling, to set fire to the Muslim houses. They were also shooting arrows.

In Limdi market, PSI Pandya, who was performing his duty, started firing tear gas shells. This had no effect on the crowd, and a cabin near the bus stand was set on fire. As the violence continued, the police had no alternative but to start firing in which, as per the witness’ knowledge, 4 to 5 persons were injured. The crowd took the injured people and ran away with them.

At that time, the mamlatdar of Chhotaudaipur and the SP arrived on the spot. The whole night was spent in great anxiety. In the morning, members of the minority community went to meet the PSI on duty, Pandya. The PSI informed them that the previous night, he was given orders to fire on the crowd but now he had instructions from above not to fire and so would act accordingly. He added that one person had been injured in the firing the previous night and his condition was serious. If he died, the police was apprehensive that the Adivasis of the surrounding villages would attack Muslims during the funeral procession. He, therefore, advised the minority community to leave the village in order to save their lives.

In view of this, 210 people left Tejgadh village for Bodeli, where they took shelter with their relatives and acquaintances. The report of these 210 people was given to the Bodeli police station. More than two months later, they were still sheltered in Bodeli. From the time they moved out up to mid-May, when they deposed before the tribunal, Muslim shops and houses were continuously being first looted and then set on fire. This went on for weeks but the police took no appropriate action. In the above-mentioned incidents, at least 65 properties (40 houses and 25 shops) were looted and burnt down. The damage is estimated at about Rs. 1.5 crore. Refugees took shelter in Bodeli and were living there under terrible conditions with no basic amenities.


On March 10, in village Panwad, 12 km from Kanwat, tempos and trucks, houses, shops and cabins of Muslims were looted and set on fire by mobs from the surrounding villages. The incident took place on the very day on which the SRP and the BSF forces were withdrawn from Panwad.

Panwad is located within a largely Adivasi area. There are over 600 houses in Panwad, of which 200 belonged to Muslims. Muslims have been living in Panwad for seven generations, during which time there have been no incidents of communal violence. They say that Muslims and Adivasis used to attend each other’s functions and were on cordial terms. Banias and Dalits also live in the same village. Most of the Muslims who have had to leave Panwad were petty traders with paan-beedi shops and other small businesses, or worked in other shops, dealt in forest produce, or took on small contracts for construction material. None of them own much land or have any money in the bank. Most trading activities were carried on with Chhotaudaipur and Kanwat.

According to victim–survivors from Panwad, over the past two months nightly meetings were held among the Adivasis. "We never bothered about them. People from the VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS would address these meetings. However, they were being organised and instigated against us without our even being aware of it. Rumours are rife that the Adivasis were paid a lot of cash and were given alcohol too. But we cannot verify this." A report in The Hindu states that refugees from Panwad staying in the Chhotaudaipur camp named three non-Adivasi Hindus who, they said, had directed the violence.

There was continuous violence in the surrounding areas right from March 1. Individual houses had been burnt in around 60 to 70 villages. Many people from these areas came to Panwad. On March 8, the people were threatened that their village would be burnt on March 10. According to the victim-survivors, the police was present when the threats were made.

The trouble in Panwad began at 2.30 p.m. on March 10. Around 5,000 to 7,000 people surrounded the village. They used everything to intimidate the people — arrows, stones, dharias, weapons, private firing, etc. In the melee, two Adivasis were killed in police firing. Muslims from Panwad said, "We were stoning, too, but were very soon outnumbered and realised we could no longer resist them. Fifty to sixty SRP police standing there ordered us to go inside instead of stopping the mob. This continued till 1 a.m. We were terrified. Most of the women were asked to hide in one pucca house while most of the children were in another 2-3 pucca houses. There were 400 to 500 men standing out all night with no hope, no weapons and no police support."

There was firing in the air, and tear gas was used to disperse the people instead of the mob. They were also severely beaten by the police. "The mob was not warned even once. In fact at one point the police went up to them and came back, and the mob got even more violent and active. It was clear what was happening. They were Adivasis from nearby villages: Panibar, Bhindol, Jhaab, Sadli, Kawra, Chimli etc."

According to the witnesses, "They told us we would be lynched because two Adivasis had been killed. We appealed to the SP. We told him that we wanted to shift to Chhotaudaipur and he should help us shift. They asked us to wait till 8 a.m. and said that nothing could be done before that. We could not hold out any longer and 1,000 to 1,500 of us left at around 5 a.m. with nothing on us but the clothes we were wearing."

