In The Name Of Allah, The Most Beneficent And Merciful


May 28th, 2002




·       Election to 81 municipalities soon (Times Of India)

·       Cup of harmony brims over (Times Of India)

·       Tight vigil off Saurashtra coast (Times Of India)

·       For police, injury proof of rioting (Times Of India)

·       Shekhavat on a day's visit to A'bad  (Times Of India)

·       No change in leadership: State BJP chief (Times Of India)

·       Civilians roped in to keep vigil in border villages (Times Of India)

·       Cop's plan to avert riots (Times Of India)

·       Muslim leaders want ST buses to ply from Juhapura  (Times Of India)

·       Gujarat has maximum number of vanishing companies (Times Of India)

·       Godhra riots leave police, administration perplexed (Times Of India)

·       3 from Mehsana caught by Rajasthan cops (Times Of India)

·       Communal harmony meeting postponed (Times Of India)

·       Godhra peaceful, curfew still on (Times Of India)

·       Minorities' front asks govt to prioritise rehabilitation (Times Of India)

·       Underworld hand in Godhra? (Times Of India)

·       3 VHP, BJP men held for Naroda massacre (Times Of India)

·       Sulking Zadaphia praises Gill (Times Of India)

·       Godhra can still spark off trouble (Times Of India)

·       Modi agrees to provide alternate sites to riot victims (Times Of India)

·       Police awarded for effective riot control (Times Of India)

·       Unrest brewing in babudom (Times Of India)

·       Post riots, pols are now fortresses (Times Of India)

·       Cell set up to monitor relief disbursal  (Times Of India)

·       Gujarat is futile: Goa CM to Cong (Times Of India)





Election to 81 municipalities soon

[MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:56:14 AM ]

AHMEDABAD: The election to 81 municipalities, which were postponed
following communal disturbances in February, is likely to be held by
the next month-end following restoration of peace and order in the

It is learnt that the state government would send a recommendation to
this effect to the state election commission after a proposal was
passed in the cabinet meeting scheduled on Wednesday.

Besides this, elections to Banaskantha and Kaira districts will be
held along with that of other municipalities. The by-election for
vacant seats of 15 taluka panchayats will be also conducted if the
proposal is approved by the government, reliable sources said.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Cup of harmony brims over

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 1:06:04 AM ]

VADODARA: Its communal harmony over a cup of chai.

As Vadodara burned, Noor Mohammed Shaikh's roadside tea stall in
Fathegunj named Ram Rahim Iswar Allah, continued to draw people as he
dished out his popular one-liners on communal amity and patriotism
along with cups of tea. And, he continued despite repeated threats
and his larri (handcart) being attacked thrice in the last decade.

``Hindu aur Muslim ke pehle do akshar jodo to `Hum' banega'', `Insaan
ka ek hi dharam hota hai aur woh hai pyaar'', Shaikh tells his
customers as he hands out steaming cups of tea. Pictures of Sai Baba
and the shrine of Khwaja Garib Nawaz share the same roof of this
small tea-stall.

With saffron, white and green painted across his larri and a
silhouette of India's map over it, the Ram Rahim Ishwar Allah tea-
stall on Fatehgunj road is hard to miss. The religious symbols of all
major religions are painted like a crown over the contours of India's
``For us, every customer is equal and we would like to spread the
message of love and peace to all,'' says Shabbir Shaikh, elder son of
Noor Mohammed. He nows runs the larri even after three attacks on it.

``I have been threatened many times by people who believe that my
larri is a disgrace to their religion. I don't think such people
believe in religion at all. Which God forbids his followers to speak
the language of love and unity?'' argues Noor Mohammed.
Noor Mohammed may be a school drop-out but he has a deep
understanding of life. He calls the vitriolic political debate over
secularism following the communal conflagration in Gujarat `political

``Jab jati ka mudda thanda pad gaya, to in logone apne fayde ke liye
pacchas saal purane dharam ke mudde me humko firse uljha diya hai
(When issue of caste subsided, to serve their interests these people
embroiled us again in issue of religion).''

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Tight vigil off Saurashtra coast

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 1:24:30 AM ]

 RAJKOT: Camels, horses, men on foot, vehicles, boats and even
floating platforms that are being used by the police jointly with
other agencies including the Navy, Coast Guards and Customs, to man
the bordering coastal areas of Saurashtra, in view of the prevailing
war-like situation.

As the long coastal area of Saurashtra, which runs parallel to
highways and is full of secluded marshy lands, tidal zones and
beaches, the authorities are increasingly emphasizing on sharing of
information and better co-ordination between different agencies.

Police officials believe that since the coastal areas have a history
of intrusion, smuggling and even landing of explosives, a tight vigil
is needed on the entire coastal belt, rather than merely on certain
identified landing points.

``In the present war-like situation, we are on alert and keeping a
watch on anti-national elements. We have intensified patrolling in
all border areas and have introduced camels and motorbikes amongst
other means for patrolling,'' said Kutch police superintendent
Subhash Trivedi on Friday. He said that about 250 km of land border
and adjoining coastal areas are being patrolled intensively.

Jamnagar, which has the longest coastal area of over 350 km, is
considered quite sensitive because of a number of landing areas and
key military installations, refineries and oil pipelines that are
considered vulnerable.

