The Bhiwandi Disturbances
103.1 Bhiwandi is the taluka headquarters of the Bhiwandi taluka in the Thana district and is situate at a distance of 18 kilometres from Thana and about 53 kilometres from Bombay on the Bombay–Agra Road. It has the largest Muslim population of all the taluka towns in the Thana District, about 65 per cent of the population being Muslims and 35 per cent Hindus in 1970.
103.2 The Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipal Council is a ‘B’ class municipality and is considered the richest ‘B’ class municipal council in the entire state of Maharashtra with an annual income of over Rs.75 lakh.
103.3 The expansion of the power–loom industry in Bhiwandi resulted in an influx of immigrant population and as a result thereof zopadpattis and hutment colonies sprang up all over the place in the most insanitary and filthy conditions. There are a number of lakes and ponds full of dirty water and the roads are very narrow with a network of even narrow lanes, passages and gutters. The immigrant population consists of Muslims from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Malabar and Telugu–speaking Hindu immigrants known as Padmashalis from Andhra Pradesh and a few Keralites. In 1970 Bhiwandi had only one police station, namely, the Bhiwandi town police station. The part of Nagaon, which is included in the municipal limits, also came under the jurisdiction of the town police station, while the remaining part and the revenue village of Khoni fell within the jurisdiction of the Bhiwandi Taluka police Station.
103.4 The revenue village of Khoni, of which the Muslim locality is known as Rasulabad and the Hindu locality as Tagarpada, lies to the north–west of Bhiwandi across the Kamadavi River. In 1970 the population of Khoni was approximately 2,000 of which 70 per cent were Muslims and 30 per cent Hindus.
103.5 The revenue village of Nagaon is situate on the eastern outskirts of Bhiwandi. The Muslim locality of Nagaon is known as Gaibi Nagar and the Hindu locality as Nhavipada. In 1970 the population of Nagaon was approximately 7,000 of which 53 per cent were Muslims and 47 per cent were Hindus.
Shiv Jayanti processions
103.6 The genesis of communal tension in Bhiwandi was the public celebration of Shiv Jayanti by taking out a procession and the behaviour of the processionists and the insistence of the Hindu extremists that the Shiv Jayanti procession must go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque.
103.7 Prior to 1964, Shiv Jayanti was celebrated in Bhiwandi mostly privately and on a small scale, and it was in 1964 that for the first time a public celebration of the Shiv Jayanti in Bhiwandi took place. Unfortunately, the organisers of the very first public celebration of Shiv Jayanti in Bhiwandi were a group of youngsters who banded themselves to form a Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti and organized the programme. This Samiti totally excluded the Muslims and gave to Shiv Jayanti the appearance and colour of a purely Hindu festival. From the very first public celebration of the Shiv Jayanti, the behaviour of a section of the processionists left much to be desired. Even though the organisers of the procession had agreed to a route which avoided four mosques, in the course of the procession the P.S.P. group in the procession wanted to change the route and take a road which went past the Quarter Gate Mosque and the processionists were prevented from doing so only by the firm and determined stand of the police.
The resentment felt by some Muslims at a procession passing by a mosque, playing music, was exemplified in this procession by the attempt of a Muslim to stop the music accompanying the said procession as the procession was passing through Madarchalla. But for the Muslim leaders who removed this man from the spot, trouble would have very likely broken out. The behaviour of a section of Hindu processionists, particularly the R.S.S. and the P.S.P. sections, was calculated to provoke and humiliate the Muslims. Provocative and anti–Muslim slogans were shouted and gulal was thrown in such excess that it annoyed even the police–officers and policemen present there.
103.8 The 1965 Shiv Jayanti procession was characterized by the fact that it was the very first procession, other than purely Muslim procession which went past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque, Provocative slogans were, however, not prominent. A stone thrown by a Muslim at another Muslim as a result of private enmity between them and which hit a third Muslim, Anwar Bubere, could well have led to a communal conflagration, but for the tact and presence of mind adopted by the injured man in declaring that he had fallen down and hurt himself. This incident nonetheless caused an apprehension that if in future a procession went past this mosque there might be trouble.
103.9 The 1966 Shiv Jayanti procession was again characterized by excessive throwing of gulal and for its unduly long halts at two Muslim localities, namely, Hamal Wada Naka and Madarchalla, shouting slogans and playing games. It also witnessed the emergence of trucks fitted with loud speakers for the shouting of slogans and of tableaux, likely to incite communal feelings, such as the tableau in that procession of the meeting between Shivaji and Afzalkhan.
103.10 The 1967 celebrations, just like the 1964 celebrations, were organized by the younger elements amongst the Hindus forming a Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti. They excluded not only all the Muslims but also the older and more experienced Hindu leaders from the Utsav Samiti. The intention of these persons becomes clear when we find that they decided to spend a sum of Rs.1,000 on gulal to be thrown at the time of the procession; that they wanted floats depicting the killing of Afzalkhan by Shivaji, the cutting off of the fingers of Shahistekhan by Shivaji and the cutting off by Shivaji of the fingers of a butcher about to slaughter a cow — each of these incidents capable of inciting communal feelings; and that they deliberately did not decide upon the route of the procession till the last moment. This naturally led to rumours in the town that the procession would not pass off peacefully.
By this time the Pakistani aggression on India in 1965 and the detention of some of the local Muslim leaders, followed by the formation of the Bhiwandi branch of the Majlis–e–Mushavarat in August 1966 and the withdrawal of the Muslim support from the Congress candidate and the giving of it to the P.W.P. candidate in the General Elections had all embittered communal feelings. Ultimately at the S.D.M.’s intervention a settlement was arrived at under which two Muslims were taken on the committee and instead of the proposed floats, only one float depicting Shivaji’s durbar and certain approved slogans were agreed to, it being agreed on the other side that the procession would go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque, though later at the request of the Muslims of Nizampura the route was modified so as to pass by that mosque in such a way as to avoid the hauz or the water tank. This pro
cession was also characterized by excessive throwing of gulal and the shouting of abusive and anti–Muslim slogans and led to the first communal riot in Bhiwandi as the procession went past the said mosque.
103.11 One would have thought that after the riot of 1967 the younger local leaders amongst the Hindus would have become wiser and learnt by experience. Events, however, showed that their reaction was quite the opposite. The younger Hindu elements, most of whom were either members of the Jan Sangh or were pro–Jan Sangh, not only insisted in the meetings of the Peace Committee and the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti that the procession should go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque but also emphatically demanded that there should be no restrictions whatever on the throwing of gulal or the shouting of slogans. At the time of the 1968 Shiv Jayanti procession, abusive, provocative and anti–Muslim slogans were shouted and the whole atmosphere was vitiated by the behaviour of a group of irresponsible Hindu youths even though the Muslims participated in the procession, showered flowers and sprinkled rose water on it, served sherbet to the processionists at various spots and erected decorative arches.
103.12 In April 1969 these extremist Hindu leaders, finding that they were unable to have their way, walked out of the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti and resigned from it, with the result that by their absence the procession that year became a model of what such a procession should be, though these persons and their associates met the procession at various points, threw excessive gulal at it, especially at the Muslim leaders, and raised objectionable slogans. Communalism breeds communalism and the inflexible attitude adopted by some of the Hindu extremist youths was matched by a section of the extremist Muslim youths who became equally adamant that the procession should not pass by the Nizampura Jumma Mosque. This perpetual friction and wrangling at the time of each Shiv Jayanti was reflected in various other incidents which took place in Bhiwandi from 1964 onwards, so that almost each incident that occurred took on a communal colour. Communal and extremist parties founded their branches in Bhiwandi, communal propaganda became a feature of electioneering and communal politics became the order of the day.
The attitude of the police towards
the Shiv Jayanti procession
103.13 An unfortunate feature of these Shiv Jayanti processions was the attitude of the police towards those processionists who shouted objectionable or abusive slogans or slogans which would provoke or humiliate the Muslims or threw excessive gulal, particularly at the mosques. The police did not arrest or remove any of these processionists nor did they prevent the 19 persons who had resigned from the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti or any of their associates from shouting abusive and provocative slogans or throwing gulal on the Muslims with a view to annoy them at the time of the 1969 Shiv Jayanti procession. The police throughout appeared to have taken it that the good behaviour of the processionists was a matter for the organisers of the procession and even the lesson of the 1967 communal riot did not seem to make them think otherwise, for after 1967 they left it to the members of the Peace Committee and Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti to persuade the processionists not to misbehave. It would seem that as long as an actual clash or riot did not take place the police took it that the procession had passed off peacefully and that their bandobast was successful, little realizing the incalculable harm and damage that was caused by their failure to take firm action against the misbehaving procession-ists. The unruly sections in the procession were obviously encouraged by the attitude of the police into believing that they had a licence to indulge in their misbehaviour and, therefore, continued doing so with greater impunity. Had the same firm action been taken against these processionists as was done by the police it the time of the very first Shiv Jayanti procession in 1964 in not allowing the procession to deviate from the agreed route and thus foiling its attempt to pass with music by a mosque, the communal history of Bhiwandi might perhaps have been different.
The communal atmosphere
prior to 1964
103.14 Until about 1964 the communal atmosphere of Bhiwandi was one of amity and co–operation. The main industry of Bhiwandi is the power–loom industry. After 1950 there was a tremendous increase in the number of power–looms. Power–looms were owned both by Muslims and Hindus and though the majority of master weavers were Hindus, the workers belonged to both communities. Factory owners, whether Hindus or Muslims, employed workers of both communities. While the majority of power-loom units were owned by the Muslims, the supply of raw materials and the disposal of the finished products in the market were controlled mostly by the Gujarati and Marwadi Hindus. The Muslim power–loom owners often depended for finance on Hindu financiers and the accounts of Muslim merchants were maintained mostly by the Hindu clerks. A building often accommodated power–looms of several owners and at times in a building some power–looms were owned by Hindus while others were owned by Muslims. There was thus economic and commercial interdependence between the two communities which made for communal peace and harmony, reflected in the election to the officers in the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipality where for a number of years a tradition prevailed that if there was a Muslim Municipal president, the vice-president should be a Hindu, followed in the next term by a Hindu president and a Muslim vice–president.
103.15 The only communal disturbance in Bhiwandi prior to 1967, which the parties could think of for alleging before the Commission, was an incident said to have taken place in 1837. There was also another incident which was alleged to have taken place in 1946 or 1947 in respect of which also no attempt was made to lead any evidence. In January 1948 a resolution was got passed by a strong Muslim League group in the Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipality to change the names of certain roads and amongst the new names to, call a new road as Jinnah Road. This resolution led to some passing tension and on a representation made to the Government not to give effect to, the said resolution, the resolution did not become operative.
Political parties and other
103.16 Though at the relevant time there were a number of political parties as also organizations, not styling themselves as political parties but merely as cultural or religious and cultural organizations, operating in Bhiwandi, the activities of all of them are not relevant for the purposes of the present inquiry. Those political parties and other organizations whose activities and the activities of whose leaders and office-bearers or some of them have a bearing on the matters which this Commission has to decide are the All–India Majlis–e–Mushavarat (the Mushavarat), the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the Shiv Sena, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Bhiwandi Seva Samiti, the All–India Majlis Tamir–e–Millat (the M.T.M.) and the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal (the R.U.M.).
103.17 The Bhiwandi branch of the Mushavarat was formed on August 17, 1966 and in the 1967 General Elections it supported the P.W.P. candidate Bhai Patil. The president of the Bhiwandi branch was one Siddiq Ahmed Fakih, while its Vice–president was Shabbir Ahmed Ansari (C.W. 3), a former Muslim Leaguer. On the death Of Siddiq Fakih on December 6, 1968, Shabbir Ahmed Ansari took charge of the Bhiwandi branch of the Mushavarat and thereafter acted as its de facto president.
103.18 The Bhiwandi branch of the, Jan Sangh was established on October 21, 1964 and in October 1967 Dr. Bhagwan Prabhashankar Vyas (J.S.W. 1) was elected the president of the said Bhiwandi branch and thereafter continued to be elected to that
office year after year. Dr. Vyas and a number of other local Jan Sang leaders have played an important part in the communal history of Bhiwandi. This they did, not by carrying on their communal activities through the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh, but through an organisation formed by them in May 1969, namely, the R.U.M. The only important public activities of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh as such were the holding of a district convention of the Jan Sangh in Bhiwandi on March 10, 1968 to synchronize with the Bakri–Id and the holding of a public meeting on January 6, 1969 at Bhiwandi at which most of the speakers laid emphasis upon the anonymous threatening letters received by some local Jan Sangh leaders and others at Bhiwandi and Kalyan. The Jan Sangh leaders from outside Bhiwandi who have played a role in the communal history. of Bhiwandi were G. M. Puntambekar of Malegaon and A. G. Nimkar of Padgha. They have both made communal speeches at public meetings held by the R.U.M.
103.19 The Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena was formed on September 22, 1966 and Baliram Mahadeo More (S.S.W. 1) was appointed its Shakha Pramukh. Baliram More has played a very prominent part in the municipal politics and in the communal history of Bhiwandi.
103.20 The Hindu Mahasabha did not have a branch in Bhiwandi though it had its branches in Thana, Kalyan and Dombivli. The only activities of its leaders which have a bearing on this Inquiry are the speeches made by V. R. Patil, M.L.A., at Padgha and Bhiwandi on January 23, 1970 and the tour of the Thana District by Pandit Brij Narayan Brajesh, the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, in the course of which he addressed public meetings at Dombivli, Kalyan, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi and Thana on 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th March 1970, respectively, at each of which he made communal speeches.
103.21 The Bhiwandi Seva Samiti was formed on October 15, 1966 by the leaders of the Bhiwandi branch of the Mushavarat. It was a civic front of the Mushavarat. Its policies were guided by Shabbir Ahmed Ansari who became its vice–president. It included a few Hindus amongst its members, but its stand was purely communal. A Hindu, Rajaram Mutayya Kodam, was, however, made its president. It put up candidates for the 1967 municipal elections. The formation of this body and the fighting of the municipal elections by its candidates on communal lines contributed to increasing the communal tension in Bhiwandi.
103.22 The Bhiwandi branch of the M.T.M. was formed on November 3 1968 with Abdul Khaliq Mohamed Ibrahim Momin as its president. It held public meetings in Bhiwandi at which the M.T.M. leaders from Bhiwandi and outside Bhiwandi made communal speeches. On August 29. 1969 the M.T.M. and the Mushavarat jointly took out a silent procession to protest against the arson to the Al–Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The leading part in organizing this procession was taken by the local M.T.M. leaders.
