A note by Irfan Engineer

Communalism and Development

Communal politics has been viewed from different perspectives. The left primarily regards religion as opium of people, instilling false consciousness, giving them a high, and diverting their attention from their real issues related to material improvement in their lives like jobs, better wages, housing, health, access to medical facilities, quality education for the poor, and so on. However, majoritarian communal politicians promise their followers that their government would not only ensure religio-cultural adherence, further the cause of Hindu nationalism, but also that they are the best bet for the development of the nation and their material needs. They promise Hindutva with development. Hindutva, according to them, brings out dedication and commitment to the nation; spirit of sacrifice for the nation would ensure development.

The BJP had given all sorts of promises during the 2014 general elections to the youth regarding jobs, to the farmers about ensuring 50% profits over their costs and inputs, development of infrastructure – roads, electricity, etc. and building 100 smart cities, security for women, lowering of fuel prices, and other such promises ensuring that all sections of the society would have a good life. Their tag line was “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (solidarity with all and development of all) and “achchhe din aanewale hai” (good times would arrive). In this article, it is not our purpose to evaluate the performance of the Central Govt. However, we are examining case study of Aurangabad city where many promises were made by the Shiv Sena which has controlled the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation since about three decades. We wish to look at the performance of Shiv Sena – BJP alliance in Aurangabad Municipal Corporation and try to contextualize the communal violence which hit the city on 11th May just before mid-night through the wee hours of 12th May 2018.

Religious identity politics

Religious identity politics, which misuses religious rituals, customs, traditions and other cultural dimensions of religion, is better known in South Asia as communal politics. Communal politics exploits outer manifestations of religion, like festivals, sacred symbols, to construct an exclusive political identity that is superior to other communities, instils the followers of the religion with pride in the superiority of their religion, and constructs an ideological justification to exclude ‘other’ communities. The ‘other’ is stigmatised, demonised, dehumanized and targeted. The cause of non-development or slower rate of development, economic crisis, joblessness and all other problems of the society are attributed to the ‘other’.

Communal politics seeks to instil fear the ‘other’, often exaggerated and illogical. The ‘other’ would over populate the majority in matter of few years, or they are an existential threat to the majority through their foolish and violent means like terrorism and triggering off communal riots. They conspire to lure women from the majority community, get married and convert them to increase their population. They resort to conversion of members of the majority community using coercion or using fraudulent means or by offering inducements. They are intolerant and insensitive towards the culture and religion of the majority community. These are some popular stereotypes about the Muslim community. Communal politics ultimately calls upon the followers to close ranks to marginalise the ‘other’, establish an authoritarian cultural state that would ensure instruments in the hands of the state to marginalise the other, and ensure that they are relegated to secondary citizenship status if they do succeed in expelling them from their territories.

CSSS & CPI Fact Finding Team

A fact-finding team of the CSSS and CPI recently visited Aurangabad from 19th through 21st May to investigate the communal riots in the city that broke out on 11th May 2018 on a flimsy issue of a Muslim man denying use of his mobile phone to two young men from the Valmiki community whom he did not know. The denial later led to beating up of the Muslim man and triggered off the communal riot that night which went on till the wee hours of the next morning, until the violence was controlled by the police. During the fact-finding visit, we came across a general complaint from all respondents irrespective of their community, caste or gender regarding the failure of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in discharging its statutory responsibilities. It was evident that the city of Aurangabad, ruled by the Shiv Sena for about three decades was in an utter mess in terms of development – especially concerning acute water scarcity, waste management, and bad roads. Politicising the poor development record along communal lines by the various parties was ultimately at the bottom of the riot, as we shall see.

Aurangabad Municipal Corporation

In the elections held for the Municipal Corporation in April 2015, the party wise position of seats is: Shiv Sena – 29, BJP – 22, AIMIM – 25, Congress – 8, NCP – 4, others – 24. A Shiv Sena Mayor was elected and the present Mayor is Nandkumar Ghodele. Shiv Sena has retained its 25 year long hold on the Municipal Corporation (Wajihuddin 2015). The City has elected Chandrakant Khaire, Shiv Sena as its MP. Two of the three MLAs of the city belong to Hindutva parties – BJP MLAs Atul Save from Aurangabad East and Sanjay Sirsat from Aurangabad West. After the winning AMC elections, Aditya Thackeray – one of the most important Shiv Sena leaders said they would not sleep after winning and would work hard to fulfil all their promises.

The roads on which we were driving had large potholes and even the main city roads were narrow and in bad shape. The city, we were told, receives water once or twice in a week, even though the metered water charges have been increased several times. Citizens of Aurangabad are furious as the supply of water is decreasing and charges increasing. Some of them have found an easy way out – drawing water from Municipal pipelines through illegal connections. It is these illegal connections that were sought to be disconnected which contributed its share towards the communal riots on 11th May. The Valmiki community in Gandhinagar alleged that their water post outside the Hanuman temple was damaged by a Muslim Maulvi to take revenge for the water disconnection of water supply to the Dargah by the Municipal Corporation. The Valmiki Community members however, could not back up their allegations with FIR or any other evidence. When we talked to the members of Muslim community, they told us that it was true that water connection to the Dargah in Motikaranja was disconnected, but they were assured that after a few days they could reconnect and continue to draw water for the Dargah when monitoring of the illegal connections was relaxed. They denied the allegations and said one would have been foolish to seek revenge in this manner.

 

The reason for creating water scarcity in the city along with higher charges seems to be deliberate measure by the Municipal Corporation. The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance wants to promote a private company to take over water supply of the city. The private company they seek to promote is owned by BJP Rajya Sabha member Subhash Chandra – Essel Utilities. Essel Utilities has floated a subsidiary company – Aurangabad City Water Utilities Co. Ltd. (ACWUCL). The water problem of the city can be solved by transporting water form Jayakwadi – largest reservoir in Marathwada located 50 kms. south of Aurangabad. AMC was to construct pipelines connecting Jayakwadi reservoir with Aurangabad since 2008.

The AMC gave water distribution rights to ACWUCL for the entire area of Aurangabad Municipal Corporation and Cantonment Area which has population of 12 lakhs and 1.25 lakh consumers. ACWUCL in its contract with AMC had right to supply water for 20 years and increase water charges by 10% every year. It was a Rs. 782 Cr. Project and running far behind schedule. Required money was not being invested. While supplying water to the residents, its contractors would call the consumers to pay up high charges and threatened to disconnect if they failed. The contract with ACWUCL had many loopholes and the Municipal Commissioner Om Prakash Bakoria ultimately had to terminate the contract in 2016. ACWUCL is being promoted by the Shiv Sena – BJP combine and has unwritten / undeclared support from the Central leadership. Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire and the Shiv Sena – BJP are trying to re-engage the Company and give it water distribution rights. The civic body is also facing flack for allegedly not carrying out any audit of funds worth Rs 190 crore allocated to ACUWCL for installing a parallel pipeline project in the last few years.