The police here, have decided to continue joint sea patrolling with
the Navy and the Customs beyond May 31, when the patrolling units are
usually disbanded for monsoon. ``We are continuing anti-infiltration
and anti-smuggling patrolling even after the dates. The patrolling
parties will keep a close watch on scattered inhabited and
uninhabited islands,'' said police superintendent Manoj Shashidhar.

In Jamnagar, the coastal areas have been divided into different
sectors and mobile patrolling on all type of roads extending over 450
km from Jinjuda near Jodiya to Gadvi near Kalyanpur is being carried

In view of the marshy land and creeks that chequer the coastal areas
here, which are usually flooded during high tide, a new feature of
camel patrolling has proved effective.

While a large number of checkposts have been setup, surveillance is
being kept on the large number of landing points on the coastal
areas. Security arrangements at the famous Dwarika temple have been

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

For police, injury proof of rioting

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 1:04:24 AM ]

AHMEDABAD: If you were injured during the riots, chances are that
there is a bigger shock awaiting you.

The city police does not believe there were any innocent bystanders
when the mobs went on the rampage. If you have an injury, you were
probably part of one mob or the other.

Standing instructions have been given to all the police stations in
Ahmedabad to start arresting all those persons who were injured
during the riots. It was as a result of this directive that an intern-
doctor, proceeding to hospital for his duty who got injured when a
bomb was lobbed at him, was arrested on Thursday night leading to a
groundswell of protest from the medical fraternity.

Additional commissioner of police (sector I) Satish Sharma puts it
quite bluntly: ``How would anyone be injured if he was not present at
the site of communal violence? Until proven contrary, we have to
conclude that the injured was among a mob and took part in the

As a result, many riot victims are afraid that records of their
treatment in government or municipal-run hospitals may lead to their

The intern, Dr Bhavesh Parmar, is one of the 3,445 people who have
been arrested on charges of rioting, arson, looting and even
conspiracy to murder from different areas of the city. Many of those
arrested are on the list of injured treated at the VS, LG and the
Civil hospitals.

An outstanding student throughout his career, Parmar's friends,
senior doctors and family have been left completely baffled by his
arrest.But there are others like him. Ask Mitesh Shukla who resides
in Maninagar.

Shukla, a post-graduate, is a student of Chartered Accountancy (CA)
and MBA. ``On May 7, I was studying for the last three tests of my CA
(final year) exams when rioting broke out in my neighbourhood.

I rushed downstairs to fetch my motorbike which was lying outside and
a stray bullet grazed the top of my head. I fell unconscious.''

Shukla missed his CA exams. He was first kept in the police lock-up
and then at Central Jail before he got bail on May 16. ``I pleaded
innocence but nobody would listen. An FIR was filed against me which
levelled serious charges like attempt to murder and rioting. I only
hope justice prevails and my career is not hampered,'' he says.

Around the same period, May 8, about 30 students from the Rasulabad
locality of the Mira Theatre area in Maninagar were nabbed by the
police for rioting. Rohan Kadri and Muddasar Kadri, students of class
10 and 12, respectively, are among those picked up by the police.
Mohsin Kadri, in-charge of Shah-e-Alam Roza relief camp,
said: ``These boys are innocent and should not have been ill-treated
as they were because they were at the receiving end of the rioters.''

This move has also raised the hackles of human rights activists of
the city. Director of Prashant, Father Cedric Prakash said: ``Young
men have been put behind bars just on suspicion. Many youth of the
Gomtipur area were arrested because they were injured in communal

Nobody has bothered to check that they were not among the rioters.''
What the riot victims are perplexed about is the fact that while the
police are still fighting shy of arresting the political big-wigs
named in the FIRs, the arrest figures are being bolstered by making
such random arrests to show that the police are finally cracking

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Shekhavat on a day's visit to A'bad

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:52:05 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: Former Rajasthan chief minister Bhaironsingh Shekhavat and
senior BJP leader Om Prakash Mathur arrived here on a day's visit to

When contacted, Shekhavat said he had come here on an unscheduled
visit to meet the people from Rajasthan Samaj here. On being asked
whether he was a candidate for presidential elections, Shekhavat
paused for a while and quipped that the he had been selected as a
candidate by the media, but he was not in the running for the
presidential post as had appeared in the section of the press.

Shekhavat paid a courtesy visit to Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari and
Chief Minister Narendra Modi before leaving for Jaipur. State health
minister Ashok Bhatt and GMDC deputy chairman Sunil Sunghi and other
senior leaders of the party also met him.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved

No change in leadership: State BJP chief

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:55:28 AM ]

AHMEDABAD: State BJP president Rajendrasinh Rana on Sunday said that
there was no question of any change in the leadership of the state as
reported in certain sections of the press.

Referring to the recent visit of the BJP national vice-president and
incharge of the state Ramdas Aggrawal, Rana said that he had come
here on a maiden visit to acquaint himself with the state unit and
meet the senior leaders.

Aggrawal had during his meeting with the party leaders sought their
suggestions to restore peace and normalcy in Gujarat and the meeting
had nothing to do with the replacement of Chief Minister Narendra
Modi as mentioned in some newspapers.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Civilians roped in to keep vigil in border villages
TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:53:51 AM ]

AHMEDABAD: In view of the increasing tension along the Indo-Pak
border and the vulnerable communal situation in Gujarat, over 600
civilians from villages in the border districts have been appointed
as 'special police officers' with full powers to file complaints,
investigate and arrest law-breakers.