103.23 The R.U.M. was formed on May 23, 1969 by Dr. B.P. Vyas, the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh, and a group of 19 Hindus who had walked out of the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti meeting On April 6, 1969 and had subsequently tendered their resignation from it in protest against the imposition of any restrictions on the Shiv Jayanti procession. Out of these 19 persons, 15 belonged to the Jan Sangh or were pro–Jan Sangh, one belonged to the Shiv Sena and the remaining three did not belong to any particular party at that time. Right from its inception the R.U.M. followed a communal line. It held weekly prayer meetings and public meetings in which communal speeches were made and political leaders from outside Bhiwandi and others who were well–known for making communal speeches were invited to be guest speakers. This way it gained a great hold over a certain section of the Hindus in Bhiwandi and within a few months the tempo and intensity of its activities increased and spread out into the villages round about Bhiwandi and a branch of the R.U.M. was formed at Padgha. The R.U.M. has played a leading role in the communal history of Bhiwandi and was responsible for bringing the communal tension in Bhiwandi to a pitch.
The communal history of
Bhiwandi — 1963 to 1968
103.24 The year 1963 was an important landmark in the communal history of Bhiwandi for in that year, for the first time, in breach of the tradition till then prevailing in Bhiwandi, the Hindus started taking out processions which did not stop playing music while passing by a mosque.
103.25 The year 1964 was another important landmark, for in that year for the first time Shiv Jayanti was publicly celebrated and a procession taken out. It was characterized by the exclusion of Muslims from the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti, the misbehaviour of a section of the proces-sionists, the excessive throwing of gulal, the shouting of provocative and anti–Muslim slogans and the insistence on changing the route to pass by a mosque — an attempt which did not succeed only on account of the firm stand of the police.
103.26 Another important event which happened in that year was the formation on April 21, 1964 of the Bhiwandi branch of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. A communal incident also took place in that year resulting in a near riot which was averted by the intervention of police officers and leaders of both communities. This incident took place near the Nazarana Talkies and was a result of a quarrel between some Hindu and Muslim youths over the sale of cinema tickets. The next day about 150 Hindu youths armed with sticks went to the Muslim locality of Madarchalla where they were confronted by a group of Muslim youths similarly armed. No actual clash, however, took place as a result of the intervention by police officers and leaders of both communities.
103.27 The year 1965 witnessed the spectacle of the very first procession, apart from purely Muslim processions, which went past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque. We have already seen how, at the time of this procession, a communal riot, which could have taken place as the result of a stone thrown by a Muslim at another Muslim which struck a third Muslim, while the procession was going past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque, was avoided by the injured Muslim publicly declaring that he had fallen down and injured himself.
103.28 Another important event in the communal and political history of Bhiwandi was the detention, under the Defence of India Rules, of 18 Muslim leaders from Bhiwandi after the attack by Pakistan on India in September 1965. The detention of some of these leaders was, however, the result of overzeal on the part of some officers and the distrust felt by them of the Muslim loyalty to India. That some of these leaders were unjustifiably detained was soon realized and efforts were made by other leaders to obtain their release. That their detention was unjustified was also admitted by the Chief Minister at a public speech made by him on February 5, 1967 at Bhiwandi during the election campaign for the 1967 general election.
103.29 The year 1966 was an important year for Bhiwandi because it witnessed within a period of three months the formation of three bodies which have played an important role in the communal history of Bhiwandi, namely, the Bhiwandi branch of the Majlis–e–Mushavarat on August 17. 1966, the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena on September 22, 1966 and the Bhiwandi Seva Samiti on October 15, 1966. An incident which took place in 1966 and which requires to be mentioned is the complaint made by Krishnaji Keshav Joglekar, also known as Balasaheb Joglekar, and nine Hindu shop–keepers of Bazar Peth to the police that on April 2, 1966 which was Bakri–Id, beef was carried in open handcarts and a garlanded cow was taken from Nizampura openly through the streets to the slaughter–house on Idgah Road. Balasaheb Joglekar belonged to the R.S.S. and had been the vice–chairman of the
Municipal Council in 1965 and 1966. Questions were also asked about this complaint in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. On inquiry made by the police, the complaint about carrying beef in open handcarts was found to be false.
In order to obviate any such incident, after Inspector Pradhan took charge of the Bhiwandi Town police Station, he moved the D.M. to issue orders under Section 144 Cr.P.C. requiring animals and meat to be carried to the slaughter–house only through certain specified Muslim localities and prohibiting the taking of animals to the slaughter–house in groups or processions or the carrying of meat except in close vehicles provided by the Municipal Council. These restrictions were thereupon imposed and continued to be imposed and were observed.
103.30 The year 1967 witnessed the first communal riot in Bhiwandi. The said riot took place as the Shiv Jayanti procession was passing by the Nizampura Jumma Mosque. The next festival after Shiv Jayanti was Id–e–Milad (Bara Wafaat). The traditional route of the Id–e–Milad procession passed through the Hindu localities of Gauripada, Navi Chawl, Thange Alli and Sutar Alli. It was apprehended that in view of what had happened at the time of the Shiv Jayanti procession the Id–e–Milad procession would not pass undisturbed through Hindu localities and there would be a fresh outbreak of communal disturbances. Accordingly on a report made by Inspector Pradhan, the S.D.M., Bhiwandi, issued an order under section 144 Cr.P.C. prescribing a route which avoided all Hindu localities. The Muslims, however, resented this change and cancelled the procession altogether. This incident shows that just as the extremist Hindus were insisting and were intractable in their demand that the Shiv Jayanti procession with music should go past the Nizampura Jurnma Mosque, the extremist Muslims were equally insistent upon adhering to the traditional route of their procession and to pass through Hindu localities. Had the Muslims leaders had the foresight and wisdom to compromise on this issue and, for the sake of achieving communal amity and peace, had agreed to change their traditional route and willingly avoided Hindu localities, they would have set an example to the other community. By their intractable attitude they failed to avail themselves of this opportunity and showed themselves to be as unreasonable as the Hindu extremists.
103.31 Two other important events of 1967 which affected the communal life of Bhiwandi were the General Elections and the Municipal Elections. In the General Elections, as a result of the support of a majority of the Muslims, particularly the Mushavarat, the P.W.P. candidate, Bhalchandra alias Bhai Patil, was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly with a large majority. The Municipal Elections which took place in August 1967 were characterized by voting on communal lines. Most of the Muslims who were elected were Bhiwandi Seva Samiti candidates and several Muslims who had stood as Independent candidates lost to the Shiv Sena candidates. The Hindu candidates who had taken a leading part in the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti of 1967 were elected from Hindu localities. This year also saw the formation of the Peace Committee. In view of the communal riot which had taken place at the time of the 1967 Shiv Jayanti procession, a Peace Committee was set up prior to the Ganpati festival, with the president and vice–president of the Municipal Council as ex–officio president and vice–president, and two respected leaders of Bhiwandi, Bhausaheb Dhamankar (C.W. 2) and Murtaza Fakih (B.R.W. 1), were elected additional vice–presidents.
This Peace Committee was set up as a result of the suggestion and efforts made by the district authorities. The National Integration Council had recommended the setting up of such committees, but the commendable thing about the Peace Committee set up in Bhiwandi was that it was set up even before the Conference of the National Integration Council held in June 1968. The Ganpati festival of 1967 passed off peacefully, apart from an incident in which two Muslim boys tried to obstruct a small Ganpati installation procession which was going past the Quarter Gate Mosque playing music. The other Muslims and the police who came immediately on the scene intervened and no incident took place. The Ganpati immersion procession saw a new figure stepping out in the person of Dr. B. P. Vyas (J.S.W. 1) on the communal stage of Bhiwandi. He had unsuccessfully contested the 1967 Municipal Elections. At the time of the Ganpati immersion procession he instigated the younger elements amongst the Hindus to linger near the Panjrapole Dargah and to continue with their dancing near it. He joined the Jan Sangh in 1967 and in October 1967 was elected the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh and continued to be elected to that office year after year.
103.32 Various religious festivals held in 1968 passed off peacefully. Most of them were celebrated jointly. The Moharram processions, unlike in the previous years, passed through Hindu localities as quickly as possible without lingering. Ramzan–Id was celebrated jointly and the Muslims participated in the Shiv Jayanti procession, served sherbet to the processionists and erected decorative arches. However, certain incidents which took place showed that beneath the surface of communal goodwill and amity communal unrest and distrust were simmering amongst certain sections of both communities. In September 1968 there were six incidents of minor assaults on Muslims and two cases of rioting in which some Hindus were beaten. At a meeting of the Peace Committee held on September 17, 1968, in view of these incidents it was decided that members of the Peace Committee should move about in different localities and wards and call the younger elements and talk to them.
At these ward meetings the gravamen of the complaints was the misbehaviour of the goondas of both communities. Another complaint was that some incidents of disorderly behaviour had taken place because proper respect was not shown to the National Anthem when played at the end of the cinema shows. The police thereupon started a drive against such persons and arrested 36 Muslims and 16 Hindus in 1968, two Muslims and one Hindu in 1969 and one Muslim and one Hindu in 1970 and prosecuted them for disorderly behaviour. In spite of these prosecutions against both Hindus and Muslims for showing disrespect to the National Anthem, it was alleged in several Hindu affidavits filed before the Commission as also by some Hindu witnesses that only the Muslims had shown such disrespect.
103.33 Another incident of 1968 which led to communal tension was the holding of the Jan Sangh district convention in Bhiwandi on March 10, 1968 which coincided with Bakri–Id. The said convention was originally proposed to be held on February 18, 1968 at Bhiwandi but because of the death of the Jan Sangh president, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, on February 11, 1968 it was postponed and was ultimately held on March 10, 1968. Dr. Vyas, the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh, requested Shabbir Ahmed Ansari (C.W. 3), the Municipal president, for permission to hold a public meeting on that day on the Azad Maidan close to the Quarter Gate Mosque. Shabbir Ahmed granted the permission but probably in view of what the Chief Officer of the Municipal Council pointed out to him, he cancelled the permission and at his request the venue of the meeting was changed to the Municipal School near the Vegetable Market.
Though until the day previous to the convention the Jan Sangh workers had decided to go from the place of the closed session of the convention to the place of the public meeting by the shortest possible route, on the morning of March 10, 1968 it was learnt by the police that the Jan Sangh workers were thinking of taking out a ‘Janata Morcha’ through all the localities of Bhiwandi terminating at the venue of the public meeting. This proposed route covered five mosques, including the Nizampura Jumma Mosque. The S.P. and the other police officers, persuaded the Jan Sangh leaders not to go past the Nizampura Jurnma Mosque and the
Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque. In the morning of that day when Jan Sangh workers from different towns started coming to Bhiwandi in groups by S.T. buses, a group of Jan Sangh workers passing by the Quarter Gate Mosque shouted the slogan "Jan Sanghacha Vijay Aso". After the prayers were over in the said mosque, Muslims shouted their slogan "Nara–e–Takbir, Allah–o–Akbar". Several persons thought that this slogan was shouted intentionally to jeer at the other community. The police intervened and pacified both the groups. However, other groups of Jan Sangh workers who passed by this mosque also indulged in slogan shouting. During the course of the Jan Sangh procession a few stones were pelted at the procession, though no one was injured. The police immediately intervened, pushed the processionists forward and arrested some Muslims. In order to avoid further trouble, arrangements were made by the police, in consultation with the Jan Sangh leaders, to bring S.T. buses to the spot nearest the place of the public meetings. Further incidents of assaults took place that night and a couple of days later. The evidence does not leave any doubt that the day of Bakri–Id was deliberately selected in order to make this district convention of the Jan Sangh synchronize with the celebration of Bakri–Id.
103.34 In 1968 in order to continue being in the limelight Dr. Vyas organized, for the first time in Bhiwandi, a Navratri procession. Another important event which took place in the communal life of Bhiwandi in 1968 was the formation of the Bhiwandi branch of the M.T.M. on November 3, 1968.
The communal history
of Bhiwandi — 1969
103.35 The year 1969 was one of communal unrest for Bhiwandi. In connection with the Republic Day celebrations in the evening of January 25, 1969, a mass drill by students of different schools was arranged at the P. R. High School. While returning from the said function some boys of the Rais High School were assaulted by some boys of the P. R. High School. The previous night also some stones had been thrown at the boys of the Rais High School while returning from a cultural programme of different schools held in the Marathi school at Narali Talao. In view of this incident, the Head Master of the School, who was in charge during the absence from Bhiwandi of the, Principal, got panicky. So did the parents of several students who started making telephone calls to him. Accordingly, the flag hoisting ceremony and the singing of the National Anthem took place in the school premises, but the students of the Rais High School did not attend the main official function which usually took place after the flag hoisting at various schools, but instead arrangements were made to see the students safely to their homes accompanied by teachers. The non–participation by the students and teachers of the Rais High School was construed as a deliberate boycott of the Republic Day celebrations and as indicating the anti–national attitude of the students and teachers of the school and caused considerable resentment. Complaints were made to the authorities. The authorities made enquiries and the correct facts were ascertained. Nonetheless, the resentment remained. It must be said that though there was a reason for the non–participation by the students and teachers of the school in the official Republic Day function, the decision not to participate was a tactless and unwise decision capable of leading to great misunderstanding, as it in fact did. The school authorities would have done better to have informed the police and the taluka Magistrate about what had happened the previous night and asked for proper bandobast to be made. Instead, this ill–advised decision caused considerable damage to the school’s image and laid its authorities and students open to a charge of being anti–national.
103.36 Shiv Jayanti was celebrated on April 18, 1969. This was a fateful Shiv Jayanti for Bhiwandi for it led to the formation of the R.U.M. Nineteen persons, 15 of them belonging to the Jan Sangh, one to the Shiv Sena and three with no particular party affiliation, staged a walk–out from the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti meeting as they failed to carry their point that there should be no restrictions with respect to the shouting of slogans and the throwing of gulal and that the procession should go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque. Later, under the inspiration of Dr. Vyas, these 19 persons along with Dr. Vyas and others formed the R.U.M.
The rest of the year was marked by the holding of meetings at which communal speeches were made; street brawls in July, September and October 1969 in some of which the boys of the Rais High School and the president of the R.U. M., Bhaskar Mali, and his brother were involved; complaints and cross–complaints; the tutoring of complainants by local leaders; public quarrels between municipal councillors; the local M.T.M. and Mushavarat taking out a mammoth silent procession of 15,000 Muslims to protest against the arson to the Al–Aqsa Mosque; and rumour–mongering about the Ahmedabad disturbances in private and public meetings. This year of unrest was followed by four months of mounting tension which ultimately culminated in the disturbances which broke out on May 7, 1970.
