//Fact-Finding report of communal violence in Karauli

Fact-Finding report of communal violence in Karauli

Date of fact-finding

12 April 2022 

Team members 

Advocate Ansar Indori (National Secretary)

Rukhsar Ahmed (Journalist, Delhi)

Advocate Ashutosh Mishra (Delhi State Vice President)

Shoaib Ahmed (Delhi Pradesh Committee Member)

Rukhsar (Social Activist) 

Background 

Karauli was founded around 955 AD by Raja Vijay Pal, who is said to be a descendant of Lord Krishna. Jaisalmer and Karauli kingdoms were once ruled by Jadaun royal families. In 1818, Karauli became a part of Rajputana Agency. After India’s independence in 1947, its ruler Maharaj Ganesh Pal Dev decided to become a part of India. Karauli joined India on 7 April 1949 and became a part of the state of Rajasthan. The City Palace of Karauli is one of the major tourist places in Rajasthan. The temple of Madan Mohan Ji is very popular among the devotees settled in the country and abroad. Karauli, famous for its historical forts and temples, is a place to visit. Government and private educational institutions are located in Karauli subdivision education, which are performing their duty well in the field of education. Institutes of school education, college education, technical education etc. are located in Karauli, leather shoes, silver jewelry and steel items are very famous in Karauli. You can go to the market near City Palace to buy them. Apart from this, idols of God made of clay and sweets made of milk are also very much liked by the people. It is difficult to find any big item in this market but lac and glass bangles made by local people can be bought. Wooden toys attract tourists. There is no mutual enmity among the people of Karauli. Muharram and Gangaur processions have been taking place in Karauli since 50 years ago. The population of Karauli is around one lakh and the Muslim population is around 20 percent. There was a riot in the year 2006 and there was a riot around 2012-13. Karauli district has always been an example of brotherhood, here Hindu-Muslim have been living in brotherhood. 

Details of the Incident 

Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and other Hindutva organizations had organized a saffron rally in Karauli on April 2, to participate in this rally, the officials of these organizations also distributed yellow rice in the surrounding villages. At 4 pm on April 2, 400 people on about 200 bikes involved in the rally left from the Collectorate Circle. In front of the bike rally, objectionable songs were being played in the DJ in the pickup, among which were songs like “Topi Wala Bhi Sir Jhoka Ke Jai Shri Ram Bolega…” and “Har Ghar Bhagwa Chhayega….”. The people involved in the rally were also shouting provocative slogans like “If you are to stay in Hindustan, you have to say Vande Mataram” and “when the Mullahs are killed, we will shout “Ram Ram”. When the rally entered the Muslim area, the sound of the DG and the noise of slogans intensified, the language of these slogans and songs was such that the atmosphere got spoiled. What would have otherwise been welcomed, led to violence. By virtue of the way people used weapons and used abusive language, stone pelting started. After this, the shops of the market started burning. The police had brought the situation under control.

Then the procession takers gathered at one place and set fire to some shops in protest. Shops of 39 people were burnt. Handcarts of 20-25 poor were burnt. Curfew was imposed immediately thereafter. The relaxation was given keeping in mind Navratri and Ramzan. In this exemption, too, some shops were set on fire. According to the police chief of the state, properties of 80 people were damaged. Also, 22 people, including six policemen, were injured in stone pelting and violence, out of which five suffered serious injuries. One seriously injured had to be admitted to SMS Hospital in Jaipur, due to the destruction in Futakot Bazar and Hathwara Bazar. There was damage. These markets are situated in very narrow streets, where shops are built very close to each other and it is not easy to get out of the vehicles in the rush. Even the fire brigade could not control the fire due to burning of lac bangles in the shops. Also, the shops were so close that the fire spread from one shop to another. The Superintendent of Police said that the controversial songs, allegedly from the DJ car, are being investigated at this time. There were some conditions on the procession, like there was no permission for DJ, but it happened. Along with this, there was also a condition that no person of criminal background should be in the yatra. Despite this, people with many criminal cases remained involved in the rally. 

Incident Investigation 

During the fact-finding, the investigation team interacted with many victims, although both the Hindu Muslim parties have suffered a lot due to this nuisance, but due to paucity of time, all the victims could not be met. Highlights of the victims are discussed is as follows. 