At 8 a.m., the Adivasis entered the village, looted all the houses and burnt them systematically. Around 1,000 people were still in the camps in Chhotaudaipur (Nazar Bagh) in mid-May. Most of the people left their daughters and other young women in the camp there for safety. There were around 500 Panwad residents in Vadodara. According to one victim, "People from our community are helping us with whatever they can. One of them is Judge Sadiqbhai. But how long can they help us?

"It is evident that they do not want us in Panwad or even any trace of us. They looted all we had and saw to it that we left empty-handed. Some of us barely managed daily wages. A small contractor dealing with bricks has lost around Rs 1.5 lakh while another contractor has lost property worth Rs 8 lakh." Otherwise, most of the Muslim residents in Panwad had a meagre income. Women used to carry loads for Rs 40-50 per day.

The people are further disappointed in their Congress leaders who they feel were of no help. The local MLA is Sukhrambhai Rathwa, while the MP of the area is Ramsingh Rathwa. Most of the people had all their cash in their houses and have lost all their belongings. They continue to maintain that they faced no problems from the local Hindus in the village. They say that it was the Adivasis instigated by the VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS who were responsible.


Rajesh Mishra of Arch Vahini filed an FIR as an eyewitness to the violence that took place in his native village, Kanwat, between March 10 and March 18, 2002. On March 12 and 13, in Kanwat, more than 250 houses and shop/establishments of Muslims, were looted and then set on fire by tribal mobs from the surrounding villages. Most of the houses belonging to Muslims were totally destroyed and their businesses ruined. There were 185 Muslim and 52 Bohra Muslim households living and conducting their business in Kanwat. It was so far back that even elders cannot recall when and from where the Muslims came and settled in this interior village of Kanwat. (See FIR by Activist, Detailed Annexures, Volume III).

All 185 Muslim households lost all of their belongings. Their houses and business premises were looted, burnt and destroyed. Out of 185 households, 38 had pucca RCC structures and the rest were kuccha structures. They lost property worth approximately Rs 3.50 crore, invested in their shops, garages, cabins, handcarts and vehicles. They were homeless and had become paupers, taking shelter in Vadodara and Chhotaudaipur with relatives and Muslim jamaat khanas.

The 52 Bohra Muslim community households were well-to-do traders in Kanwat. Bohras had lived in Kanwat for over generations and had developed business in varied spheres and on a large scale. Going by even by a very conservative estimate, the Bohras lost property worth Rs. 7 to 8 crore.

From March 1 onwards, Muslims in Kanwat had been receiving threats and threatening calls from various sources, which made them tense and anxious. They had repeatedly asked the local administration, the mamlatdar and the police for protection. As the tension mounted, they also demanded deployment of the Border Security Force (BSF), Rapid Action Force (RAF) or State Reserve Police (SRP) in adequate numbers. But no protection was forthcoming.

The fears were not unfounded, especially when it became known that the sarpanch and other village leaders had cancelled the traditional weekly market (haat) scheduled for March 4 and March 11. Cancelling the haat was an extraordinary decision because haats are almost never cancelled. This indicated the gravity of the situation and the danger that loomed large over the law-and-order situation. Later it became clear that the target was obviously the Muslim community.

As reports of incidents in Panwad reached Kanwat on March 10, panicky Muslims desperately urged the local administration to provide them security. They knew it was their turn next, for stories had been pouring in over the past ten days, that the mobs would first target Panwad, and then Kanwat. The local BJP leader, who was trying to keep peace in Kanwat, had also sensed impending trouble. He repeatedly implored the district collector and the police authorities to provide adequate police and BSF protection to Kanwat to avoid the great tragedy that could overtake the village.

According to victim-survivors in Qureshi Jamaatkhana Camp, Vadodara, a great deal of tension was created among Muslims from February 24 by tribals from the surrounding area, who were traumatising the Muslims by asserting that they should all be thrown out of the village. There was increased tension in the area since March 1. The local people, including the local MLA, repeatedly appealed to the administration for deployment of SRP and BSF forces, but this was not done.

