Thursday, 13 December 2012

Byculla Police Station

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

5.1 The majority of residents here are Hindus though there are pockets of Muslims. Tadwadi, Love Lane, Parab Chowk are Hindu majority areas, while Navanagar, Dockyard Road, Hussain Patel Marg are Muslim majority areas. Anjirwadi locality has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, though in Anjirwadi itself the residents are all Hindus. Sitafalwadi is predominantly inhabited by Muslims. Kasargalli is a Hindu predominant area. Dattaram Karande Marg (Old Belvedre Road) has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, though Muslims are in majority. Boatawala Chawl, also known as Haji Kasam Chawl, has a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims; within the chawls, the Muslims are in minority, but in the vicinity, the Muslims are in majority. Ghagara building is completely inhabited by Muslims, while in Hathi Baug the Hindus are in majority. Modi Compound is mostly occupied by Muslims. BPT Chawls has more number of Hindu residents than Muslims in all its 10 buildings. Laxmi Industrial Estate and Kopargaon Estate have mixed population; the number of Muslim residents is larger in Laxmi Industrial Estate, while the number of Hindu residents is larger in Kopargaon Estate area.

5.2 This area never had any known criminal gang operating therein, nor is it under the influence of any drug peddlers or criminal gangs.

5.3 Bharatiya Janata Party does not have any office or noticeable activity in this area, but Shiv Sena has three Shakhas located at Tadwadi, Love Lane and Kasar Galli.

5.4 The first incident took place in this jurisdiction on 7th December 1992 between 1100 to 1200 hours near Dockyard Junction when a mob of about 500–600 hundred Muslim youths were trying to enforce a bandh and obstructing the traffic on the main road and also deflating the tyres of the vehicles on the road. This was objected to by a mob of about 200–250 Hindus coming from Kasar Galli. The police also attempted to prevent the blockage of traffic. This resulted in stone throwing by each mob against the other and the police. The police resorted to firing to disperse the mobs. A section of the Hindu mob dispersed into D’lima Road which is inhabited by Muslims and Christians. The mob damaged a Maruti car parked on the road belonging to a Muslim and several Muslim shops and establishments on that road.

5.5 At about 2015 hours, on 7th December 1992, it was noticed that one Police Constable, Chandrakant Ramji Khopkar, of LA-II was stabbed to death near the bus stop opposite J.J. Hospital.

5.6 At about 2245 hours on 7th December 1992, the area of Haji Kasam Compound and Modi Compound saw pitched battles between Hindus and Muslims. A Muslim mob of about 200–250, pelted stones and soda-water bottles at Botawala Chawls which house Hindus. Some of the miscreants in the mob also damaged a small roadside Hanuman Temple and broke the idol. Lathi charge by the police did not produce results and police resorted to firing to bring the situation under control.

5.7 The area of Modi Compound saw another round of stone throwing and riots between Hindus and Muslims on 8th December 1992 at about 0730 hours which required firing of 12 rounds to control the situation. There was also throwing of stones and soda–water bottles by Muslims from Ghagra Building towards Botawala Chawl.

5.8 On 9th December 1992, at about 1025 hours, there were riots between Hindu and Muslim mobs, when a mob of 150 persons of Hindus from BPT colony started attacking the Muslims on Hussain Patel Marg. Sixty miscreants (34 Muslims and 26 Hindus) were arrested by the police, out of whom some of the miscreants were not residents of the area, indicating that they were outsiders who had come in for making trouble. The interrogatory statements of these accused do not even indicate whether they were interrogated as to what the accused were doing in BPT Colony (Ekta Nagar) though they were residents of distant areas, during the trouble that was going on all around the city on that day.

5.9 On 9th December 1992 there was also an a incident of a motorcar being set ablaze in Prabhatwadi Compound, Love Lane.

5.10 On 12th December 1992, at about 0230 hours, one Phulchand V. Waghela was stabbed and on the same day at about 0730 hours, a motorcycle was burnt in the compound of J.J. Hospital. On 18th December 1992, a complaint was made by advocate M.H. Khan, on behalf of one Abdul Haq Kasim Ali Ansari, owner of Tabussam Enterprises in Mhatra Compound, Narialwadi, about rioting, assault and arson on 7th December 1992.

5.11 This area did not see any incidents after 12th December 1992.

5.12 On 7th January 1993, at about 0645 hours, one Shripati Shriram Shelar, a BEST lightman on duty of switching off electric lights on Dr. Mascerenhas Road, was stabbed by four unknown persons. On the same day, at about 1915 hours, one Nilesh Dujya Mulya was stabbed near the main gate of J.J. Hospital and another Hindu, Dinesh Dujya, was injured in the stabbing.