The arrangement, said special inspector general of police Sudhirkumar
Sinha, was effected under Section 21 of the Bombay Police Act to act
as a deterrent on the infiltrators eyeing the border areas.

According to him, this was first effected in March when communal
tension broke out in the rest of the state, but it has been decided
to continue the system in view of the hostilities along the Indo-Pak

Thus, 649 "leading citizens" from villages in the Kutch, Banaskantha
and Patan districts, who have been sarpanches or ex-sarpanches and
know the villagers, have been appointed as special police officers
with complete policing powers.

Recently, Chief Minister Narendra Modi toured the border areas and
addressed the security personnel in the Khavda sector, which is
barely 35 km from Mitthi province in Pakistan. Mitthi is considered
to be a major centre for ISI activities. The other area under watch
is the Lakhpath taluka, which is equally close to Pakistan and falls
in the path of intruders since it includes the famous Haji Pir dargah.

Only recently, the Border Security Force caught a Pakistani trying to
cross over, who is yet to be identified. Says Sinha, "The man appears
to be half insane and has been sent to Jamnagar for medical

In order to improve administration and increase objectivity in police
action, some 467 police officers posted for over a year at the border
police stations were transferred within Kutch district, said Sinha.

"Those who had developed a vested interest were removed from the
scene", said Sinha. Besides, "The conditions in the Rann are so
difficult that it had begun to take a toll on their health and this
arrangement is having a salutary effect", he added.

The special police officers, in the process, also turned informers
for the police, but are dependant on the police force for
documentation and other such procedures in which they are not trained.

Although the threat of infiltration and smuggling of contraband like
RDX and weapons is highest in the Kutch district, last year both
Patan and Kutch turned conduits for landing of RDX and assault
weapons meant for terrorist activities.

Banaskantha also shares its borders with Pakistan, but since the
areas are dominated by Hindu villages, "infiltrators from across the
border do not get much sanctuary here", says superintendent of police
CR Parmar.

Police sources say, "Many times gullible villagers fall prey to
infiltrators, who pretend to crossover in search of jobs or visiting
relatives." Sinha feels that the arrangement of special police
officers could bring about a drop in infiltration and in the
smuggling of bombs and other explosives to the state.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved

Cop's plan to avert riots

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:05:43 AM ]

 MUMBAI: The state home department is considering various plans to
prevent communal violence. One of them is the strategy tried and
tested by additional commissioner of police, central region, R.T.

Recently, a highlevel meeting of officers of the home department was
held and Mr Rathod was asked to make a presentation of his scheme
which will now be implemented in all the districts.

Mr Rathod's modus operandi is simple—he calls a meeting of all the
prominent citizens in his area, explains to them the repercussions of
communal tensions and riots and asks them to take part in each
other's religious functions with a view to improve social

"People have to understand that the police can do little without
support from citizens. Once you make people realise that, they co-
operate,'' says Mr Rathod.

This is not wishful thinking. He has proved that it works. "I first
implemented the `communal harmony' scheme in Jalna where I was the
Superintendant of Police. There was massive tension because Moharram
and Ganpati festival overlapped. The Ganpati festival lasts for 10
days and so does Moharram. People were expecting trouble because
Jalna is a communally sensitive area,'' he says.

"I hit upon a novel plan to tackle the situation. I called all the
prominent Hindu and Muslim leaders and citizens before the festival,
explained the seriousness of the situation and asked them to co-

To give them a sense of participation, he announced prizes for
the `most disciplined mandal' The prize-money was contributed
voluntarily by the public. "The idea was a big hit but, more
importantly, both the events went off peacefully,'' says Mr Rathod

"After the Jalna experience, I have successfully followed the same
practice wherever I have been posted,'' says Mr Rathod.

He has been posted at some of the most sensitive areas in Maharashtra
like Nashik, Ahmednagar, Thane, Kalyan, Bhiwandi and Mumbai zone VII
(Bandra to Jogeshwari). Currently he is in the central region of
Mumbai,where areas like Agripada, Bhoiwada, Dharavi and Antop Hill
are under his jurisdiction.

"In my opinion, the Gujarat riots could have been averted using this
technique,'' he says.

"During my posting in Bhiwandi, a cow was slaughtered. The incident
could have sparked a communal riot in the area, but I had a meeting
with a cross-section of people in the area and we managed to avert
the crisis,'' says the officer.

The most defining moment in Mr Rathod's career came when the National
Police Academy, Hyderabad, asked him to present his scheme of
communal harmony before the Indian Police Service probationers.

The academy was so impressed that it included the scheme in its
training syllabus. "My idea is being taught to the budding IPS
officers of the country,'' says the officer, proudly displaying a
letter of appreciation from the academy.

Mr Rathod is also pursuing a doctorate from Pune university. The
topic of his thesis is `Police involvement with public in prevention
of communal riots and development of communal harmony and national

"My thesis is on a practical experience which has been successful
across the state. People from different communities have experienced
and witnessed it,'' says the proud Mr Rathod.

"I also plan to write a book which will help future police officers
to tackle communal tensions,'' he reveals.

