Team on fact-finding visit holds Mayor, VMC chief, police responsible for violence; want Article 355 imposed.
Express News Service
Ahmedabad, May 4: A TEAM of human rights activists from Delhi and Vadodara said the violence in Vadodara shouldn’t be seen in isolation from the 2001 riots and said there was an agenda to raze structures belonging to a particular community. Activists, including Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad, Harsh Mander and Prasad Chacko, who went on a fact-finding mission in the city, called for the resignations of those responsible and also demanded the imposition of Article 355 in Vadodara. They held the city’s mayor, municipal commissioner and the police responsible for the violence following the dargah demolition on Monday.
‘‘The demolition was not out of the blue. It was a systematic agenda to demolish the cultural sites and heritage buildings of a particular community. The fact that the dargah was present even in the map of 1912 itself shows that it was there even before the road was constructed,’’ alleged Hashmi of Anhad. She added, ‘‘This is an extreme example where the administration, including police officials, has completely surrendered to the Hindutva forces.”
The activists also termed the violence, that erupted after the 200-year-old dargah in Champaner Darwaza was razed, an “extension of Hindutva politics’’. The politics was being played out by the police, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and the State Government against a particular community, the group said. They said this incident should not be seen in isolation from the 2001 riots as the same modus operandi was being followed as for the past several years.
Mander said, ‘‘The outcome was subservient to Hindutva politics and if this continues we will see worse times ahead.’’ Referring to Mohammed Rafiq Vora who was burnt alive by a mob, Hashmi said that though the FIR has been registered against 12 people no arrests have been made so far.
The group visited the residence of Vora and met the family. Asked whether they would meet the family of Biren Shah, who was stabbed to death by a mob, Hashmi said, ‘‘We will go to his place as well and also to people injured during the violence.’’ Chacko said, ‘‘The policy of hate and divide will further aggravate the condition.’’