Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bhoiwada Police Station

Unedited excerpt From Volume II, Chapter I of Justice BN Srikrishna Report, dated February 16, 1998, Mumbai

4.1 This police station is a Hindu dominated area though there are small Muslim pockets strewn about.

4.2 Generally speaking, here the Muslims were at the receiving end in both the phases of riots.

4.3 Soon after the demolition of the Babri Masjid on 6th December 1992, there was no reaction from the Muslims from this area, either on 6th or 7th December 1992 or during the entire month of December 1992.

4.4 There are no active Muslim organisations in this area though Shiv Sena and BJP are very much active in this area.

4.5 Out of the 15 cases registered during December 1992, except in one (C.R.No.537 of 1992), the aggressors were Hindus and victims were Muslims. Out of 23 cases registered during January 1993, except in two cases (C.R. Nos. 30 and 35 of 1993), in all other cases Hindus were aggressors and Muslims were the victims. Properties damaged, looted, ransacked and subjected to arson were those belonging to Muslims. Out of the three hundred fifty four properties which were damaged, looted, ransacked or set on fire, about two hundred and six belonged to Muslims. The largest number of Hindu properties were damaged in a case (C.R.No.35 of 1993) was 16. Even in that case the miscreant mob was of Hindus and the properties indiscriminately damaged, destroyed were mostly vehicles parked on the road.

4.6 There was concentrated stone throwing at a restaurant known as ‘Jehangir Restaurant’ belonging to a Muslim (C.R.No.537 of 1992). Though the Senior Police Inspector says that the attacking mob was that of Muslims, it is difficult to believe his version that a Muslim mob attacked a Muslim’s restaurant. Further, there is reference to "an opposing mob of 50–60persons which was indulging in rioting and unlawful assembly" in the case papers. The Senior Police Inspector conceded that the description given in the FIR would suggest that there was a Hindu mob also which was indulging in rioting and unlawful activities. The Senior Police Inspector, however, was unable to suggest the root cause of the trouble or who started it. Here also, all the properties damaged, looted, ransacked belonged to Muslims.

4.7 The evidence suggests that even during December 1992 there were no acts of rioting or violence on the part of Muslims and the trouble started because of the Hindu mobs.

4.8 The influence of Shiv Sena in this area appears to be dominant. In fact, even during December 1992, there was an attack on one mosque known as Takhia Masjid led by the office bearers of local Shiv Sena Shakha who were raising slogans, "Hum Masjid tod denge, Hum Masjid jala denge". The Senior Police Inspector admitted that, except in a few cases, they were unable to discern whether the accused belonged to any political party or organisation. The only cases where the police were able to discern the connection of accused with any communal organisation were those in which the accused were connected with Shiv Sena.

4.9 The situation appeared to be peaceful during December 1992, despite the demolition of Babri Masjid. The trouble seems to have been caused after the Mahaartisstarted here from 31st December 1992. Another contributory factor to the trouble was the wide and extensive rumour that Muslims were going to attack the Hindus and hordes of Muslims would arrive by trucks to attack. Consequently, Hindus were under constant tension and spent sleepless nights posting vigil against the apprehended attacks.

4.10 The only case in December 1992, where Muslims appear to be aggressors, is registered under C.R. No. 537 of 1992 in which they resorted to violence in Adam Mistry Lane on 8th December 1992 between 1730 hours to 2000 hours. Here again, it is admitted by the Senior Police Inspector that there is no evidence to suggest that the Muslims started the trouble, though the evidence suggests that all the damage was suffered by Muslims.

4.11 The interrogation of some of the accused suggests that after the crowd dispersed from Mahaarti held on 7th January 1993 at Parel T.T., the dispersing crowd indulged in systematic stone throwing at Muslim establishments along the lane. The Hindu accused stated during interrogation that the crowd returning from Mahaartiheld on 9th January 1993 at 1930 hours in Hanuman Mandir on Dadasaheb Phalke Road had attacked the Muslim establishments (C.R.No.34 of 1993).

4.12 Though there was curfew, without relaxation, enforced from 9th January 1993 to 22nd January 1993, the manner of enforcement of the order was most unsatisfactory. In fact, the control room gave a message on 10th January 1993 (vide transcript of Cassette ‘B’ dated 10th January 1993) that it had come to the notice of the superiors that there was no enforcement of curfew and a direction was given that strict enforcement of the curfew order be observed. Though Senior Police Inspector asserted that the curfew order had been strictly enforced within his jurisdiction, he was unable to explain as to why the control room gave such a directive. The riots had aggravated so much and gone out of control that Superintendent of Police Mushrif was especially entrusted with the supervision of this area, despite the presence of Deputy Commissioner of Police Zone III and Assistant Commissioner of Police of the division.

4.13 Written complaints were given by the victims of attacks that the attacks were made in full view of the police pickets who did nothing to prevent the attacks (C.R.No.21 of 1993). There is a complaint made by one V.A. Krishnan, manager of ‘Cafe Shelar Restaurant’, on 10th January 1993, that there was information about attack on his establishment and he apprehended arson and looting. His request fell on deaf ears and, as apprehended, the restaurant which belonged to a Muslim was ransacked and property worth seven lakhs was looted. This restaurant is within walking distance of five minutes from the police station. Along Babasaheb Ambedkar Road several establishments within a few yards distance were freely looted and set on fire.