Being proactive is the mantra of Mr Rathod's scheme. "The police has
to shun its image of being reactive,'' says Mr Rathod.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Muslim leaders want ST buses to ply from Juhapura

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:45:49 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: The Muslim leaders of Juhapura have conveyed to Gujarat
Lok Samiti president Chunibhai Vaidya that the state transport
corporation should start plying ST buses through Juhapura, as buses
were diverted from other routes following the last few month's
communal violence.

In a joint statement issued here, the leaders Mirza Haji Asrar Baig,
Dr Shakil Ahmed, R K Saiyed, Ismail Jambuwala, Ibrahim Shaikh and V J
Moria said that the government should direct the GSRTC and Ahmedabad
Municipal Transport Service to resume their operations via Juhapura.

They have assured that nothing untoward would happen as feared by the
authorities, if the buses plied from Juhapura.

"In the past also, the buses were never attacked and now, too, there
is no reason for any attack on buses". It is really unfortunate that
some elements have created misunderstanding about the people living
in Juhapura. We believe in communal harmony and brotherhood."

They have communicated their message to Chunibhai Vaidya and Jayant
Pandya at a meeting. "We have authorised Vaidya to issue a statement
to this effect as it is now time to shun hatred and work together for
development of the state".

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Gujarat has maximum number of vanishing companies
PTI [ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:59:33 AM ]
NEW DELHI: One of the most industrialised states of the country,
Gujarat, tops the list of states with companies that vanished after
collecting money from the public.

Securities and Exchange Board of India has identified 229 fly-by-
night companies. Of them 30 per cent, or 65 companies, were
incorporated in Gujarat, according to the Department of Company

After collecting funds through public issues, the 229 listed
companies, most of them either finance related or manufacturing
companies, are not available now at their registered offices.

Delhi takes the second place in the list with 32 companies, including
15 finance related ones, doing the vanishing act. Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu had 22 and 21 such companies, respectively, mostly
manufacturing ones.

The highly industrialised states of Maharashtra and West Bengal had
only 19 and 18 vanishing companies. Significantly, Maharashtra
registered the highest number of companies at 361 in March 2002.

Karnataka had eight vanishing companies, Madhya Pradesh nine, Punjab
and Bihar seven each, Uttar Pradesh 10, Orissa four and Kerala and
Meghalaya one each. Out of the 229 fly-by-night companies,
prosecution has been launched against 135.

According to sources, prosecution has been ordered by DCA in case of
102 companies, while in case of 33 companies, police complaints had
also been filed. Out of the 229 dubious companies, only 64 companies
were regular in filing documents, 26 were under liquidation, default
notices were issued to two and two were seized by the state

Twenty one companies were not traceable even after due inquiries.
According to March 2002 data, Delhi registered 319 companies, Tamil
Nadu 193, Andhra Pradesh 135, West Bengal 117, Karnataka 115 and
Gujarat 62. These seven states together accounted for 79 per cent of
the total number of companies registered during the month.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Godhra riots leave police, administration perplexed

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:49:07 AM ]

 VADODARA: The sudden outbreak of violence in Godhra after a calm of
three months, following the Sabarmati Express incident there, has
left the Panchmahal police perplexed.

The district police are now busy identifying the exact reason for
Friday's rioting in the town. Godhra, sources said, had remained
peaceful despite a history of communal riots there. The sudden
outbreak on Friday despite no indications for the same, came as a
major surprise to the administration as well as the police.

Following the incident, officials are now working on various theories
that try to explain the incident. Sources said that Friday's incident
might have been the handy work of mischievous elements who had been
trying to disrupt peace since quite some time now.

"It is reported that there were some crude bomb explosions in the
town for about three days before Friday. These had no impact. The
explosion of Friday was, however, very loud and led to panic in the
Jahurpura area," an official said.

It is believed that as a consequence, people belonging to different
communities gathered on the streets. "People might have believed that
a person from the other community was involved in the explosion. The
ensuing panic may have caused the rioting," a senior official said.

Another theory that has been floated is that trouble-mongers were
already waiting for an opportunity to disrupt peace in the town. "The
withdrawal of army may have made them confident to rake up communal
disturbance in the town," a district administration official said on
conditions of anonymity.

Another fact that has alarmed the officials is that the rioting took
place soon after the chargesheet regarding the Godhra carnage was
filed by the police. "It is evident that there was discontent over
the issue of the names of the accused mentioned in the chargesheet,"
a senior police official said.

This discontent, officials feel, may have been vented through the
crude bomb explosions in the town. "The opposition to investigations
and police action may have been channelised to create communal
disturbance," an official said.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

3 from Mehsana caught by Rajasthan cops

[ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 12:57:04 AM ]

AHMEDABAD: Three persons belonging to the Mehsana district were
caught by the Rajasthan state police and detained in Jaisalmer for
having allegedly crossed over to the state to purchase illegal

The Rajasthan police on Saturday, intercepted their Toyota Qualis (GJ
2A 750) at Jaisalmer and arrested Mohammad Faroukh Gulamnabi Bohra,
Rafiq Abdulrehman Bohra and Nyazmohammad Usmanbhai Nagori.

On questioning, it was found that the three had set out to buy
weapons, which could be a potential consignment for creating communal
tension. The Mehsana district police was alerted about the trespass.
The Rajasthan police also seized from Nagori Rs 46,000 and a mobile

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Communal harmony meeting postponed
PTI [ MONDAY, MAY 27, 2002 9:31:44 PM ]

AHMEDABAD: The much awaited communal harmony meeting scheduled for
Monday was put off without assigning any official reason even as
minority community leaders said they did not want to talk to Sangh
Parivar outfits.