5.13 On 8th January 1993, at about 1145 hours, a Muslim shop opposite Shirin Manzil, Tadwadi, was attacked by Hindus and damaged. The mob of Hindus also chased and stabbed one Anwar Karim Lulla, Muslim, who was passing along the road. At about 1430 hours one Pralhad Shamrao Ghorpade, Hindu, was stabbed to death on the footpath of J.J. Hospital. At about the same time, a tin shed in the Dhobighat within J.J. Hospital compound housing the shoe–making business of a Muslim was attacked with fireballs and set on fire by the Hindu residents of a tall residential building behind the Dhobighat. Hindu mobs armed with stones, knives and fire–balls damaged Muslim shops at the junction of St. Mary Road and S.V. Road and ran towards Tadwadi. Some of the establishments of Muslims in that area were set on fire by the Hindu residents. Shirin Manzil was repeatedly attacked by Hindu mobs and each time the attack was repulsed by the police by resorting to tear-gas and even firing. Hindu mobs attacked the offices of advocates opposite Mazgaon Court with stones, bottles and fire–balls and set fire to the office of one Muslim advocate resulting in the fire spreading to the adjoining offices.

5.14 On 8th January, between 2215 and 2300 hours, there was a violent clash between Hindus and Muslims on Dr. Mascerehans Road, near Hasna Baug, opposite Anjirwadi. At about 2015 hours, on the same day, one Muslim, Abbas Kasim Mharana, driving along Gunpowder Cross Lane and near Badshah Hotel was surrounded by a mob of 15 Hindus who threw kerosene on his car and set it ablaze. Abbas received extensive burn injuries and died as a result thereof. Surprisingly, there was a fixed police picket near Militia Apartment on Mathar Pakhadi, barely two lanes away from this ghastly incident, which seemed hardly aware of the incident.

5.15 On 9th January 1993, at about 2030 hours, a mob of about 200–300 Hindus was found throwing stones, soda–water bottles and brickbats near BIT Chawl, Love Lane. At the same time, another mob of 200-300 collected nearby and was indulging in similar activities. Attempts to control them by the police enraged the two mobs who started attacking the police. The police resorted to lathi charge, but the receding mobs started damaging the property on the road, like handcarts and motorcars by setting them on fire. At about this time, another 300–strong mob entered Love Lane from Parab Chowk and started throwing fire balls and soda–water bottles on the road. The police were encircled by the different Hindu mobs and had to resort to firing to disperse the mob. The riotous activities of the mob left in their wake a godown, a motorcar, opposite Mazgaon Telephone Exchange, and a motor–taxi in front of BIT chawls, on fire. Some of the stalls, shops, one motorcar and scooters, at Parab Chowk, and a carpet godown at Hathi Baug, were also set on fire. The arson of the carpet godown resulted in the burning alive of one Mallappa Dharmappa Kamble who was inside the godown.

5.16 On 9th January 1993, at about 0645 hours, a Hindu mob collected at Kasargalli near Ghosia Road and was throwing soda–water bottles and stones on the road. When the police attempted to intercept it, the mob turned its attack on the police. There were also stabbing incidents in which two Muslims, Hussain Ibrahim Bangi and Abdul Razak Fakir Mohamad, were stabbed in Kasargalli. Hussain Ibrahim subsequently succumbed to the injuries.

5.17 On 10.1.1993, at about 1100 hours, there was riotous activity by a mob of about 100–150 Muslims armed with swords, stones and bottles throwing the missiles on the road while advancing along Gun Powder road. At the same time, another mob of Hindus also collected near Star Cinema, about 75 yards away from Kasargalli, and was hurling stones and soda–water bottles. Vehicles parked on the road and the shops around the Star Cinema were attacked and set on fire. Though the police maintain that at about this time there was an instance of private firing from the terrace of the masjid opposite Star Cinema, the evidence on record does not support this story of the police. The police actually entered the mosque opposite Star Cinema and searched the terrace of the mosque as well that of as the adjacent residential building known as Masjid House. Though they managed to seize two crates of soda–water bottles, eight iron rods and four fire–balls, no firearms were recovered. Though the police produced a piece of fired bullet as the recovered empty bullet fired in private firing, allegedly found on the footpath opposite the masjid, the ballistic expert has opined that it was fired from a .303 calibre, a fire–arm used by the police. The story of private firing does not lend itself to credence.

5.18 On 10th January 1993, at about 1200 hours, a mob of Hindus numbering 100–200 went on the rampage near D.P. Wadi, Ghodapdeo and set on fire parked vehicles on Arbi Marg. One Umesh Shantaram Salunke, a Hindu, who died in police firing and another Hindu, Sayaji Bapu Gharde, who was injured in the police firing, were residents of the same area. Surprisingly, in April or May 1993, a cross lane situated near the place where Umesh Shantaram Salunke was shot, was renamed by Bombay Municipal Corporation as Umesh Shantaram Salunke Marg. Though the police maintain that Umesh Shantaram Salunke was not connected with any political party, and was actually indulging in riotous activities when shot, this renaming of the lane suggests political connection, or absurdity.

