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Surat Riots

A delegation of Surat Sarva Kalyan Pragati Mandal, comprised of Syed Siraaj, Farooq Shaikh, Pragnesh Vyaas and Imraan Syed, have demanded that just as the late Pardewale was detained as riots had followed his declaration of Bandh, those responsible for the riots following the recent Surat Bandh should also be dealt with as according to the same law and same rule.
Gujrat Today, 22 August 2000

The riot-hit city of Surat has still not limped back to normalcy. The communal fire that inflicted heavy losses on the Muslim community and caused several deaths and huge financial losses, is still in the air. People do not feel safe even inside their own houses where they have lived for decades.

Communal tension had flared up in the wake of the killings of Amarnath Yatris in Pahalgam. Though it was caused, as claimed by RSS people themselves, by the indiscriminate firing of CRPF and police, the diabolical bandh was devised to direct attention away from the failings of the BJP-led central government which directly oversees the army and paramilitary activity in the strife-torn state. The saffron brigade found it easy to incite the common man against Muslims. Bajrang Dal and VHP projected it as the handiwork of militants and targeted Muslims all over the country through the illegal bandh. Surat and Ahmadabad proved easy targets for these extremists because like-minded people rule the state.

In the wake of the riots, a delegation of Jamiat Ulama-e Hind visited Surat to provide relief to the riot-affected people. The delegation that comprised on Hafiz Muhammad Siddiq, Maulana Syed Mahmood Madani and Maulana Siraj Ahmad Qasimi, said after returning from the riot hit city that the riots were well planned. Madani said that the worst part of this episode is the overt and covert help that these organizations are receiving from police forces and government officials. These forces want to see Muslims marginalized as they are economically strong and well-to-do in the state. In the recent riots Muslim shops and businesses were set ablaze causing heavy financial loss.

Madani added that in Weshram Nagar area of Surat city, houses and shops of Ghulam Bhai and Muhammad Shafi were ransacked and then set ablaze. Shops of Mustaqeem Bhai Star Tailors, Asrar Ahmad, Muhammad Ishaq, Arif Bhai Tailor and Muhammad Yasin were torched. The house and vehicle of Abdul Qayyum were also torched.

Madani said that the power-looms of Azeez Bhai were set ablaze that caused him losses up to the tune of Rs two million. Anwar Bhai Chamarya faced a loss of Rs. eight million. Arif Bhai Jalola’s loss is estimated at Rs four million and Shafi Mamus’s at nearly 1.2 million. Anwarul Haq lost nearly Rs two million. Shafi Mamu owned 72 power-looms, Arif Bhai 24 power-looms and Muhammad Qasim And Anwarul Haq 12 power-looms each. They lost all these during these riots. 

Losses were afflicted to a number of other people. According to the delegation, police fired and killed Muhammad Naim of Dada Apartments, Yasin Khan and Yaqub Khan of Bazar Adnangar and Yusuf Quraishi. Police forced Muslims to recite Vande Matram and called them Pakistani and ISI agents.

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