103.37 The 1967 Municipal Elections in Bhiwandi were fought on communal lines. The new Municipal Council which emerged consisted of 19 Muslims and 12 Hindus. Out of the 19 Muslims, 16 had been elected on the Bhiwandi Seva Samiti tickets and the remaining three as Independent candidates. Out of the 12 Hindu Councillors, two were co-opted Councillors, one of whom was Rajaram Kodam, the then president of the Bhiwandi Seva Samiti who had unsuccessfully contested the election on its ticket. The other co-opted Councillor belonged to the opposition. The Seva Samiti group in the Municipal Council thus consisted of 16 Muslim councillors and one Hindu Councillor, namely, Rajaram Kodam, while the opposition group consisted of 11 Hindu Councillors and three Independent Muslim Councillors. The leader of the opposition group was Baliram More, the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena. The narrow majority and the fact that under the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965, the term of office of the president and vice–president was five years, furnished ready-made opportunities for manoeuvring defections by holding out promises of municipal–presidentship and vice–presidentship to the defectors. The result was that the life of this Municipal Council was marked by power politics, defections, quarrels amongst Municipal Councillors, charges and counter–charges hurled by them at one another and, above all, mal–administration and neglect of civic affairs. Fortunately for the people of Bhiwandi, the life of the Municipal Council was prematurely terminated by the Government of Maharashtra on October 23, 1971, by appointing under section 313(i) of the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, the Deputy Collector, Bombay, Division, P. D. Pawar, as the Administrator.
103.38 The Bhiwandi Seva Samiti, which was in a majority, set the pace by attempting to break the convention which had till then existed of allotting chairmanship and vice–chairmanship to municipal committees alternatively to Councillors of both communities. Ultimately they did not do so because it was otherwise found impossible to form committees by reason of the disputes and quarrels over division of seats between the majority and the minority parties.
103.39 The working of the Municipal Council and the behaviour of the Councillors of both the groups were such as generated tension in the town. There were defections and counter–defections and the powers swayed from one group to another. Almost no meeting of the Municipal Council was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. Whichever the party in opposition was, it rarely allowed the party in power to take a decision on any matter. At several meetings pandemonium prevailed and the meetings ended in chaos. On occasions the Municipal President had even to ask for police bandobast at the time of the meetings. There
were occasions when angry words and even filthy abuses were exchanged. Supporters of the two groups collected for the meetings of the Council and taking advantage of the chaos they also participated in the hurling of abuses and the passing of derogatory and unbecoming remarks about members of the opposite group. Civil administration was completely neglected and malpractices prevailed. To cite but one instance of the abuse of their position by Municipal Councillors, the Municipal Councillors and particularly the leaders of the two parties in the Municipal Council considered it their right to use the municipal jeep for private trips within municipal limits. Municipal politics embittered the discussions in the meetings of the Peace Committee and the steering committee and led to fights and quarrels between Councillors outside the Municipal Council.
103.40 Apart from a few office–seeking Hindu Councillors who were members of the Bhiwandi Seva Samiti and three Independent Muslim Councillors who belonged to the opposition group led by Baliram More, all the Councillors in the Bhiwandi Seva Samiti group were Muslims and all the Councillors in the opposition group were Hindus. Some of these Independent Muslim Councillors also fell to lure of offices and defected back and forth. In substance, therefore, the two groups in the Municipal Council were the Muslim group and the Hindu group, both of them with but a common platform, namely, by any means to secure majority in the Municipal Council and thus be in power and enjoy the plums of office. The communal lines upon which the municipal elections were fought and the communal line–up of the Councillors played a considerable role in setting up Hindus against Muslims and Muslims against Hindus in Bhiwandi. Three instances of how communalism affected municipal politics and civic administration will suffice.
103.41 The first example is that of the encroachment made by the trustees of the Khutala Mosque upon the adjoining municipal land, namely, the reclaimed land of the old Khutala Tank, by fencing the land and starting some construction thereon. In spite of repeated complaints, the Municipal Council, of which the majority consisted of Muslims, took no steps to have the said encroachment removed. This caused considerable resentment amongst the Hindus and complaints were made, amongst others, by Dattatraya Mahadeo More, the brother of Baliram More, to the D. M. about the said encroachment. In January or February 1969 Dattatraya More and eight or nine other Hindus threatened to go on a fast outside the town police station. The attempts made by the D. M. to persuade the successive Municipal presidents to have the said encroachment removed did not succeed. After the disturbances of May 1970, on August 9, 1970, Dattatraya More again threatened to go on a fast. Ultimately, the Director of Municipal Administration issued directions under section 312 of the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965, calling upon the Municipal Council to remove the said encroachment. Thereupon the Municipal Council removed the wire fencing and some of the encroachment. The trustees thereupon filed a civil suit and obtained an ex-parte ad interim injunction against the Municipal Council. In spite of repeated reminders in that behalf, the Municipal president did not care to reply to the D. M. and inform him about what had happened to the application for interim injunction or in the matter of the said suit.
103.42 The second example is that of the Urdu inscriptions on municipal vehicles. The name of the Municipal Council used to be painted on Municipal Fire Brigade vehicles both in English and Marathi scripts. Sometime in April 1969 under the orders of Abdul Salam Ansari, the then Municipal president, who had obtained that office as the price of defecting to Baliram More’s group, the name of the Municipal Council was added in Urdu script on the said vehicles. This caused considerable resentment amongst a section of the local Hindus. Baliram More’s brother, Dattatraya More, sent an application to the Chief Officer threatening to apply tar on the Urdu writing in case no action was taken. A signature campaign was also started by Shankar Govind Mundhe who either belonged to the Jan Sangh or was pro–Jan Sangh. Both Dattatraya More and Shatkar Mundhe were two of the 19 persons who had staged a walk-out from the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti at the time of the 1969 Shiv Jayanti procession.
103.43 The third example is that of filling vacancies in the municipal service. The fact that the Muslims were in a majority in the Municipal Council led to rumours that almost all vacancies in the municipal service were filled by appointing Muslims thereto. Apart from the fact that all the while the Muslim group was not in power, the statistics produced before the Commission show that there was no factual basis for these rumours. Nonetheless these rumours served to aggravate the communal bitterness prevailing in Bhiwandi.
103.44 Soon after the new Municipal Council was formed, the minority group led by Baliram More tried to win over Muslim Councillors from the Bhiwandi Seva Samiti group in order to secure a majority and the Seva Samiti group tried to win over Councillors from the Opposition group in order either to increase its majority or to swing back the balance of power in its favour. Each group succeeded in making Councillors from the other group defect to its side and some of the Councillors who defected were induced to defect back again. Amongst those who defected from the Seva Samiti group to Baliram More’s group were A. B. Syed and Abdul Salam Ansari. The latter had been promised the municipal presidency as the price of his defection and on his defecting to. Baliram More’s group the price promised to him was paid and he was elected the Municipal President with the support of almost all Hindu Councillors and a few Muslim Councillors. The Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena made a great show of the defection of Abdul Salam and when he was elected as the Municipal President it held a public meeting to felicitate him at which even the Shiv Sena leaders of Thana remained present. A person who wielded considerable influence over some Councillors, though not a Municipal Councillor himself, was Rauf Punjabi. In June 1969 efforts were made by him to win back some Municipal Councillors to the Seva Samiti group. These efforts proved successful. Thinking that he was about to lose power in the Municipal Council, Baliram More submitted a written representation, dated June 30, 1969 to the Chief Minister complaining against Seva Samiti Councillors and contending that they were responsible for the communal riot at the time of the 1967 Shiv Jayanti procession. He also got the said representation published in the Shiv Sena Marathi weekly, Marmik. As a result of Rauf Punjabi’s efforts, two Councillors, including A. B. Syed, defected back to the Seva Samiti with the result that Baliram More’s group lost its majority. A no–confidence motion was thereafter moved against Abdul Salam Ansari and Abdul Salam tendered his resignation. For the said reasons Baliram More entertained feelings of animosity and hostility towards Rauf Punjabi.
The very day on which Abdul Salam tendered his resignation, namely, on July 8, 1969, there was a street brawl between Bhaskar Mali, the president of the R. U. M., his brother and some other Hindus on the one hand and some boys of the Rais High School on the other. A number of local leaders rushed to the Rais High School. An undignified and unbecoming exchange. of words took place there between Baliram More and Rauf Punjabi, Rauf Punjabi calling Baliram More a gambler and a-bootlegger. Baliram More thereupon went straight in the municipal jeep to the Bhiwandi Town Police Station and lodged a false complaint that Rauf Punjabi had used derogatory words about the entire Hindu community. As this was a non-cognizable case, he was referred to Court. He, however, did not lodge any complaint in Court. Baliram More also took his revenge on A. B. Syed by giving on or about July 26, 1969 false information to the police that Syed’s son had abducted a married Hindu girt who was a minor. Defections and re-defections continued to take place and once
again Baliram More succeeded in recapturing power, by agreeing to make Zuber Patel, a Bhiwandi Seva Samiti Councillor, the Municipal president if he defected to Baliram More’s group.
103.45 Tired with this game of power politics, several Councillors held a meeting in February 1970 and arrived at a compromise that the Municipal president, the vice-president and the chairman of the Municipal Committees should resign every six months and in their place others selected by a committee of five Councillors jointly appointed by both groups should be elected. Baliram More did not attend this meeting and was not in favour of this compromise. As a result of the said compromise, the necessity of making Councillors defect from one group to the other in order to tilt the balance of power disappeared and no defections took place thereafter.
103.46 In order to win over Muslim Councillors to his group, Baliram More had not joined the extremist section of the Hindus in the Peace Committee and the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti, had adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the demands and grievances of the Muslims and did not insist that the Shiv Jayanti procession should go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque. He also served sherbet to the processionists in the Moharram procession in 1969 when it passed through his locality. In February 1969 when the agitation in connection with the Maharashtra–Mysore boundary dispute launched by the Shiv Sena led to riots in various places, Bhiwandi remained quiet and no agitation was undertaken by the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena. After the compromise of February 1970, realizing that there was hardly any hope or chance of his gaining a majority in the Municipal Council, be totally changed his attitude. In sharp contrast to what he had done in February 1969, he called a Bhiwandi Bandh on March 2, 1970 in pursuance of a call for Maharashtra Bandh given by the Shiv Sena. In respect of the 1970 Moharram processions he lodged a false complaint with the police that several Muslims in the Tazia immersion procession had shouted the slogan "Pakistan Zindabad".
He also started demanding in public meetings that the Shiv Jayanti procession should go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque and that if there was any opposition to the said route or any resistance to the procession, the Shiv Sena would give a fitting reply. He started attending meetings of R. U. M. and also invited R. U. M. leaders to the Shiv Sena meetings. After February 1970 he joined hands with the R. U. M. and worked in close co–operation and collaboration with it.
The activities of the Bhiwandi
branch of the Shiv Sena
103.47 The activities of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena were tailored to the political ambitions of its Shakha Pramukh, Baliram More, who desired to capture power in the Municipal Council. The Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena as such did not therefore embark on any communal agitation nor did it start an agitation when in the wake of the February 1969 Maharashtra–Mysore Boundary dispute agitation launched by the Shiv Sena, riots took place in other places. Though Baliram More himself took a placatory and conciliatory attitude towards the Muslims in order to win over Muslim Councillors to his group, several of his followers and his workers joined the R. U. M. Bhiwandi came in for a special attack by the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at a public speech made by him on May 13, 1969 in Thana in which he referred to Bhiwandi as a second Pakistan and alleged that such shameful things were being done by the Muslims in Bhiwandi that he was ashamed to mention those incidents in the presence of ladies. In spite of this attack on the Bhiwandi Muslims by his chief, Baliram More continued to pursue his policy of placating Muslims and winning over Municipal Councillors by bribing them with promises of municipal presidency and vice–presidency.
103.48 As seen above, after the February 1970 compromise entered into by the Municipal Councillors in order to prevent defections, Baliram More’s attitude completely changed. He started attacking the Muslims and made common cause with the R.U.M. and from that time onwards the R.U.M. functioned as a common platform for the Jan Sangh and Shiv Sena leaders and workers of Bhiwandi.
The activities of the Bhiwandi
branch of the M.T.M.
103.49 The Bhiwandi branch of the M. T, M. as also the Kalyan branch of the M. T. M. held several public meetings at which communal speeches were made. Some of the meetings of the Bhiwandi branch of the M. T.M. were addressed by the Kalyan M.T. M. leaders and several meetings of the Kalyan branch of the M.T.M. were addressed by the Bhiwandi M.T.M. leaders. Some of these meetings were also to be addressed by the leaders of the All–India M. T.M. from Hyderabad. In view of the tense situation then prevailing in Bhiwandi, their proposed visit to Bhiwandi and other places in the Thana District was banned by an order dated May 21, 1969 under section 144, Cr.P.C. prohibiting the entry into or remaining within Thana district of these Hyderabad leaders for a period of one week from May 22, 1969.
103.50 At the aforesaid public meetings held by the M.T.M. in Bhiwandi and Kalyan there was constant harping in the speeches of its leaders on the danger facing Islam and the Muslim community in India and the exhortation to them to unite in, order to meet the challenge of the Hindu communal forces. The M.T.M. speakers also constantly criticized the administration and the police as being favourably disposed towards the Hindu communal parties and as taking a prejudicial and biased view against the Muslims and exhorted the Muslims to rely upon themselves and not look to the authorities for protection. The attacks at the M.T.M. meetings against the Hindu communal parties and the counter–attacks by communal–minded Hindu leaders and parties against the M.T.M. brought about a constant state of unrest in the minds of certain sections of both communities in Bhiwandi and led to mounting tension in the town. There were, however, a number of respected secular–minded Muslim leaders in Bhiwandi and as a result of their efforts the M.T.M. did not make much headway in Bhiwandi.
103.51 The M.T.M. propaganda gained in intensity after the Ahmedabad disturbances, keeping pace with the communal propaganda about these disturbances carried on by the R.U.M. and the Hindu communal leaders whom the R.U.M. invited as guest speakers. The persons who were most affected by this propaganda were the youngsters. Feeling alarmed at this, several secular–minded Muslim leaders of Bhiwandi such as Murtaza Fakih, Sikandar Fakih, Anwar Bubere, Ibrahim Maddu, Haji Miyan Tase, Gulam Mahomed Momin and others, found it necessary to hold meetings in different mohallas to impress upon the Muslims, particularly the younger elements among them, that the M.T.M. propaganda was not beneficial to the Muslims and that they should not be misled by it.
103.52 Communal speeches were made at the following public meetings held either by the Bhiwandi or the Kalyan Branch of the M.T.M.— (1) the inaugural meeting held on November 3, 1968 at Bhiwandi for the establishment of the Bhiwandi Branch of the M.T.M., (2) a public meeting held on January 13, 1969 at Bhiwandi, (3) a public meeting held on May 24, 1968 at Kalyan, (4) a public meeting held on May 26, 1969 at Bhiwandi, (5) a public meeting held on June 27, 1969 at Bhiwandi, and (6) a public meeting held on November 1, 1969 at Bhiwandi. The M.T M. leaders and workers who made communal speeches at these meetings were one or more of the following— (1) Saad Ahmed Kazi, (2) Suleman Sikandar, (3) Shabbir Hussain, (4) Syed Khalilullah Hussaini, (5) Mahomed Kasim, (6) Sardar Zafarullah Khan, (7) Abdul Khaliq Momin, (8) Hakim A. Raheman Quadri, and (9) Mahomed Kazi.