5.19 On 10th January 1993, at about 1000 hours, a mob of Hindus collected opposite Ranibaug in Ramnagar and started setting fire to the wooden stalls of Muslims on the footpath. Intervention by the police resulted in stones and bottles being thrown at the police. This invited police firing as a result of which one Hindu, Naresh Ganpat Tavate, was killed and another Hindu, Palani Mani, was injured. At about the same time, a Hindu mob went on rampage on D.S. Patanwala Road and started setting fire to the parked vehicles on that road and a mob of 100–150 Hindus collected near Masina Hospital to attack the vehicles parked on the road and set them on fire. A mob of about 1300–1400 Muslim youths collected near Mustafa Bazar Masjid and was indulging in riotous activities. When the police went to deal with it, another armed and violent mob of Muslims, about 300–400 strong, came rushing from Narielwadi towards Mustafa Bazar and it appeared that the police contingent was likely to be trapped between the two violent mobs. The police also alleged that there was private firing at them from someone in the mob. To meet the situation, the police resorted to firing and dispersed the mob. The police later discovered that two Muslims were stabbed and injured on Sant Savta Marg.Strangely, the two stabbed Muslims were found lying on Sant Savta Marg at a distance of about 100 to 150 feet from Masina Hospital gate, despite a fixed police bandobust in the close vicinity. It would appear that the two stabbing incidents took place before the two Muslim mobs came to the area and were probably the cause for the Muslim mobs to go on rampage.

5.20 On 11th January 1993, between 0200 to 0600 hours, one Muslim, Mohamad Salim, was found stabbed and dead in a pool of blood on Shivdas Chapsi Marg near Ali Kadri School. Another Muslim was also found lying in a pool of blood near the bus stop on the road with stab injuries. Both the deceased did not appear to be local residents but outsiders.

5.21 On 10th January 1993 at about 1150 hours, there was a full–scale riot at Haji Kasam Chawl, Rambhau Ghogare Marg in which a Hindu mob clashed with a Muslim mob. Though, the police claimed that there was private firing at them, they are unable to say whether the private firing was from the Hindu or the Muslim mob. The police firing to quell the mob resulted in the death of one Hindu and another person whose identity is not established. Two Hindus were also injured in police firing. Two Muslims were found stabbed in mob action of stabbing and one Hindu died as a result of stabbing during the incident.

5.22 On 11th January 1993, at about 2340 hours, a violent mob of 100-150 Hindus gathered at Ghodapdeo Cross Road No.1 and started throwing fire–balls and bottles filled with kerosene and lighted, on the timber godowns of Muslims. As a result the said godowns caught fire. In the attempt to burn down the Muslim establishments, several Hindu godowns also caught fire and burnt down. Four Hindus have been arrested in this case.

5.23 On 10th January 1993, at about 0838 hours one Bapu Jaiwant Wagh, Hindu, was stabbed by unidentified persons when he was coming out of Reay Road Railway Station.
5.24 On 13th January 1993, at 1315 hours, an industrial establishment in Laksmi Industrial Estate was set on fire by unknown persons by throwing a lighted object through the window of the establishment. One Hindu has been arrested in this case.

5.25 On 14th January 1993, at about 1100 hours, Rahimatulla Jamaluddin Shaikh, a Muslim, walking along Nesbeitt Road was pounced upon by a mob of Hindus who questioned him as to his name and, after making sure that he was a Muslim, stabbed him with sharp weapons. Three Hindu accused, local boys from Tadwadi area, have been arrested.

5.26 On 10th January 1993, at 0745 hours, one Sayyed Mohamad Shafiq Zaidi, Muslim, was pounced upon by four Hindus and stabbed with knives. Four Hindus have been arrested in this case and all of them are residents of Tadwadi. The Senior Police Inspector admitted that during the relevant period, a number of young boys were going around and indulging in such acts of violence against persons of the other community, so that they could boast of having done something great.

5.27 On 21st January 1993, at about 1145 hours a Muslim, Abdul Hussain Dalvi, passing by Shubh Sandesh Building on Hansraj Lane, was accosted by two persons who came on scooter, questioned him in Marathi about his name, and after ascertaining that he is a Muslim, shot him with a revolver. Dalvi and his nephew walking along with him ran towards Nesbeitt Road, but were again subjected to firing by the culprits, resulting in injuries to Dalvi. Hansraj Lane is a predominantly Hindu area and the residents of Shubh Sandesh building are all Hindus.

5.28 On 10th January 1993, at about 1430 hours, there was an attempted arson of godowns situated on Tank Bunder Road and Ray Road. Two mobs of about 100–150 Hindus went around indulging in riotous and violent activities and setting fire to godowns and vehicles parked on Ray Road.

5.29 On 10th December 1992, at about 0930 hours, one Abdul Kadar Malbarwala going towards St. Peter’s School was shot at opposite Nandu General Stores, opposite Shivdas Chapsi Marg by three unknown persons. He was admitted in the hospital and discharged on 30th December 1992, but reported the matter only on 4th February 1993, when his complaint was registered.