Water scarcity would soften the citizens towards higher charges to be paid to a private company. The ACWUCL has to replace cement pipes with metal pipes to plug leakages and to maintain 8 pipelines. It is unfathomable why AMC should require ACWUCL to do the job on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis and enable it to earn Rs. 22 Cr. according to a senior journalist Pramod Mane.

Waste management

The AMC utterly failed in another of its statutory duties – managing waste of the City. The AMC was dumping the city’s waste for 35 years at its dumping site at Naregoan village leaving the village with 10-20 lakh cubic metres of untreated waste and causing health hazards for the villagers. Naregaon waste dumping site was earmarked as grazing land for cows. The BMC had given directions to the AMC in 2003 to shift the dumping site within 6 months but for a good 15 years AMC made no alternative arrangement and continued to dump its waste in Naregaon. As the waste was being dumped illegally, the villagers approached Bombay High Court and obtained a stay mid February 2018. The AMC thereafter began to dump 436 metric tons of garbage a day onto a new site at Padegaon Mitmita village. The of residents of Padegaon Mitimita witnessed the value of their property coming down drastically and burnt two AMC trucks which were dumping waste in their village. As a result, the AMC trucks for days could not lift the City’s waste! There were mass protests in the City.

Communal politics

Bad roads, scarcity of water, lack of waste disposal, and other problems of the City have left the citizens of Aurangabad dissatisfied with the functioning of the Municipal Corporation. Most persons we talked to, irrespective of the community and caste they belonged to and their political affiliations were unhappy. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) – a Muslim interest party and functioning as an opposition in the AMC as well as the Shiv Sena BJP survive by communalising the scarcity – which community gets a larger portion of scarce resources.  Imtiaz Jaleel, AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad Central told us that his party men had to grab water pipes to be installed in Muslim dominated areas as they were being denied their fair share. The Shiv Sena convinces its political base that whatever scarce water supply or lack of waste disposal or bad roads, they are better than the Muslim community because of them!

Hindu supremacists’ claim that Hindutva and development go together has not proved to be correct in Aurangabad. However, Aurangabad may not be an isolated example. We see that promises of development and welfare even of the Hindus has proved to be jumlas (a term which is understood as false promises in a pejorative manner) at national level as well. Communal polarisation allows the communal politicians not to worry too much about development and welfare even of their own community. They are easily tempted to serve the interest of elite and the richest, confident that they are not answerable and accountable and can get away. In UP the Jinnah vs. ganna contest in the by-polls in Kairana proves that Indian people are not so gullible. They may be misled once, but they have become wise now and would ask hard questions. In Aurangabad, Shiv Sena usually campaigns around the theme of “Khan ki Baan?” – Muslims (Khan) or Shiv Sena?  (Baan – arrow – election symbol of Shiv Sena) and Aurangabad vs. Sambhajinagar (Shiv Sena calls Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar). The secular and social justice forces will have to work harder even though their resources are scarce to organize people to fight for their real issues. The choice before lower classes and castes of Hindu community is Hindutva or development. However, we will have to educate people and inform them about their limited choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aurangabad Communal violence Fact Finding Report[1]

Introduction/ background:

On 11th May, 2018, Aurangabad in Maharashtra, witnessed communal violence in the areas of Moti Karanje, Gandhinagar, Shahganj, Raja Bazaar. The media reported that the communal violence claimed two lives- of Haris Qadri, 17-year-old youth and Jaganlal Bansile, a 72-year-old man. Haris Qadri died in police firing and Jaganlal Bansile was burnt alive in his house set on fire by the mob. Around 60 persons including police personnel were reported to be injured and several shops and vehicles were torched in the city. The media identified a few causes which could have triggered the communal violence.  Some of them were the rift between Hindu and Muslim community over disconnection of illegal water connections by the municipal corporation, a drive by the municipal corporation to evict illegal hawkers in Shahganj area, exchange of mobile phone in a garage and a conflict between a shop owner and customer over selling rotten mangoes. Video clips in circulation in media showed police personnel walking with the rioters and shaking hands with them. They police is shown not attempting to stop the violence. This raised questions over the complicity of the police personnel leading to an inquiry into the incident.

Against this backdrop, a team was formed in collaboration with CSSS and CPI. Ashfaque Salami, former Municipal Councilor and District Secretary of CPI, Adv Abhay Taksal, lawyer and CPI District Joint Secretary, Buddhapriya Kabir, activist and Adv. Irfan Engineer, author and director of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Neha Dabhade and Siddhi Pendke from CSSS visited Aurangabad on 19th and 20th May 2018 to conduct a fact finding. The objective of the fact-finding mission was to examine the causes and implications of this incident.

Centre for Study of Society and Secularism is a Mumbai based organization which works to promote peace and communal harmony. Its founder, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, renowned Islamic scholar and activist was a pioneer in documenting communal violence. Over the span of 25 years, CSSS has conducted numerous fact findings.

 

Methodology:

In order to get a comprehensive perspective, the Team interacted with various stakeholders in this incident. The Team visited the families of both deceased, some shopkeepers whose shops were damaged, the Valmiki community, political representatives, Imtiaz Jaleel, MLA from MIM party and Chandrakanth Khaire, MP from Shiv Sena Party, journalists- Pramod Mane and Rafiq, Deputy Police Commissioner of Aurangabad, Dipali Dhate-Ghadage, political scientist, Shuja Shakir, other injured in the communal violence

Socio-political Background of Aurangabad:

Aurangabad is the most prominent city in the Marathwada region in Maharashtra. Marathwada was part of the Nizam ruled state. In 1653, Prince Aurangzeb who was appointed as Viceroy of Deccan made Aurangabad his capital in his bid to consolidate power in Deccan. Thus, the Muslim elite had considerable positions of power and domination alongside the Hindu elite. However, the power of the Muslim elite waned overtime especially post independence due to a number of reasons. One primary reason for the decline in power was change in demography. Over the years, the population share of Muslims in Aurangabad has declined from roughly 45% to 30%. This decline can be attributed to the migration of Muslims outside Aurangabad for better opportunities and also influx of non-Muslims inside Aurangabad on account of industrialization. Industrialization brought Hindu businessmen and industrialists to prominence in Aurangabad. Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer had explained this decline by stating that the Muslims were unable to cope up economically with the commercial and industrial economy since the Muslims remained grounded in a feudal economy. Also, the local non- Muslims and Muslims failed to secure employment in the new industrial set ups. According to Mr. Govind Shroff, a noted Gandhian, the share of local non- Muslims in jobs was 2% and the share of Muslims even lesser. The Muslims were relegated to the occupations of rickshaw drivers, small time vendors, cycle and stove repairers and peons in offices etc. This casualization of work holds true till date. As a result of this exclusion, a section of Muslims resorted to anti-social activities in those days. This created a perception and stereotype that Muslims in Aurangabad are goons and anti-social. This perception was exaggerated and exploited by the Hindu extremist actors for creating anti-Muslim sentiment (Engineer, Asghar Ali, 1988).

