Not many people are aware or convinced that the recent wave of communal rioting and bombing is directly related to the political fortunes of the two major political parties, jostling with each other to win majorities in the coming elections.

It is the job of election commission to broaden its oversight management and to suo moto take into account the political nature of the organised communal riots and bombings, and ban the major participants in the coming elections, if Indian elections have to pass the muster as free and fair. If Chief Election Commissioner is not forthcoming, Public Interest recourse to highest judicial authorities should be made to force the neutral authority of National Election Commission, to absolve itself of the blame of legalising the communal rioting part of the so-called democratic political campaign.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Asghar Vasanwala <>
Date: Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 12:05 PM
Subject: A victim narrates recent tragic riots in Dhulia, Maharashtra, India

Dear friends,

Hindu Muslim riots are a common scourge in India. We have  yet not recovered from Babri Masjid riots , Gujarat Train burning riots, and other 100s of small and big riots, and here is one more; this time in town of Dhulia, in Maharashtra. The riot began on a silly incident of removing of posters plastered by Hindus in Muslim area. Several people were killed and property worth millions was looted and burned. In India, most of Muslims are poor. However, some individual Firqas and groups, who are traders, have done well during the current economic boom and also through job opportunities in Middle East, Europe, USA, and Far East. For example Bohras, Khojas, and Memons have done well. In areas of Maharashtra, such as Dhule or Dhulia, Bohras have established big businesses. However other Muslims, who are mostly Sunnis, have done not so well. They are mostly day labour or have some artesian and handicraft jobs.

Before riots, Dhule Bohras were quite rich. They owned lot of businesses and properties. However, Bohras in general consider themselves different than other Muslims. They wear uniforms like dress to distinguish themselves from other Muslims. Bohra leadership has tried to have a special relationship with Indian political leaders to shield themselves from various allegations against all other Muslims; Sh’ias and Sunnis both. They have given huge sums to leaders like Narendra Modi of Gujarat and Bal Thackeray of Shiv Sena.

Even though the Hindu political leaders are buddy with Bohra leadership, Hindu masses cannot fathom difference between different Firqas of Islam. They put all those who are circumcised in one category: Muslims. So, in time of riots Hindu mobs always loot Bohras because Bohras have money and properties. Bohra leadership’s friendship with Hindu Rightist leaders like Modi and Thackeray doesn’t pay dividend.

I think Indian Muslims should mature from Firqa mentality into oneness. As Allama Iqbal said: “Moj hai darya main beroon-e-darya kuch nahin”  The waves have force when they are together in a sea; separated, it is just forceless water.

Following is the heart rendering story of a Bohra trader of Dhulia. Please note that in the following narration, Bohras refer themselves as mumineen

Vas SalamAsghar Vasanwala

Story of the Dhulia (Dhule) Riot

Interview of Ebrahimbhai Dhuliawala by Mudar Patherya, Calcutta

Q: How would you describe the communal riot that started in Dhulia, Maharashtra, on 5 October 2008

A: The riot has been a watershed in our existence – to the point that a number of us who were settled in Dhulia for decades are seriously contemplating leaving the watanafter merely four days of violence. The irony is that we mumineen were law abiding, faithful to the country, absolutely non-communal and with excellent relations with all communities for decades. However, when the riots broke out, this made no difference. We were branded. We were targeted. We were victimised. We were looted with bedardi (contempt) and most of us completely wiped out. A number ofmumineen ‘khalaas thai gaya‘ (had their livelihoods destroyed) and ‘havey khawanafa-fa chhey‘ (are now struggling to put food on the table).

Q: How bad was the violence?