5.30 On 8th January 1993, one Ram Dubey, Hindu, walking along Barrister Nath Pai Marg was stabbed and injured by unknown assailants.

5.31 During December 1992 and January 1993, although there was an army column deployed in this jurisdictional area, the police used it only for the purpose of flag marching and there was no instance when the army personnel were called upon to take charge of any situation. The Senior Police Inspector asserted that he did not come across a single situation where the army should have taken up operations for handling the situation.

5.32 The Senior Police Inspector maintained that the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition, equipment, communication equipment and transport vehicles was inadequate to meet even the normal day–to–day situation and was, therefore, hopelessly inadequate to meet the situations which arose during December 1992 and January 1993.

5.33 During the period August to December 1992, Bharatiya Janata Party and VHP carried out Ram Paduka Pujan programmes and Ghantanaad to focus the attention of the Hindus on the Ram Janmabhoomi–Babri Masjid dispute.

5.34 This area houses the residence of Shri Chhagan Bhujbal, one time stalwart of Shiv Sena, who later on defected to Congress–I. The Shiv Sena organized protests on 15th November 1992 against his act of desertion of the party and made an attempt to perform his symbolic ‘shraadh’ (funeral) rite which was prevented by the police.

5.35 Haji Kasam Chawl appears to be a focal point of communal clashes since 1984. In fact, in 1984 and 1987 communal clashes took place in Haji Kasam Chawl between the Hindu and Muslim residents because of support to the Pakistan Cricket team voiced by the Muslims.

5.36 The call given by the Bombay Muslim Action Committee for bandh on 2nd December 1992 evoked vide response in the Muslim predominant areas of Nava Nagar, Modi Compound, Narielwadi, Sitafalwadi, Mustafa Bazar, Dr. Mascerenhas Road and Sant Savta Marg, where 90 % of the Muslim establishments remained closed. There was equally enthusiastic response to the call for bandh on 7th December 1992 by Muslims. Nasim Kazi, a corporator of Janata Dal, appears to have been active in moving around on 7th December 92 to enforce the bandh and he is an accused in connected C.R. No. 570/92.

5.37 Cross–examination by the Shiv Sena brought into focus the activities of one Muslim family of Barmares residing on the ground floor of Botawala Chawl. The Barmare brothers, Shaukat, Fayyaz, Sajid and Salim, appear to be notorious characters frequently indulging in criminal activities. Shaukat, Sajid and Salim have been arrested in criminal cases in which provisions of TADA Act were applied.

5.38 According to the Senior Police Inspector, during the December 1992 riots, the Muslims were the rioters and their first targets were the police, Hindus and their properties, in that order. He also says that during December 1992 the riots were confined to the Muslim predominant areas and Muslims started the riots for the reason that they were generally angry with the police for failure to give proper protection to the Babri Masjid.
5.39 The paucity of manpower is pleaded as an explanation for the inability of the police to effectively patrol all the lanes and bye–lanes which resulted in a spate of stabbing cases around the J.J. Hospital area.

5.40 This area saw one case of private firing in December 1992 and at least two cases of private firing in January 1993 in which the victims were Hindus. Searches of the suspected premises from which private firing were made, but did not result in recovery of fire–arms. The work of maintaining the list of licensed fire–arm holders is concentrated in the office of the Commissioner of Police. Though all Senior Police Inspectors had suggested that each police station be supplied with a list of licensed fire–arm holders in their respective jurisdictions, this suggestion did not meet the approval of the Commissioner. As a result, no Senior Police Inspector is sure of the identity of persons who hold licensed fire–arms in his jurisdiction.

5.41 The Senior Police Inspector asserted that in December 1992 the initial attacks on Hindus were made by Muslims which invited retaliatory attacks by Hindus upon Muslims and in January 1993, the spate of stabbing incidents of Hindus coupled with the news regarding the murder of Mathadi workers in Dongri area and the Radhabai Chawl incident had heightened communal tension within the area and that the rioting which started on 7th January 1993 in the area was also started by Muslims.

5.42 A curious fact came to light with regard to the manner in which the Shiv Sena was doing propaganda to prejudice the mind of the management of Mazgaon Dock. Some of the accused arrested in connection with the rioting near Star Cinema were Muslims. The Shiv Sena Union represented to the authorities of Mazgaon Dock that Mazgaon Dock was a high security area and that the Muslims accused in offences for rioting should not be allowed to enter the Dock areas. As a next step, the Shiv Sena propagated that, all persons belonging to Muslim community are unreliable and all Muslim workers should be prevented from entering the Mazgaon Dock area. Boards to that effect were put up in the Mazgaon Dock area. The Hindu residents of Kasar Galli, which is mainly used for passing through to Mazgaon Dock, took upon themselves the burden of enforcing this injunction of the Shiv Sena.

5.43 The manner in which the riot–related offences were investigated by the police, both in December 1992 and January 1993, give the distinct impression that the police were won over by the activists of Shiv Sena.

