People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 51

December 19, 2010




RSS Working Through Police, Administration


IN Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh, the small unit of the CPI(M) is the lone political force that was active after the communal and barbaric attacks of the police and administration in the minority areas.


It is to be noted that in the peaceful district of Ratlam, which is situated on the border of Gujarat but remained unaffected by the anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002, was in the grip of communal tension due to some mischievous happenings on September 2 and 3 this year. It is another thing that, even then, no communal clashes took place here and no one suffered. However, surprisingly, when a group of minority citizens gathered in an area and shouted some slogans against the government’s collusion with the communal forces, the administration ordered to start firing in the air. While no community had attacked a member of the other community, the police entered the houses of minority citizens and did all a communal mob could have done. The wounds are still oozing.


Since September 3, when the district administration and police openly declared that they would convert Ratlam into a Gujarat, the minority areas of Ratlam have been constantly in the grip of fear. After the midnight on September 3, the police ransacked the Muslim houses in Danipura, Kazipura and Harijan Basti as well as in Sheranipura which is a residential area of most affluent Muslims in Ratlam. The police looted these houses and beat up Muslim women. They did not spare even a pregnant lady or a 70 year old lady, and rounded up all the boys and breadwinners of their families. Around 240 persons --- all from minority families --- were thus arrested without any enquiry or warrant.


A noteworthy fact in the whole episode is that Hindus and Muslims, in the areas where they are neighbours, came forward to give shelters to others. A washerwoman’s family gave shelter to their backdoor neighbour whereas a Muslim, living beside the Somnath Mandir where nearly 10 vehicles were burnt down, came forward to give shelter to a neighbouring lady with two little kids as her husband was out of station.


When the local CPI(M) unit announced the tour programme of Subhashini Ali, its Central Committee member, for November 29, the Ratlam administration moved into action, realised the peril and released most of those who had been arrested and were in jail for the last two and a half months. This tour thus helped in dispelling the atmosphere of fear and agony that had gripped the Muslims in the peaceful city of Ratlam.


During her tour, Subhashini Ali and a team of the state and district level leaders of the CPI(M) visited the areas of Danipura and Sheranipura and spoke to the victims. They also went to the madrassa from where the problem had started. There had gathered a number of women to tell the team the kind of misbehaviour they had suffered. Naushad Bi, who had a number of stitches on her head and still had a big bump on her forehead, told that on September 3 midnight the police entered her house after getting the street light and mains of the house switched off. They first attacked the bed on which her mother-in-law was sleeping and burnt the bed. Naseem Bano said they were having a marriage in the house and therefore had had at hand some cash also, but the policemen came and took away Rs 40,000 kept in an almirah, smashed a TV set, a motor cycle and a cooler, and did not spare the earthen pots of drinking water either. Vaheed Bi told that Munnavvar Khan, who is mentally challenged, was also arrested. Shakeela Bano was having the marriage of two daughters but the policemen burnt down their house. Rabia told that her minor son, Ibrahim, who was studying in class 11, was arrested and now his school in not allowing him to rejoin. Tabassum’s husband, a construction labourer, was also arrested. In short, the police arrested many rickshaw pullers, hotel vendors, agricultural labourers etc, who are the main breadwinners of their families.


There are a number of this kind of stories in the narrow lanes and bylanes of Sheranipura, Danipura, Harijan Basti etc in Ratlam.


Speaking out against these atrocities, Subhashini Ali took up the issue forcefully and urged the people of Ratlam to unite against this type of undemocratic, communal and inhuman behaviour of the police. She assured them that the CPI(M) would not leave any stone unturned to get justice for the minorities and would see that no Gujarat took place here. She said one can find the real extremists in the RSS offices and pointed out for the sake of the administration and police that Asimanand, Pragya Thakur and Indresh Kumar, whose names are connected to the Malegaon, Ajmer and Jaipur bomb blasts, were not Muslims. She asked the people to understand the game of the ruling classes to divide them and rule. But we need to overcome these attempts and unite to struggle for our own rights of food security, employment, education and housing. A highlight of Subhashini Ali’s Ratlam visit was that a number of women came forward and asked her to start a women’s organisation in the district.


Subhashini Ali and the CPI(M) team later went to meet the district magistrate (DM) and gave him a memorandum. The team comprised CPI(M) state secretariat member Jasbinder Singh, its district secretary Ramesh Sharma, and Ratlam AIDWA secretary Naim Sultana, an advocate. The DM assured the delegation that he would work on the memorandum sympathetically.


The CPI(M) has decided to take up this issue at the national level. On December 20, a delegation of the victims, along with Subhashini Ali and Brinda Karat, will meet the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and urge him to enquire into all these incidences and get the guilty punished.