The meeting was scheduled to be held at the behest of the National
Commission for Minorities (NCM).

Minority leaders said they did not favour any dialogue with "RSS and
VHP leaders for their questionable role during the unprecedented
communal violence in the state."

In fact, a few minority leaders reportedly informed the NCM in New
Delhi on Saturday about their decision to boycott any meeting with
Sangh Parivar leaders.

Meanwhile, senior VHP leader Giriraj Kishore told reporters here that
majority community still favoured talks.

"The minority community's stand for not talking to us is nothing
new ..... it is a very old stand," he said.

He, however, said VHP was not against the idea of dialogues to
continue with the hard-earned peace process.

"But, talking to them does not mean, we will opt for appeasement.
There has to be free and frank talks," he said adding, "Minority
community should learn to respect the majority."

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Godhra peaceful, curfew still on
PTI [ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 3:16:05 PM ]

AHMEDABAD: Situation in Godhra town, where indefinite curfew was
clamped following group clashes and arson on Friday, was peaceful on
Tuesday, police said.

There were no reports of any untoward incident from any part of the
town in Panchmahal district, they said.

The violence in Godhra town on Friday had resulted in death of two
persons in police firing.

However, tension prevailed in Danilimda area of Ahmedabad last night
after some miscreants burst crackers, creating panic among the
residents, police said.

Precautionary night curfew continued in 10 police station areas of
the city where normalcy prevailed, they added.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved

Minorities' front asks govt to prioritise rehabilitation
TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:15:47 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: A delegation of the United Minorities Front has urged the
Gujarat government to give utmost priority to the rehabilitation of
displaced riot victims.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, president of the front
Mehmood H Rehamani said that the 45-member delegation has demanded
that the government should register individual FIRs for each riot
victim for protecting their compensation rights for relief and

The delegation, led by Sant Baba Pritipal Singh Maharaj, chairman of
Sant Shiromani Khalsa International Foundation, Chandigarh, had
arrived on a "peace and communal harmony mission" in the city on May

They also visited several other affected areas of the state to take
stock of the situation.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved

Underworld hand in Godhra?

[ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:18:07 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: Three months after the Godhra carnage, which claimed 59
lives, investigations are expected to take the state Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) to Mumbai where some of the main
accused, all belonging to Godhra, are said to have taken sanctuary.

This leads the investigators to believe that many of the accused may
have links with the underworld, especially after it was found that
one of the accused in the Chhota Rajan shoot-out case in Bangkok a
year back, belonged to Godhra!

Although the chargesheet against the 57 accused books them under
sections 143, 147, 148 (rioting), 436 (arson), 302 (murder), 307
(attempt to murder) and 120B (conspiracy) and destruction of
government property, the investigators are yet to find substantial
evidence on the conspiracy theory. Officials argue, "there won't be
anything in writing to indicate that it was a conspiracy unless
someone confesses".

At this point, the police is on the look out for 44 of the
absconders, which also includes Razzak Kurkur, who was booked for
murder in 1982 and is a resident of the infamous Signal Falia,
housing Ghanchi Muslims. "Kurkur is the self-styled leader of the
unlicensed tea vendors on the railway station and ran several illegal
activities there," says a senior CID (crime) officer - which explains
how a majority of the accused were 'unlicensed' tea vendors.

The list of the 57 accused chargesheeted in the burning of the
Sabarmati Express on February 27 also includes three adolescents, who
have been put in remand homes. Senior officials say that the presence
of Firoz Sikandarkhan Pathan (16), Hasan Waheedkhan Pathan (16) and
Haroon Tayyab Iqbal (17) itself is incriminating.

Even as new leads emerge, the case gets a new investigator from
Monday onwards in deputy superintendent of police Noel Parmar, who
takes charge from DySP KC Bawa at Vadodara. Sources attribute
the 'displacement' of Bawa from the investigations to "political

Although CID (Crime) officials say that Bawa was going about the
investigations in a professional manner, there were some political
leaders who had reportedly alleged that "Bawa was biased towards the
minorities" and pressurised for his removal from the investigations,
when it had reached a very crucial stage.

Additional director general of police (crime) A K Bhargav told TNN
that "Bawa had several other responsibilities which would have to be
attended to". While the police admit that there may have been calls
made to Pakistan after the incident on February 27, they do not
discount the fact that this may have been to their relatives
in 'Godhra Falia' in Karachi.

"Many residents of Godhra took refuge in Karachi after the partition
leading to this settlement," says a senior police officer.
Interestingly, Anwar Rashid, a Patna-based Simi activist, who was
arrested from Bhadohi in UP, confessed to having called up another
Simi activist Hasib Raza, but found his sister instead. He
congratulated her on February 27 after the Godhra incident, but the
police found no clinching evidence pointing at the duo's involvement
in the incident.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

3 VHP, BJP men held for Naroda massacre
PTI [ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 9:06:41 PM ]

AHMEDABAD: The police on Tuesday arrested three persons, having
alleged links with VHP, Bajrang Dal and BJP, in connection with the
killing of at least 86 people by a rioting mob here on February 28, a
day after the Godhra carnage.