The investigation team spoke to one of the victims, whose name is Atiq Ahmed. Atiq Ahmed works as a conductor. He has two daughters who are mentally challenged, they told that they were about to reach their house at around 6:30 pm on April 2, after taking bath and going to offer Namaz that the police entered the house in which many policemen were not even in uniform. And as soon as he came, the policemen started abusing him and beating all the members of the house. They caught him and took him to the police station. The police beat him badly at home as well as in the police station. He tells that the police kept him in illegal custody for two days, gave him a roti in the name of food and was given water when he asked. The police were repeatedly pressurizing him to accept the charge of pelting stones. The distance from the house is very long, it was not possible to throw stones from such a distance. Atiq Ahmed tells that after the violence, many people of his locality had taken shelter in his house in fear, so perhaps the police targeted him. 

2. Nausheen Ahmed is the wife of Matloob Ahmed, the police are looking for Matloob Ahmed. Police have yellow safety tapes in front and around his house and it is alleged that people attending the rally were pelted with stones from the roofs of the houses on this side of the road. The investigation team spoke to his wife Nausheen Ahmed. Slogans were raised loudly in the rally. “topi wala will also bow his head and say Jai Shri Ram one day” These slogans or songs were being played on a DJ vehicle present in the rally. My husband was explaining to the Muslim youths who were getting furious. Nausheen alleges that her husband is being framed. According to her, that day her husband was helping the injured, cleaning their blood. The police, under pressure from the media, made him an accused and one day the policemen started raiding the house to arrest him. They came together and forcibly entered the house started ransacking me and my sister-in-law was caught by the police and they took us to the police station. There a male cop hit me on the face due to which my nose started bleeding, he continued to ask me questions about Matloob and abusing the Muslim community. After a few hours we got our mouths washed with water and blood was cleaned. The police wrote all our relatives names and addresses and then left us.

3.  DJ vehicle owner Sonu Prajapati told a news agency that that day the people involved in the yatra were dancing, chanting the slogan of Shri Ram and “Topi Wala” song was playing. Prajapati told that a leader of Hindu society booked this train for April 2 for Rs 5,100. Many people associated with the journey are silent for fear of arrest and have switched off their phones. Ravindra Punia, who worked with Prajapati, told that someone had put his mobile in the car, in which songs were playing. He does not remember the lyrics of the songs and says that religious songs were being played in the vehicle. In the violence of April 2, this vehicle was damaged, due to which Sonu Prajapati suffered a loss of five to six lakh rupees. To avoid the sticks, he hid in a cabin inside this. That day, both Sonu and Ravindra hid in a cabin inside the same vehicle to avoid stones and sticks and came out only after the arrival of the police. Now this car is parked in Kotwali police station. 

4. Zakir Khan had a hair salon shop, the attackers first robbed Zakir Khan’s shop and went away with his shop, his nephew’s clothes shop was looted and ransacked. Till now no compensation has been received from the government, nor any government employee came for the survey. 

5. Shahid Khan told the investigation team that his shop was burnt in the violence, we closed the shop after hearing the news of the ruckus, Shaheed Khan tells that his uncle’s shop and house were burnt. Shaheed Khan told that his brother Zafar’s shop has also been burnt, he told the fact-finding team that our shops were looted first and then they were set on fire. 

Humanity and devotion to duty of policeman Netresh Sharma

On April 2, on the first day of Navratri, Vinita Agarwal had gone shopping with two and a half year old daughter Pihu and female relatives to Futakot Bazaar when a stampede and arson started. Vinita entered a house after which the police came and policeman Netresh Sharma rescued his daughter from the fire. In the evening of that day, the picture taken by local journalist Umesh Sharma went viral. In which Pihu was running away from the flames by wrapping her in a stole. Vinita Aggarwal is seen running. When the police came, she was rescued with the help of Netresh Sharma and other policemen.

Press Conference of Superintendent of Police

State Director General of Police ML Lather called a press conference on April 8 regarding the Karauli city violence case and while giving information about the Karauli violence in this press conference, said that the police is strictly dealing with anti-social elements. At the same time, he said that the police did not follow all the guidelines, due to which violence erupted.

