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Report of the CPIM / AIDWA delegation to Gujarat
» Introduction Read
» Godhra, Panchmahal district Read
» In the rural areas outside Godhra Read
» Officially recognised deaths / Politics Read
» Destruction of property, loss of lives, compensation Read
» Ahmedabad Read
» Relief Camps Read
» Voices of anguish / Conclusion Read
AHMEDABAD MARCH 10,12,13
Ahmedabad looks like a city ravaged by war. For the first time even areas dominated by the Muslim community were targets of attack because of the connivance of the police. One such area was Bapunagar and its surroundings. Ansar Nagar, Sone ki Chali, Rahat Nagar, Medina Nagar, Akbar Nagar, Urban Nagar etc all areas along Highway 8 on the right side coming from Ahmedabad city) These are all areas totally inhabited by Muslims. There are shops in front and rows of houses at the back. Nearby are high-rise buildings like Gayatri Nagar which are inhabited by the majority community. Until now, people living here have felt quite secure. This time was different.
Most of the people who live here are originally from Uttar Pradesh but have been in Ahmedabad for at least three generations since their ancestors had all come to work in the Ahmedabad textile industry. After the closure of the mills, many of them work in small factories, as daily wage-earners, petty vendors, drivers, shop-keepers, tradesmen or own small businesses. The houses, except for Akbar Nagar and Urban Nagar, are pucca and built in rows on single or double-storied tenements. There is a large Madrasa, Qasimul Uloom, and a large Mosque, the Medina Masjid.
Our delegation went around much of the area. We were accompanied by Com Shahabuddin a CPI(M) and CITU leader who lives in the area and has been actively involved in the relief work and many others of the area including Firoze, Rajabhai, Wali Mohammed and also many women. We saw that some of the families whose homes while damaged had not been completely destroyed were living in them and cooking their own food. Even they had lost most of their possessions. Many others had to live in the camps because their homes had been completely burnt down. Akbar Nagar was a hutment colony just behind the Office of the Asst. Commissioner of Police, "H" Division. It had been completely destroyed: burnt and then razed down and almost all traces of its existence had been obliterated. More than 300 families from here were in the Bapunagar Aman Chowk camp.
The people accompanying us said that stray attacks started on the 28th. People would come in groups, there would be resistance from the area. Some firing was also resorted to. 120 hutments of Urban Nagar were looted and burnt. On the 1st, at 2.00 p.m.the entire area was cordoned off completely by the police and huge mobs of thousands gathered all around it. The delegation saw the wall which had been broken by the mob to get into the area. The rioters were armed with swords and other weapons like iron and wooden rods and well-equipped with inflammable material. They came in waves and seemed very organised and prepared. When they could not demolish certain structures, they brought trucks and drove them into their targets. A 12-13 year old boy, Basheer, was shot dead. The police shot Sageer Ahmed dead and his body was later burnt by the mob. We were told that about 35 in this area had been killed and about 500 injured. They named Bapu Jhadapiya the brother of the Gujarat Home Minister, Goverdhan Jhadapiya and said that he had been openly moving with the police and directing the mobs. They also mentioned Bharat Rana, an RSS supporter and Siti Cable owner or operator (this was a bit uncertain) and said that they and others had all been using mobile phones during the attack. They also said that some badly affected areas fell under the Central Home Minister, L.K. Advani’s parliamentary constituency, so how could they hope for justice. They asked how he could look after and protect the country when he could not protect those who lived in his constituency. They mentioned that even on the day that he visited looting and burning were continuing.
The Madarsa, where about a hundred children used to live and many more study, was also attacked and desecrated. We saw charred bags of grain and many books, including Korans we were told, burnt to ashes, empty liquor bottles in a heap on the floor of the main hall, on the blackened walls of which had been scratched "Andar ki baat hai, police hamaare saath hai" (The hidden truth is that the police is with us); "Shiv Sena Zindabad"; "Narendra Modi Zindabad". The mob also set fire to the interior of the mosque. Even though the residents have tried to clean it up and have started praying in it, the ceiling is still black, the mimbar is badly damaged, fans and lights are mangled and the charred remains of floor mats and books could be seen.
It was only when the army arrived at 6.00 p.m on the 1st that the mayhem was stopped.
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