103.53 One meeting held by the Bhiwandi branch of the, M.T.M. particularly requires to be mentioned as it shows the hostility which the M.T.M. had evoked. The Bhiwandi branch of the M.T.M. had called a meeting on March 27, 1970 to felicitate the P.W.P. M.L.As., K. N. Dhulap and Bhai Patil. The Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena had announced at a public meeting held on March 17, 1970 that it would not allow the said meeting to be held. In order to carry out its threat, the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena also called a meeting of its own on March 27, 1970 to be held either near the Town Police Station or Kasar Alli, both these places being near the Teen Batti Naka where the M.T.M. meeting was to be held. Both the Shiv Sena and the M.T.M. applied to the Town Police Station for permission to use loud speakers at their respective meetings. The Shiv Sena’s application was prior in point of time and, accordingly, permission was refused to the M.T.M. The M.T.M. therefore postponed its meeting to March 28, 1970.
The object being achieved, no meeting of the Shiv Sena was held on March 27, 1970. At the M.T.M. meeting held on March 28, 1970, neither K. N. Dhulap nor Bhai Patil was present. Amongst the speakers was one Manzur Husein, a member of the Communist Party. He spoke on the communist ideology and attacked the policies of the Jan Sangh and the Shiv Sena. While he was addressing the meeting some stones were thrown at the meeting from Navi Chawl, a Hindu building. Sardar Zafarullah Khan in the course of his speech attacked Dr. Vyas and the Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray. Other speakers, namely, Shabbir Ahmed Ansari, the Mushavarat leader who was invited to the said meeting and one Mohamed Alikhan also attacked the Hindu communal parties and Dr. Vyas. The speech of Abdul Khaliq Momin, president of the Bhiwandi branch of the M.T.M., was also directed against the Jan Sangh and its resolution for Indianization of the Muslims. In the course of his speech he also criticized the police. According to the police, he called upon the people to lend him support to set the Town Police Station on fire. According to the M.T.M., he stated that if the police were out to trample their rights and privileges, it was incumbent upon them to contemplate such acts and in case the people were willing to lend their support he could set such a police station on fire. He further stated that if Dr. Vyas was trying to play with their sentiments, he was capable of bringing about the political murder of Dr. Vyas, provided the masses were ready to lend him their support. After the meeting two instances of stone throwing took place.
103.54 Abdul Khaliq Momin’s speech riled the police, the Shiv Sena, the Jan Sangh and the R.U.M. As the permission to use loud–speakers at this meeting was granted to Abdul Khaliq Momin upto 11 p.m. only and as the meeting had continued beyond that time, the police prosecuted Abdul Khaliq Momin and he was convicted and fined. Zumberlal Kalantri gave a Calling Attention Notice in the Maharashtra Legislative Council alleging that Abdul Khaliq Momin had threatened to burn down the Bhiwandi Town police Station and to murder Dr. Vyas.
103.55 After the Ahmedabad disturbances the leaders and workers of the Bhiwandi branch of the M.T.M. and Mahomed Ali Isa Khan, the General Secretary of the Maharashtra state branch of the M.T.M. (who had visited Bhiwandi and moved about in the town and visited Borivali village near Padgha in order to collect clothes and funds for the relief of the Muslims who had suffered in the said disturbances, carried on communal propaganda in Bhiwandi with respect to the Ahmedabad disturbances by harping upon the fact that the Muslims had suffered more in the said disturbances than the Hindus and that the Hindus were planning to start similar disturbances in other parts of the country and therefore the Muslims should prepare themselves to defend their lives and properties.
The activities of the R. U. M.
103.56 The ostensible aims of the R.U.M. as set out in its constitution were — (1) to celebrate festivals according to Indian tradition; (2) to organize religious, social and cultural programmes; (3) to develop Indian culture consistent with the modern scientific age; (4) to foster nationalistic tendencies; (5) to curb anti–national activities ; and (6) to foster national integrity.
103.57 ‘The real aims of the R.U.M., as apparent from its activities, the utterances of its leaders and of those whom it invited to speak at the public meetings organized by it and to whom it made its platform available, were very different. The activities of the R.U.M. were communally motivated right from the beginning. The majority of its leaders consisted of hot–headed Hindu youngsters imbued with communalism and, as the evidence shows, the guiding spirit of the R.U.M. was Dr. Vyas, the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh. The majority of its members belonged to the Jan Sangh or were pro–Jan Sangh and the rest, with a few exceptions, belonged to the Shiv Sena.
The R.U.M. was so completely Jan Sangh dominated that in the beginning of September 1969, Dattatraya Mahadeo More, Baliram More’s brother, who was the vice-president of the R.U.M. and who at that time did not belong to any political party, and Suresh Kondalkar, a Shiv Sena worker who was the secretary of the R.U.M., resigned from their respective offices on this ground. In all matters likely to create communal tension the R.U.M. adopted a militant and aggressive attitude and set itself up as the champion of what it considered to be the rights of the Hindus against the Muslims and, so to say, to teach the Muslims their place and if they were not willing to learn their place, to teach them a lesson. It even went out of its way to create such occasions. The speeches made by the R.U.M. leaders and its guest speakers at public meetings organized by the R.U.M. leave no doubt what its intentions were. In speech after speech the R.U.M. leaders and others who were their guest speakers stated that the Hindu temples were being attacked by the Muslims, Hindu women made to suffer indignities and that the Hindus must, therefore, unite and crush all such forces and that the R.U.M. was established with this aim in view and particularly to ensure that the Hindus were not harassed by the Muslims in Bhiwandi and that in case there was any such harassment the Hindus should be able to unite and resist it.
103.58 From the very inception, the nature of the R.U.M. activities was not only communal but aggressively communal. This is clearly apparent from the objectionable behaviour at the time of the 1969 Shiv Jayanti procession of those who later became its founders and leaders. These were the persons who in April 1969 had walked out of the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti on the ground that the Shiv Jayanti procession ought not go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque, and that no restrictions with respect to slogans or the throwing of gulal should be reduced to writing or printed in any pamphlet setting out the programme for the Shiv Jayanti celebrations. They along with Dr. Vyas thereafter wanted to take out a separate procession to celebrate Shiv Jayanti and also wanted to invite V. R. Patil, the vice-president of the Maharashtra state Hindu Mahasabha, to give a speech on this occasion but were ultimately dissuaded from doing so. The procession itself, which otherwise passed off peacefully and in an atmosphere of amity and festivity, was marred by these persons. They boycotted the procession and did not participate in it but met the procession at different points and threw excessive gulal on the processionists, and particularly on the Muslim leaders in order to annoy them, and shouted slogans including "Hamse Jo Takarayega, Woh Mitti Me Mil Jayega" and "Hindustan Hinduonka, Nahi Kisike Bapka".
103.59 After its formation, the R.U.M. celebrated Shiv Rajyabhishek Din, the Gandhi Jayanti and the Guru Nanak Jayanti and observed the death anniversaries of Lokmanya Tilak, Veer Savarkar, Shahaji Raje and Sambhaji. Out of these functions, the Shiv Rajyabhishek Din and Guru Nanak Jayanti were celebrated and the death anniversaries of Shahaji Raje Bhosale and Sambhaji were observed for the first time in
Bhiwandi. The very first occasion which was celebrated by the R.U.M. was the Shiv Rajyabhishek Din and there is little doubt that this occasion was celebrated because it coincided with Id–e–Milad. The death anniversary of Shahaji Raje Bhosale, Shivaji’s father, was observed during the 1970 Moharram festival. These celebrations and observances took place for the first time in Bhiwandi and their coincidence with the Muslim festivals must have presented a powerful reason to the R.U.M. leaders in arriving at their decision to have public functions on these two days. In March 1970 the R.U.M. also exhibited on a blackboard an extract from an editorial in the Navbharat Times. According to this extract, a large number of Hindus were being driven out from Pakistan and the other Hindus in Pakistan were forcibly converted to Islam and whenever there were riots in Pakistan, Hindu women became the first target of assault.
This board was exhibited by the R.U.M. on March 13, 1970, the very day on which a meeting of the Peace Committee was to be held for considering the arrangements to be made for the Moharram and Holi festivals and hardly augured a peaceful observance of these two festivals. The leaders of the R.U.M. also instigated the widening of the Holi pits outside Navi Chawl. A number of public meetings were held at Bhiwandi and some also in Padgha and Pundas. In April 1970 and the beginning of May 1970 meetings were also held in Kamatghar, Kamba, Kasheli, Kalher, Puma, Karivali, Kalwa and other villages. These meetings were for the purpose of carrying on propaganda to induce the villagers to join the Shiv Jayanti procession in Bhiwandi. The speeches made at most of the meetings held by the R.U.M. were communal speeches.
103.60 The R.U.M. also held weekly prayer meetings in different temples and the attendance at these meetings went on increasing with each week. These meetings were intended and utilized for making inflammatory–communal speeches calling upon the members of the Hindu community to take the law into their own hands for their protection on the ground that the administration was not competent to do so. The venue of temples for these meetings invested with the aura of religious sanctity and halo the communal propaganda carried on at these meetings and thus gave this propaganda greater force and effect. The R.U.M. invited as guest speakers leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha and the Jan Sangh such as V. R. Patit and Pandit Brij Narayan Brajesh, and of the Jan Sangh such as G. M. Puntambekar and A.G. Nimkar. It also invited as guest speakers other communal–minded Hindu speakers such as Ramesh Sambhus.
103.61 After the Ahmedabad disturbances, the R.U.M. carried on an intensive communal propaganda. Its leaders made much of the anonymous letters received by Dr. Vyas and other local Hindu leaders, observed hartal and took out a morcha on October 11, 1969 against the desecration of temples in which objectionable placards were carried. They also took out a procession in Bhiwandi on October 29, 1969 to celebrate Vijayadashami in which objectionable slogans were shouted. Its members also observed a fast and took out a morcha at Padgha on October 18, 1969 against the desecration of temples. From October 1969 onwards the speeches made at R.U.M. meetings became more and more communal, harping on the Ahmedabad disturbances and inflaming the minds of the Hindus of Bhiwandi against the Muslims.
103.62 At the time of the September 1969 Ganpati festival, the R.U.M. took over complete control of both the installation and immersion processions and managed to put the other Hindu leaders completely in the background. As a result of this strategy, the prestige of the R.U.M. soared in the eyes of the Hindu populace of Bhiwandi and particularly in the eyes of the hot–headed Hindu youngsters and thenceforth the R.U.M. stood out as the champion of Hindu rights and aspirations, and the older, saner and more responsible Hindu leaders lost their hold over the Hindu public. The Ganpati festival of September 1969 thus saw the emergence of the R.U.M. as the most powerful and important communal force in Bhiwandi.
103.63 For some months prior to May 7, 1970, the R.U.M. and its leaders and guest speakers concentrated their energies on carrying on propaganda for the Shiv Jayanti, whipped up communal feeling and exhorted the villagers to come in thousands and participate in the Shiv Jayanti procession, and to put down forcibly and ruthlessly any objection to the route of the procession or any interference with the procession. They openly declared that come what may that year, they would take the Shiv Jayanti procession past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque.
103.64 The R.U.M. leaders after having successfully established their hold over the extremist section of the Hindus in Bhiwandi commenced their propaganda amongst the Padmashalis of the Kanheri locality. They also extended their activities into the villages nearby Bhiwandi and the first place they selected was Padgha village. They were assisted in this by a pleader practising in Padgha, A.G. Nimkar, who was a Jan Sangh worker. They opened a branch in Padgha in October 1969 and several meetings and prayer meetings of the type held in Bhiwandi were held in Padgha. The R.U.M. also held meetings in Pundas and other villages. There are hardly any police reports or intelligence reports on these meetings except some in respect of the Padgha meetings, but the intensive propaganda carried on by the R.U.M. in the villages can be judged from the fact that while prior to 1970 few villagers attended the Shiv Jayanti procession in Bhiwandi, due to the efforts of the R.U.M. about 5,000 villagers attended the 1970 Shiv Jayanti procession.
103.65 Communal speeches were made and communal propaganda of the type mentioned above was carried on at the following meetings held by the R.U.M.— (1) the meeting held on May 29, 1969, the Shiv Rajyabhishek Din, in Bhiwandi, (2) the public meeting held on June 5, 1969 at Kombadpada, Bhiwandi, (3) the public meeting, held on September 29, 1969 at Ganpati Mandir, Brahman Alli, Bhiwandi, (4) the public meeting held on October 7, 1969 in Telugu School, Kanheri, Bhiwandi, (5) the meeting held outside the Taluka Magistrate’s office in Bhiwandi on October 11, 1969 after the R.U.M. procession to protest against the desecration of temples, (6) the public meeting held on October 14, 1969 at Padgha, (7) the public meeting held in Padgha on October 18, 1969 after the morcha taken out to protest against the desecration of temples, (8) the public meeting held in Bhiwandi on October 20, 1969 after the Vijayadashami procession, (9) the public meeting held on January 11, 1970 in Bhiwandi, (10) the meeting held on January 23, 1970 at Padgha, (11) the public meeting held on January 23, 1970 in Bhiwandi, (12) the public meeting held in Bhiwandi on March 10, 1970, (13) the public meeting held in Bhiwandi on March 11. 1970 to observe the death anniversary of Sambhaji, (14) the meeting held on April 7, 1970 in Bhiwandi, (15) the public meeting held on April 11, 1970 at Taralipada, Kamatghar, (16) the meeting held on A ‘I 12, 1970 at Kamba, (17) the meeting held on April 13, 1970 in Vithal Temple, Wani Alli, Bhiwandi, (18) the meeting held on April 18, 1970 at Padgha, (19) the meeting held on April 20, 1970 at Maruti Temple, Hanuman Tekdi, Bhiwandi, and (20) the meeting held on April 27, 1970 at Satyanarayan Temple, Dhamankar Naka, Bhiwandi.
103.66 The leaders and guest speakers of the R.U.M. who made communal speeches at one or the other of these meetings were (1) Ramesh Sambhus, (2) Datta Salvi, (3) Dattatraya Mahadeo More, (4) Uddhav Teje, (5) Dr. B.P. Vyas, (6) Sharad Patwardhan, (7) Bhai Nagle alias A. T. Nagle, (8) Datta Punvarthi, (9) Ram-chandra Patri, (10) Bhaskar Mali, (11) Dilip Tamhane, (12) A. G. Nimkar, (13) G. M. Puntambekar, (14) V. R. Patil, (15) Jagdishchandra Thakkar, (16) Pandit Brij Narayan Brajesh, (17) Shankarrao Gavati, (18) Shantaram Tavre and (19) Lohagaonkar. Though there are no detailed reports of the speeches made at some of the meetings held in Padgha or of the speeches made by Dr. Vyas at Pundas, there is strong reason believe that these were also speeches of the same type. There is equally strong
reason to believe, and the fact is apparent from what happened on May 7, 1970, that the propaganda carried on by the R.U.M. leaders and workers and Ramesh Sambhus in other villages in connection with the 1970 Shiv Jayanti procession was of the same inflammatory, communal nature.