This anti-Muslim sentiment and overall manipulation of identities is the foundation of the political discourse in Aurangabad. The Congress (I) remained a dominant political force in Aurangabad until 1986. The Congress owed its electoral success to the combination of Marathas, Muslims and Dalits (Mahars) as its firm support base. By this political formula the Congress had a wide support base which also meant it had to appear balancing the interests of all these three different and at times conflicting bases. However, this equation changed rapidly with the entry of Shiv Sena in the fray in around 1985. The Shiv Sena had so far been limited in its political influence to Mumbai and some other parts of coastal Maharashtra on the plank of anti- Muslim violence and anti-South tirade to establish itself as the leader of ‘Hindus’. But in 1985 it turned its attention to Aurangabad. The mercurial rise to power of the Shiv Sena in the city can be gauged from the number of seats it garnered in Aurangabad’s municipal corporation in 1988- 27 out of 60 seats in less than three years of the inaugural of the Party’s city branch in Aurangabad.

The above success of the Shiv Sena can be understood on account of two factors- communal violence in Aurangabad and also the caste politics culminating in the Namantar movement. These two factors helped Shiv Sena polarize and also stitch together for itself a social support base constituting of the OBCs, upper caste Hindus and also the Dalits to some extent. This became possible for the Party due to some of its steps. One was that Shiv Sena for the Municipal elections in the eighties fielded unemployed youth or youth from very modest backgrounds- Valmikis, Matangs, Kumbhars, Malis, Chamar. These youth were predominantly drivers, vegetable vendors, basket makers, rickshaw drivers etc. Nonetheless they felt a sense of power and enfranchisement due to the space that the Sena made available to them by giving them an opportunity of leadership. This youth resorted to force and violence to increase its political influence. Overall, in those days, this sent a strong message that Sena was a voice of “lower caste Hindus” too which took care of their interests and just not of upper caste Hindus.

One factor as discussed above contributing to the power of Shiv Sena was the Namantar movement. This was a movement by Dalits demanding that the Marathwada University in Aurangabad be renamed to B. R Ambedkar University. This was a long fought (1978-1994) bitter campaign by the Dalits which was violently crushed by the Marathas. This movement placed the Congress in a dilemma since Marathas and Dalits (roughly 13% vote share) both were its political constituencies and now were directly at loggerheads with each other. Though the Congress tried its best to balance the situation, the protests and its reactions became violent. The Shiv Sena opposed the Namantar movement and thus positioned itself with the Marathas and the OBCs. Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena supremo famously said, “Gharat nahi peeth an kashala hawe vidyapeeth?” (Why do you want to rename the university when you’re struggling for bread and butter?) (Deshmukh, 2012). This is indicative of the deep-seated feeling of condescendence and inequality against the Dalits that was nurtured by Shiv Sena.

Elaborating his party’s stand, Sena MLC Pramod Navalkar said back then: “We are the only ones who stood by them. The upper castes have no other backing, they will be with us. (Lekha, 1994)”. This way it won over these two groups as well in addition to its base of the other upper caste Hindus. This turned the tide against the incumbent Congress. Collectively, the strategy of fielding youth across caste identities especially OBCs and Dalits and also the opposition to Namantar led to complete alienation of the Congress (I) from the Hindu masses and rise of Shiv Sena across castes.

The bid of Shiv Sena to establish itself as the foremost leader of the Hindus was not without its own sets of problems. The BJP and the influence of RSS also in a competitive fray under its stated objective of Hindu Rashtra made it imperative for the Shiv Sena to increase its popularity and relevance though BJP remained a junior partner in the alliance with Shiv Sena. This is where communal violence as a factor came into play for the Shiv Sena. Sena consolidated its political influence by engineering the riots in Bombay, Thane and Bhiwandi. Similarly, in May 1988, riots took place in Aurangabad. Trouble erupted in the city of Aurangabad and in nearby villages after Municipal Corporation elections were held. Shiv Sena’s leader, Bal Thackeray, had held a rally in the town to ensure victory for his organization. But an alliance between the Congress (I), the Muslim League, and the Dalits enabled a Congress (I) candidate to win. Shiv Sena corporators filed a petition with the high court to protest the outcome of the elections. The hearing was adjourned and the Shiv Sena workers started burning vehicles and shops, looting and stabbing. The number of casualties was high on the sides of the Hindus and Muslims both indicating that the Muslim anti social elements too had retaliated (Graff & Galonnier, 2012). The affected areas included Jinsi, Shahganj, Lota Karanja Gulamandi along with other areas. The ensuing polarization helped the Shiv Sena consolidate its Hindu base- its stated objective. Mr. Bal Thackeray in the rally on 10th May 1988, said, “The Congress has turned Aurangabad into a Muslim vote-bank. I have turned it into a Hindu vote-bank. The Hindus need not fear now” (Engineer, 1988). Alongside the issues highlighted by the Sena, the provisions of the Muslim Personal Law, the enrolment of Jordanian students at Marathwada University and the prevalence of matka and bootlegging, which is largely controlled by Muslim gangs, shifting of the slaughter house from the city also led to polarization of the communities (Rahman, 1988). Polarization of Hindus and Muslims has been used to divert attention from more urgent and relevant issues of education, employment, basic amenities of water, better roads, hospitals and other civic responsibilities. Shiv Sena and BJP both gained confidence that this diversion would work. Along with Congress and National Congress Party (NCP) leaders, BJP and Shiv Sena leaders like Chandrakant Khaire, Kishan Tanwani and Pradip Jaiswal own properties at prominent places of Aurangabad. It has come to notice that Kishan Tanwani’s brother Raju Tanwani and one of his nephews were in jail for selling land illegally and cheating the people of Pahadsingpura. An agitation under the leadership of CPI was held and the then Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar mediated. It is important to note that here the key person behind these dealings was Khwaja Ameen. In these matters, the BJP and Shiv Sena leaders do not seem to take a ‘Hindu Rakshak’ role against the land mafia.

