I would like to point out that I have been misquoted on a number of points and there are a number of factual mistakes in the CPDR report on the riots in Ahmedabad in July 1999, extracts of which have been published by Communalism Combat in its November 1999 issue.
- In para 1 of the report on page 12 I am quoted as having said, “Members of the rally shouted anti-Muslim slogans while passing through the Muslim dominated areas”. This is factually incorrect. The rally passed through the Asarwa assembly constituency segments. As there were no Muslim dominated areas on the road, there is no question of members of the rally shouting anti-Muslim slogans during Shri L.K. Advani’s visit. What I had mentioned was the incident which had occurred near Astodia Gate, Manek Chowk and Gheekanta area during the week preceding Rathyatra when rallies were taken out which resulted in law and order problems following provocative slogans. However, this incident had no connection with Shri L.K. Advani’s visit to Meghaninagar. Shri Advani’s visit was meant for a different context.
- The date of the Id–e–Milad procession mentioned in para 3 of the report is wrong. Also the report wrongly quotes me as having said that the procession was stoned. I only said that Muslims had a tableau depicting Kargil war and heroism displayed by Indian soldiers. By this I meant that even Muslims were as patriotic and nationalist on this issue and they went to the extent of displaying the same spirit as many Hindus did.
- Para 4 says, “the BJP took full advantage of such an atmosphere and opened its office in the area and has stepped up its activities”. The Rathyatra did have communal overtones and also flags of certain fundamentalist organisations were displayed. But to say that an office was opened in the background of Rathyatra is factually incorrect.
- The statement about spreading rumours during the communal riots is also far from what I had submitted before the CPDR committee. Rumour does not come out from any particular community. The same was true this time also. Certain people of both the communities were trying to spread rumours. Only a part of this came to the notice of the police and which the police verified.
- In the last paragraph, I have been quoted as saying that “there was not even an iota of evidence to support this contention (ISI’s presence in Ahmedabad). This is also loosely drafted. What I submitted before the committee was that there is no evidence to prove the involvement of the ISI in starting the present communal riots. My statement about the involvement of ISI was only in the context of the present communal riots and not beyond this. There have been activities of ISI in the past and at present also they have activities in Ahmedabad which has been proved by evidence.
My intention was to say that while Hindu mobs were led by leaders belonging to fundamentalist organisations, Muslims had no leaders or organisations supporting the Muslim criminals committing the riots.
Lastly, my name has been incorrectly spelt in the CPDR report as DCP Vinod Mull, instead of Vinod Mall. Also, I am holding charge of deputy commissioner of police, zone-IV and not of Shahibaug police station. Shahibaug Police station is the place where my office is located.
In addition to the above, there are many other factual mistakes.
- It has been mentioned that Rathyatra route is 30 kms long and starts from Saraspur. This is incorrect. The route is about 17 kms long and starts from Jagannath temple near Jamalpur.
- On Page 3 the report also mentions that the Muslim women made efforts to push back the youth who were standing near the barricade so that there was no provocation from either side. This is incorrect. There were no Muslim women standing on the Rathyatra route, as there was a self–imposed “curfew” by the Muslims in the communally sensitive areas.
It is also not true that only Muslims wanted to prevent the communal trouble. People of both the communities, i.e., Hindus and Muslims were equally eager to prevent communal trouble which was evident from the fact that the Rathyatra passed off peacefully and members of both the communities congratulated each other.
Lastly I congratulate you for publishing the CPDR report.
(DCP Zone–IV, Ahmedabad City Ahmedabad)