Bharuch Communal Riot was Planned: Top Muslim Leader of Gujarat

By Zeeshan Ahmed

Ahmedabad, 16 Jan 2015: Police have rounded up at least 50 persons, all Muslims, from Ambheta and Hansot villages of the Bharuch district in South Gujarat in connection with communal incidents that resulted in death of two Hindus and injuries to over a dozen Muslims on Wednesday.

Three mosques in Ambheta, Ilav and Hansot villages were attacked and properties, including half a dozen houses, two shops and a dozen vehicles belonging to Muslims were torched by the mob. A house was torched in Ambheta village on Thursday as well, despite police presence in the village.
Though the immediate provocation for the clashes is reported to be catching of a kite that had fallen on the ground after being cut by somebody when it was flying in the sky on Wednesday. The kite is said to have belonged to a Hindu and a group of the latter beat up the boy who picked it up after it came on the ground. Gujaratis – both Hindus and Muslims – fly kites on the day of Makar Sankranti, a Hindu festival that falls on January 14.
The beating of the boy resulted in group clash in the village with about 5,000 population, and 1500 of them being Muslims. The news of the incident spread like a wildfire in neighbouring villages, including Hansot where a big mob attacked Muslim houses and properties, prompting police to rush there. Police is reported to have opened fire in the air and lobbed more than a dozen teargas shells to bring the situation under control.
Meanwhile, the rioting mobs also burnt down more than two dozen standing sugarcane crops belonging to Muslims in villages around Hansot. An ambulance carrying injured persons to Surat for treatment was also attacked by the mob. As all the roads from Hansot to Surat and Bharuch had become unsafe owing to anti-social elements attacking Muslims, some of the injured persons were shifted to hospitals by boat through the river Narmada that passes from Hansot village.
While District Superintendent of Police, Bharuch, Bipin Ahire told mediapersons that the situation was under control and no fresh incident of violence had taken place on Friday, Abdul Qayyum Mansuri, general secretary of the Jamiat Ulema accused the police of being biased in the whole episode.
Mansuri told mediapersons that there was an undercurrent of tension in the villages after a youth identified as Sunil Patel of Ambheta village had posted an offensive picture of Prophet Muhammad on Whatsapp and circulated it among the villagers a month ago. About 25,000 Muslims of nearby areas had taken out a rally and submitted a memorandum to the district authorities to take action against Sunil. Sunil was arrested but was released a week ago on court orders.

According to Mansuri, the tension was building up in the area since then. A ‘dharam parishad’ was also organised about 15 days ago in nearby Katpor village allegedly by Vallabh Patel, brother of local MLA Ishwar Patel. He alleged that two Muslim families of Katpor village were also asked by the local Hindus to convert to Hinduism or quit the village.

Since then, Mansuri said, Muslim youths were frequently attacked whenever they happened to travel from one village to another for their daily works. He said that youths were sometimes stopped in presence of police when they could not be identified from their outer appearance and their driving licences were checked. If they happened to be Muslims, they were roughed up. However, police deny these allegations.
Mansuri alleged that it was a “pre-planned” attack. He alleged that police encouraged the mob to attack Muslim properties.
Mansuri said that he called up state director general of police (DGP) P C Thakur several times since Wednesday. But the situation had still not changed as miscreants were still roaming around on the main roads of the villages.

He said Muslims were worried because of another Hindu Dharma Parishad is scheduled to be held in Sajod village, about five kms from Hansot, on January 21-22.

All these villages fall in the Bharuch parliamentary constituency which is currently represented by Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava of the ruling BJP. Congress leader and Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel has also won four Lok Sabha elections from this seat. (Courtesy:

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