On March 10, after the withdrawal of SRP and BSF forces, violence broke out in Panwad village, 12 km from Kanwat. The local people in Kanwat had been warned that their village would be attacked next. After repeated pleas made over several days, an army unit finally arrived on the night of March 11. In the early morning of March 12, the army shifted the 185 Muslim families. That afternoon, Bohra Muslim families, took shelter in the Kanwat police station. Later on in the night, these families, too, were shifted out under police protection from Kanwat to Dahod town. They left their houses and property exposed.

When the attacks started on March 12, even simple measures like tear gas or firing in the air were not resorted to by the police, to prevent the mob from looting and setting fire to Muslim and Bohra property. On March 13, the looting and burning spree started from early morning and went on till late afternoon. Suddenly at about 3.15 p.m., the police imposed curfew and within minutes it drove away the looting mobs.

According to Meherunissa Fakir Mohammed, a resident of Kanwat staying in a camp in Tandalja, "A mob of around 4,000 Adivasis had come. Initially they pelted stones but later they started shooting with arrows that burnt because they had tips wrapped in cloth and soaked in kerosene. We then went and asked the police for protection to take us to a safe place. They gave us a vehicle (M 7-8) that had about 5-6 policemen. We ourselves arranged 5-6 jeeps and followed the police van. When we reached Bodeli, there was curfew in the area. Some Hindus refused to shelter us in Bodeli, citing the curfew as an excuse, but their reluctance was probably more because they didn’t want to shelter Muslims coming from outside. The DDO asked us to make our own arrangements and leave the place in two hours. We finally landed up in the Tandalja Camp. Here they give us meals in the daytime and in the evening. But, how long this will continue? Now we don’t want to go back to the same place."

During the burning and looting, the police did not take any action. According to Mishra of Arch Vahini, the mob consisted largely of women and children who were not heavily armed, and the incident could have been quickly brought under control, had the police taken some action even by firing in the air or tear-gassing the mob. But this was not done. The police imposed curfew only on the afternoon of March 13, and the mob dispersed.

As one victim-survivor, Jaitunbibi, said, "In my whole life, we have never had trouble or conflict with the Adivasis. This is not their work, some people from outside have provoked them and local Adivasis have looted and burnt shops using petrol bombs. Because of this incident, the children are frightened, their education has been affected and their future is uncertain."

According to Mehrunissa Mohammed, some Hindus in the area had paid around Rs.1,000 to 1,200 to the Adivasis to get their houses burnt. Muslims targeted in the attacks generally seemed to feel that the Adivasis could not have participated in the loot and arson without instigation and direction by non-Adivasis. An Adivasi schoolteacher in Joj, quoted in the Hindu report, expressed a similar opinion, stating that Adivasis had been used. The schoolteacher said that Adivasis who had taken part in the violence told him that they were given liquor and money and forced to participate in the arson, and that many of the Adivasi women had wept while watching the destruction. Victims of the violence too believed that Adivasis had been threatened and coerced into participation by VHP activists, with active police support.

An important respect in which the attacks by the Adivasis differed from much of the general pattern of violence was that they were restricted to destruction and looting of property. While the Muslim victims were driven from their homes, there were no killings, and women were not sexually assaulted or abused by the Adivasi attackers.

At Pipalda village near Kanwat, some properties of Muslims were destroyed. There are clear indications that the attacks had been planned well before the incidents. The attackers had noted and knew exactly the location of Muslim houses and shops — how many and in which lanes — and the attacks on these places were well timed. In all places, petrol bombs and gas cylinders were used. Threats had been issued to non-Muslim residents not to support the Muslims, and in some places, local people supported the attackers. There seems to have been pressure from above on the police and fire brigade to not help. Some witnesses complained that the police and fire brigade arrived late on the scene. In many cases, the police were in the front helping the rioters in the attacks.

The violence that took place in the Chhotaudaipur belt, where Adivasis looted and burnt the houses and establishments of Muslims was unprecedented in the history of the area. Mishra, an activist for twenty years, born, brought up and working in the Kanwat region, asserts positively that Muslims and Adivasis have co-existed in harmony till recent times. It is widely being claimed that the Adivasis attacked Muslims as a reaction to exploitation by Muslim moneylenders. However, it should be noted that the logic of Adivasis being mobilised against the exploitation of Muslim moneylenders does not hold in this area. In Kanwat, Banias are involved in money lending, but Adivasis did not attack them. This indicates that Hindu communal organisations explicitly mobilised Adivasis against Muslims.



Published by: Citizens for Justice and Peace