The polarization and competition to win or consolidate support bases has made the political landscape of Aurangabad volatile. On one hand there is a competition and tension within the ruling alliance of the BJP and Shiv Sena for Hindu votes, and on the other hand representation of the Muslims (currently supporting MIM). The casualty in this identity politics has been governance and the access of civic amenities. The Municipal Corporation in Aurangabad is largely dominated by the Shiv Sena whereas the BJP is a junior partner. Both parties vie for similar support bases and engage in one upmanship and indulge in political propaganda. When the BJP came in power at the Centre in 2014, the BJP in Aurangabad became aggressive in campaigning against the Shiv Sena and spreading the perception that Aurangabad is not developing due to Shiv Sena. This view was especially reiterated and popularized by the RSS and its supporters by bringing the failures of Chandrakanth Khaire into public discourse. This was ironical since BJP was also ruling along with Shiv Sena in Aurangabad Corporation since a long time. In spite of being in power for so long, the city has been grappling with problems like garbage, severe water shortage, and unequal water distribution, privatization of water and electricity price hike. Such problems persist in the face of talks of making the city a smart city and also the projects of DMIC. However, this has not translated into reasonable facilities in the city. However, this has not translated into reasonable facility in the city. This lack of governance is leading to discontent amongst citizens. BJP – Shiv Sena combine is jointly enjoying the fruits of power at Municipal Corporation of Aurangabad for 40 years. However, they never garnered votes on the plank of development of Aurangabad. They asked for votes by whipping up the issue of security from the attacks of Muslims. This way they didn’t have to solve the problems of water, garbage, road, drainage etc. Their strategy for votes is polarization along religious lines by pitting the Muslims as enemies of the Hindus. The incident that took place on 11th and 12th May 2018 was litmus test of Hindu- Muslims divide of Aurangabad which would benefit the BJP-Shiv Sena and MIM.

To compound the problem, the political tug of war between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, both in the ruling alliance, is interfering in important appointments like Police commissioner and the working of Municipal Corporation in the city. The resulting governance deficit and conundrum is not inspiring confidence in the voters. The ruling alliance which anyway has incumbency weighing against their political prospects in the impending 2019 elections, have to divert the attention of the citizens from these pressing problems.

Aurangabad City has a population of 11,75,116 according to the 2011 census data. Hindus constitute 51.07 % of this population, Muslims- 30.79%, Jains- 1.62%, Sikhs- 0.29% and Buddhists 0.29%. Currently, the Member of Parliament in Aurangabad Constituency is Chandrakanth Khaire from Shiv Sena who has served three terms as MP. There are three State Assembly seats in Aurangabad City- Aurangabad Central, Aurangabad East and Aurangabad West. Aurangabad West is represented by Sanjay Shirshat from Shiv Sena, Aurangabad East by Atul Save from BJP and Aurangabad Central by Imitiaz Jaleel from MIM. In Aurangabad Central where the violence on 11th May, 2018 took place, Pradeep Jaiswal from Shiv Sena and Kishanchand Tanwani from BJP are competitively seeking to increase its political influence. In 2014 Assembly Elections, while Imitiaz Jaleel got 61,843 votes, Pradeep Jaiswal got 41,861 votes and Kishanchand Tanwani got 40,770 votes. If the BJP and Shiv Sena hadn’t contested the Aurangabad Central seat separately it would have emerged as a winner. This explains the victory of Imitiaz Jaleel. However, this also sums up the violence that took on 11th May and the dominant political trend in Aurangabad. There are festering conflicts between the Shiv Sena and the BJP which is in an uneasy alliance. Communal violence and identity politics have won them the Hindu votes. But when they field candidates separately it can be seen that the Hindu votes are precariously divided between them right down the middle leaving none with a clear majority and thus none with a victory. Now it’s not enough to polarize the Hindu and Muslim community for electoral success but also further polarization amongst the Hindus to gain complete dominance. This can be achieved by demonstrating who best can protect the Hindus. While development and issues related to civic amenities might not translate into votes, resort is taken to communal violence.

The communal violence that took place in Aurangabad on 11th May was concentrated in one and half wards only. The wards have populations of Muslims, Hindus and Dalits. Muslims are mainly fruit vendors, cooler repairers and having other small businesses. The Dalits or the Valmikis as they are called in Gandhinagar are important to describe since Gandhinagar is close to Moti Karanje and the violence started from there. The Valmikis in Gandhinagar area are mostly migrants from Haryana. They are engaged in daily wage work, scavengers in housing societies and are small vendors. The women are mostly homemakers, doing homebased work or working or engaged in menial jobs in schools. But most of them still follow the ghoonghat practice inspite of migrating over 40 years back. The low socio-economic condition of the community is pushing them into anti social activities and overall resort to violence. The community doesn’t approach the police or state machinery to settle disputes or issues of law/order. They are resolved through intimidation and violence. This community supports the Shiv Sena in the area and there is a strong anti-Muslim bias. There are frequent conflicts between the Muslim and the Valmiki community in the area which is divided by only a narrow road. Right at the start of the community on the road is a big Hanuman temple which is also a space for their social life. There is also a public tap post next to the temple where both the Valmikis and the Muslims fill water. The ground opposite the Gandhinagar where the Valmikis reside hosts a Sunday market where there are vendors including Muslim vendors. There have been complaints that the Valmikis take goods free of costs from the Muslim vendors and intimidate them by demonstrating power. This reflects their internalization of the prevalent hate propaganda against Muslims.

The immediate context is crucial to understand the violence that unfolded in Aurangabad on 11th May. As mentioned above, the Shiv Sena and BJP, both are trying to expand its political influence in the city. Lachhu Pehelwan, a member of the Shiv Sena, uses violence and intimidation for political and economic interests. His niece is a corporator, elected as an independent. From news reports and interactions with stakeholders, it was found that Lacchu Pehelwan wanted extortion money from the Muslim fruit vendors in Shahganj. A few days before the violence, he had overturned a fruit cart of a Muslim vendor. In the scuffle that followed, he threatened that he would teach the Muslims a lesson. Further there was an eviction drive against hawkers in Shahganj by the Municipal Corporation. This move too is allegedly influenced by the Shiv Sena. Similarly, the Municipal Corporation undertook a drive to disconnect illegal water connections in Aurangabad but started with Moti Karanje and disconnected water connection in a mosque. There is a Meena Bazaar which is arranged very year during the month of Ramazan on Shahganj road. The Shiv Sena is opposing this bazaar too. These are issues preceding the violence but which threatened the peace in the city and brought it to the brink of violence.