5.44 In C.R.No.591 of 1992, the complainant, Abdul Haq Kasim Ali Ansari, owned a tailoring business, Tabussum Enterprise, at Narielwadi, Mazgaon. On 7th December 1992 his establishment was attacked by Hindus from his locality with whom he was very familiar. Abdul filed a complaint bearing C.R.No.591 of 1992 in which he named the miscreants as Sada, Chotu, Sunil, Rajesh Mhatre and 15–20 other persons. The miscreants had looted his establishment, carried away some valuable machinery and set fire to the establishment. All miscreants were from Narielwadi and stayed right opposite his establishment and he knew them for more than 15 years. He also knew the residential addresses of Sada, Rajesh Mhatre, Sunil and Chotu and that every day they used to sit and play cards with the police.

When the incident of attack and looting took place, Senior Police Inspector Patankar, Inspector Wahule and Sub–Inspector Ram Desai were present near his establishment and the entire incident of looting the properties took place under their very noses without any attempt being made to stop the miscreants. Again, during the night of 7th December 1992, Sada and Chotu were seen sitting and chatting away with Inspector Wahule and some constables on bandobust duty right opposite the factory of Ansari. In the morning of 8th December 1992, between 0530 to 0600 hours, while the policemen had moved away, Sada, Chotu, Sunil and Rajesh, and some other persons, again attacked the factory of Ansari with stones. Ansari made a complaint on telephone to the Byculla Police Station requesting for police help. Senior Police Inspector Patankar told him that there was some staff already on bandobust who would take care of the situation.

Between 0730 to 0830 hours police came to the spot. This time the police party was led by Inspector Wahule who barged into the factory and started assaulting Ansari and his cutter–master with an iron rod, resulting in fracture of his hand. Ansari was thereafter dragged by Police Inspector Wahule to the police van and taken away to the police station, being assaulted all the time. Half the number of his workers had run away because of fear and the other half locked themselves inside the factory. The police broke open the factory’s entrance and arrested the workers inside.

While Ansari, his brother and others were in lock up, no medical treatment was made available to them, and whenever a complaint of pain was made by Ansari, officers Desai and Wahule retorted that they should consider themselves lucky that they had only broken hands and not broken legs. To add insult to injury, the police filed a false case against Ansari and his workers. The Criminal Court released him on bail on 15th December 1992. On 18th December 1992 Ansari handed over a written complaint to the police station. On 19th December 1992 Inspector Wahule came to the factory and made a panchnama. Nothing was heard till 4th January 1993. On 4.1.93 Ansari was called to the police station. Inspector Wahule insisted that he would have to compromise with Sada, Chotu, Sunil and Rajesh Mhatre. Ansari refused to do so. Ansari’s signature on his purported statement in original C.R.No.591 of 1992 was taken on that day. Inspector Wahule impressed upon Ansari that since the C.R. had already been prepared and registered on 29th December 1992, Ansari’s signature should be backdated to that date and Ansari complied with this request.

Ansari denied the contents of his so–called statement. He asserted that Sada, Sunil, Chotu and Rajesh Mhatre were activists of Shiv Sena and that he had never made a statement to the police that he was mistaken about the identity of Rajesh Mhatre or that he did not know Sada, Chotu and Sunil since they were outsiders. Ansari asserted that the full name of Sada is Sadashiv Shankar Deshmukh, who resides in Sai Krupa building and is popularly known as Sada by the people in Narielwadi. He used to be an activist of Chagan Bhujbal, when Bhujbal was in Shiv Sena. Ansari denied that he had told the police that the Sada named by him in his statement was not Sadashiv Shankar Deshmukh, resident of Sai Krupa building.

The evidence of Senior Police Inspector given on this issue before the Commission appears to be wholly unreliable. The Senior Police Inspector was asked searching questions by the Commission and from the answers given by him it appears that the entries in the case diaries were fabricated in order to oblige Sada, Chotu, Sunil and Rajesh Mhatre. Taken in conjunction with the evidence of Ansari on oath, the Commission has no doubt that there was deliberate scuttling of the investigation by the police, because the accused were influential Shiv Sainiks. Inspector Wahule, Sub–Inspector Ram Desai and Senior Police Inspector Patankar are squarely to blame for this. (Section 8–B notices issued)

5.45 In a case of attack on one Anwar Karim Mulla, who was chased and stabbed opposite Shirin Manzil, Tadwadi, one of the arrested accused, Krishna Narayan Rane, is a Shiv Sainik. Though the papers in the C.R. do not indicate this fact, the Senior Police Inspector admitted the said fact.

5.46 The Hindus virtually terrorized the Muslim residents in the areas along Shivdas Chapsi Marg right upto Hancock Bridge, and in the Malpakhadi area, leading to a feeling of insecurity in the minds of the Muslim residents causing exodus of Muslims to safer places. In the subsequent looting and ransacking of properties in this area, which is the subject matter of C.R. No.15/93, out of the 73 properties damaged, 66 belonged to Muslims and seven belonged to Hindus.

