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Himmatnagar town of Sabarkantha District, Gujarat
By Ishaq G. Sheth

Gujarat, March 20: A boy by the name of Kamlesh patel who was a regular customer at the shop of a Muslim businessman Hameed Doi a Wholesale hosiery Merchant, came to his shop on 19th March to purchase as usual. He bought goods for which he paid cash and told the merchant to keep the parcel there as he had to go and purchase other things. This boy left his motorcycle parked outside Hameedbhai's shop. This boy did not return to pick his parcel. That day in the evening the injured of near by Modasa town were brought to Himmat Nagar Civil Hospital, which was surrounded by VHP activists who did not allow the injured to get admitted. They had to be shifted to the VS hospital in The nearby city of Ahmedabad. This incident of not allowing the injured created a commotion in which people of the whole town of Himmat Nagar ran helter skelter.

This boy at that time on his round to purchase other things from Himmatnagr must have also ran away somewhere leaving his motorcycle behind. This boy must have been hidden By the local leaders of VHP to get an excuse to attack the Muslims once again. That night the boys parents lodged a complain that their son had not returned home. The leaders of the Local VHP and Bajrang Dal took up the cudgel. They demanded the return of the boy by 2PM ,as if the merchant or the Muslim community was responsible for his absence. The police rounded up Hameedbhai and two other Muslim Merchant for interrogation.

By 3 PM the VHP and Bajrang Dal combined attacked Muslim properties. One Mosque, One shrine near the railway station was destroyed and burned. Several shops of Muslims were looted and burned. Later we learned that a few house of Muslims were set on fire. This eventually increased to over a 150. At 4pm the administration under pressure, was forced to declare indefinite curfew in Himmatnagar. Canceling all Education board Examinations indefinitely.

Today more than 24hours later the 3 innocent Muslim merchants are still detained by the police in pretext of interrogation. Despite repeated demands by Muslims the 3 are still to be released by the Police.

Today still uneasy calm prevails over Himmatnagar. The tension at all sides run high just because some leaders of the militant organizations have taken the whole town and administration to ransom. Today inspite of the curfew one Muslim owned Mechanic garage was burnt down.

We request the Muslims of the World and all peace loving individuals to pressurise the government in Gujarat to take immediate step to quell the situation and take to remand the unsculpurous elements to restore peace and harmony in national interest.

Ishaq G. Sheth
Card No. D-37707
Government of Gujarat
Reporter 'Gujarat Today'

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