A minor altercation between a Muslim and Hindu boy at school in Patan leads to a mob killing two and destroying dozens of homes
AHMEDABAD: Untold stories emerging after communal violence between two community was sparked this week in Patan District of Gujarat, According to report two people were killed, dozen injured after communal violence sparked after small altercation.
Several mourners lining up at the home of Ibrahim Belim who was brutally murdered by mob after a crowd of about 5,000 people attacked the main Muslim neighbourhood in the village of Vadavali in north Gujarat.
Mr Belim, 50, was stabbed and killed. Fourteen others, all Muslims, were injured in the riot. Dozens of homes and vehicles were set on fire; their hollowed out, burnt cores on the streets today are a terrifying coda to the violence that lasted nearly two hours.
Mr Belim’s nephew, Babubhai, was an eyewitness to his murder. He said the attackers came from a neighbouring majority-dominated Sunsar village.
According to NDTV reports, the victim said “They were armed with country-made revolvers, sharp-edged weapons, and they started attacking my uncle. After killing him, they ran after me, but I ran for my life,”
Vadavali is located about 120 kilometres from Ahmedabad, has a large Muslim and Dalit population. The communal riot broke out within an hour of a fight between Hindu and Muslim school students.
“After the exams, students of Class X were coming out of the examination centre when one Darbar boy bumped into a Muslim boy. The Darbar kid happened to fall off a staircase. This is all that had happened on Saturday,” recounted Narendrabhai Vankar, a teacher in a local school in Chanasma, as per The Wire reports.
When Ashraf bhai Sheikh spotted the raucous mob approaching on Saturday, he grabbed his family and left his house, which was burnt and looted. He claims the police did not intervene.
“The police vehicles were followed by the murderous mob and no attempt was made to stop them and all that, while they shouted slogans such as kill them,” alleged Ashraf bhai.
One compliant (filed by Manharsinh Zala) cited a Muslim boy from Vadavali “pushing” a girl from Sunsar and the resultant fight between Hindu and Muslim school students as reasons for the violence, the other (filed by Rehmanbhai Alibhai Malek) named the Thakors as the accused. So far, no arrest has been made in this connection. Ibrahimkhan is the accused number 13 in the list of 14 in the FIR filed on the basis of Zala’s complaint.
According to Indian Express Amjad Belim (19) returned from the fields to have lunch with his brother Imran (21) in the afternoon, when he heard a group of young boys from neighbouring Sunsar marching towards their village shouting “we will kill you all Muslims”. “But, after elders of our village calmed them down, they returned,” said Amzad. This was first of the three angry groups, mostly comprising the Thakors from Sunsar, that had reached Vagjipara — an extended colony of nearly 1500 Muslims — at Vadavali on Saturday following a clash between school students.
“Hardly after 30 minutes, an armed mob of over 5000 people from Sunsar started arriving. Since, we were already alert, we rushed the women and children to the mosque at Vadavali village. Only 15-16 men were left behind ensuring safety of the cattle and our houses,” said Imran. Before the mob arrived for the third time, Ibrahim khan hid his two sons and his nephews in a room on the first floor at his brother’s house in the lane opposite his house and locked the door from outside.
“That was the last time I saw my father alive. He said he is going out to see if the mob has left and directed us not to come out,” said Amjad as he started crying. While inside the room, Amjad said he could hear four to five gun shots, vehicles being torched and people shouting for help. He suspected that his father was ambushed by the mob hiding in the houses. “They ransacked and burnt everything that came in their way.”
“Suddenly, we heard people shouting from the outside and trying to break open the door rigorously. We had locked the door from inside too. Soon, police reached and the mob fled… else we too have been killed,” said Amjad, who is pursuing a course at Industrial Training Institute (ITI). Escorted to the village mosque, Amjad and his cousins hardly had any clue what happened to Ibrahim khan and the other villagers who were outside. Only by Saturday midnight, police informed them of Ibrahimkhan’s death.
But the police said that was not true, adding 14 people have been arrested so far on charges including arson and murder. There are another 50 odd suspects that the police wants to arrest, said officials.
“Once we got the information that the mob was approaching the village, we reacted swiftly, and contrary to the allegations, our prompt reaction prevented further casualties,” said Partharajsinh Gohil, a senior officer in the area.
A Hindu man in the village of Sunsar, from where the mob arrived, has filed a police case claiming that a young girl was assaulted by a Muslim student.
The day before the violence, the 2,000 families of Vadavali gathered to choose their Panchayat, or local council, by consensus and without an election under the Samras Scheme, championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while he was Gujarat Chief Minister, which entitles recipient villages to special financial schemes.
The 300 Muslim families in the village were part of the selection process which decided to divide the sarpanch or council head’s term between a Hindu and Muslim.
“Villagers live here cordially. Salim-bhai was chosen sarpanch for two and half years, and for the next period, it will be a member from the majority community,” said outgoing sarpanch Minesh Patel.
with PTI inputs