The polarization of communities dictates the political fortunes of the parties in the city. Communal violence that took place on 11th May should be looked at in this context.

Violence as it unfolded:

After talking to various stakeholders, the fact-finding team has got perspectives into different versions of the incident as it unfolded and its causes. Based on different narratives, the fact-finding team has reconstructed the way the violence took place.

Date and Time Incidence
9th May, 2018 Shopkeepers in Shahganj closed their shops due to the fear of Municipal Corporation demolishing the road side shops
11th May, 2018  
3.30 pm Valmiki women were filling water through the common tap near Hanuman Mandir, Gandhinagar and a Maulana comes there and breaks the tap thereby starting a fight between them and eventually the Valmiki and the Muslim community. It is to be noted that there was no FIR filed about the incident and the fact-finding team was also told conflicting stories
10 pm Bright Garage owner Sheikh Saber was approached by two youth who asked him for his phone to make a call. After he denied giving the mobile phone, they called four five more men and started beating Sheikh Saber.
10.30pm A Muslim mob from the Moti Karanja road and Valmiki (Hindu) mob from the Gandhinagar area started pelting stones on each other.
11th and 12th May, 2018  
11.30pm – 12 am In Shahganj 22 chappal shops were set on fire out of which 20 shops were owned by Muslims and 2 by Hindus
12-1 am Chandan Bar in Rajabazar was set on fire. Shops owned by Hindus and rented to Muslims were the only ones that have been looted. Agarbatti shop near Santhan Ganpati which was set on fire was rented and had possessory title
12.30 am Haris Quadri was found injured in firing and taken to hospital and was later declared dead
1 am Sagar Lodge was set on fire in which Jaganlal Bansile died
1.30-2.30 am Another set of shops owned by Muslims was set on fire on Rajabazar Jincy Road
9 am SRPF forcibly entered Ayesha Begum’s house in Nawabpura and beat up her brother Mehboob and arrested his son Faiyaz
11am – 2pm A mob of 400-500 stone pelted stones on the police and their vehicle
11.30 am 10 men of the SRPF entered the house of deceased Haris Qadri and beat up his family members.

 

 

 

 

 

Map of the areas where riots took place

 

 

  1. Involvement of MIM and Muslims:

One version that came from the narratives is that the riots were pre planned and executed by MIM. The Shiv Sena blames MIM for the violence as it appeared in many newspapers. There were allegations that MIM leader Feroz Khan was the leader of the Muslim mobs. Raju Pimpale who has a shop in Raza Bazaar narrated to the Team that the Muslims were miffed with the disconnections of the water connections by the municipal corporations and also the attempt of Lacchu Pehlwan to evict the fruit vendors in Shahganj. Thus, the Muslims under the leadership of MIM collected acid and other materials to make petrol bombs and stones for stone pelting. Pimpale claimed that the Muslims mobs were 4000 to 5000 in number while the Hindus were only 400 to 500 in number. He further narrated that the Police Inspector, Hemant Kadam tried to negotiate with both the mobs. The police personnel were grossly outnumbered by the mobs but the police still did all that it could do.

Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire too blamed the MIM for the riots. He believes that the MIM planned and engineered the riots since its influence amongst the Muslims was waning. He said that in order to save its constituency for electoral benefits, the MIM mobilized the Muslims and the mobs were led by Feroz Khan, MIM leader. He cited the teasing of a Valmiki woman by Muslim youth as a trigger to the violence that unfolded. He claimed that the Muslim mobs catapulted stones on the shops and outnumbered the police personnel. He summed up that the Shiv Sena not only ended up saving the Hindus who were their voters and who counted on them for protection but also the police.

The Valmiki community in Gandhinagar near Moti Karanje blames the Muslims for the violence. According to community member, Pavan Lavera, on 11th May 2018, when Valmiki women were filling water from a tap near the Hanuman temple, a Muslim Maulvi and another man came on the motorcycle at around 3.30pm and started abusing them. The Maulvi broke the tap arguing that the water connections in Mosque were disconnected and thus he wanted to revenge that by breaking this particular tap. The Valmikis youth then gathered and a scuffle ensued. But after sometime, the crowd dispersed. However, as per the Valmikis, again at 5.30pm, three Valmiki youth were beaten up by Muslims. No FIR was registered and the crowd dispersed once again. The Valmikis then went on to narrate that around 10 pm, a mob came and started pelting stones near the Hanuman temple. This time too, the Valmikis exercised restraint and the women surrounded the locality so that no Valmiki youth retaliates to the stone pelting from the Muslim side. At the same time, the members assured the Team that the relationships between the Muslim community and the Valmiki community are very cordial and in fact the Valmikis protected the Muslim neighborhood during the violence. Yet they reported that casteist taunts were used by the Muslims to denigrate the Valmikis.

While the above was the story from the side of the men from the Gandhinagar Valmiki community, the women from the same community had a different version of the events. The women corroborated that a Maulana and another man came on the motorcycle at around 3.30 pm and wanted to break the tap post. A scuffle ensued. But the crowd dispersed. Then the women narrated that a Valmiki youth went to get an auto at around 8 pm in the evening and was beaten up by the Muslims. Soon stone pelting started from the Muslim side of the road. This enraged the Valmiki youth who also threw back the same stones that were pelted by the Muslims. But the Valmiki youth exercised restraint. In contrast to the narrative from the Valmiki men where they described the relationship with Muslims very cordial, the women clearly had a very different take. The women firmly believed that Muslims in the vicinity cannot coexist with the Valmiki community. Muslim men indulge in eve teasing. The Muslims also cheer for Pakistan during Indo- Pak cricket matches. Yet they are allowed to live in India. They should go to Pakistan and should not move around in the Hindu localities with arrogance and pride. The Valmikis are generous so they allow the Muslims to take water from the tap near the Hanuman temple.

However, the Team was told that the Valmiki have a reputation of resorting to violence in case of conflicts which is why they are feared immensely. Thus, Muslim boys would refrain from indulging in eve teasing the Valmiki girls. Thus, the Team feels that the allegation of eve teasing against the Muslim boys is part of hate propaganda against the Muslims as there is no FIR filed by Valmikis regarding the above said Maulana story.