A: The riot in Dhulia followed a familiar script – mumineen being caught in the clash between two communities and looted single mindedly. The irony is that in the aftermath of the riot, a number of sane minded Hindus openly confess that the Bohras had really nothing to do with this communal nonsense but were wrongly targeted. With good reason: the Bohras represented the only ‘lootable‘ segment from within the minority community, so while the other segments of the minority community were targeted in other humiliating ways, we were targeted economically. However, there were stray instances when the violence perpetrated on mumineenextended beyond the economic: in one case, a mumin bhai returning from Nasik was forcibly shaved, stripped and paraded naked in front of his family.

Q: ‘Wiped out.’ Can you explain the statement?

A: We were a community of 600 individuals in Dhulia with around 70 shops. I would reckon that around 75 per cent of the shops were completely cleaned out. When I mean ‘completely’, I mean that these shops were looted for all the stocks that they possessed and thereafter, for all the furniture. The amazing thing is that the looting was clinically planned: it was carried out by the backward classes – if you know the way most riots in the country are planned, you will realize that much of the looting is delegated to people who can benefit most from it – and it was conducted with the help of organized transport under police vigilance. You actually had a number of Tata Ace mini-vans line in front of mumineen shops and looted of high cost and quick moving stock in the first phase of the looting that began on 6 october. After one mini van had been stocked with looted material, another empty minivan would materialize immediately after and after this van had been stocked, another would come in immediately after. It was like an assembly line operation. one would actually think that the shop was up and running and someone inside the shop was actually filling out a challan and dispatching material for sale, except that this was full-fledged loot! The riots were selected cleverly as an opportunity for the have-nots to get even with the haves with official protection!

Q: Didn’t the mumineen even attempt to prevent this?

A: In a number of cases the mumineen didn’t even get to know as the house and the shop were at a distance and much of the looting transpired behind their back. In other cases where the shop and house were joint – this is a common feature in semi urban India – the process employed was to torch the house, drive real fear into the residents and then loot cum torch the shop. The only instance where this was not followed was when the looters encountered a well stocked – it had four years of consumption material in it – shop of fireworks and they merely looted but did not torch for the fear of setting off an uncontrollable blaze that would have affected the other community since this shop was right in the middle of an integrated neighbourhood. This, however, did not prevent them from torching the fireworks warehouse slightly outside of Dhulia and the result was that when this place exploded, we could heard the boom 12 kms away. Imagine!

Q: Didn’t the police step in to stop this?

A: I must make this point that we strongly feel that the police was hand in glove with the looters. They did an excellent job of playing passive spectators. They gave the looters a free run for three full days before the first arrests took place on Wednesday last week. There is a pertinent term which describes the role the police played and that is ‘mili bhagat‘. This is precisely the reason that a number of mumineen have lost the heart to stay back in Dhulia. I mean we could work hard and industriously for years, build up savings, create a respectable establishments and all this could disappear in front of our eyes because the police would take sides. The foundation of a credible society is the assurance of ‘jaan aney maal ni hifaazat‘ (protection of one’s self and property) but when the law enforcer colludes with the law breaker the first reaction is ‘let us get out of here’.

Q: How are mumineen getting their economic momentum back?

A: Most of us who are dealers and agents for their organized sector have asked our principals to extend our three week receivables cycle to a couple of months and I am relieved to state that in most cases this has become a reality. That is on the supply side. On the sales side, we have a more serious problem: as things stand today, members of one community have decided to buy only from within their community. We mumineen had a flourishing multi-community customer base and besides how much will 600 people buy from within? So we stand to be considerably affected if this persists for long.

Q: Are most mumineen contemplating leaving Dhulia?

A: A number of them definitely are because they are completely ruined and do not have any confidence left in the system. They had struggled and created a financial base for themselves, invested extensively in inventory and today they have gone back a number of years in their earnings cycle.

At such a bleak time in our lives, there has been only one ray of hope and that has been the dua mubaraka of Huzurala TUS. When the news of the Dhulia riot was conveyed, he interrupted the imtihaan address and pronounced dua for us mumineen,his words – ‘aag ma si bag thai jaasey‘ and ‘ek na sittair thai jaasey‘ – have given us hope. Besides, we have in front of us the precedent of what happened in Gujarat where mumineen recovered from the riots of 2002 and are considerably better off now than they ever were.