4.14 The inflammatory boards seized on 2nd, 4th and 5th January 1993 from Shiv Sena shakhas and on 6th January 1993 from the Bharatiya Janata Party office suggest that they were inciting communal passions within the area.

4.15 The investigations carried out into the riot–related offences are also unsatisfactory. Several leads, which could have turned up valuable clues to the identity of the miscreants, were ignored — negligently or intentionally — by the police. C.R. No. 43 of 1993 is an instance in which anonymous information was given to the police station that the son of Prabhakar Bhumkar, Sunil, and others named therein, were ransacking and looting establishments near Kohinoor Mill Chawl. However, the concerned case diary does not indicate any investigation made in this connection. Though Sunil was arrested in connection with C.R.No.26 of 1993, the interrogation carried out in that case also does not suggest that he was interrogated in connection with the offence in C.R.No.43 of 1993.

There was another letter that one Santosh Pawar had looted a godown and had kept looted property in the house of his sister at Kannamwar Nagar. Santosh Pawar is identified as a person carrying on the business of posters. No investigation is done to follow-up this information. There was another case in which one Kishore Kisan Chavan, resident of Old Naigaum, B.D.D. Chawl No.13/41, B.G. Devrukhkar Road, Bombay–14, was named as one of the active killers, plunderers and spreaders of rumours against Muslims. No worthwhile investigation seems to have been done to follow-up this lead.

4.16 One Muslim was severely assaulted on Acharya Donde Marg and thereafter set on fire (C.R.No.23 of 1993). There was a statement made by one Vijay Jairam Ghag that the miscreant was one Santosh Ghanekar whom he had seen bashing the victim with a big stone and setting him on fire. Though the statement was made on 7th February 1993, there appears an affidavit in the case papers sworn on 8th April 1993 before a Notary Public retracting the earlier statement and denying the identity of the miscreant as Santosh Ghanekar. Though Santosh Ghanekar was arrested by police on the first statement of Vijay Jairam Ghag, he was released because of the subsequent affidavit. The Senior Police Inspector admits that Vijay Jairam Ghag must have been threatened and, for that reason, must have declined to cooperate with the police. This case came to be classified as "A" summary.

4.17 Accused Chandrakant Bhagwan Shinde was arrested in connection with the looting of Masha Allah Restaurant (C.R.No.46 of 1993). Though under interrogation he admitted that he had broken open and looted the said restaurant, no attempt appears to have been done by the police to have him identified by any one from the said restaurant. The Senior Police Inspector admitted that this was a serious lapse in the investigation as somebody from the restaurant might have been able to identify the miscreant.

4.18 One Narayan Babaji Yadav gave evidence before the Commission that his brother–in–law Ramchandra alias Nana Krishna Khedekar was missing and was not traceable. He also stated that he had no complaint that the police had not attempted to trace out his brother–in–law. On the basis of his evidence the witness says that Commission should recommend to the Government that his brother–in–law must have been killed in riots and that he be paid compensation. No circumstances have been brought out in his evidence to suggest that his brother–in–law might have been killed in the riots. All that has been shown is that his brother–in–law is missing. In these circumstances, the Commission is unable to grant his request as on the basis of the material on record the Commission is unable to say that Ramchandra alias Nana Krishna Khedekar might have died in a riot–related incident.

Media updates related to Bhoiwada riots

And justice for all, Supriya Nayar, Live Mint, December 7, 2012
An excellent article on the struggle of Farooq Mapkar, shot in the shoulder by the cops in the Hari Masjid police firing, then slapped with rioting and several other criminal charges by the same cops. It's taken this innocent man who did nothing more than go for prayers one January afternoon 2 decades ago, 15 years to gain acquittal. The killer in uniform, Sub Inspector Kapse who killed 6 innocent Muslims that day, even now roams free, despite a court-ordered CBI enquiry. The Congress government in Maharashtra not only did not act against the rioters, it did not even drop these unconscionable false charges against riot victims, which the police filed to cover their own crimes. The CBI has recently recommended that the case against Kapse be closed. Also read about Mapkar's brave lawyer Shakil Ahmad and his newspaper Janata ka Aaina in this story. Ahmad had once watched his house burn during riots in Sion Koliwada.

Dadar's Iranian phoenixJyoti Punwani, Mumbai Mirror, December 9, 2012

Journalist Jyoti Punwani revisits a few of the Irani cafes attacked, burned, looted and in some cases destroyed by mobs in Bhoiwada, in the 1992-1993 riots. The Cafe Sailor she mentions is the same Cafe Shelar (sic) Justice Srikrishna is referring to in his report above. It still thrives in Bhoiwada. Some day, go have a cup of tea, start a conversation, relive memories, make bonds, heal your city.

CBI wants to drop case against cop behind Hari Masjid firingJyoti Punwani, Mumbai Mirror, December 2, 2011

Journalist Jyoti Punwani on the reasons filed by CBI for closure of the case against Inspector Kapse (see above article). The article also uncovers the extent to which the Congress and NCP-led government in Maharashtra would go to shield the guilty policemen — the same government which could find no time to drop false cases against the victims of these policemen.

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