Babubhai Rajabhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi, Parminder Singh Rajput
and Kishan Khubhchand Kooranai were arrested early this morning from
Naroda and Saijapur localities and were produced before a court which
remanded them to 10 days police custody, Joint Commissioner of Police
(Crime Branch) P P Pandey told reporters here.

He said it was a matter of investigation whether they were activists
of Bajrang Dal, VHP or BJP or not. "So far we have no evidence to
suggests this," he added.

"We have arrested them because their names were in the FIR in the
case relating to the killing of 86 people by a mob on February 28 at
Naroda Patia locality of Ahmedabad," Pandey said.

The crime branch has launched +operation crackdown+ to nab the
accused in the three most heinous incidents of violence during the
recent communal violence in the city under its investigation. PTI ANK
VA ASM 05282030 B (reopen BOM34)

The trio was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate court where the
crime branch pleaded for their remand saying it was very important as
they were prime accused in the case.

The request for remand was also made on the ground that Naroda Patia
witnessed widespread looting, arson and other unlawful activities and
that more accused involved in these crimes were still to be arrested.

Meanwhile, Raju Chaubal, the fifth accused named in the Naroda Patia
case was absconding, they added.

Pandey said ever since operation crackdown was launched, the city
crime branch, which has been handed over investigation into the cases
of violence at Naroda Patia, Naroda Gaam and Gulbarg Society (where
39 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri, were killed)
have arrested 20 accused named in the FIRs.

The crime branch have already arrested five of the four named in the
Naroda Patia FIR.

Harish Rorera was arrested recently but his real identity as the
accused in Naroda Patia case has come to knowledge only now, crime
branch sources said. Harish when arrested was using an alias.

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Sulking Zadaphia praises Gill

[ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:29:01 AM ]
VADODARA: Minister of State for Home Affairs Gordhan Zadaphia, who
was reported to be sulking after being sidelined in the state
Cabinet, was all praise for chief minister's security adviser K P S

Zadaphia was in the city to inaugurate a model police station at
Wadi. Commenting on the appointment of Gill, Zadaphia said that Gill
was doing "a good job". When asked whether the appointment implied
that the state police had failed to contain the riots, Zadaphia
said, "We are open to any help from anywhere to tackle the situation."

Zadaphia said that communal violence in the state has been totally
brought under control. "Barring an isolated incident recently, there
have been no communal riots in the state for quite some time now," he

He added that at this stage it was not proper to discuss
violence. "Instead, we must talk about non-violence," he said.
Speaking on the preparedness of the state in case of a war, Zadaphia
said that the state was fully-prepared for the same. "Vigilance has
been stepped up. Sufficient arrangements have been made to take care
of any situation," he said.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved

Godhra can still spark off trouble

[ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:21:25 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: Three months after the riots began and a fortnight after
riots have almost completely subsided in Gujarat, if there is one
place in the state which still needs to be closely monitored, it is
Godhra - the genesis of all the violence which has claimed nearly 950
lives so far.

Last Friday's incidents in which two persons were killed in police
firing on mobs which also left seven injured, the state police is
convinced that this communally explosive town has all the potential
to spark off trouble once again.

Police officials say the only reason why Godhra has not erupted after
the February 27 train massacre is the blanket security thrown over
the city which got momentarily relaxed only when the Army left the
town last week.

The reason why Godhra is still the most vulnerable to outbreak of
communal violence is simple. There is still a lot of anger and
animosity bottled up in the town where not a single reprisal killing
has taken place after the Sabarmati Express fire.

And this is something that is reportedly exercising the minds of
those who justify the killings in rest of the state on the ground
that this was a "natural Hindu uprising" . With Singal Falia, where
the train was attacked, having been flattened by the government's
bulldozers, sources in the VHP camp say they have information about
where some of these 2000 mobsters who attacked the train had taken
shelter, some even in relief camps being supported by the government.

Police officials don't rule out a witch-hunt in the coming weeks to
track down Ghanchi Muslims of Godhra who were part of the mob on
February 27. "We are aware that some elements are just seeking an
opportune time to strike in Godhra because without that the revenge
is incomplete, almost unsatisfying", said a senior police official.

Of course, nearly 65 of the Godhra's suspects are behind bars now and
the interim charge-sheet has been filed last week. Jayanti Ravi, the
collector of Panchmahals, was asked if there was any estimate on how
many persons, who comprised the mob on February 27 , have been killed
in subsequent riots.

She replied "I am afraid any estimate would be a conjecture, but if
one presumes that that the mob consisted of residents of Singal Falia
and neighbouring areas, then it is safe to presume that none of them
have been killed in counter-attacks because there has been no such
incident in Godhra".

The 97-year-old Gujarat VHP president Prof K K Shastri, when asked
why the reprisal killings didn't take place in Godhra, said "yeh to
Bhagwan ki leela hai, woh khel karte hain" (this is all done by the
Almighty, he plays these games).

Senior Bajrang Dal functionary of Gujarat, Haresh Bhatt, told
TNN "curfew was imposed in Godhra on February 27 itself and that
place has been heavily fortified by the police and the Army, it
wasn't possible for anyone to attack the Singal Falia residents
because they have either been arrested or they have run away".

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved

Modi agrees to provide alternate sites to riot victims

[ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:15:08 AM ]
GANDHINAGAR: For the first time on Monday, Gujarat's rulers appeared
willing to allocate a separate piece of government land to
rehabilitate some of the worst riot-affected survivors, including
those of Naroda-Patia, Gulmarg Society, Sardarpura, Best Bakery,
Pandarvad and other areas.

