‘Dhule was burnt after 40 years, despite its glorious tradition of communal harmony’
A delegation of social activists, intellectuals and journalists visited in the riot affected area of Dhule and distributed some food packages among victims and needy people. Appeal for restoration of peace was also made during the visit of relief camps and affected areas. Delegation was met with district collector and other government officials too, and submitted the grievances of people regarding the relief work.
Failure of district administration was also exposed during the riots. After the listening to victim’s delegation reached on the conclusion, it could have been avoided if timely intervention was done by administration. People were complaining that administration was informed earlier about the ongoing activities of communal forces but they have ignored and handled it casually. The provocative activities of Hindu Raksha Samiti, a newly formed organization by Hindu fundamentalists including Bajarang Dal and VHP, were being continued since one month spreading out hatred against other religions especially Muslims, simultaneously, at other side anger and sensation for retaliation was also visible among Muslims. But administration was failed to make any precautionary majors to prevent it.
However, the reason behind these riots was very cynical. The activists of Hindu Raksha Samiti have got irritated when a poster abusing Muslims for terrorism was removed by a young boy from the wall. They have taken it account as assault on Hindu pride. They have gathered at same place and started shouting slogan and throughing stones on mosque situated nearby at the place of occurrence. A group of Muslim youths were also responded in the same manner. We came to know after the interaction with victims that a mob of Hindu Raksha Samiti armed with weapons have marched in the city especially in Muslim areas and started looting, firing and burning houses and shops. Ten people were killed and more than three hundred injured. About one thousand houses were burnt including six hundred huts of slum dweller. Rickshaw pullers, rag-pickers, laborers, small shop keepers, like down-trodden people are now, forced to reside in relief camps, while their houses are either demolished or burnt. The expected loss of property is more than hundred crores, which is to be calculated yet for measuring exact loss.
Riot was started on 5th of October and after 5 days of burning city it is now under control but still tense. Poor people of both communities are living under threat and facing sever food crisis & lack of basic facilities.
The delegation was constantly mindful of the actual fear among locals, their isolation and the intense terror they had developed after communal frenzy. We were informed that several children in the households were facing trauma-induced depression and have to receive medical care. We also came to know, the children had missed their all-important books and reading materials because of burning. The children are fearful of any kind of sound or noise expecting that it might be gunshots or any other fire material. The psyche of these young children has been seriously scarred by the fear that anyone could become the target of these anti-social elements. Rumors are making fake stories. Earlier, they have made rumors that few Hindu women were kidnapped by Muslim youths and tried to intensifying communal tension in nearby rural areas. Sakari, Mukti, savda, Burhanpur, Nihadud were affected badly after Dhule riots, people have lost their lives and houses. Unfortunately, the media, with the exception of a few reports in a few dailies, has more or less demonized the Muslims as a community.
We should remember the fact that Dhule city is having a strong tradition of unity and harmony, but it is being ruptured by communal forces, after 40 years. At the time of Babari Masjid demolition, Bombay riots and Gujarat massacre Dhule was able to keep itself calm and quite.
Delegation was led by Com Ambarish Rai, Pratibha Shinde, Prof. Shekhar Sonalkar, Adv. N.D. Suryavansi, Farookh Shekh, Vasanti Dighe, Atiq, Khalil Deshmukh and others.
Delegation has demanded for judicial inquiry, compensation for loss, rehabilitation for displaced and ban for activities of communal forces and punishment for culprits.
Friends, they are trying to expand it in other part of Maharastra as well as across the country to polarize the Hindu votes for coming elections. To fulfill their wasted interest they are targeting not only Muslims but Christians, too. Orissa, Karnatka and Madhya Pradesh are the living example for barbaric attack on Christians, in recent days. We have to bring ourselves together and combat these divisive forces to make India free from communal divisions.
“]It is requested to all of you please do help for the sufferers of Dhule riots.
We are trying to make a comprehensive and detail report for the same, soon.