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Published in the 1-15 May 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Minister instigated violence against Muslims

The Milli Gazette Online

Jaipur: Sadbhavana Manch and Rajasthan Muslim Forum, non-governmental organisations, have demanded removal of Rajathan Home Minister, Gulab Chand Kataria and institution of an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation, for instigating violence against Muslims in the communally-sensitive Bhilwara district.

The representatives of the two organisations addressed a press conference here April 17 after they failed to get an appointment with the CM, Vasundhara Raje. They alleged that Kataria had given signals to the district administration not to take action against the rioters who burnt a dozen shops of Muslims in Mandal, damaged two mosques and two tombs in the town, and drove out Muslims out of several villages.

The delegation was told by the local people that the rioters, mostly RSS and Bajrang Dal activists, were given a "free hand" to indulge in loot and arson during curfew in Mandal on April 8 and the police assisted them at some places in setting the shops on fire. "There was evidence suggesting that policemen provided kerosene and diesel to arsonists," said Abdul Latif, a member of the delegation. 

A five-member delegation of the two organisations visited Mandal and Bhilwara towns on April 15 to take stock of the situation there and found that Muslims were living in a state of shock and terror with both communal outfits and police targeting them. Muslims who were forced to migrate from Karjalia, Kalias, Udo Ka Badia and Brahmino Ki Saredi villages, are finding it difficult to return to their homes.

Shortly after the stoning of a post-Holi procession in Mandal, the police raided the homes of Muslims in a locality situated far from the trouble-spot and allegedly smashed household goods and took away cash, jewellery, besides humiliating women and elderly people.

Take Chand Rahul, president of the Rajasthan Buddha Mahasabha said that available evidence indicate that the BJP-led government wanted to replicate the Gujarat model of mayhem and violence in Rajasthan. He added that the RSS has penetrated deep into the district with its workers promoting hatred against the minority community at the grassroot level.

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