5.47 In the incidents which are subject matters of C.R. No. 20/93, under stress of cross–examination, Senior Police Inspector Patankar admitted that Durga Bhavan and three adjoining buildings situated at D’Lima street are inhabited by Hindus and that the Hindu residents of those buildings were throwing stones and soda–water bottles on the Muslim establishments situated on D’Lima Street.

5.48 There is a building by name Meena Apartments on Chapsi Bhimji Marg, Mathar Pakhadi. On 9th January 1993 the Muslim houses in that building were broken open and ransacked between 2300 to 2400 hours. Significantly, there was an armed picket of three to four policemen stationed at about 50 to 60 yards from the entrance to Meena Apartments. In C.R.No.25 of 1993, despite the witnesses naming a large number of Hindu persons as miscreants, only two have been arrested and the rest are said to be absconding.

5.49 This is another area where the Mahaartis led to violence. The police, of, course maintain that the Mahaartis passed off peacefully and did not result in any violent activities.

5.50 The records of the police do not show what really transpired. Although the Commissioner of Police had instructed that, in the event of complete blocking of traffic, cases had to be registered against the organizers of the Mahaarti, the police found a convenient excuse to evade action by saying that the traffic was diverted through some other area and therefore it would not be a situation of complete blockage. This happened with regard to the Mahaarti between 2015 to 2040 hours on 9th January 1993 at Hanuman Mandir on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road.

5.51 Another strange feature here is that out of five Mahaartis held in this area, the Mahaarti held at Hanuman Mandir on Dr. Mascerenhas Road on 9th January 1993 and another held on the same day at Hanuman Mandir B.A. Road, were held during the period when curfew orders were in operation. Senior Police Inspector admitted that despite the operation of the curfew order he had, on his own responsibility, taken a decision to permit the Mahaarti as otherwise the situation would have deteriorated. This he did, notwithstanding the instructions of the Commissioner of Police by B.C. Message that the curfew order had to be implemented strictly.

5.52 The Mahaarti was not a surprise event. The timings of Mahaartis were publicized in advance and the police very well knew them. Even the Assistant Commissioner of Police of the division, Chavan, was present during the Mahaarti. The curfew order was reduced to a farce in view of this attitude of the police. The assertion of the Senior Police Inspector that there was no violence in the wake of Mahaartis was proved false in view of the wireless messages exchanged between the Control Room and Byculla Mobiles and the Assistant Commissioner of Police’s mobile. The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Byculla Division, gave a message (page 21 of Cassette 34/A dated 9th January 1993) in which he said that the people coming from the Mahaarti at Sant Savta Mandai, Dr. B.A. Road, were indulging in riots. Though the Assistant Commissioner of Police clearly said that the people coming out from the Mahaarti were indulging in "danga" (riot) and was himself present at the place of incident, Patankar maintained that the people were merely singing bhajans and songs and shouting slogans like "Jai Bajrang Bali". This is another instance of over–enthusiasm on the part of the police officers to cover up the fact that the Mahaarti did lead to violence. Under persistent cross–examination, the Senior Police Inspector was forced to admit that, as soon as the Mahaartis at Hanuman Mandir and Anjirwadi on 9th January 1993 took place, there were riotous and violent incidents in areas within a half–kilometre radius from the sites of the Mahaartis.

5.53 Finally, Senior Police Inspector Patankar admitted that a serious incident narrated in paragraph 33 of his affidavit took place on 9th January 1993 soon after theMahaarti, and it must have been done by the crowd dispersing from the Mahaartis, but because the police were extremely short of manpower, they were unable to maintain adequate bandobust at the places of incidents. That the police were short of manpower and, therefore, such incidents took place is understandable; the crude and pathetic attempt to prevaricate and mislead the Commission on this issue is despicable.

5.54 The people who participated in the Mahaartis were unarmed according to the police. However, after the Mahaarti, while the dispersing crowd went on rampage and indulged in riotous and violent activities, they appeared to be magically armed with iron bars, crow–bars and such other articles used to break open the shops. The police explanation for this magical presence is that the people might have gone home and picked up such weapons!

5.55 Though the police maintain that, despite their best efforts, they had not been able to identify the people who fomented the trouble in December 1992 or January 1993, the Control Room wireless conversations give an indication. For example, in the Control Room Cassette 39/B page 15 dated 10th January 1993 corresponding to Log Book Entry of the Wireless Control Room at 0010 hours on 10th January 1993, there is message from Control Room to Senior Police Inspector Byculla, that on Gun Powder Road and Chapsi Bhimji Road, Shiv Sainiks had congregated. The Commission assumes that they had not congregated at the height of the riots, and in the dead of the night, to sing bhajans and kirtans (songs of devotion).

5.56 The evidence of the private witnesses examined before the Commission makes very unhappy reading, clearly showing the bias of the police. The police were not promptly attending to complaints made by Muslim victims and, on occasions, the Muslim victims who went to complain were taunted for being Muslims and were themselves falsely charged with offences.