The theory of retaliatory self–defence
103.67 A charge made by the Government, the police and the Hindu parties before the Commission against the Mushavarat and the M.T.M was that it propagated amongst the Muslims the theory of "retaliatory self–defence". The reports of speeches produced before the Commission bear out the correctness of the said charge. The reports of speeches produced before the Commission also clearly show that almost the same doctrine has been preached and propagated in one form or the other by some of the leaders of the R.S.S., the Hindu Mahasabha, the Jan Sangh, the Shiv Sena and of the R.U.M. and its guest speakers. Thus even the limited compass of this Inquiry clearly establishes that the theory of "retaliatory self–defence" is not a monopoly of any one party or of communal leaders belonging to any one particular community, but that leaders of several parties, both Hindus as well as Muslims, have advocated this theory in one form or the other and that in whatever form the theory was advocated, the basis of it was violence and the substance of it was that attack is the best form of defence.
103.68 In October 1969 after the Ahmedabad disturbances, anonymous letters were received by some Hindu local leaders of Bhiwandi and Kalyan, threatening that the revenge of Ahmedabad would soon be taken in Bhiwandi. So far as Bhiwandi is concerned, these letters were received by Dr. B.P. Vyas, the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh, Baliram More, the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena, Balasaheb Joglekar, a Jan Sangh and R.S.S. worker, and M.G. Kunte, the Secretary of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh. Postal marks showed that these letters were posted from Ahmedabad. The local Hindu leaders gave considerable publicity to the receipt of these letters and in various speeches referred to them. These letters were also given publicity in the 31st October 1969 issue of the Pathik.
103.69 It was alleged by the Hindu parties that the Government and the police, though they were informed about the receipt of these letters, deliberately did not carry out any investigation and suppressed from public knowledge the fact of these letters containing threats to take in Bhiwandi the revenge for Ahmedabad. There is no basis whatever for making this allegation. On a complaint being made not only was the matter investigated by the district police, but the D.I.G. (Int.) was also asked by the I.G.P. to depute an officer of the state Intelligence to make further investigation in the matter. It is true that the author or authors of these anonymous letters were not found, but one can hardly find fault with the police for this, for from the nature of things it is only rarely that persons who indulge in this cowardly act of sending anonymous letters can be traced.
103.70 On April 6, 1970 Dr. Vyas received an anonymous letter containing a threat of murder. The said letter was in English and was posted from Kalyan. Dr. Vyas made a written complaint in respect of the said letter to the Bhiwandi Town Police Station. Both in the said complaint and in the speech made by him on April 7, 1970 at the time of the Satyanarayan Puja arranged by the R.U.M. in Bhiwandi, he stated that he suspected that the persons responsible for the said letter were the M.T.M. leaders of Bhiwandi, including Abdul Khaliq Momin, the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the M.T.M. Uddhav Teje and Anant Nagle, who spoke at the said meeting, also referred to the said letter.
103.71 On April 25, 1970 an anonymous letter written in Marathi was received by Baliram More which threatened that if he spoke against Islam in the Peace Committee he would be murdered and revenge would be taken for Ahmedabad. Baliram More, too, lodged a complaint with the police. He also got a news report about the said letter published with banner headlines in the 1st May 1970 issue of the Setupath, a Hindi weekly published in Bhiwandi by Govind Sadanand Bhatt, who was its proprietor and editor and a friend of Baliram More.
103.72 The receipt of the aforesaid anonymous letters, the publication of their contents in periodicals and the references made to them by local leaders in public speeches created considerable communal tension in Bhiwandi and caused an apprehension amongst the Hindus that the Muslims were planning to take revenge for Ahmedabad in Bhiwandi by attacking and murdering Hindus. It gave an opportunity to the extremists amongst the Hindus openly to take up in public meetings this so–called challenge and to inflame communal passions. It is not possible to find out who the authors of these letters were. They might have been some fanatic Muslims or even some mischief-makers amongst the Hindus. These letters, however, gave an opportunity to the Hindu local leaders and a section of the press to create an impression that the Muslims were conspiring to attack and murder the Hindus and burn and loot their properties and to warn the Hindus to be ready to meet this contingency on the ground that the Government and the police were not likely to protect them.
The Moharram and Holi of 1970
103.73 The Moharram and Holi festivals of 1970 were a critical period for Bhiwandi. On March 13, 1970, the very day in the evening of which a meeting of the Peace Committee was held for considering the arrangements to be made for the Moharram and Holi festivals, the R.U.M. exhibited a board at the corner of a lane leading to the Vegetable Market and Bazar Peth. The said board consisted of a portion of a wall of a building belonging to Zumberlal Kalantri, the Congress M.L.C., painted black on which notices, announcements of meetings and other matters used to be written by the R.U.M. This was a prominent place and the villagers coming to Bhiwandi for shopping would pass by this locality. Any writing on the said board would thus be read by a number of persons. The said board exhibited on March 13, 1970 contained an extract from the editorial published in the 13th March 1970 issue of the Navbharat Times and related to the atrocities against the Hindus and the rape of Hindu women in Pakistan. The writing on the said board became a subject of discussion amongst the people of both communities. The said writing was not got erased but allowed to remain, nor was any action taken against persons responsible for exhibiting the said board. The said board did not augur a peaceful celebration of the two festivals.
103.74 A few days before the Moharram festival, on March 16, 1970, the P.S.P. leaders handed over a written memorandum dated March 16, 1970 to S.P., Bhave, in which they complained about the speeches and communal activities of the R.U.M. leaders and gave a warning that unless stern measures were adopted against them, there were bound to be communal disturbances in the immediate future. In his report dated March 26, 1970, made on the said memorandum, Dy. S.P., Diwate, not only confirmed what was set out in the said memorandum but gave his own assessment of the situation and stated that Shiv Jayanti would not pass off peacefully unless preventive action was taken against the leaders of the R.U.M. He, therefore, recommended the detention under the Preventive Detention Act of Dr. B. P. Vyas, Bhaskar Mali, Uddhav Teje, Shantaram Tavre, Sharad Patwardhan and Bhai Trimbak Nagle and of Abdul Khaliq Momin, the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the M.T.M. Unfortunately, his recommendation did not find favour with his superiors.
103.75 At the time of the Moharram processions, the Holi pit at Navi Chawl was widened fourfold. As no one would give information as to who had done so, Dy. S.P., Diwate and Inspector Pradhan posted some constables near the pit with instructions
that if anyone came to light the Holi, he should be brought to the Town Police Station so that the identity of the persons responsible for widening the pit could be ascertained from them. When two young men came to light the Holi they were, therefore, brought to the police station, but they did not give out the names of those responsible. This incident was twisted by Baliram More and others into Diwate and Pradhan deliberately preventing the lighting of Holi, and abusing the Hindu shopkeepers of the locality. A protest meeting was called in the evening of March 16, 1970 by the R.U.M. and complaints made to the D. M. and the S.P. Another protest meeting was held by the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena where one of the speaker was Uddhav Teje, a leader of the R.U.M.
103.76 At the time of the Tazia immersion procession on March 19, 1970, the Holi fires near Baliram More’s house at Old Wada Stand, a locality from which he was elected the Municipal Councillor, were made to blaze furiously just when the procession was about to pass by. On being informed about this, the D.M. and the S.P. rushed to the spot and got the Holi fires cordoned off by S.R.P. men. This resulted in considerable booing and shouting of slogans by some young Hindus. The Muslim leaders co–operated with the police in pushing ahead the processionists. Baliram More was present at that time and he thereafter lodged a false complaint that in the said procession several Muslim youths were dancing and shouting the slogans "Pakistan Zindabad" and "Islam Zindabad". Reports of Baliram More’s complaint and of his version of what transpired at that time appeared in the Shiv Sena weekly, the Shiv Garjana, published from Thana.
On the morning of March 20, 1970 Dr. Vyas also lodged a complaint at the police station that at the time of the Moharram procession stones were thrown on the Marathi School No. 9 situate at the S. T. Stand as a result of which some tiles of the school had been broken and a chair and a bench damaged. This complaint was lodged by him though he had no personal knowledge of the facts and merely on information given to him by someone, and on inquiries made it was ascertained that the tiles had got broken because in the night some boys had climbed up on the roof of the school building to watch the Moharram procession.
103.77 It appears that the Holi pits were widened and the Holi fires made to blaze furiously at the instigation of some of the leaders of the R.U.M. including Dr. Vyas, Bhaskar Mali, Uddhav Teje, Sharad Patwardhan, Hasmukh Madhavji Thakkar and Dilip Tamhane.
103.78 After the Moharram and Holi festivals both the R.U.M. and the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena took out morchas against the police. The R.U.M. morcha was taken out on March 24, 1970 and was led by Dr. Vyas and Bhaskar Mali. It was taken out to protest against the abuses alleged to be given by Dy. S.P. Diwate and Inspector Pradhan to the Hindu shopkeepers on March 16, 1970 in connection with the widening of the Holi pit near Navi Chawl. The Shiv Sena morcha was taken out on April 4, 1970 and was led by Baliram More. It was taken out to protest against the arrests of some Shiv Sena workers on March I and 2, 1970 on the occasion of the call for Bhiwandi Bandh given by the local Shiv Sena and the actions of the police during the Holi and Moharram festivals and in support of its demand that the police should ban the meetings of the M.T.M. and the holding of Vaaz in Bhiwandi. Among the slogans shouted were — (1) Band Karo, Band Karo, Tamir–e–Millat Band Karo (Close down the Tamir–e–Millat), (2) Khaliq Mominvar Kaydeshir Tajviz Zalich Pahije (Legal action must be taken against Khaliq Momin), (3) Bhiwandi police Murdabad (4) Tamir–e–Millat Murdabad, and, (5) Hi Darkali Konachi? Shiv Senechya Vaghachi (Whose roar is this? It is of the Shiv Sena tiger)."
The unauthorized use of load speakers
103.79A matter seized upon by the R.U.M. for creating resentment against the Muslims was the unauthorized use of loud-speakers in mosques. In several mosques loud–speakers were fitted for giving Azaan, that is, the call to prayer, without taking the permission of the authorities. On coming to learn about it, Inspector Pradhan made inquiries from the Peshimams and trustees of the mosques and on their replying that they had made applications for the said purpose but had not received any reply, he asked them to make fresh applications to the D.M. No applications for permission were made thereafter until April 1970. By an application dated April 21, 1970 made to the D.M. the R.U.M. complained that in the Urs of the Divanshah Dargah loud–speakers were used throughout the night without permission just as they were being used unauthorizedly in mosques. This was a strange complaint since the Urs of the Divanshah Dargah was held from April 22, 1970 to April 29,1970 and, therefore, on the date of the said application it had not even commenced. When the said Urs was held no loud–speakers were used beyond the permitted period. The timing of the R.U.M.’s said application was significant. It was made at a time when communal tension was at its height in Bhiwandi by reason of the Muslim leaders not having attended the Peace Committee meeting of April 19, 1970 held in connection with the forthcoming Shiv Jayanti celebrations and instead having submitted a memorandum setting out their grievances and demands in respect of the Shiv Jayanti procession.
The Muslim memorandum
about Shiv Jayanti
103.80 In view of the activities of the R.U.M. in connection with the Shiv Jayanti, about 25–30 local Muslim leaders held a meeting on April 15, 1970 at the residence of one of them, namely, Ayub Punjabi. At the said meeting it was decided not to attend the Peace Committee meeting called on April 19, 1970 in connection with the forthcoming Shiv Jayanti celebrations, but instead to submit to the Peace Committee a memorandum setting out the grievances and demands of the Muslims in respect of the Shiv Jayanti procession. Thirty–seven Muslim leaders belonging to different walks of life and to different parties, including the Congress and parties with diametrically opposite ideologies signed the said memorandum. The said memorandum was submitted to Zuber Patel, the president of the Peace Committee who was also the Municipal President. Some Muslim leaders called on both D.M., Capoor and S.P., Bhave and told them what the Muslim leaders intended to do. Before the Peace Committee meeting of April 19, 1970 the Municipal president, Zuber Patel, gave the said memorandum to the municipal clerk with a covering letter addressed to Bhausaheb Dhamankar and Vasant Bhaskar Patil, the vice–president of the Peace Committee. The evidence before the Commission has clearly established that the grievances and complaints made in the said memorandum were all of them substantially correct. Four demands were set out in the said memorandum. These demands were as follows – "(1) No gulal should be used; (2) No provocative and abusive slogans should be shouted; (3) Being a national festival, the procession should have no Bhagwa flags; (4) The route of the procession should be fixed in order to avoid potential trouble spots."
103.81 So far as the first demand is concerned, the demand as framed was in general terms and not restricted to the throwing of gulal on the Muslims or at or inside mosques, although the grievance made in the said memorandum was not about the throwing of gulal in general but to the throwing of excessive gulal on the Muslims and into the mosques, and if the said memorandum were read as a whole, the context tends to show that the said demand was also restricted to the excessive throwing of gulal on the Muslims and into the mosques. Since, however, the said demand would normally be looked at by itself, it must be held that this demand was not justified. The second demand that no provocative and abusive slogans should be shouted was justified. As the Bhagwa flag is also considered the flag of Shivaji, the demand that no Bhagwa flag should be carried in the procession and only
the national flag should be carried must also be considered an unreasonable demand. The last demand, namely, that the route of the procession should be so fixed as to avoid potential trouble spots, in substance amounted to saying that the procession should not go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque. In the then vitiated communal atmosphere of Bhiwandi, if the Shiv Jayanti procession had passed by this trouble spot, a clash would most likely have taken place. Accordingly, this demand cannot be said to be unreasonable.
103.82 In view of the intense communal tension then prevailing in Bhiwandi, a move more unwise, tactless and impolitic than abstaining from the Peace Committee meeting and instead submitting the said memorandum, can hardly be imagined. It was most likely to harm the Muslims and capable of being turned by the opposite parties to their own advantage, as, in fact, it did happen. It was unfortunate that Muslim leaders belonging to different political parties and to all shades of opinion combined and joined hands in committing this folly. In no time it was all over town that the Muslims had boycotted the Peace Committee meeting and were boycotting the Shiv Jayanti procession.
103.83 Bhausaheb Dhamankar presided at the Peace Committee meeting held on April 19, 1970. He informed the members that the said memorandum from the Muslims had been received by him. He did not accede to the request made by some members to read out the said memorandum or to circulate it for being read. Ultimately it was decided at the said meeting that the said memorandum should be discussed in a Steering Committee meeting. A meeting of the Steering Committee was held on April 21, 1970. It was also attended by the Muslim leaders. Ultimately, the following decisions were arrived at the said meeting — (1) Shiv Jayanti should be celebrated jointly by the Hindus and Muslims in a friendly spirit; (2) the R.U.M. and the Peace Committee should make organized efforts to see that gulal was not thrown on mosques; (3) Only those slogans which were approved for the 1969 Shiv Jayanti procession should be shouted in the procession and no slogans should be shouted and no act done which would hurt anyone’s religious sentiments; (4) There should be no objection to the Bhagwa flag; (5) Zumberlal Kalantri and the M.L.A., Bhai Patil, should call on April 22, 1970 a joint meeting of five persons from Dr. Vyas’ group and five persons, including Anwar Bubere, from Nizampura and decide the question of the route of the procession.
