Fact Finding Report On Communal Violence in Bharuch District, Gujarat

Published on: March 10, 2015

Courtesy: indiatoday.in

By PUCL

10 March, 2015

Today PUCL, Gujarat Submitted a fact finding Report to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Minorities, Chief Minister and Minister of Home and Revenue (Gujarat), Director General of Police (Gujarat).

  • Urgent action is demanded in cases of Violation of Right to Life and Liberties, Right to livelihood of the affected people in the villages of Hansot Block, District Bharuch, Gujarat due to communal violence and ineffective/biased state action from December 2014 onwards.
  • Three Innocent youth were killed, properties of several people ransacked and families from Muslim community forced to flee from their home and farms in several villages.
  • Due to both delayed and biased action on the part of police and administration, they are at the mercy of their relatives as no compensation or support is provided by the state. Their right to live with dignity and safety is violated.



A Summary Report of Incidents of Communal Violence in Bharuch District, Gujarat

 

(1)  Processes

The fact-finding process was initiated after the affected in the region sought an independent, civil society probe to ascertain the facts on the violence in and around Hansot Block of Bharuch District in Gujarat that caused three deaths on January 14, 2015, the day of Uttarayan Festival.

A team of eminent citizens was constituted by the People's Union of Civil Liberties comprising of

1. Dr. Ghanshyam Shah

2. Dr Trupti Shah

3. Adv. Sofia Khan

4. Mr. Rafi Malek

5. Mr. Krishnakant Chuhan

6. Ms Reshma Vohra

7. Mr. Sharif Malek

8. Ms Mariyam Agarbattiwala

9. Mr.  Hiren Gandhi

10. Mr. Rohit Prajapati

11. Dr. Sarup Dhruv

The fact-finding team first announced its proposed itinerary and agenda through a press note in the local newspaper along with its contact details, so that representations could be heard. On Jan 23, 2015, the team first met at Ankleshwar. The affected persons who had fled their homes or had their properties looted and damaged came from Katpor, Ilav, Sahol and Hansot Villages. They along with local leaders from Bharuch gave oral and written submissions to the team submitting photocopies of their correspondence, complaints  to the official authorities. The team also met Mr. D M Shukla,  Deputy Collector, Ankleshwar.

On Jan 24, 2015, the team visited the violence-affected villages of Hansot, Ambheta, Sahol, Ilav, meeting the parents of deceased, injured, other affected villagers, community leaders, local leaders and also the newly appointed Police Inspector, Mr. J B Sutaria.

On Jan 27, 2014, the team met Mr. Bipin Ahire, District Superintendent of Police, Bharuch and later on Feb 3, 2015 also visited the Ratanpor Village. The team also used the Right to Information Act, 2005 wherever required to seek details of police complaints and official action.

This was not an isolated incident but a part of a series of communal incidents and build-up of tension since December 2014.

Three Innocent youth were killed, properties of several people ransacked and families from Muslim community forced to flee from their home and farms in several villages. Due to both delayed and biased action on the part of police and administration, they are at the mercy of their relatives as no compensation or support is provided by the state. Their right to live with dignity and safety is violated.

We, as concerned citizens of Gujarat, active in protection of Human Rights and Social Movements, are submitting this fact-finding report of Human Rights violation as result of the communal violence that took place in and around Hansot Block of District Bharuch, Gujarat, from December 2014 onwards.

This is a summary report of fact-finding, which includes the methodology of the fact-finding, chronology of events, major conclusions and demands. The detailed fact-finding report is in Gujarati as most of submissions and FIRs are in Gujarati.

The chronology of events will give an idea about the range of issues and incidents along with the extent and intensity communal tension that have taken place in the region since December 2014.

(2)  The chronology of incidents occurred in Hansot block of Bharuch District.

1.    On 9 December, 2014, Sunil Patel alias Sajan of Ambheta  circulated a message on Whatsapp about Prophet Mohammad and Muslims using abusive, pornographic language; this message had very bad repercussions in the