Stepping out of an all-party meeting called by Governor S S Bhandari,
Congress leader Amarsinh Chaudhary said, "Chief Minister Narendra
Modi has agreed to look into it."

So far, Modi had said 'no' to the demand being made by relief camps
managers. At an meeting early this month he said that 'no such thing
would be allowed'. Modi's positive stance came even as the Congress
outrightly rejected a suggestion made by him and senior minister
Ashok Bhatt at the meet that the Bangladeshi riot victims not be
given any compensation.

Chaudhary said, "You cannot deprive anyone of compensation by dubbing
a section Bangladeshi. You should have definite proof on this."
Talking to TNN, he added, "I asked the chief minister to tell me
whether the government had any proof of those whom they call
Bangladeshis. He had no reply."

Meanwhile, Congress leaders demanded proper arrangements for those
staying in relief camps in view of the approaching monsoon season.
Congress legislature party leader Naresh Raval said the chief
minister and the Governor had agreed to preside over functions in
different parts of Gujarat to welcome the riot victims willing to
return home.

This was the first all-party meeting, held under the Governor's
chairmanship, devoid of political mud-slinging. Chaudhary was quoted
as saying that he was 'satisfied' with the rehabilitation work
undertaken by the government.

Former chief minister Keshubhai Patel wanted Modi to look into the
plight of women victims, especially widows. Officials said so far 600
death compensations had been doled out. A cheque of Rs 50,000 had
been given to each. To another query Modi said the government would
not give any money for reconstruction of religious places destroyed
in the riots. "I will hold a meeting with the NGOs to collect funds
for that", he said.

The meeting was told that state's suggestions for the prime
minister's Rs 150-crore rehabilitation package had been accepted
after some changes. The state had wanted Rs 182-crore but the Cabinet
secretary said that it would be a Rs 163-crore package, a senior
official said. Of this, the state has already received Rs 70 crore
from the Centre, while the rest of the amount would follow.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Police awarded for effective riot control

[ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:10:17 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: The commissioner of police KR Kaushik on Monday awarded
three police inspectors of the city for effective riot control during
the past couple of months and for re-establishing peace between
members of both communities.

A sum of Rs 3,000 will be given to the senior police inspector of
Gaekwad Haveli AM Jadeja, senior police inspector of Dariapur Raju
Rathod and senior police inspector of Karanj BD Tandel.

Fifty cadets of the Gujarat Police Academy of Karai too will be
awarded for effective policing during riots. These under-training
police inspectors were posted in sensitive police station areas of
the city when rioters ran amok - killing, maiming, looting and
burning houses at will. The cadets will get Rs 500 as a reward.

Six CRPF jawans too would be given Rs 500 for prompt action at
Rakhial. On May 25, peace at Rakhial was threatened when some
miscreants lobbed a crude bomb, making passers-by run for cover.

These CRPF jawans - Ranjit Devnath, Omkar, Sanjay Kumar Mishra,
Balvir Singh, Sanjay Kumar Borwa and Binu Singh - had reached the
spot quickly and nabbed 19-year-old Mehul Pancholi from there.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Unrest brewing in babudom
TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:13:42 AM ]

GANDHINAGAR: A marked indifference towards the state's political
leadership has gripped the powerful IAS lobby of Gujarat.

Ever since the meeting of the IAS Association, slated to discuss
current issues, was scuttled here last month, an increasing number of
senior officers have either gone on long leave or want to get posted
out of the state for as long as they can.

Attempts by Chief Minister Narendra Modi to involve these officers in
riot relief have been none too successful. In the first week of
April, a cell was formed with six officers, under the chairmanship of
K C Kapoor, to collect information on the violence, study the pattern
of riots and suggest remedial measures. The members of the cell never
met, and Kapoor himself went on a long leave.

"We were not clear about what was to be done. There was no clear
brief. Besides, we thought this was a police job," said a member. The
cell comprised P Jagatheesa Pandyan, R M Joshi, Raj Gopal, Arun
Solanki and Raj Kumar.

The situation has reached such a pass that the chief minister has had
to rely on hitherto sidelined officers as D K Rao to handle riot
relief. Acquitted from the charges of involvement in the infamous
tandoor murder in New Delhi, Rao is heading the defunct Gujarat
Exports Corporation and was given two of the most difficult relief
camps - Shah-e-Alam and Juhapura - to study.

Refusing to get involved, some of the top officers just went on long
leave at a time when they would have been most needed. These include
revenue secretary C K Koshy, rural development secretary P K Laheri,
finance secretary Sudhir Mankad, Gujarat Infrastructure Development
Board CEO Sunil Sud and education secretary Varesh Sinha. Not that
going on leave during summer is unusual. But remarked an
official, "This is intriguing when the state is still to come out of
the riots' aftermath." Industries secretary L Mansingh is also
preparing to go to Delhi on deputation.

In fact, the number of officers willing to go on deputation outside
the state has gone up. If some like Sanjeev Mishra, C T Mishra, Atanu
Chakravarti, S Jagadeesan and Gauri Kumar left the state some time
back, over the last one month alone their younger colleagues S
Aparna, Sangeeta Singh, Mukesh Puri and Raj Gopal too have followed

And within a week, industries commissioner Hasmukh Adhia would be
going to the IIM, Bangalore, for training in public policy.