103.84 As the said meeting of the five representatives of the Nizampura locality and the five of the R.U.M. was to be held at the residence of Zumberlal Katantri on the night of April 22, 1970 to decide upon the route of the procession, a meeting of the residents of Nizampura was held in the afternoon of April 22, 1970 in the house of one of the local leaders in order to obtain the views of the residents of Nizampura about the Shiv Jayanti procession passing through the said locality. At the said meeting, older Muslim leaders tried to impress upon the younger sections not to insist upon the Shiv Jayanti procession not passing by the Nizampura Jumrna Mosque. Ultimately, the younger sections in the said meeting were persuaded and agreed to allow the leaders to discuss the question of the route.
103.85 The meeting of the five representatives of the R.U.M. and five of the Nizampura locality held in the residence of Zumberlal Kalantri in the night of April 22, 1970 was a stormy one. The five representatives of the R.U.M. were Sharad Patwardhan, Shantaram Tavre, Uddhav Teje, Dilip Tamhane and Pandu Vastad. In addition to the five representatives of Nizampura and five of the R.U.M. other Hindu and Muslim leaders were also present. The attitude of the Muslim leaders was that in view of what had happened in the past, the R.U.M. leaders should not insist on the procession going past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque or through the Nizampura locality, but instead they should conduct the procession in such a manner that they would create confidence and allay the apprehension of the Muslims that if the Shiv Jayanti procession were to pass through Nizampura, an untoward incident would take place. Tempers however, flared up and hot words were exchanged on account of the arrogant and aggressive attitude adopted by the R.U.M. leaders, particularly Uddhav Teje. His behaviour was so offensive that ultimately Zumberlal Kalantri told him that if he wanted to persist in it, he should leave his house. The meeting accordingly broke up without arriving at any solution. Another meeting of the Peace Committee was held on April 24, 1970. At the said meeting Dr. Vyas stated that the R.U.M. was agreeing to the restrictions with respect to the sprinkling of gulal and was undertaking the responsibility of ensuring that only the permitted slogans would be shouted and that if anyone sprinkled gulal or uttered unapproved slogans, the police should remove him from the procession and the R.U.M. leaders and workers would help the police in doing so. He said that in view of this undertaking given by the R.U.M., the Muslims should allow the R.U.M. to take the procession past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque.
Thereafter, a few Muslim leaders withdrew into a side room and after some time came out and held further private discussions with some Hindu leaders. Ultimately it was decided that Uddhav Teje should tender an apology and on his being persuaded to do so, the Muslim leaders agreed to the procession going past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque.
The communal situation
after the settlement
103.86 One would have thought that after the settlement which took place with respect to the route and conduct of the procession, the communal situation in Bhiwandi would have eased and the tension would have diminished. The reverse, however, was the case. As the Shiv Jayanti drew nearer, the R.U.M. greatly intensified its propaganda in the villages. On the morning of May 3, 1970 Ramesh Sambhus came to Bhiwandi and he, Dr. Vyas, Pandu Vastad, Uddhav Teje and Hasmukh Thakkar went round several villages, including Kasheli, Kalher, Karivali and Kalwar, and carried on propaganda there, though from the very nature of things there cannot be detailed reports about what was said at these meetings, whether public or private. The sketchy reports made by Head Constable Manjrekar of the D.S.B. show that the propaganda carried on by them related to the Hindu religion and explained to the villagers the role played by the Mavlas in Shivaji’s days and exhorted them to come to Bhiwandi like the Mavlas in large numbers and join the Shiv Jayanti procession. From the detailed reports we have of other speeches made by the leaders of the R.U.M. and Ramesh Sambhus, it is not difficult to imagine the nature of this propaganda they carried on in the villages and what they must have said about the Hindu religion, and how they must have compared and contrasted it with Islam and what type of exhortation it must have been asking the villagers to act like Shivaji’s Mavlas.
103.87 In the end of April 1970 and the beginning of May 1970, there were rumours of incidents of assault on some Muslims returning home at night from the cinema shows. These incidents were magnified and rumours began to fly about the town that Muslims returning home at night were being set upon and beaten up. Boards in Urdu were displayed in Muslim localities calling upon the people not to attend cinema shows. In retaliation boards were put up asking the Hindus not to go to Badshah, Gulzar and Eros Cold–Drink Houses which were owned by Malabari Muslims and were three of the most popular cold–drink houses in Bhiwandi. A Shiv Sena flag which had been put up on an electric pole at Madarchalla was removed by a Muslim on May 1, 1970. Baliram More made an application on May 1, 1970 to the Chief Minister, with copies to the D.M., Thana, the D.I.G. (B.R.) and the S.P., Thana, by way of a reply to the complaints made against him in the said memorandum of the 37 Muslim leaders. Three persons, two
Muslims and one Hindu, were found at night on May 5, 1970 carrying Rampuri knives and were arrested. There were complaints that Muslims were being threatened by the workers of the Shiv Sena and the Jan Sangh, and some local Muslim leaders along with Gulzar Ahmed Azmi, the General Secretary of the Jamiet–ul–Ulema, Maharashtra state, and some other Jamiet–ul–Ulema leaders called on Mr. Kalyanrao Patil, the then Minister of State for Home and Affairs, and apprised him about these complaints. The wild rumours which were circulated and the tension. which was created in the town can be judged from the fact that when these local Muslim leaders gave Gulzar Ahmed Azmi, their version of what was happening in Bhiwandi, Azmi rang D.M., Capoor, to verify and talked so excitedly on the phone that Capoor got the impression that he said that riots had broken out in Bhiwandi and wanted Capoor to confirm the news. On the other side, Baliram More spread the story that Muslim leaders had advised the Muslims to beat up the Hindus wherever they were seen.
103.89 Zumberlal Kalantri, the Congress M.L.C., extended an invitation to Mr. Kalyanrao Patil to lead the Shiv Jayanti procession. Mr. Patil, however, first consulted the D.M. who advised him that it would not be right for him to take part in such a controversial procession. Accordingly, Mr. Patil declined the invitation. As a precautionary measure, the D.M., the S.P. and other police officers separately met both Hindu and Muslim leaders and took assurances from them that they would see that the procession passed off peacefully.
103.89 Rumours were also circulated that fused electric bulbs were missing from the municipal store and acid had been purchased from a Bohri shop in Bazar Peth. There were also rumours that arms and missiles were collected and stocked in Muslim huts, factories and mosques and that the Muslims, apprehending trouble from the Hindus, were preparing to meet it. These rumours were communicated to P.S.I., G.S. Deshpande of the State Intelligence and he informed the D.I.G. (B.R.) and the S.P. about them. None of these rumours, on searches being made, turned out to be true. No acid had been purchased and no electric bulbs were found missing nor were any stocks of weapons or missiles found.
103.90 At some of the R.U.M. meetings it was announced that Pandurang Barku Patil alias Pandu Vastad, the vice–president of the R.U.M., who was an instructor at the Tanaji Vyayam Shala, would impart to the people physical training in the use of lathis. An appeal was also made by the R.U.M. leaders at some of its meetings for volunteers to stitch Bhagwa flags and to go round the villages on the morning of May 7, 1970 and collect villagers and bring them to Bhiwandi for the Shiv Jayanti procession.
Preventive measures taken by
the district authorities
103.91 The evidence shows that on receiving instructions from the Home Department or the I.G.P. or the D.I.G. (Int.), the district authorities concerned took prompt steps in their turn to issue instructions to their subordinates. Further, the officers concerned were prompt in reporting to their superiors every incident of a communal nature. On each important occasion senior officers such as the DM., Thana, the D.T.G. (B.R), the S.P., Thana and the S.D.P.O., Bhiwandi, remained present in Bhiwandi so that top–level decisions could be taken immediately and instructions given in case any trouble took place. Complaints filed at the Bhiwandi Town Police Station were duly investigated, but some complaints from their nature were such that the culprits could not be traced. D.M., Capoor and S.P., Bhave, were aware that in a democracy their role was not only to maintain law and order, but that an important part of their functions was to establish public relations and to achieve their objective of preventing a breach of the peace and the continued maintenance of law and order by obtaining cooperation of the people and particularly of the local leaders. This is shown by the fact that much before the state directive to set up Peace Committees for the joint observance of public and religious festivals, a Peace Committee was set up in Bhiwandi. Similarly, when complaints of unauthorized use of loud–speakers in mosques came to the notice of the authorities, instead of launching mass prosecutions and thus inflaming public feelings and exposing the administration to a charge of communal discrimination, the situation was handled tactfully and the trustees of the mosque requested to apply for the necessary permission in order to regularize the position.
On coming to learn about the decision of the Muslim leaders to boycott the Peace Committee meeting to be held on April 19, 1970, both the D.M. and the S.P. tried to persuade them not to do so as it would create misunderstanding. Before the Shiv Jayanti procession of May 7, 1970 they contacted leaders of both communities and tried to obtain their assurance of co–peration for ensuring that the occasion would pass off peacefully without any incident. The evidence also shows that where firm action was needed, in many cases the police did not hesitate to take it. For example, when certain sections of processionists in the first Shiv Jayanti procession taken out in Bhiwandi in 1964 attempted to change the prescribed route of the procession so as to pass by mosques, playing music, they were firmly prevented from doing so. On account of the communal riot which took place at the time of the 1967 Shiv Jayanti procession, the Id–e–Milad procession was not allowed to go by its traditional route but was instead directed by an order under section 144 Cr. P. C. to proceed by a route which excluded all Hindu localities.
Though the Muslims resented this change and cancelled the procession altogether, the Magistracy and the police, with a view to preserve law and order, remained firm and did not alter their decision. In July 1969 when following the street brawl between Bhaskar Mali, the president of the R.U.M., and some of his followers on the one side and some students of the Rais High School on the other, several incidents of assault took place and the police found that the local leaders were flocking to the police station to tutor complainants, they were prevented from doing so.
103.92 The same firmness, however, was not displayed in dealing with the misbehaving processionists or in checking communal propaganda. No one was arrested or even prevented from shouting objectionable slogans or throwing excessive gulal. The evidence shows that the authorities failed to judge the real objective and the true nature of the activities of the R.U.M. Even the intelligence reports of the speeches made at the first public meeting held by the R.U.M. on May 29, 1969, failed to make any mention of the communal character of the said speeches, particularly by Ramesh Sambhus. When on March 13, 1970 a board containing an inflammatory writing was put up by the R.U.M. about the atrocities committed against the Hindus in Pakistan, the writing was not got erased. Though week after week communal propaganda was carried on and inflammatory communal speeches made in weekly prayer meetings held by the R.U.M. in different temples, no steps were taken to warn the leaders of the R.U.M. or to take any action against them for their speeches.
After the Ahmedabad disturbances, open, systematic, intensive communal propaganda and rumour–mongering were indulged in by the R.U.M. at its public and weekly prayer meetings, and yet none of its leaders was warned nor any action taken against them. Some of the speeches made at the R.U.M. meetings as at the M.T.M. meetings were referred to the District Government Pleader and Public Prosecutor, Thana, for his opinion. He opined that these speeches were not actionable on the ground that they were protected by the explanation to section 153A I.P.C. which explanation had ceased to be on the statute book since 1961. Even if the District Government Pleader was unaware of this fact, the District authorities could not have been, and particularly they, could not have been unaware of the amendments made in the said section by the Criminal and Election Laws Amendment Act of 1969 to which their at
tention had been specifically drawn by the Government by its letter dated November 17, 1969. They, however, rested content with the opinion of the District Government Pleader and did not refer the matter to the Home Department.
103.93 It was alleged before the Commission that in the matter of issuing orders under section 144 Cr.P.C. banning entry into the Thana district or prohibiting the making of inflammatory communal speeches, the district authorities discriminated against the leaders of the M.T.M. The Commission has found this allegation to be not correct. It is true that many more such orders were passed against the M.T.M. leaders, but the reason was that the M.T.M. leaders who usually came in groups after the happening of incidents which had led to communal riots, such as the riot at Kausa in the Thana district, or which had incited communal passion. It is not true that prohibitory orders were not issued against Hindu leaders known for making communal speeches. Thus the Jan Sangh leader from Malegaon, G. M. Puntambekar, the vice-president of the Maharashtra Pradesh, Hindu Mahasabha, V. R. Patil, and the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, Pandit Brij Narayan Brajesh, were prohibited from making inflammatory communal speeches by orders issued under section 144 Cr.P.C.
Preventive measures for Shiv Jayanti
103.94 As the authorities expected the largest Shiv Jayanti procession of all years to be taken out on May 7, 1970, considerable police bandobast was made in respect of it. An order under section 37(l) of the Bombay police Act, 1951, had already been issued on February 12, 1970 by the Addl. D.M., Thana. The said order prohibited the carrying of weapons and missiles within the municipal limits of Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Ulhasnagar and Ambernath for a period of six months from February 14, 1970. The said order was thus in force on May 7, 1970. In pursuance of the powers delegated to him by, S.P., Bhave by an order dated May 4, 1970, to Inspector Pradhan issued an order dated May 6, 1970 notifying the regulations relating to the Shiv Jayanti procession. The said order specified the time when the procession was to commence, namely, 3 p.m. on May 7, 1970, the route by which it was to pass and the time when it was to terminate, namely, 7–30 p.m. The said order also directed that the said procession must go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque, by 6-30 p.m. and that care should be taken to see that gaps were not left within the procession and that the processionists did not halt at any place for a long time playing music but should go ahead as instructed by the police officers accompanying the procession and that no one in the procession should indulge in obscene gesticulations or other improper acts, that gulal should not be sprinkled in excess of a reasonable quantity and that if anyone objected, it should not be applied or sprinkled on his body. The said order further specified the slogans which had been approved by the Shiv Jayanti Celebrations Committee and directed that the said slogans only should be shouted. Publicity was given to the said order as also to the said order under section 37(l).
103.95 As we have seen, information had been given to the police that acid was being sold from the shop of a Bohri in Bazar Peth, fused electric bulbs were missing from municipal stocks and that weapons and missiles were being collected. The said information was verified, checks made and searches were carried out. A Bandobast Scheme containing instructions for the police officers and policemen on duty for the Shiv Jayanti procession was drafted in the first week of May 1970 and submitted to D.I.G.(B.R.), V. A.Gokhale for his suggestions and approval. The said Bandobast Scheme specified the route of the procession, the time of its commencement and termination as also contained detailed instructions about the bandobast to be made on the route of the procession and at other places in the town. The bandobast consisted of posting police parties on the route of the procession and at other places in the town, including mosques and temples, the posting of policemen on certain house tops, police parties to accompany the procession, police mobile vans, and reserves at the town police station.
