After communal violence Gujarat’s Khambhat put under Disturbed Areas Act for 5 years

This was the 2nd incident of communal violence in the coastal town between the Muslim and Chunara communities this year


Gujarat’s coastal town Khambhat in Anand district too has been simmering in communal violence for two days now. On Tuesday, in a fresh round of violence, a mob set a house ablaze in the Mochiwad area of the town. There were no reports of anyone getting injured in the incident.

The matter seemed to have erupted after a public gathering that was organized under the umbrella of the Hindu Jagran Samiti, addressed by some local BJP leaders near the Gavara tower in the heart of the town.

On Sunday, the town had witnessed clashes between the Muslims and members of the Chunara community in Akbarpura which had left 13 persons, including four cops injured. A mob of 1,000 people was booked for illegal assembly, rioting, damage to public property, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, criminal intimidation, outraging religious sentiments, causing hurt by using acid and endangering life among other sections of the IPC in the clash where 30 houses and shops were set ablaze and a dozen vehicles were damaged.

Post the violence, 60 percent of the town has been declared to be ‘disturbed’ and placed under the Disturbed Areas Act for a period of five years starting Wednesday February 26, 2020 to February 25, 2025, forbidding any sale or transfer of immovable property during the period, reported The Indian Express.

The issued notification read, “The government of Gujarat having regard to the intensity and duration of riots and mob in respect to the areas of Khambhat town, is of the opinion that public order in the said areas was disturbed for a substantial period by reason of riots and violence of mob.”

District Collector Anand RG Gohil said, “This is for the first time that the Disturbed Areas Act has been implemented in Khambhat after the recent instances of riots and violence. Between 60 – 70 percent of the town has been covered under the Act, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the areas and to ensure and maintain a population balance of the two communities in these areas. The areas are a combination of both Muslim and Hindu dominated neighbourhoods. Prior to this on January 1, 2020, the Act was implemented in parts of Anand town.”

“For the past 10 years or so, there have been sporadic incidents of violence in the city. The reasons have been multiple and at times very trivial, including fights among children, during festivals and others. In most areas, people of both communities live in the opposite lanes and at times situations spiral out of hand at the slightest trigger. In 2011-12, I was here as the ADM and things were grim then. After that every now and then there have been such incidents in the city,” he added.

Post the incident, the Khambhat police has booked 18 political and religious leaders, including members of the right-wing Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) for illegally organizing the public gathering and delivering inciting speeches, reported The Times of India. Four FIRs have been registered in the incident.

The offence was registered against BJP MLA Sanjay Patel, Khambhat BJP’s city unit president Pinakin Brahmbhatt, Yogesh Shah alias Saadi, Nanka Patel, Jayveer Jayraj Joshi, Nandkishore Brahmbhatt, Vishwanand Swami of Chhatardiwala Ashram, Hansa Shrigol from Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM), Nadiad unit president of HJM Ketan Patel, Vadodara unit president of HJM Niraj Jain, Dharmendrasinh Rathod, Kalpesh Pandit, Ashok Khalasi.

Councillor Raju Rana, former councillor Mangoo Shah, Rita Rana, a resident of Gandhrak Wado Balram Pandit and a resident of Gavara area Parthiv Patel have also been booked for the offence.

In another FIR, three accused including one Viraj Patel, Jignesh Chunara and Ishwar Macchi have been booked along with a mob of around 500 others for targeting houses in Mochiwad area of Khambhat on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the complaint registered, the BJP leaders and members of the HJM had called for a bandh on Tuesday and around 6,000 people had attended the public gathering at the Gavara tower area where inciting speeches were made. The report states that the cops had stopped the leaders from delivering their speeches and asked the crowd to disperse.

Divya Mishra, Superintendent of Police, Kheda had said that the exact reason of the clash was unknown and that they had rounded up 46 people in relation with the matter.

MoS Home Pradipsinh Jadeja at a press conference said that there were many reasons including “different food and tradition” that could have led to the clashes and that such incidents are happening due to changing demography.

Khambhat’s Akbarpura area had witnessed similar riots on January 24, again between the Muslim and Chunara communities that had left 15 cops injured and an elderly man dead due to the firing. Over 50 persons had been arrested then after 10 houses and shops were set ablaze and several vehicles left vandalized.

Khambhat was also an area that witnessed violence during the Gujarat riots in 2002 when 27 incidents of communal violence took place there starting February 28, 2002.


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