PUCL Bulletin, July 2001

Communal carnage in Kanpur
-- By R.M. Pal



I


Kanpur is a Symptom
Communal violence in Kanpur, 16-19 March 2001, left a trail of dead bodies and destroyed buildings and businesses. According to government versions, 132 Muslims, 2 Hindus, (one of them an additional district magistrate) were killed, and many (most of them Muslims) injured. Unofficial accounts have given a figure between 18 and 25 people killed. 273 people (most of them Muslims) were arrested and lodged in Jail.

What happened in Kanpur may be briefly narrated. A copy of the Holy Qur'an was burnt on 5 March 2001 in Delhi. Muslims as also rational and secular non-Muslims felt greatly hurt. This led to some Muslims of Kanpur issue
provocative posters. The administration took no notice of the posters. A demonstration was held on 16 March -- not a big crowd -- to protest the burning of the Holy Quran. When the protesters tried to burn an effigy of Prime Minister Vajpayee, the police lathicharged and this led to the trouble.

According to an investigative report by women activists led by Dr. Sayeeda Hamid, former member of the National Commission for Women (the team included representatives of Muslim Women's Forum, All India Democratic Association, National Federation of Indian Women, Indian Social Institute Women's Unit, Peace and Justice Commission, and All India Democratic Women's Association UP), "Contrary to the official propaganda, which seeks to paint the whole minority community as aggressors, in fact it is the minority which has been the victim of communal violence of loot and arson perpetuated by sections of the police and the PAC [Provincial Armed Constabulary]."
We give below a few excerpts from the team's main findings: " The first offensive was taken by a section of the crowd (in a protest procession on 16 March) who had joined the initial protest after the afternoon Namaz. It took over two hours for the police to arrive, (although) the entire administration was present in the Kotwali. In the last few years Muslim fundamentalists groups have organised sections of young men of the community on the same lines as the Bajrang Dal. Following the killing of the ADM, Shri Pathak, the PAC and a section of the (Hindu Crowd) went on a rampage in minority dominated areas, targeting the whole community instead of isolating and taking action against those involved. During the curfew period the PAC looted and burnt shops. In one incident, confirmed by the Commissioner, looted articles were actually later removed under his supervision from a PAC van. In several incidents groups of Bajrang Dal accompanied by the police attacked minority shops and burnt several Masjids. A whole cache of bombs and ammunition was found in the house of a BJP corporator. The people of Kanpur should be congratulated for not falling prey to the efforts of fundamentalists of both communities (Hindus and Muslims) to invite communal riots. We found examples of common people from both communities who gave shelter to their neighbours. There was no rioting in which common people of the two communities clashed".

The ground for communalism has been made fertile by the educated section of our population, not by the common men and women. If only the latter were left to themselves, to manage their own affairs without any interference from the "educated" people the evils of communalism would be eradicated.

The "educated" people in our country, by and large, have been fed on evils like intolerance; fanaticism; irrational ideas like, for exampled that Hindus and Muslims can not unite, Hindu Muslims enmity was the creation f the British, "Hinduism is the highest creation of God almighty," "The Mussalman is impure", "the Hindu is Kafir", the demand for Hindu Rashtra the values of which are to be exclusively Hindu culture and values, Indianisation of Islam and the Christian Church, and so on.

Changing names, efforts to bring about amity between the majority community and the minorities through pious sentiments like Hindu- Muslim bhai-bhai which have been reduced to mere shibboleths, and so on, will not do. The minimum that we must do is to introduce such courses of studies in schools as will help our children cultivate values of humanism. So that when they grow, Hindus and Muslims will shed their prejudices.


II


A Victim's Account
M Sartaj Siddiqui, Director, Zephyr Refrigeration & Electronic Institute

The recent catastrophe in Kanpur is the symptom of the virus that has been eating into the vitals of the Indian society. It appears that the principle cause that turned the sad evils that took place in Kanpur are the involvement of right wing communal forces, the failure of district administration, and the inflammatory reports un a section of the media. The events that followed showed as if the administration wanted to settle scores with the minority Muslim Community. This writer has surveyed the victims from door to door and was shocked to see the hay walk played upon the Muslim areas.

The writer is the hony director of a Refrigeration and Electronic Institute, which also provides placement services. The institute has been running for 15 years. On 16th March when panic spread and curfew was imposed, the writer's younger brother (an instructor in the institute) along with 20-22 students was asked to lock the premises and go home. When the day curfew was lifted on March 22nd we rushed to the institute to find that nothing was left intact including 5 air conditioners, 10 refrigerators, 25 compressors, a number of open freezer boxes, tolls and instruments, and furniture. There were heaps of scrap and ashes.