  1. Involvement of Shiv Sena Members:

The second version broadly suggests that there is involvement of Shiv Sena leaders in the violence. MIM leader Imtiaz Jaleel said that this incident of communal violence was not a Hindu -Muslim riot. It was engineered by the Shiv Sena for its own variety of benefits. 12 days before the communal violence, Lacchu Pehlwan has been harassing the hawkers, both Hindus and Muslims, for extortion money. The hawkers have been complaining about the same. Similar economic interests have been driving another Shiv Sena leader, Pradeep Jaiswal who had previously tried to claim stake on Waqf land near Bibi ka Maqbara. Here too, there were protests and Jaiswal threatened to mobilize 25000 Hindus on one call! Three days after that Lacchu Pehelwan attacked the hawkers in Shahganj. These, in the opinion, of Mr. Jaleel were built up violence and issues to the communal violence that took place on 11th May. He rubbished the claims that Feroze Khan had planned the riots. Feroze Khan according to Mr. Jaleel was at the MGM Hospital. When the police went to arrest him, his house was surrounded by 150 women from the Hindu community to protect him and prevent his arrest reflecting his popularity and work amongst the Hindus. There is no evidence against Feroze Khan.

He explained that on 11th May, the incident that triggered violence was when two to three Valmiki youth who were drunk on a motorcycle went to a shop of a Muslim near Gandhinagar and asked for his mobile. The scuffle that followed was used as a pretext by Lacchu Pehlewan to burn down the shops of the Muslims in Shahganj area. Mr. Jaleel informed that the Valmiki area in Gandhinagar is a base of Shiv Sena and the youth in the community are armed by the Sena. The incident of the mobile was corroborated by Shaikh Saber, alias Appu Vastad and owner of “Bright Garage” near Moti Karanje, who was attacked in the Garage. He narrated that around 10 pm on 11th May; two youth belonging to the Valmiki community came to his garage in an inebriated state and demanded Saber’s mobile phone for making calls. Since Saber didn’t know the youth, he refused to give them the phone and an argument ensued. The youth left from the garage. However, they returned shortly with other 4 to 5 youth who attacked Saber from the back on his head. He lost consciousness. This was a scuffle between individuals who did not even know each other. The return of the youth after some time with more youth to attack Saber indicates towards careful planning of the riot.

However, what strongly suggests the role of Shiv Sena leaders is Mr. Chandrakant Khaire’s statement to the fact-finding team. While blaming the MIM for the violence, Mr. Khaire admitted that when he was called by the police to inform about the violence, he reached the sites of violence. The Muslim mob, he said, was burning down shops owned by the Hindus and also the Balaji temple. Lacchu Pehelwan’s son, his nephew and he along with others had erected tin sheets to protect against the stones that were pelted by the mob. He said there were inadequate police and the police commissioner arrived only by around 7am on 12th May and controlled the violence. Meanwhile he narrated that he, his nephew; Lacchu Pehelwan’s son led the mob. This violence he justified by saying that the Hindus hold him accountable to protect them since they vote for him. So, it is his duty to protect the Hindu voters. He boldly and proudly proclaimed that his response saved the lives of the Hindus as well as the police.

Khaire partly blamed the Home Ministry headed by BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis who he believes is not able to handle the law and order situation in Maharashtra. He reasoned that Aurangabad had no Police Commissioner for over two months. At the same time, the BJP wants to corner the same votes that Shiv Sena gets. He claimed that Shiv Sena gets both – the Muslim votes as well as the Dalit votes. He accused the BJP of trying to split the Muslim votes. He further stated that the BJP also has massive resources to campaign for votes since he alleged that BJP is in possession of monies from corruption. This political contest with Shiv Sena for Muslim votes by the BJP will ensure many riots before the 2019 elections, he added as a cautionary note. He warned that he has informed all the Hindus that they should contact the Shiv Sena next time there is any threat from the Muslims and the Shiv Sena will protect them and give a befitting answer to the Muslims who brew trouble. Nonetheless he claimed he enjoyed popularity from the Muslim community.

The above in no way exonerates the BJP from its role in the communal violence. The BJP is competing for political influence in Aurangabad. The BJP is ruling along with the Shiv Sena in Aurangabad. Firstly, the BJP was in charge of the police (Home affairs) and the appointment of the Police Commissioner. While there was an intelligence report about the impending violence, the BJP did not take action to appoint a Police Commissioner to take charge of the situation. In fact, Aurangabad didn’t have Commissioner of Police for over a month before the violence. BJP in different ways is portraying that it wants to clean up the governance in Aurangabad by giving instructions to the bureaucrats to not give in to the pressure of the Shiv Sena and ensure good governance. And at the same time, it is campaigning that Shiv Sena is proving to be the biggest hurdle in good governance. When Aurangabad had a BJP Mayor, it tried to spread the perception that it is taking serious efforts to solve the problem of garbage and other issues of governance. However, when the Shiv Sena Mayor was appointed, the BJP openly blamed Shiv Sena for the garbage issue. This way it has aggravated the political tension making Aurangabad very volatile and conducive for interference of non-state actors.

  1. Team’s understanding of the violence:

After being privy to the testimonies of different stakeholders, the fact finding reached its conclusions. It is evident that Lacchu Pehlewan has been harassing vendors and threatening them for extortion of money. The violence on 11th May was not an unexpected sudden conflagration but was very much expected given the tensions that were brewing in the city due to the targeting of Muslims in different ways. The explosive materials used in the violence also bear witness to the planning and preparations of the violence. It is argued that the Muslims started the violence since they were angry over the disconnection of water supply to the Mosque. However, the Fact-Finding Team feels that this argument doesn’t hold much water. The Muslims the Team interacted with were told by the officials who were responsible for the disconnection that the supply would be restored. And the Muslims seem to have been assuaged of their fear and anger. Thus, the alleged attack by the Muslims under the pretext disconnection of the water supply is not found probable by the Team.

Also, the bias of the Valmiki community against the Muslim community was very apparent. Their bias and resentment about the Muslims run deep and this led to stone pelting from their side too. The community members in fact convinced three youth who were accused to surrender to the police which couldn’t have been possible without their own admission of guilt. In fact, some of the Valmiki member also admitted to the Team that there was a mistake on the part of the Valmiki youth but they are too young and thus shouldn’t be judged harshly. There is no FIR filed by the member of the Valmiki community about the violence at the tap post. In contrast Saber Shaikh has a FIR to prove his version of the attack. Thus, the theory that the riot was triggered due to the fight at the tap in Gandhinagar or in the garage for the mobile is untenable since these were very trivial issues. This riot was planned for political and economic gains. The selective burning of the properties belonging to the Muslims indicates towards this intent. While the MIM will benefit from the polarization that this violence might create, it simply doesn’t have the support or wherewithal to plan a riot like this. The violence was limited to one ward to polarize the Hindu votes before the 2019 elections.

