Monday, October 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Police firing in Vadodara

Ahmedabad, October 6
In fresh eruption of communal violence, two groups clashed and indulged in arson today prompting the police to open fire which left two persons injured in Dabhoi town in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, a senior police official said.

The trouble broke out after persons belonging to a minority community were asked to withhold their programme of constructing a wall around Lalshah Pir Dargah which was damaged during post-Godhra riots on March 15, DSP Piyush Patel told PTI.

He said the gathering had agreed not to undertake any construction work now in view of the Navratri festival beginning tomorrow.

“However, about 20 of them started the work which the police had to stop and disperse the mob,” he said.

Angry over the suspension of the work, a crowd of around 150-persons belonging to the minority community gathered near the Ashiyana Building area and started damaging the shops of people belonging to the majority community.

A sweet shop and audio cassettes outlet were damaged, he said.

The police was “forced” to open five rounds of fire and lob teargas shells, when the mob threw stones at the cops. PTI


Communal crater in Ahmedabad
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

Ahmedabad, October 6
Communal carnage victims in the Dariyakhan Rahat camp in Quresh Jamaat Hall in Mirzapur (one of the two camps left in Ahmedabad now) told TNS that they were looked upon with suspicion.

Feroz Dilawar Sheikh, a mechanic from Chamnpura whose burns are still raw, says nobody was willing to employ him.

Muzaffar Mohd Khan, who lost his job after the riots meets, his daily needs with a paltry Rs 7 he gets at the relief camp everyday along with 899 other victims. “People do not keep us and do not even say no.”

The communal divide is more pronounced in the old city area.

Sheikh Abdul Wahaab who runs an auto-rickshaw near Dilli Darwaza is disillusioned with the Congress and the BJP. “Nobody wants to sit in auto-rickshaws run by us.”

Mohd H. Asif who owns an eatery near the Pathanwali Masjid says that Gujaratis do not come to his stall now.

Zameer Khan, another auto-rickshaw driver in the same area told TNS, “Communal divide is a reality in Gujarat. In Kashmir, so many members of our community were killed but we did not react.

After Godhra, they attacked minority pockets. Our religious leaders have not done anything to ensure the construction of mosques which were disfigured and destroyed during the riots.

These include the Isanpur Pathan Wali Masjid on the Watwa Road, Badami Masjid at Tinkona Bagicha, the Muhafiz Khan Masjid and the Macha Ki Masjid.”

Voters at Quresh Jamaat Hall are against the BJP. They are relieved that enumerators have visited the camp to restore their right to vote. “Modi has not cared to visit the camp even once. Congress leaders inquire about our well-being and distribute ration,” they say.

Ahmedabad Collector K. Srinivas told TNS that Haj House in Kalhupur and the Quresh Jamaat Hall camp in Mirzapur were aided by the government. “Another camp at Syed Wada Khanpur closed down as people living there expressed a desire to go back. The Haj House and the Quresh Jamaat Hall had started taking care of stragglers. At present, 3000 persons are living in the camps and the government hands over a cheque of Rs 21,000 to the conveners to give Rs 7 to every inmate per day besides ration.”

Gandhinagar-based veteran journalist R.K. Misra, however, believes that Modi’s efforts to give communalism a boost will not yield the desired results in the long run. “How many times can you communally polarise people? Those people will be exposed. This kind of chaos and mayhem cannot last long. This is a temporary phase,” he says.

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