Sources said Modi was aware of the unrest brewing in the bureaucracy
and has started inviting senior officers for one-on-one meetings.
Insiders said Modi wants to know the mind of senior bureaucrats and
this exercise could also decide some key postings, including that in
the home department, in the near future.

If the premature retirement from the IAS ranks of young officer
Sanjay Gupta, followed by his senior colleague Vijay Ranchan,
suggested a degree of resentment against the political establishment,
the silent majority in the bureaucracy seems convinced that remaining
indifferent or cooling one's heels away from Gujarat for a while is a
better option.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Post riots, pols are now fortresses
The violence may have ended, but the feeling of insecurity is still
haunting Amdavadis. Hindus and Muslims sharing localities have
started constructing huge walls and iron gates for protection. And
the fortification phenomenon is not limited to the `frontlines' alone.

Residents of Kagdiwad moholla, a Muslim dominated area off Ashram
road are building a 10 feet high iron gate at its entrance. "We have
collected money and the gate will cost us something around Rs
30,000," says Farooq Shaikh, who owns a shop on the Ashram Road. "Ab
kispe bharosa rakhen yeh samaj me nahin aata (we don't know whom to
trust). We have realised one thing: we'll have to do something on our
own," says Riyaz Khan, a resident.

According to him, though the area has been untouched by the communal
frenzy this time around, there were instances when tension was
created following cremation of a Hindu at a crematorium situated bang
opposite the moholla.

And it's not only Farooq Shaikh and party who are a worried lot.
Kothawala flats complex, a Hindu dominated residential scheme
situated nearby is also being bastioned with an iron gate.

Such a phenomenon is more rampant in the Walled City. So be it
Haranwale ki pol near Khadia char rasta, Bakarali ki pol near Kalupur
tower, Dhupelwali pol in Dariapur or some societies on the Vejalpur-
Juhapura border, residents feel fortification is the need of the hour.

"The wooden gates were always there, but now people from both the
communities do not want to take any chances. Hence, they are
replacing the wooden gates by the stronger iron ones," says Vinod
Patel, councillor of the communally sens itive Shahpur area, where 15
pols and mohollas have newgates. "The latest addition to the tally
has been the Mehsania vaas in Shahpur," he says.

Echoes Hasan Lala, councillor of Dariapur, another sensitive area
which save for some instances, has by and large remained peaceful
this time around. "Moti Ali pol adjacent to the Kadva pol in Dariapur
was attacked by a huge mob last month. The pol already has an iron
gate. Gas-cutters were used to break the gate. But for the timely
intervention of the army, the mob would have been entered. People do
not want to leave it to anyone," he says.

While, the residents may have their own reasons for strengthening the
fortification and protecting their localities, it has raised newer
problems for the police as carrying out combing operations will be an
uphill task. Admits a top-level police official, "The high gates may
protect the residents but the police may have to face some problems
as far as combing operations are concerned."

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Cell set up to monitor relief disbursal

[ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 12:12:25 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: The district collectorate of Ahmedabad has introduced an
innovative 'Quality Monitoring System' for proper disbursement of
government relief among the riot-affected.

A special cell for the implementation of this system has been set up
with four officials of the rank of deputy collector. An official of
additional collector's rank will be supervising the cell's activities.

The bureaucrats under this new system will verify riot cases
individually and sort out complications in establishing genuineness
of the claims. Problems in survey, assessment of damages, too, would
be ironed out.

District collector K Srinivas told TNN: "A grievance redressal
system, too, is functional. Over 151 riot-compensation cases have
been revised by the cell. Recognising the dynamic nature of the
damages and the situation which prevailed during the past two months
in the city, this quality monitoring system will help us provide just
relief and compensation to the riot-affected. I hope to complete this
formality before the monsoon sets in."

Speaking on the disparity between compensation paid and aspirations
of those who lost all to the recent riots, Srinivas added, "Damage to
the house structure is being assessed by deputy engineers of the
Public Works Department.

This is the basis for drawing up house compensation. But, since riots
took place in several rounds and the damages were different at
various points of time, the nature of damage may have changed since
the inspection of the site. Accordingly, reassessment is also being

Officials of the collectorate also clarified about the apparent
disparity between aspirations of the riot-affected and the actual sum
allocated to them. "Household goods destroyed during riots cannot be
compensated. Instead, we have been paying a household allowance of Rs
1,250 which has now been upgraded to Rs 2,500. Only the structural
damage to a house during riots is being compensated."

The district collectorate, in order to speed up the compensation
process, will also form more such teams to take care of any disparity
in compensation.

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

Gujarat is futile: Goa CM to Cong
PTI [ TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002 2:26:27 PM ]
PANAJI: Raking up the issue of the communal violence in Gujarat would
not ensure voting by minorities in favour of the Congress, Goa Chief
Minister Manohar Parrikar claimed here on Tuesday.

The Assembly elections for the state are scheduled to be held on May

"Parties like United Goans Democratic Party and NCP will make a dent
into minority votes and also a section of minority community will
vote for the BJP for its clean image," Parrikar said.

In the tiny state, the electorate shared a personal rapport with the
candidates and people knew that there could not be communal tension
in Goa, which had its individual identity, he opined.

"The Congress cannot rely on minority votes," the chief minister

Copyright © 2002 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.


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