Chandrakanth Khaire himself admitted to having led the mob along with the other Shiv Sena leaders. Though his justification for the same was that it was response or reaction to the violence started by the Muslims, it will do well to remember this justification is sought after every riot by the Shiv Sena to give legitimacy to its violence. From his own admission, it is clear that he wanted to protect his Hindu voters who he claimed hold him accountable to protect them. In the future too, he and the Shiv Sena will continue to “defend” the Hindus. The political rivalry that he pointed out that is brewing between the BJP and Shiv Sena for the Hindu votes and Hindu leadership also has a large part to play in this violence. The Shiv Sena after this violence has been able to project itself as the protectors of Hindus when the BJP who controls the Home Ministry was not able to give a Police commissioner to the city or contain the violence. This projection might improve the electoral prospects of the Shiv Sena in the face of the lack of civic amenities like garbage disposal, better roads and water supply that the citizens have been complaining about. That the police were found to be colluding with the Shiv Sena and working in a biased manner also strengthens this perception especially when Mr. Khaire could have actively with the help of the police force stopped the riots and negotiated with the mob. But he chose to lead a mob of Hindus and later organize a morcha for protection of Hindus. By the constitutional duty vested in him as a Member of Parliament he should have attempted to protect all citizens irrespective of their religious identity.

  1. The role of the police

When the Team tried to meet the Commissioner of Police, the CP delegated the meeting to deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Dipali Dhate-Ghadage. Her standard answer was that the SIT committee that has been constituted to enquire into the incident of communal violence is conducting a “transparent” enquiry and thus she can’t comment on the questions. However, the Team found that the role of the police has been appalling at different levels. First level is prevention itself. The police claimed that it had intelligence knowledge about the violence 8 days prior to the violence. Yet the police did not act to prevent the violence. There are allegations that there is a strong Shiv Sena and police nexus in Aurangabad and thus police are politically influenced and not impartial. In this light, the actions of the police of shaking hands with the rioters and walking alongside them appearing to give them security raises many critical questions. When the Team asked the DCP about punishment to the police personnel appearing shaking hands with the rioters, she said it was under inquiry and didn’t outright refute the charge. Till today i.e. July 2018 no inquiry is initiated or completed by police.

The families of the victims that the Team interacted with informed the Team that there were practically police personnel present during the violence. Some of the shop keepers in Raja Bazaar narrated that the police were walking with the rioters and did not attempt to stop the violence. There were also videos in circulation on TV news which showed police personnel walking with the rioters. Mr. Khaire said that there were a few police who were grossly overpowered and thus the Shiv Sena had to help and protect the police personnel.

The city of Aurangabad didn’t have a Police Commissioner for over two months. The violence started around 10am on 11th May. The acting Commissioner, Mr. Bharambe arrived in Aurangabad at 7am on 12th May. The violence was allowed to take place for over 9 hours! In the meanwhile, the police were not able to protect the victims, save the two lives, save the shops and other properties from burning and apprehend any perpetrators. This is despite the fact that the police were armed. The police instead of using riot control equipment and arresting the perpetrators was seen talking cordially and shaking hands with the perpetrators. This points towards their complicity and their role as mute spectators protecting the perpetrators.

While the inaction and complicity of the police cannot be condoned, a more severe aspect of their role is their bias against the Muslim community. One 17-year-old Haris Qadri died in the police firing at Nawabpura. Haris was sent to look for his 8-year-old brother, Hadi, when he ran out of his house on 11th May at around 11.30pm when noises were heard from outside the house. While Hadi returned in 10 minutes, Haris didn’t return. Worried, his family went looking for him and found his body at some distance. They took him to the hospital but he was declared dead. The police commissioner admitted to the family that it was a mistake on the part of the police. But during the Post Mortem the family was asked to stand outside and thus doesn’t know which bullet hit Haris. This raises questions whether the probe into his death will be impartial. If the police used firing to control the violence then the bullets would have hit any individuals or persons from both communities but here Haris was the only casualty of the firing. His family wants justice.

Two police officers Kolekar, Hemant Kadam, Paropkari were seriously injured during the communal violence. Though these police officers sustained injuries, the overall bias of the police can’t be ruled out. The bias of the police is manifested in three ways- the number of arrested persons, the property destroyed and the treatment of Muslim families by the police post the violence. To begin with, it is striking how properties mostly belonging to Muslim owners were targeted and allowed to be burnt. The shops were so carefully burnt and damage controlled that neighbouring shops belonging to Hindus were intact and unharmed. According to figures given by the police, in total, 45 properties were burnt. Amongst these, 33 belonged to Muslim owners and 12 belonged to Hindu owners. Such selective burning shows intent to target the Muslim community. While the majority of the damage is suffered by the Muslim community, ironically, maximum arrested are also from the Muslim community. From the 49 arrested, 20 are Hindus while 29 are Muslims. The victims in this case are victimized again by criminalizing them. The way some of the Muslims were arrested during the combing operation also needs a mention. Though the DCP denied that there was any combing done by the police, some Muslim families had a different narrative to share.

On 12th May, the SRPF forcefully entered the house of Haris Qadri in Nawabpura, the deceased 17th year old victim and beat up his family members. His uncle sustained injuries on his back and hand. The family told us that on 12th May 2018, SRPF officers forcefully entered the house after breaking down the door of the house. The women who tried to stop the officers were pushed to the ground and abused by the officers. The SRPF insisted that the family show them the (non-existent) hidden swords. The police then went to the floor above where the family of Haris’ uncle, Adbul Samad Qadri stayed. According to Zayra Qadri, the SRPF picked up the baby of her brother in law and threatened to carry it away. The family pleaded with them to return the baby. When they saw the uncle of the deceased, they beat him sticks. Similarly, the SRPF that morning went to the house of one Ayesha Begum in Ramnaspura and beat her family. Ayesha Begum herself is disabled. Her brother, Mehboob who is a cancer patient was beaten mercilessly. His son Fayaz was arrested by the police. This clearly shows the arbitrary nature of the police action and also their bias against the Muslim community.