I was informed by neighbours that all the damage and looting was done in the presence of security forces. What the looters could not take away was set ablaze.

I was also informed that the shops and houses of the minority community were marked on the evening of 17th March. Next day, 18th March (Sunday) a large numbers of people descended on the locality between 9.30 and 10 in the morning along with the security forces. The crowds were armed and came from the side of Sisamau, Bara Chauraha, Ram Bagh, Prem Nagar, Gandhi Nagar. All the acts of looting and arson took place in the presence of the security forces. Some members of the crowd had saffron bands around their forehead.
We lodged an FIR at the Chaman Ganj Police Station (No. 35-H/ 2001 U/S 392/ 436/ 427 IPC against the rioters and the security force personnel).

The premises next to our institute belonging to the other communities were not touched. The other premises that were damaged belonged to M. Nasim, Azad Izzat Ali, Junaid Anjum, M Rasheed, Sadiq Fatmic, Akbar Ali, Rasheed, Zaheer, and widow of Salamat Ullah, the Mosque of Takiya Akbar Shah situated at Takiya park and its adjacent shops and houses were looted and burned. A number of Chappals factories, mutton shops, and students' residents were also looted and burned. It appeared that some highly flammable chemical was used to damage and burn the buildings.

Following is the list of persons killed from March 16 to March 19.
Farman Ahmad Khan (12); Mohd. Wasim Beg (16); Raja Kureshi (17); Naseer Alam (13); Intekhab Alam (18); Mohammad Annan (22); Arman Ahmad Alias Tara (22); Sarfaraz Ahmad (30); Mohammad Zafar (35); Dilsahd Ahmad (35); Mohd. Haroon (34); Mohammad Ibrahim (40); Name not known (45, identity cab be obtained from Lawaris Mayyiat Committee Kanpur); Sudhir Singh; Arun Kumar Sonker; Mr. CP Pathak PCS.

List of damaged businesses of Muslim community in Prem Nagar near Takia Park

PS Chaman Ganj: Zephyr Ref. & Air Cond. Inst.; Mr. Nasim (India Floor Glass House); Mr. Rasid SB; Mr. Izzat Ali; Mosque. Takia Akbar Shah; Mr. Anwar Sadiq Fatmi & Building; w/o Late Salamat Ullah; Mr. Junaid Anjum; Mohd. Zahir Ekta Trading Co.; Talent Advt. Co. & Job Work; Mr. Mohd. Ali (Chappal Manf.); Guddu (Chappal Manf.); Mr. Mohd. Irfan; Mr. Rashid Siddqui, Diamond Medical Store. PS Beconganj: Mohd. Sami, S/o Late Abdul Aziz, Parchoon Shop; Mr. Shab bir Ahmad, S/o Late Aziz Ahmad, General Store & Confectionary; Mr. Sultan Wasi, Mr. Noor Mohd. Warsi, Mrs. Sultan Warsi injured by P.A.C. & Police firing from PS Beconganj Due to Fire Home Articles has been damaged; Mohd. Alim, S/o Late Ali Husain, Tea-Stall; Mr. Muzzaffar Ali, S/o Late Mubarak Ali, The kitchen & Bedroom received heavy firing and a lot of Bulet-Shell were found in the house. Two rooms recd. Damage by Police & P.A.C. personals; Mohd. Idris, Mr. Wali Mohd., Tailoring Shop, looted the customers cloth, Machines & cash by polish & A.A.C. personals. The residence was also looted of jewellery & dowry of two girls and dragged on the road by P.A.C. & police personals; Mr. Ateeq Ahmad, Mr. Saeed Ahmad, Kamal Cloth House, Whole seller & Retailer, Warsi Market; Mr. Rais Ahmad, Mr. Ali Haider, Dulhan Cloth Emporium, Warsi Market; Mrs. Husn Ara Buteaque, Embroidary Work, Ladies Suit Warsi Marker; Mohd. Arif, Shadab Embrodary, Warsi Market; Mr. Manzoor Elahi, S/o Mr. Gulzar Elachi, Lace/Button/Thread whole sellers, Warsi Market; Mr. Farhan Elachi, Eht sham Elachi, Lace/Button/Thread whole sellers, Warsi Market; Mohd. Haroon, Mohd. Ayub, whole sellers of Cloth, Warsi Market; Mr. Naresh Raja, Naresh Provision Stores, Warsi Market; Mr. Nihal Ahmed, S/o Mr. Niaz Ahmad, Kanpur Cloth House, Adjacent to Warsi Market; "Pintoo", Pintoo Medical Store, looted Medicines recovered from P.A.C. Truck No. UP - 78 E-1942; Mr. Sushil, S/o Sri Narain Gupta, Sushil Gen. Store, looted by P.A.C. & police.