Our aqeeda is simple: if this could happen there then with Huzurala’s dua it could happen here as well. At this trying time in our lives, Huzurala’s dua is our onlyhimmat!

Further reading: The Hindu : National : Livelihoods go up in smoke in Dhule

Livelihoods go up in smoke in Dhule



Meena Menon 







DHULE (MAHARASHTRA): Shabbir Merchant Burhani is a broken man today. He can’t hold back his tears as he talks about the loss of his shops at Datta Chowk in Dhule. He owned Burhani Complex and a mall on the ground floor which was gutted in the communal riots which broke out on October 5. “I have lost Rs.1.35 crore totally,” he said. Five shops of the 40 in the complex were looted by the mob.

Mr. Burhani’s shops were being targeted for the third time. First, in the 1992 riots after the Babri Masjid demolition and then in 2000. But the damage then was not so extensive. “They could have looted the mall. Why did they have to burn it down and destroy it? Twelve years ago, it cost me Rs.72 lakh to build it,” he said.

“What is our crime?”



The Dawoodi Bohra community to which he belongs lost 28 shops in the city. Only four shops remain. “We don’t even have insurance as we are not permitted to take risk cover. The mall was a very posh building and an easy target. What is our fault? We are businessmen, we pay tax to the government and we are Hindustanis. What is our crime?” he asked.

The eldest of six brothers, Mr. Burhani said he and the others had called the police many times but no help was forthcoming. “We know the people who did this as my brothers can identify them,” he added.

Another businessman, Lateef Anwar, a partner in Mega Enterprises, which is a government-approved octroi and toll tax collection agency, has been losing Rs.9.13 lakh a day since October 5. Mr. Anwar’s company has a contract with the Dhule Municipal Corporation to collect the tax and has to deposit Rs.9.13 lakh daily as per the terms. He has deposited a bank guarantee of Rs.5.85 crore in case he defaults.

Workers terrified



“I cannot even start the toll centres as my workers are terrified. The collection centres were attacked by mobs of 200 to 300 people and all 24 centres at various points in the district were burnt down on Sunday [October 5]. My workers ran away in fear and are unwilling to return,” he said.

Mr. Anwar, a Malegaon-based businessman, finally had to seek police protection and will restart the collection centres once the security is in place.

“The mobs came with petrol and started burning down the centres. There was no one to stop them,” he pointed out.

Being a Shiv Sena corporator did not help Kalpana Mane in the riots. Her house in Madhavpura was targeted and mobs looted the place. Her godown was completely burnt.

“I was inside my house with my children for three hours before I managed to escape. The mob destroyed my furniture and television set and other items,” she said. “I don’t know why this has happened. We had so many peace meetings but it did not work. My workers are trying to salvage what is left in the godown but there is not much,” she pointed out.

She said most of the Hindu houses in the lane were targeted and burnt down. “I am not living here without protection,” she said.

The lane in Madhavpura is piled high with stones used in the riots and truckloads of debris were being cleared when curfew was relaxed last Saturday.



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  1. followern Says:

    Indeed atrocities have been committed. If the Muslims are moving out of the town where are they going? Do they know any place where such events won’t occur? Now it is necessary to think what can be done 1) to repair the damage 2) to prevent it from happening again.
    It is said that public memory is only short term. Unaffected people (including politicians and religious leaders, common man) will read these disturbing news for a few days and forget.
    Proper documentation of the damage done has to be made. Upon inquiry by govt. bodies, these would come handy.
    What is govt. doing? What committees are looking into the matter? Put the information on this blog for all to read. If nothing is done, it will be visible to all.
    Who has been arrested, interrogated , released? Please post the information on this page for all to know. This will take time and effort especially after the matter is no more a hot news.

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