Role of PFI 

BJP and a section of the media is blaming violence on an organization named PFI, the fact-finding team also got a chance to meet the state president of the organization, Mohammad Asif, in Karauli. He had come to Karauli with the state’s joint Muslim organizations’ committee of the Rajasthan Muslim Forum’s delegation. He told that his organization had written a letter to the Chief Minister and the DGP on March 31, in which he had given some suggestions regarding the saffron rally going out in the entire state. There was no mention of Karauli anywhere in this letter. A section of the media is associating this letter with the Karauli violence. He also said that there is no member of his organization in Karauli yet, then how can our organization be involved in the conspiracy of violence.

Conclusion 

After talks with all the parties and the superintendent of police, the investigation team came to the conclusion that when the violence took place on April 2, who decided the route of the procession? And who allowed the DJ? Why did the district police not follow the guide line of the Director General of Police completely? When the police were involved in the procession and provocative slogans were being raised in front of them, why did the police not stop such songs and slogans? After the violence, the illegal way in which the police raided the houses of the people and misbehaved with the family members was completely illegal. The local police also threatened to take the fact-finding team into custody and tried to take them to the police station. It is clear from the police’s statement that the police and the local administration allowed this to happen due to the communal mindset. When the incident of arson took place, many examples were also found in which Hindu men and women were hiding in the houses of Muslim to save their lives. And the Muslims were hiding in the houses of the Hindu. If we look at the history of communal violence, it is known that after the violence, the local citizens go to safe places till the situation becomes normal and then after the situation becomes normal, some people also come back. After the violence, fearing the action of the police, they leave their homes and go. BJP is giving it the name of exodus, there was communal tension in Karoli in 2006 and 2013 but there was no such major violence. Whoever suffered in the violence were the poor people. They had their belongings but the buildings which are there are mostly of Hindus. The damage has been done to both the societies. Behind the violence of Karoli, it cannot be ignored that all this has happened in Rajasthan at a time when the Vidhan Sabha is coming next year. 

Demands

1. An impartial inquiry should be conducted into the entire incident from the retired judge of the High Court.

2.  Those who were not involved in the said incident but a false case has been registered in their name, the names of those people should be removed.

3. All those people whose commercial establishments have suffered financial loss due to this nuisance, should be fixed fair compensation by the state government without any discrimination and it should be compensated soon so that these innocent people can get their life back on track and their businesses and work that have ended can be resumed smoothly and all of them should be given proper compensation.

4. Efforts should be made by the administration to establish communal harmony by taking the responsible persons of both the sides away from the CLG.

5.  The role of Superintendent of Police Shailendra Indolia was not fair in the whole incident, so he should be removed from the post soon.

6. Despite the orders of the local administration, strict action should be taken against the persons and organizations who took out the rally with DJ and gave communal color to the rally so that the cordial atmosphere of Karauli cannot be spoiled again.

7. Whoever is guilty of this nuisance and is actually involved in looting and arson, fast track court proceedings should be done against all those criminals without discrimination.

Suggestions 

The representatives of the Human Rights Organization NCHRO, as a team, investigated the facts of the above developments and found that such incidents are pre-planned with the negligence of the administration, the extremism of radical organizations and political gains of ambitious leaders. But in such incidents, if any administrative officer leaves their formality and fulfills their duties, then such incidents won’t happen easily. Even if it does happen, it is impossible for it to take on such a dangerous form. Therefore, if the administration, leaders and social organizations as well as public representatives and common people fulfill their duties, then it will be the biggest service to the country from their side and it will be impossible for such incidents to happen. It would be better if all the leaders, public representatives, social workers, common people and especially the local administration of Karauli start making efforts to improve the environment of Karauli in time, otherwise in the coming time there may come an even bigger disturbance and violence in which there may be unexpected loss of public money. The fact-finding team suggests that the government should compensate the victims as soon as possible so that they can start their work soon.

21 Mangal Vihaar Extension, Agrasen Path, Behind Riddhi Siddhi Circle, Gopalpur Bypass, Jaipur – 302021