AnandFacing boycott for saving Muslim lives

Manubhai, Sanabhai, Sandesha village, Anand

Sandesha is a village in Anand taluka of Anand district. It has about 70 Muslim families and 700 Hindu families. Hindus in Sandesha saved Mustafabhai Umerbhai Vora and Mohammadbhai Umerbhai Vora, traders and shopkeepers in this village, from a bloodthirsty mob.

Soon after the Godhra incident, rumours started circulating that riots would take place here too. However, the Hindus dismissed these stories and tried to convince the Muslim residents that nothing would happen. Mustafabhai recalls that one Govindbhai Patel even avowed that he would chop his head off if there was any trouble in the village. However, the Voras were not convinced and as a precautionary measure, sent their families to stay with their sister in Napa.

Two days later, a mob of 2,000 came for the Muslims. Govindbhai Patel was a part of this mob. The attack was sudden, unexpected and vicious. Mohammadbhai was at his shop in the village when he realised that there was trouble. He closed up his shop and was headed home when he saw the mob. Manubhai S. Parmar saw him and realised his predicament. He asked Mohammadbhai to step inside his house and let the mob pass. Mohammadbhai took refuge in Manubhai’s house and survived. Five hours later, when the police arrived, Mohammadbhai left for Napa in the police van.

Mustafabhai was at his house when he heard the mob. Across the road, Sanabhai Thakur’s family also heard them. His daughter-in-law, Ritaben remembers that it sounded so menacing that her children and even she herself got scared and started crying. Sanabhai’s immediate thought was for Mustafabhai’s safety. The mob attacked Mustafabhai’s house from the rear. This gave Sanabhai the opportunity to go and help Mustafabhai escape from the front door and take him to his own house. Realising that Mustafabhai had escaped to Sanabhai’s place, the mob followed him there, demanding that Mustafabhai be handed over.

But Sanabhai and his family refused. The mob then turned on the Thakur family and threatened to burn their house. They even tried to burn the shed outside it. But Sanabhai refused to give in and threatened to leave the village along with Mustafabhai until finally, the mob turned away. Five hours later, when the trouble subsided, Sanabhai took Mustafabhai out of the village in his own car and dropped him off at Napa.

To this day the Hindus of Sandesha remain angry with Manubhai and Sanabhai for helping the Voras to escape. They are not invited to social functions and face social boycott in many other ways. But the two men have no regrets about what they did and are convinced that they would do the same thing all over again if they had to.

Archived from Communalism Combat, June 2004 Year 10   No. 98, Cover Story 18



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