PS Kotwali: Rani Chappal Shop No. 3, Mr. Anwar Khan, Chappal Retailers; Janta Shoes Shop No. 4, Mr. Anwar Khan, Shoes Retailer; Bharti Chappal Shop No. 12, Mr. Wasiq Ahmad, Chappal Retailers; Vidhyarthi Chappal Shop No. 11, Mr. Saliq Ahmad, Chappal Retailers; Raja Chappal Store Shop No. 16, Syed Barkat Sb., Chappal Retailers; Mr. Iqbal Ahmad Siddiqui, S/o Late Faiyaz Ahmad Siddiqui, Chappal Mfrs. & Retailers & Office of N.S.D.; Warsi Masque, Damages done to Mosque, burning of Holy Quran.

PS Kotwali, Churi Market: Mr. Mohammed Salim, S/o Ali Husain, Churi Shop; Mr. SM Azad, S/o late Mohd. Martin, Chappal Shop; Mr. Abdul Razak, S/o Abdul Shakor, Chappal Shop; Mr. Haseeb (Licence), S/o Kunwar Singh, PCO; Mohd. Ilyas, S/o Babu Bhai, Chappal Shop; Mr. Mohd. Bari, S/o Mr. Shubrati, Readymade; Mrs. Amina Begum, Readymade; Mr. Ashok Yadav, S/o Mr. Janak Singh, Purse/Artificial Jewellery; Mr. Ali Ahmad, S/o Allah Bahadur, Purse; Farooq Saheb, C/o Late Obaid Khusroo, Crockery Shop; Mohd. Rais, S/o Late Abdul Jabbar, Artificial; Mohd. Shahid, S/o Late Abdul Jabbar, Purse; Mr. Gulam Rasool (Licence), C/o Mrs. Sita Devi, Sari; Mr. Pappu (Licence), C/o Beni Ram, Chappal; Mohd. Zafar, S/o Mohd. Matin Chaudhary, Gift House; Mr. Hakim, S/o Mr. Wazir Ahmad, Churi Shop; Mohd. Wazir, S/o Mr. Qadir, Churi Shop; Dina Nath Mishra, S/o Late Ramchandra Mishra, Hosiery; Mr. Shyam Kumar, S/o Mr. Girja Shankar, TV Cover; Mr. Yadunandan, S/o Mr. Chhedi Lal, TV Cover; Mr. Manoj Misra, S/o Mr. SS Misra, Churi Shop; Mr. Manoj Kumar Jayaswal, S/o Mr. Raj Kumar Jayaswal, Artificial; Mr. Ajay Kumar, S/o Mr. Radha Krishan, Cosmetic Shop; Mr. Irshad (Licence), C/o Mr. Anil Arora, Artificial; Mr. Farhan, Chappal Shop; Mr. Pankaj, S/o Mr. Ram Sewak, Purse.

Behind Kotwali, Churi Market: Mr. Jamil Ahmad, S/o Mr. Abdul Rauf, Mala Tailors; Mr. Abdul Saeed, Mr. Ramzani, Churi Shop; Mr. Maqsood, S/o Jahan Khan, Artificial; Mrs. Raisa Begum, W/o Mr. Abdul Ahmad, Churi Shop; Mohd. Jawad, Churi Shop; Mr. Abdul Waheed, S/o Mr. Ramzani, Churi Shop; Mrs. Sitara Begum, W/o Late Mr. Shubrati, Churi Shop; Mr. Naved Ahmad, S/o Late Tauseef Ahmad, Artificial; Mr. Parmod Sharma, S/o Late Kewal Sharma, Churi Shop; Mr. Munna, S/o Mr. Shamsher Khan, Churi Shop; Mohd. Musa, S/o Mohd. Ishaq, Churi Shop; Mr. Abdul Hameed(Bau), S/o Mr. Ramzani, Churi Shop; Mr. Nizamuddin, Sheikh Idoo, Toys Shop.

PS Bajaria: Mr. Asim, S/o Late Asmat Husain, Chaya Footwere; Mr. Mukhtar Ali, S/o (Late) Akbar Ali, Bangle Tailor; Mr. Shahid Ali, S/o Mr. Munna, Bangle Retailer; Mr. Abdul Jabbar, S/o (Late) Hidayat Ulla, Tailoring Shop; Mr. Mohd. Yasin, Repairing; Mr. Mohd. Mushtaq, S/o Mr. Mohd. Ishaq, College Tailors; Mr. Mohd. Idris, S/o Mr. Sarfuddin, Peeko Work; Mr. Abdul Waheed, S/o Mr. Abdul Matin, Embroedery Work; Mr. Rais, S/o Mr. Ghulam Husain, Barber Shop; Mr. Abdul Malik, Reema Tailors

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