103.96 As a precautionary measure, persons of known bad character were rounded up and detained under section 151 Cr.P.C. The persons thus rounded up were 11 Hindus and 14 Muslims. About 15–20 other persons of known bad character whose names were also on the list could not, however, be traced.
103.97 Having learnt that a number of villagers were coming to Bhiwandi to participate in the Shiv Jayanti procession, Dy.S.P., Diwate sent for Bhaskar Mali, the president of the R.U.M., and warned him to see that these villagers did not misbehave. Bhaskar Mali assured Diwate that the needful would be done. Diwate also went round and contacted several Muslim leaders and asked them to see that the young Muslims did not misbehave at the time of the Shiv Jayanti procession. The Muslim leaders also assured Diwate of their co–operation.
103.98 On May 6, 1970 a V.H.F. wireless set and an H.F. wireless set were installed in the Bhiwandi Town police Station. A V.H.F. wireless set was also fitted to the police jeep of the Town Police Station. In all, for the Shiv Jayanti procession, there were two police jeeps, and one light van, all of them fitted with V.H.F. wireless sets. On information given by two Hindus at about noon on May 7. 1970, two wooden boxes filled with stones lying in a lane in Bangad Galli were taken charge of. These boxes were being used as footsteps to enter a ground-floor room.
103.99 Police reinforcements were asked for and were sent to Bhiwandi. They included four S.R.P. companies and one Gas Squad. On May 7, 1970, for the Shiv Jayanti procession there were present in Bhiwandi the D.M., Thana, the Taluka Executive Magistrate, Bhiwandi, the D.I.G.(B.R.), the S.P., the S.D.P.O., Bhiwandi, 7 Inspectors and 29 Sub–Inspectors, including the Inspectors and Sub–inspectors of the S.R.P. Force, and 741 policemen, including 24 armed men, and one Gas Squad. The armed police force consisted of 24 armed policemen carrying .410 muskets and one S.P., one Dy.S.P., 4 P.1s. and 17 P.S.Is of the district police and 3 P.1s. and 12 P.S.Is of the S.R.P., all carrying revolvers. Thus there were in all 62 officers and men carrying arms for the bandobast duty. That day the manpower in Bhiwandi was one and a half times that of 1969 and the fire–power thrice as much.
103.100 In the evening of May 6, 1970 all police–officers and policemen were collected and Dy.S.P., Diwate gave them detailed instructions regarding the duties to be performed by all the groups of policemen posted on bandobast duty. In the morning of May 7, 1970, Diwate took a rehearsal of the bandobast which was to be deployed and again gave the police officers and policemen instructions regarding their duties.
103.101 The police bandobast which was made for the Shiv Jayanti procession was, however, adequate to deal with only minor or localized trouble. It was inadequate to deal with disturbances on such a large–scale as actually took place.
The Shiv Jayanti celebrations
and the speech of P. B. Bhave
103.102 The inaugural function of the Shiv Jayanti festival was held at 8 p.m. on May 5, 1970. The chief speaker was G. D. Madgulkar, M.L.C., a well–known figure, in Marathi literature, who spoke on the life of Shivaji and in the course of his speech said that Shivaji did not hate other religions and exhorted the audience to treat all religions with equal respect. The other speaker was Vivekanand G. Godbole, the president of the Kalyan Footpath Parliament, who spoke on Shivaji’s life, with special reference to his battles. The said speeches were followed by a play. The audience consisted of 1,000–1,500 persons, amongst whom were some Muslims, including several Muslim leaders. The speaker for the programme on May 6, 1970 was P. B. Bhave, a well–known Marathi
103.112 The processionists assembled at the starting-point of the procession were rowdy and boisterous. Several of them were shouting unapproved slogans, some of which were provocative and anti–Muslim. The procession started at 3–15 p.m. or 3-30 p.m. and even while it was passing by the side of the Town Police Station unapproved slogans were shouted. These unapproved slogans were: "Galli Galli Me Shor Hai, Sub Musalman Chor Hai" , "Shiv Sena Zindabad", "Rashtriya Utsav Mandal Zindabad", "Jo Hamse Takrayega, Woh Mitti Me Mil Jayega" and "Hindu Dharmacha Vijay Aso".
The slogan "Pakistan Murdabad" was not shouted as alleged by some Hindu parties nor at that time were the slogans "Aala Re Aala Hindu Aala, Gela Re Gela Landya Gela" and "Sadak Pe Hindu, Gaili Me Hindu, Idhar Se Hindu, Udhar Se Hindu" shouted as alleged by some Muslim witnesses. Two of the processionists who were indulging in the shouting of the aforesaid objectionable slogans were arrested. One of them was arrested by Dy. S.P., Diwate and the other was apprehended by Bhausaheb Dhamankar who handed him over to Inspector Pradhan who put him under arrest. Both of them were taken to the Bhiwandi Town Police Station. The news of their arrests, spread like wild fire through the procession and a number of processionists returned to the Town Police Station, clamouring for the release of the two arrested persons. Some Hindu leaders, including Zumberlal Kalantri, who was the Congress M.L.C., Dr. B.P. Vyas who was the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh, Balasaheb Joglekar who belonged to the R.S.S., Bhai Patil who belonged to the P.W.P. and was an M.L.A., Baliram More who was the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena and Shantaram Tavre who belonged to the Jan Sangh and was the Secretary of the R.U.M., also went to the Town Police Station to ask for the release of these two persons. Baliram More threatened the D.M. and the police officers that unless the arrested persons were set free, the procession would not move forward and there would be trouble. Fearing that a riot might break out if the arrested persons were not set free, the officers accepted the assurances of the Hindu leaders that they would see that only the approved slogans were shouted and that the processionists would behave themselves and set the two Hindus free after administering a warning to them. The police officers provided Zumberlal Kalantri with a police jeep fitted with a mike to give instructions to the processionists about the slogans to be shouted and about their behaviour.
103.113 The behaviour of the proces-sionists delayed the starting of the procession by quarter of an hour to half an hour. Their refusal to move unless the two arrested Hindus were released further delayed the procession and when it started again, it was at least three–fourths of an hour late, if not more. There was thus no prospect of the time–table specified in the order under section 36 of the Bombay Police Act being adhered to.
103.114 From the time the two arrested Hindus were released, the police lost all control over the situation. It would have been much better had the officers remained firm and not released the two Hindus. Armed police constables had been kept in reserve at the Town Police Station and they could have called out these constables and posted them near the turbulent sections of the procession which had gathered outside the Town Police Station, in order to show their strength and to display to these proces-sionists their determination to maintain law and order at all costs. We can appreciate that the D.M. and the police officers were placed in a very delicate situation. From the behaviour of the processionists it is, however, clear that these officers could not have possibly believed the assurances of the Hindu leaders that they would be able to ensure that only the approved slogans would be shouted or that the processionists would behave themselves. They were experienced officers and could have easily gauged that it was not possible to control the behaviour of this particular procession. Faced with the imminent prospect of a riot they preferred to take the chance of the procession passing off without a serious incident, however provocative and undisciplined the behaviour of the processionists would be. They gambled on this chance against high odds and lost. Unfortunately, the stakes were the lives and properties of innocent citizens.
The withdrawal of the Muslim
leaders from the procession
103.115 At Saudagar Mohalla some Muslim leaders stopped on the steps of the Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque and watched the procession pass by. For about five minutes they discussed the situation created by the behaviour of the proces-sionists and decided to withdraw from the procession. As they were going from the Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque to Murtaza Fakih’s house, about 100 metres away, they met on the way D.M., Capoor, D.I.G.(B.R.), Gokhale and S.P., Bhave, travelling in a jeep. They stopped the officers and asked them to go to Murtaza Fakih’s house. Before leaving, for Murtaza Fakih’s house, some of the Muslim leaders had already informed the Hindu leaders that they were withdrawing from the procession and before the officers came across the Muslim leaders going to Murtaza Fakih’s house, they had already been apprised by Inspector Pradhan about the withdrawal of the Muslim leaders from the procession. In Murtaza Fakih’s house, several other Muslim leaders joined them. The Muslim leaders complained to the officers about the misbehaviour of the processionists and the slogans shouted by them. When asked by D.M., Capoor whether they wanted the procession to be banned, they replied that they did not want it banned for that would create difficulties as a number of persons had come from outside Bhiwandi. The D.M. then told some of the Muslim leaders to go to their respective mohallas and see that the procession passed off peacefully. He also specifically asked some of the Muslim leaders to proceed to Nizampura and wait near the Nizampura Jumma Mosque for the procession.
103.116 The allegation of the Hindu parties and the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, that the Muslim leaders quietly slipped away from the procession and on a false pretext lured away these three senior officers just prior to the attack on the procession has no basis and is not true. The allegation made by the Hindu parties that it was a blunder on the part of these three leaders to have all of them gone together to Murtaza Fakih’s house has also no basis. D.M., Capoor, D.I.G. (B.R.) Gokhale and S.P, Bhave, were travelling in the same jeep fitted with a wireless set. As they all three were travelling together, they thought that all three of them together, rather than just one or two of them, might be able to persuade the Muslim leaders not to withdraw from the procession. These officers had decided to proceed from the Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque directly to Nizampura and were not to go to Bhusar Mahalla at all. They went towards Bhusar Mohalla where the disturbances broke out only because of their talk with the Muslim leaders.
The behaviour of the processionists
103.117 The evidence led before the Commission has established the following facts about the behaviour of the processionists as the procession passed through the various localities on the route of the procession –
(1) From the time when the two Hindus who were arrested near the Town Police Station for shouting unapproved slogans were released, the police lost all control over the procession and the processionists felt that the police were either powerless to stop them or were on their side and, therefore, they could behave as they pleased with impunity.
(2) The procession that started again after the release of the two Hindus was rowdy and indisciplined and the processionists behaved in a provocative, defiant, aggressive and militant manner.
(3) Unapproved slogans, several of them provocative and abusive of the Muslims, were continuously shouted during the course of the procession. The unapproved slogans shouted by the processionists are set out in paragraph 103.118 below.
(4) There were a number of Muslim bystanders on the roads as also some Muslim women watching the procession from the balconies and windows of their houses.
(5) The processionists were dancing, jumping, shouting and clapping their hands.
(6) The processionists were brandishing their fists at the Muslims while shouting certain slogans such as "Jo Hamse Takrayega, Woh Mitti Me Mil Jayega".
(7) The processionists were giving defiant and contemptuous catcalls to the Muslims and were making obscene gestures at them, such as pointing at them with the middle finger of their hands.
(8) There was excessive throwing of gulal by the processionists.
(9) Gulal so thrown fell on the processionists including the Muslims and the Muslim leaders in the procession. It also fell on passers–by and bystanders who in Muslim localities were the Muslims and on the buildings on the way, including the Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque.
(10) The behaviour of the processionists described above and the shouting of provocative and abusive anti–Muslim slogans increased both in intensity and tempo as the procession passed through Madarchhalla and other Muslim localities.
(11) The central part of the procession was the rowdiest.
(12) None of the processionists had opened out the buttons of their pants or pointed to their genitals or said that the Muslim women needed what they were pointing at. The allegations in that behalf made by some Muslim parties are not true.
(13) As the procession entered the Muslim locality of Madarchhalla, it started breaking up into groups and the gaps between the groups widened as the procession moved along.
(14) The processionists deliberately halted at different places on the route to indulge in the shouting of provocative and abusive anti–Muslim slogans and deliberately flouted the time–table fixed by the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti and prescribed by the order under section 36 of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, so as to pass by mosques during prayer–time. The progress of the procession was, therefore, delayed every now and then and the entire time schedule was thus thrown out of gear.
The unapproved slogans shouted
by the processionists
103.118 The evidence has established that the following slogans (at times with slight variations) were shouted by the processionists as the Shiv Jayanti procession passed through different localities of Bhiwandi:
(1) "Galli Galli Me Shor Hai, Sub Musalman Chor Hai"; (2)"Shiv Sena Zindabad"; (3) "Rashtriya Utsav Mandal Zindabad" ; (4) "Jo Hamse Takrayega, Woh Mitti Me Mil Jayega" ; (5) "Aala Re Aala, Hindu Aala, Gela Re Gela, Landya Gela" ; (6)"Bal Thackeray Zindabad"; (7) "Hamse Jo koi Poochhega, uski Ma Ko Chodega"; (8)"Lande Sare Chor Hai"; (9) "Dr. Vyas Zindabad"; (10)"Uthav Lungi, Bajao Pungi"; (11)"Musalman Murdabad"; (12) "Jan Sangh Zindabad;" (13) "Sadak Pe Hindu, Gali Me Hindu, Idhar Se Hindu, Udhar Se Hindu;" (14) "Aali Re Aali, Shiv Sena Aali"; (15) "Landyana Haklun Lawa"; (16) "Hindu Dharmacha Vijay Aso"; and (17) "Hindu Dharma Ki Jai".
103.119 The fact that slogans such as "Shiv Sena Zindabad", "Bal Thackeray Zindabad", "Dr. Vyas Zindabad", "Rashtriya Utsav Mandal Zindabad" and "Jan Sangh Zindabad" were shouted shows that a large number of processionists were workers or followers or sympathizers of the Shiv Sena, the Jan Sangh and the R.U.M.
The attitude of the police
103.120 A copy of the order under section 36 of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, which inter alia contained the list of approved slogans was given to every police officer and the contents of this order, including the approved slogans, were orally explained to all the policemen.
103.121 Police parties consisting of police officers and policemen were posted at different points on the route of the procession and constables were posted on the tops of some houses and there were police officers and policemen walking with the procession. Nonetheless, only two persons were arrested for shouting unapproved slogans, and that too at the start of the procession, one of them by Dy.S.P., Diwate and the other, not by the police, but by Bhausaheb Dhamankar who apprehended him and handed him over to Inspector Pradhan who arrested him. Apart from these two arrests, no policeman or police officer made the slightest attempt to apprehend any processionist who was shouting unapproved slogans, however abusive, offensive or provo- cative they might be, or was misbehaving, however provocative, offensive or indecent his behaviour was.
103.122 Thus, the conduct of the police on the occasion of the Shiv Jayanti procession of May 71 1970 was characterized by complete inaction which encouraged the processionists in their misbehaviour and led them to believe that either the police were powerless to stop them or were on their side and that, therefore, they could behave as they pleased with impunity.
