(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 20, 2013
LEFT TEAM VISITS DHULE RIOT AREAS
Culprits, Erring Police Officials must be Punished
L R Rao
ON January 11, 2103, a delegation of the Left parties and the Maharashtra Sales and Medical Representatives Association (MSMRA), including L R Rao, Rajesh Kulkarni, Hemant Malpure, Mukhtar Ahamad Ansari and Rahul Shelke, Shravan Shinde, Ramesh Parolekar, Irfan Maniyar and Kumar Shiralkar visited the riot affected areas of Dhule in Maharashtra and met the affected families during the curfew relaxation period between 12 noon to 3 p m. The delegation visited 11 families and collected information about the damage and losses suffered by the victims. After directly talking with the affected persons, the delegation noted the following facts.
1) Mohammad Salim Mohammad Hasan: His New Famous Mutton Shop was totally looted and gutted by the use of kerosene and cooking gas cylinder. His total loss (in cash, goods and property) is to the tune of Rs 12 lakh.
2) Ayub Haji Subhan Kazi, Hanif Haji Subhan Khatik, Mohammad Haji Subhan Khatik: Their fish-chicken-bombil shop and residence were looted and burnt by the use of kerosene and gas. The loss, which includes cash and jewellery, is Rs eight lakh.
3) Haji Suleman Khatik: Shop and house robbed and burnt. Cash of Rs four lakh looted and goods worth Rs five lakh destroyed.
4) Asif Sheikh Khatik Raiz: His Asif Tasty Chicken Centre robbed and gutted. Loss to the tune of Rs six lakh.
5) Jamil Bhai: His New Famous Chicken Centre was looted and burnt. Loss of Rs six lakh.
6) Jalil Al Mohammad Hasan: The ground and first floors of his house were gutted by using kerosene and gas. Rs four lakh in cash, 10 tolas of gold, 40 tolas of silver and property including vessels worth Rs 25 lakh were looted.
7) Akeela Ikbal Shah, Iqlak Ghulam Hussen: The ground and first floor of his small house were burnt along with his soap shop. Rs 60,000 in cash and 25 grams of gold and 31 tolas of silver were looted.
8) Hari Nathu Patil: His house was burnt. Rs 15,000 in cash, one and a half tolas of gold and silver worth Rs 4,000 were robbed.
9) Rajkumari Kailaschand Agrawal: Her house was burnt. Rs 40,000 in cash, five tolas of gold and three tolas of silver were looted.
10) Dinesh Ratilal Sonar: His house was destroyed. Rs 5,000 in cash were looted.
All the above mentioned persons are in and around Machhibazar and Madhavpura areas, less than half a furlong from the Machhibazar Police Chowki and about two kilometres from the DSPís office. As everybody knows, the Machhibazar area has been a communally sensitive area since 1989.
HOW THE EVENT
It is reported that at about 1.30 p m on January 6, 2013 a group of youth belonging to the minority community refused to pay a bill of Rs 20 to the owner of a small hotel owned by one Wagh whose wife is an elected corporator of Dhule Mahanagar Palika and belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Wagh is a kerosene dealer. The workers in the hotel beat the youth at the instruction of the owner. The youth then went to the Machhibazar Police Chowki which is just opposite the hotel. But the police did not take cognisance of the complaint and hence there was an altercation between the youth and the police. Then the youth left.
In the meanwhile more policemen came to the spot but they were not well equipped to tackle the situation. The youth came back with a big mob which forced its way into the police chowki, threw the furniture out and destroyed some papers and registers. When the police tried to pacify them, they did not pay any heed, became restless and started throwing stones, bottles and bricks at the police force. A mob from the majority community then gathered and started burning and looting some of the minority peopleís houses. On its part, the mob of the minority people burnt and robbed a few houses of the majority community people.
It was reported that even when the police force came fully equipped, even though it came late, it did not make any announcement on a loudspeaker to tell the mobs to get dispersed. It is not clear whether the subdivision level officer in charge of the area was present there or not and from where the order to fire and shoot came from. But it was reported in the press that acid and other chemicals were used by the mob and many of the police personnel were injured. It was also reported that the order to shoot were received from higher authorities in case the mob went out of control. However, instead of using other means like tear gas, water cannons etc, the police started firing rubber bullets first and then fired the lethal ones.
The total number of the injured is more than 200, seven of which have succumbed to bullet injuries. Those who died belonged to the minority community.
When the Left delegation visited the affected areas, it was told by the minority victims that the police force targeted only the minority people and in some cases even helped the rioters to loot and destroy the formerís establishments.
TO BE DRAWN
We know that the Dhule town is prone to the communal riots, and now the burning and loot of property is becoming the norm of the day. The leaders of the bourgeois political parties are, on their part, quite eager to extract electoral benefits from riots.
Further, the Sangh Parivar and the Islamic fundamentalists have been very much active in Dhule for some time. Arms, chemicals and lethal weapons are being collected by communal leaders of both sides. They are also propagating religion based communal hatred among the youth and impacting in particular a section of the unemployed youth who are addicted to drinking, smoking and drugs.
Thus the real problems of day to day livelihood, employment and income have taken a grotesque form.
Here we would venture some immediate and long term measures for a solution of the problems.
Relief must be provided to those victims who are very poor and lost everything.
There must be a thorough enquiry into the incidents, action against the police excesses, arrest of and stringent punishment to the culprits.
The need is of formation of Mohalla or Basti level committees on the Bhivandi pattern. There must also be common cultural programmes to create social harmony.
Implementation of the Sachar committee recommendations brooks no delay.