  1. Inter community relations between the Hindus and Muslims:

The fact finding found that the intercommunity relations between the Hindus and Muslims are cordial even after the violence. The families of the victims or general public don’t hold the other community responsible for the violence. When the Team met the families of the victims they were very inspired with the relationships they share with their neighbors from different communities. The family of Jaganlal Bansile has very cordial and long-lasting relationships with their Muslim neighbor, Sameer Shaikh. They are friends for two generations. In fact, when the Team wanted to talk to the family, Jaykaran Basaye, owner of Sagar Lodge where Bansile was burnt to death, took the team to the shop of Sameer Shaikh. Babita Bansile, daughter in law of Bansile, said unambiguously that she doesn’t think that the Muslim community was part of the mob which burnt down their house and killed her father in law. She vehemently told the team that the compensation of one lakh and fifty thousand rupees that is given by BJP to the family is not justice. The family wants justice and wants the culprits to be punished irrespective of the religious identities.

Similarly, what was inspiring and a positive story in this violence was the action of Balu Appa Gawali. He is neighbor of the Qadri family in Nawabpura. When the SRPF entered the house of the Qadris and were harassing the family, Gawali pleaded with the SRPF to leave the family and not harass them. He explained to them that the family has had a tragic death in the family and that the family is innocent. This made the SRPF withdraw from the house without any arrests.

Main Findings:

  1. The riots in Aurangabad were planned and not spontaneous:

The riots in Aurangabad were not spontaneous or its roots do not lie in the scuffle over a mobile in the garage. The Team found that there were a series of events and issues that were simmering in the area and built up to the violence. The drive to evict hawkers, opposition to organizing the Meena Bazaar, threatening the Muslim vendors in Shahganj and the disconnection of water connections from Moti Karanje have been built up issues bringing the area on the brim of communal conflagration but just falling short of actual violence. The fact that catapults, explosive material and bottles were found during and after the violence is indication that they were arranged for before the violence took place and its procurement cannot be a spontaneous action. The police claimed that it had intelligence of the impending violence eight days prior the violence also makes it apparent that it was planned in advance.

  1. Who planned the violence?

It was found that Shiv Sena exerts considerable influence on the Municipal Corporation and the police. Lacchu Pehlwan wanted extortion money from Muslim vendors and hawkers in Shahganj and has been harassing them by verbally abusing them and overturning their carts. There was a simmering discontent amongst the vendors. Communal violence to that extent helped to strike fear amongst the Muslims and to marginalize them. The selective burning of the shoe shops in Shahganj after a threat by Lacchu Pehelwan indicates the involvement of the Shiv Sena member. Chandrakanth Khaire admitted that he, his nephew, Lacchu Pehlewan’s son were present on the roads during the violence and “defending” the Hindus as well as the police personnel. Yet peace was not restored. The Fact-Finding Committee finds it incredulous that when the MP himself along with the police personnel is present at the site of violence, he is not able to appeal for peace and not restore peace. Further he stated that Hindus vote for him and he is duty bound to protect them and respond to violence against them with violence. He clarified that Hindus have been warned to be alert against Muslims and should inform the Shiv Sena if they sense “danger”. To heighten this sense of insecurity a rally was also organized for the protection of Hindus by the Shiv Sena on 19th May.

There were shops belonging to the Hindus that were targeted indicating that Muslim mob also retaliated. Though the Team probed as to who led the Muslim mob, it got no clear answers. There are allegations that the MIM members are involved in the violence. The Team finds that possible given the electoral compulsions of the MIM to win Muslim votes. However, their role can be limited to retaliation rather than planning. It would be rather surprising if MIM didn’t lead the Muslims, Muslims being its constituency.

 

  1. Role of Police:

The role of the police has been appalling and wanting at different levels. The police inspite of having intelligence for over a week about the impending violence did not prevent the violence. The police did very little to protect the citizens and their properties during the violence though it was present at the sites of violence. Worst, it was found colluding with the perpetrators in various clips in circulation in media. Its role was not condemnable only during the violence but also in pursuing justice. 28 out of 49 arrested are Muslims while 33 shops out of 45 shops burnt during the violence belong to Muslim owners. The bias of the police is evident from its treatment of the Muslim households where innocent Muslim citizens were arbitrarily beaten up and arrested.

  1. Intercommunity relations are cordial:

While communal violence often leads to strained relations between communities and also bitterness due to the personal losses suffered, in this case, there is no bitterness or tensions between communities. The city shares a harmonious coexistence of different communities which are often neighbors. This harmony still exists despite the heavy losses suffered.

  1. No compensation announced by the state:

The Team saw the losses in terms of properties and the hardships that the victims are suffering. Right from the big shops burnt to the small hawker and vendors, it is proving very difficult for the victims to rebuild their lives without assistance. While the Bansile family has been given a compensation of INR 1,50,000 by BJP, the MIM helped 22 shoe vendors to rebuild their shops in Shahganj. Out of these 22 vendors, 2 are Hindu vendors. However, no comprehensive state compensation is declared by the government. Fadanvis government did not execute its constitutional responsibility in time and gave safe passage to communal political parties including BJP-MIM to go closer to riot affected people for polarization of Hindu Muslim votes. The evaluation of losses is done for shop keepers whose shops were burnt but not of the hawkers whose properties were not burnt but nonetheless they also suffered loss of livelihood when there was curfew. They couldn’t come out to sell their wares and goods and suffered economically. Since they have hand to mouth existence this loss is very significant for them. Some of these hawkers are women in Shahganj. It should be noted that Mr. Chandrakanth Khaire has not met the family of Haris Qadri and Imitiaz Jaleel did not meet the family of Bansile. This exposes the narrow mindedness and selective compassion of the political leaders which is limited to their own constituencies.

 

Recommendations:

  • The loss and damage of property during this communal violence is to the tune of 10 crores. The State has so far not announced any compensation for the losses. The Team demands that compensation of INR 50,00,000 be given to the families of the deceased impartially without further delay. Compensation to the tune of the evaluation of the losses should be give to the shopkeepers whose shops/ properties were destroyed. Also, compensation should also be given to hawkers who wouldn’t come to sell their goods in the aftermath of violence. The District Collector has sent a proposal for compensation as per Maharashtra government resolution dated 5th January 2016. The said G.R. is mockery of the riot affected citizens; therefore, it must be taken back and compensation must be given on the basis of irreparable and repairable loss of each and every riot affected citizen.
  • The Team demands that an impartial probe/ inquiry is held against the police who are seen walking with the rioters in video clips in circulation and they are brought to justice in a speedy manner.
  • The probe must fearlessly without favor bring to justice political leaders who abetted the violence and also those who were part of the mobs perpetrating the violence. Elected representatives are accountable for the law and protection of all citizens equally and can’t violate this principle for electoral gains.

 

[1] Special thanks to Prof. Kamala Ganesh (former Head of Department of Sociology, Mumbai University) for all the editorial comments and suggestions.

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