5.57 From the evidence of Gausia Abdul Aziz Shaikh, it would appear that the Muslim residents of Pathan Chawl were attacked with stones and soda– water bottles on 10th January 1993. When there was a complaint made by one Sultanbhai residing in the building, the police arrived at the spot, but instead of chasing away the miscreants and taking action against them, the police misbehaved with the residents of Pathan Chawl. This led to a protest morcha by Muslims to the police station. There was also a counter–blast protest morcha by the Hindu ladies claiming that the police were harassing Hindus.

5.58 There is one incident which is very serious in the view of the Commission and amounts to cold–blooded murder by the police. Between 1100 to 1130 hours on 10th January 1993, after having arrived at Pathan Chawl, the police forcibly entered the premises of the Muslims and started picking them up. They entered the residence of one Hasanmiya Wagle, terrorized the wife of Hasanmiya and his daughter Yasmin at the point of rifle, picked up Hasanmiya’s 16–year–old son, Shahnawaz, and dragged him out, all the while kicking him and assaulting him with rifle butts. Yasmin Hasan Wagle, saw Shahnawaz being taken towards police vehicle, when one of the constables standing behind him shot him from behind, almost at point blank range. Immediately, the policemen dragged the body of Shahnawaz by the feet and dumped it in the vehicle and took it away. Yasmin and her mother came down later and saw that the spot where Shahnawaz was shot down had a pool of blood.

5.59 Yasmin Hasan Wagle is a young, intelligent and educated girl who gave evidence before the Commission. Her evidence was precise and clear, though punctuated with bitter sobs. The Commission is inclined to accept her evidence as true. In fact, after recording her evidence, the Commission had directed the Commissioner of Police to make an inquiry into this grisly incident.

The Commissioner of Police directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police of Zone–IV, Surindar Kumar, to hold an inquiry. Surindar Kumar held an inquiry and submitted a report to this Commission which is at Exhibit 2060(P) (Collectively). Despite overwhelming evidence which, in the opinion of the Commission, clearly indicts the police for cold–blooded murder of Shahnawaz, the Deputy Commissioner of Police has adroitly white–washed the affair and recorded a finding that the statements of two/three witnesses could not be safely relied upon and that Yasmin or other witnesses had never reported the incident to the police.

It would be a sheer waste of time of the Commission to scan the record of the enquiry or the manner in which it was held and the atrocious findings recorded therein. The Commission cannot, however, but highlight the statement of Manohar Pandharinath Gobdule, Police Naik No.9217 recorded on 24th June 1994 by Deputy Commissioner of Police Surindar Kumar. The said police Naik stated that on 10th January 1993, at about 1130 hours, Police Sub–Inspector Fadtare and PC 17385 (Devdutta Ramaji Yadav) of Byculla Police Station brought injured persons in a public Matador No. BLB 4530 working under Byculla Police Station and that he was present there at that time. The name ‘Wagle Taher Shah’ is entered in the APR register vide Sr. No.343, where the remark "bullet injury" is shown and the patient is shown as having expired on 11th January 1993.

Devdutta Ramaji Yadav (PC 17385) obviously prevaricated when he stated that he did not go to Pathan Chawl locality on 10th January 1993, did not admit any injured person in J.J. Hospital or that he did not know who admitted the injured persons. Similarly, according to the statement of Police Sub– Inspector Jagganthrao R. Fadtare, recorded on 18th June 1994, he was not even aware that one Shahnawaz Hasanmiya Wagle was injured in police firing or that he died in police firing. According to Fadtare, he had recorded the statement of PN 18422 Gowalkar about the riots which took place and that there was no mention in the FIR about any person being injured or dying in consequence of police firing. Fadtare barefacedly lied that no person injured in police firing was brought to the police station, nor was he given information about any such person taken to hospital.

5.60 That the concerned Police constable and the Sub–Inspector were lying is evident. That the Deputy Commissioner of Police glibly recorded his finding that ‘the evidence of the Muslim witnesses was unreliable’ indicates either that there was utter non–application of mind to the statements before him, or that he was a party to the brazen cover–up of what is virtually cold–blooded murder of one young Muslim boy, irrespective of whether he was accused of any offence or not. The Commission strongly feels that this is a matter of which the Government must take a very serious notice, and have it investigated by an impartial agency and take strict action against the guilty persons. Yasmin and her father have disowned their purported statements recorded by the police and have said that no such statements were made by them.

5.61 The evidence of Dilip Narayan Vijapurkar, an activist of Bharatiya Janata Party, brings out that several activists of Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena reside in Haji Kasam Chawl. Though he maintains that the trouble was started on 6th and 7th December 1992 from the Muslims who continuously threw stones at the residences of the Hindus, resulting in injuries to some Hindu residents, he says that if the Hindus had not retaliated, they would have been finished in the 20 or 25 minutes that the police took to come to the spot. Of course, according to him, the "retaliation" merely consisted of picking up planks of wood and using them as shields to protect themselves.

5.62 As to the trouble which took place in January 1993, Dilip has something interesting to say. According to him, on 10th January 1993 he was at home and the moment the news spread that one Prasad Mahadeo Kochare, a resident of the chawl aged about 22 was killed, the rioting started and the attack immediately started from all three sides. The news which spread was that Kochare had been killed by Muslims, and according to Dilip, along with the news the attack also started. Again, the Hindus retaliated, but apart from throwing small bottles like milk bottles, hair–oil bottles and cups and saucers, there was no further ‘retaliation’ by Hindus who merely called the Byculla Police Station to send help. There is an element of the comic in this story. Prasad Kochare, innocent, apolitical, quiet and peaceful man, was presumably killed by Muslims. If this news spread, then it would be impossible to think that the Muslims should mount the attack. The attack obviously must have started from the Hindus enraged because of Prasad Kochare being killed. Undoubtedly, the witness tried to underplay the role of the Hindus, but unwittingly gave a glimpse of the truth. Dilip’s version needs to be accepted with a pinch of salt in view of the fact that he was himself an accused in riot cases and also an externed goonda.

5.63 The evidence of Rajendra Yeshwant Shirke brings out the role played by Shaukat Barmare, Faiz, Zuber, Junaid and other Muslims in attacking the people moving in vehicles and/or foot along Barrister Nath Pai Marg on 6th December 1992 and supports the version of the police that the Barmare brothers were instigating trouble.

5.64 The evidence of Laxmi Narayan Ramchandra Bhattad, a lessee of some of the plots of Reay Road on which timber godowns had been constructed, suggests that one Hyderali and his son were instrumental in creating trouble and setting fire to the godowns of timber establishments on Reay Road, which resulted in heavy losses. According to him, the police had failed to take action despite a previous warning of the attack on his godowns and he strongly felt that the police might have acted ‘on instructions from political leaders’. Bhattad certified that the basis for this belief was that during the riot periods a number of MLAs and corporators used to regularly visit Byculla Police Station and Hyderali himself was on the Peace Committee.

5.65 The evidence of Shabbir Abdul Hussain Tambawala, resident of Meena Housing Society, Mazgaon, Mathar Pakhadi Road, shows that the attack on his building came in full view of a police picket which was hardly 150 feet from the gate. In fact, he says that two policemen with arms had come there and were standing near the locked gate of the building, when the Hindu miscreants were jumping over the gate of the building to attack the Muslim residences. The role of one Assistant Police Inspector Jaiswal in connection with this incident corroborates the suspicion that the police were collaborating with Shiv Sainiks. According to Shabbir, one Shekhar, a Hindu resident of the building, was responsible for the attack on his house. He made a complaint about the entire incident on 9th January 1993 which was registered only as a non–cognizable offence on 25th February 1993 by the police. According to the witness, Shekhar was warned in the presence of Shabbir and nothing further was done. Interestingly, when Assistant Police Inspector Jaiswal, the police officer concerned, called Shekhar and Shabbir to the police station, some of the local leaders of Mazgaon, Shashi and Anant Narayan Shingre, a local Shiv Sena Shakha Pramukh were present there. Assistant Police Inspector Jaiswal counselled Shabbir that during communal disturbances some such incidents were bound to take place, that he should not take them seriously if he intended to continue to stay in the same locality and that he should give in writing that he was compromising the matter. Shabbir of course refused to give any such thing in writing.

5.66 The evidence of Sayyed Mahomad Hussain, the owner of a Confectionery shop in Kanji Allarakha Building on Mathar Pakhadi Road also suggests that the police were biased against the Muslims and were collaborating with the Shiv Sena. This, despite Sayyed’s attempt to be on the good books of ex–Shiv Sena leader, Chhagan Bhujbal, by sending him a 4 kg. chocolate cake in the shape of bow and arrow (the election symbol of Shiv Sena). He says that he did not make any complaints earlier, as he was scared. The main persons behind the attacks on the Muslim shops including his shop were Praful Naik and Ram Naik, Bharatiya Janata Party activists. According to him, despite repeated attempts made by him to contact Byculla Police Station, he was unable to get through. He then called the Commissioner of Police and made a complaint with one Virani, secretary of the Commissioner of Police. When he attempted to make a second call to the Commissioner about another event, he was snubbed by Virani.

5.67 By an order dated 8th June 1994, the Commission had issued a notice under Section 8B of the Commissions of Inquiry Act to Police Sub–Inspector Wahule in view of the serious allegations made against him in the evidence of Abdul Haque Kasimali Ansari. On 4th July 1994, Police Sub–Inspector Wahule appeared before the Commission in response to Section 8B notice and stated that he did not desire to be represented by independent counsel and he would be satisfied with representation by the counsel for the police before the Commission. He also did not file any explanation in the matter with regard to the allegations made against him.

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