The attitude of the Hindu leaders
103.123 In spite of the responsibility undertaken by the R.U.M. leaders at the Peace Committee meeting held on April 24, 1970 to see that only the approved slogans were shouted, and that if anyone sprinkled gulal or uttered unapproved slogans, the R.U.M. leaders and workers would help the police to remove him from the procession, and in spite of the assurances given by the leaders of the R.U.M. and other Hindu leaders, including Zumberlal Kalantri, Dr. Vyas, Balasaheb Joglekar, Bhai Patil, Baliram More and Shantaram Tavre, to the D.M. and the police officers in order to obtain the release of the two Hindus arrested for shouting unapproved slogans, that they would see that only the approved slogans were shouted and the processionists behaved themselves, not one of them did anything to control the processionists or check their misbehaviour. The only attempt made by some of the Hindu leaders in this connection was a show made by them near the Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque when they heard the D.M. shouting in the direction from which the unapproved slogans were coming that such slogans were not to be shouted, by also shouting out to the processionists not to shout unapproved slogans. The evidence shows that the attitude and the behaviour of the R.U.M. leaders and some other Hindu leaders, including Baliram More, were such as to encourage the processionists in their misbehaviour. For instance, Narayan Badlapurkar, the vice-president of the R.U.M., was the leader of the group from Sutar Ali which shouted vociferously and lingered near the Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque until warned and pushed ahead by Dy. S.P., Diwate. Dr. Vyas, was in the midst of the group which was shouting "Jan Sangh Zindabad", "Dr. Vyas Zindabad", "Shiv Sena Zindabad" and "Baliram More Zindabad". In Bhusar Mohalla, Baliram More was standing next to a group of processionists from Thange Ali (which was part of his municipal constituency) who were squatting on the road and shouting objectionable slogans and paying no heed to Inspector Pradhan. This group was from the central part of the procession which was the rowdiest.
The outbreak of the disturbances
103.124 The evidence led before the Commission has established the following facts about how the disturbances commenced –
(1) The gaps between different parts of the procession greatly widened when the pro
cession reached the Bhusar Mohalla, Old Thana Road locality. A part of the head of the procession was at Keshar Baug on Old Thana Road and there was a wide gap behind it; the remaining part of the head of the procession was between Hidayatullah Manzil on Old Thana Road and the junction of Bhusar Mohalla and Old Thana Road , a section of the central part of the procession was at the Old Fish Market in Bhusar Mohalla; another section of this central part, consisting particularly of processionists from Thange Alli had squatted in Bhusar Mohalla near Yusuf Chivane’s house shouting provocative and abusive anti–Muslim slogans, encouraged in this by Baliram More, the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena ; the tail–end of the procession was still in Bhoiwada.
(2) There were some Muslim bystanders in Bhusar Mohalla standing on the ota of Yusuf Chivane’s house and on the stretch of the road between Asmat Hotel at the junction of Old Market Road and Bhusar Mohalla, and the junction of Bhusar Mohalla and Old Thana Road, and in the lanes and by–lanes which branch off from the said part of Bhusar Mohalla. There were, however, no Muslim bystanders in the lane which leads from Bhusar Mohalla to Latif Manzil, or from Latif Manzil to the Old Market Road, or from the Old Market Road to the Old Fish Market.
(3) The shouting of provocative, abusive and obscene anti–Muslim slogans was the most intense in the Bhusar Mohalla-Old Thana Road locality, and so was the brandishing of fists and the making of indecent gestures at the Muslims.
(4) There was excessive throwing of gulal by the processionists in the Bhusar Mohalla–Old Thana Road locality, not only on one another, but in the air, and on the bystanders who were all Muslims.
(5) None of the police officers and policemen on duty with the procession or posted on picket duty at various points in and around Bhusar Mohalla and Old Thana Road made any attempt to check the misbehaviour of the processionists.
(6) The disturbances commenced in Bhusar Mohalla near the Old Fish Market. As a result of the provocation given by the offensive behaviour of the processionists and the provocative and abusive anti–Muslim slogans shouted by them, an altercation took place near the Old Fish Market between some processionists and some Muslim bystanders. In the course of this exchange of words, some of the Muslim bystanders started throwing stones, on the proces-sionists. The processionists immediately started pelting stones at the Muslims and their houses, shops and factories and attacked the Muslims standing on the road with the lathis which they had brought with them with Bhagwa flags tied to them, and a free fight took place between the proces-sionists and the Muslims. Other Muslims, who had come to watch the procession and who were in the lanes and by-lanes or had collected there on learning what was happening during the progress of the procession, as also some of the residents of the locality, came out and joined in the fight.
(7) Within a short time the disturbances spread to the rest of Bhusar Mohalla and to Old Thana Road.
(8) The processionists attacked Muslim properties and broke into, looted and set fire to several of them.
(9) The weapons and missiles used by the Muslims were stones, brickbats, soda–water bottles, lathis and some acid bulbs. A few Muslims were carrying spears and at least one Muslim rioter had a sword. Stones, brickbats and some acid–bulbs were also thrown on the processionists from some houses on Old Thana Road.
(10) The weapons used by the processionists were the lathis which they were carrying with Bhagwa flags tied to them.
(11) Arson was committed by the processionists by tying the clothes taken out from the Bhiwandi Washing Company in Bhusar Mohalla to sticks and lathis and then setting them on fire with matches and using them as torches to set fire to other properties. Muslim power–loom factories were set on fire by applying lighted matches and lighted torches to hanging cotton threads. Probably some of the processionists had brought kerosene with them which they sprinkled on Muslim properties and then set the properties on fire.
(12) Neither the incident of Yusuf Chivane’s house in Bhusar Mohalla nor the arson to Ishak Bajewala’s house on Old Thana Road was the first incident of the disturbances.
(13) The disturbances commenced between 5–00 p.m. and 5–15 p.m.
The alleged conspiracy
103.125 It was alleged by the Hindu parties and the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi that the Bhiwandi disturbances were really the result of a conspiracy entered into by certain Muslim leaders, which several other Muslims subsequently joined, to attack simultaneously at 5-30 p.m. on May 7, 1970 the Shiv Jayanti procession when it reached the Bhusar Mohalla-Old Thana Road locality and the Hindus and their properties in other localities, particularly in the localities of Prabhu Ali, Kumbhar Ali, Hassan Ali, Gauripada, Sutar Ali, Hamalwada, Khadak, the portion of the Bombay–Agra Road on which the Hindu factories, namely, the Ganesh Sizing Works, the Shree Krishna Vijay Saw Mill, the National Garage, the Sharda Saw Mill, Savant’s factory and some other Hindu factories and houses were situate, and Khoni Village, on a pre–arranged signal being given by the local communist leader, Ibrahim Maddu, from a lane in Bhusar Mohalla.
103.126 Ten riot cases dealing with the offences committed in the aforesaid localities were amalgamated and a common charge–sheet was filed in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate which incorporated the said charge of criminal conspiracy. After a part of the evidence in respect of the said alleged conspiracy was led before the Commission, it became apparent that the said case was false and concocted and accordingly the Government of Maharashtra applied to the Commission to permit it not to lead any further evidence in respect of the said alleged conspiracy, stating that the Government had decided to take immediate steps to withdraw the charge of conspiracy in the said criminal case — a decision eminently justified. Thereafter further evidence in respect of the said alleged conspiracy was led before the Commission by the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal. So far as the said criminal case was concerned, the Government applied for permission to withdraw from the prosecution of all the accused under section 120B, I.P.C. The said application was opposed by Bhaskar Mali, the president of the R.U.M., Shantaram Tavre, the secretary of the R.U.M., Baliram More, the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena and some other Hindus. The said objection was overruled by the Judicial Magistrate who granted the permission applied for. The objectors thereupon approached the Bombay High Court in revision and the Supreme Court for special leave to appeal, but were unsuccessful.
103.127 In support of the said case that the said alleged conspiracy had been entered into, the Hindu parties and the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, relied upon certain circumstances which they alleged existed and which led to an inference that the said conspiracy had been entered into by the Muslims. These circumstances were as follows :
(1) The speech of Ibrahim Maddu at the public meeting of the communist parties held on April 11, 1970.
(2) The meetings of the Takriban committee, particularly the meetings held on March 16, 1970.
(3) Secret meetings held from time to time at various places and attended by one or more of the 16 principal conspirators.
(4) The disclosure of the conspiracy by a conspirator.
(5) The display of Urdu boards and the distribution of Urdu leaflets in the first week of May 1970 exhorting the Muslims
not to visit cinema houses, not to go to the Hindu localities, and not to allow their womenfolk to go out on the day of the Shiv Jayanti procession.
(6) The documents found in Ibrahim Maddu’s house.
(7) The exodus of Muslim families from Bhiwandi prior to May 7, 1970.
(8) Insurance policies taken out by a large number of Muslims, insuring their residential premises, factories and other properties against fire and riot risks.
(9) The drawing out of their rations by the Muslims prior to May 7, 1970.
(10) The collection of weapons and missiles by the Muslims prior to May 7, 1970.
(11) The distribution of weapons to the Muslims prior to the disturbances.
(12) The signal given by Ibrahim Maddu in Bhusar Mohalla for starting the disturbances.
(13) The simultaneous attack at 5–30 p.m. on the Shiv Jayanti procession and the Hindus and their properties in other localities.
(14) The type of weapons and missiles used by the Muslim rioters.
(15) The large number of weapons and missiles seized from the Muslims.
103.128 The evidence before the Commission has clearly disproved that there was any such conspiracy. With respect to the aforesaid circumstances alleged in support of the said case of conspiracy, the position established by the evidence is as follows :
(1) No conspiracy was entered into by any Muslims to attack the Shiv Jayanti procession or the Hindus and their properties in any other locality.
(2) The allegation that the Muslims entered into such a conspiracy and the alleged facts in support of it were concocted by Dy. S.P., P.J. Saraf, D.I., A.G. Lankar, some of their superior officers and some of the officers of the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, and some of the local leaders and workers of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh, the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena, the R.U.M. and the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal, particularly those leaders and workers with whom Dy.S.P. Saraf held private discussions and conferences. The persons with whom Dy.S.P. Saraf held private discussions and conferences included Dr. B.P. Vyas who was the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh and the guiding spirit of the R.U.M., Baliram Mahadeo More who was the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena, Mohanlal Parshram Karwa who was one of the founders of the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal which was a body set–up to present the case of the Hindu parties before the Commission, Anna Mestri who along with some of his relatives was implicated by Muslim complainants in the offences of the arson to Muslim properties in Khadak, Chandrakant Chintaman Bhise who belonged to the P.S.P. and was one of the founders of the Nagarik Hitatakshak Mandal, Parshram Dhondu Tavre who belonged to the P.S.P. and was one of the founders of the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal, Hari Bhau Gaikwad who was the Upsarpanch of the Gram Panchayat at, Kamba and a friend of Datta Punyarthi (a worker of the Jan Sangh and the R.U.M.) and who had brought forward a totally false story that a secret meeting of the Muslims was held in the Kargah Mosque on May 5, 1970, Zumberlal Motilal Kalantri, the Congress M.L.C., who sided with the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal and adopted the case of the Hindu parties.
(3) None of the circumstances relied upon by the Squad and the Hindu parties as giving rise to an inference of conspiracy was true.
(4) When a cow wandered into the public meeting of the communist parties held on April 11, 1970, Ibrahim Maddu did not speak the words attributed to him by the Hindu parties and the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, namely, "If the Muslims are afraid of a cow what would they do if some Hindus came?"
(5) At no meeting of the Takriban Committee was any conspiracy discussed or planned or its details worked out or finalized.
(6) In all probability no meetings of the Takriban Committee were held on March 16, 1970 or April 16, 1970.
(7) There was no secret meetings held by the Muslims.
(8) There were no disclosures made by Sikandar Mahboob Khan alias Sikandar Leader to Hari Bhau Gaikwad as alleged. As there was no conspiracy and no plans made in advance, there was nothing to disclose.
(9) No meeting was held in the Kargah Mosque on May 5, 1970.
(10) None of the Urdu boards displayed prior to the disturbances contained a threat or called upon the Muslims not to send out their womenfolk on the Shiv Jayanti day or not to go into or through Kafir localities. The writing to that effect on the particular board was a subsequent forgery. The said boards exhorted the Muslims not to attend the cinema houses as Muslims returning home at night from the cinema houses were assaulted. There were only two cinema houses in Bhiwandi. Neither of them was owned by a Hindu, but both of them were owned by an Irani.
(11) Only a few Urdu leaflets were distributed. Like the said boards they exhorted the Muslims not to attend the cinema houses as Muslims returning home at night from the cinema houses were assaulted.
(12) None of the documents found in Ibrahim Maddu’s house on a search of it being taken was an incriminating document.
(13) There was no exodus of the Muslim families from Bhiwandi prior to May 7, 1970. Two families left for Matheran for the summer holidays. This fact was twisted and distorted into an exodus of Muslim families in view of the forthcoming disturbances.
(14) The fire insurance policies taken out by the Muslims were either renewals of old policies or commercial transactions insuring stocks of goods or machinery or property mortgaged, pledged or hypothecated to a bank. There were only a few new policies and some of them related to newly constructed buildings, and to factories and shops opened therein. Only a few insurance companies and insurance agents were selected by the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, and asked to give a list of the Muslims who had insured their properties in April 1970 and the first week of May 1970 in order to make out that the Muslims alone had taken out fire insurance policies. No inquiries were made by the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, about the Hindus who had taken out fire insurance policies.
(15) There was no unusual drawing of rations by the Muslims prior to May 7, 1970.
(16) No weapons were collected or distributed by the Muslims prior to the disturbances.
(17) No weapons were sold in any shop in the fair held at the time of the Urs of the Divanshah Dargah.
(18) No weapons were stored or distributed from the house of Ibrahim Maddu or Yunus Waliullah.
(19) No signal was given by Ibrahim Maddu for the commencement of the disturbances.
(20) There were no simultaneous attacks at 5–30 p.m. or at any other time on the Shiv Jayanti procession and the Hindus and their properties in any locality. The disturbances in different localities started at different times and in the case of several of them they were started by the Hindus and not the Muslims.
(21) The weapons and missiles used by the Muslim rioters did not differ from those used by the Hindu rioters.
(22) The greater part of stocks of weapons and missiles seized by the police or the Squad did not necessarily come from the Muslims. All the weapons and missiles were kept in heaps stacked in and outside the Bhiwandi Town Police Station. There were two Muddemal Registers kept for the very same period and under the instructions of the Squad, C.R. numbers were not entered in them in order to enable the officers of the
Squad to enter in the Muddemal Registers the particular C.R. number they wanted so that they could attribute these weapons to any case and any accused they wanted.
(23) Three police statements which made mention of several of the circumstances which were alleged to show or lead to an inference of conspiracy, namely, the police statement of Inspector Pradhan alleged to be recorded by D.I., Lankar on July 20, 1970, the police statement of Head Constable S. L. Manjrekar alleged to be recorded on May 22, 1970 by D.I., Lankar and the police statement of Head Constable S. S. Jadhav alleged to be recorded by D.I., Lankar on May 22, 1970, were not at any time recorded.
Whether there were prior
preparations for the disturbances?
103.129 In the then prevailing tense communal atmosphere of Bhiwandi aggravated by rumours which were going round the town, the Muslims apprehended that the R.U.M. intended to start some trouble at the time of the Shiv Jayanti procession. Some Muslims, therefore, kept themselves in readiness to meet this contingency. The news of what had happened at the Bhiwandi Town Police Station and how the release of the two Hindus arrested for shouting objectionable slogans was obtained and of what was happening during the progress of the procession spread all over Bhiwandi in no time and some Muslims gathered in Bhusar Mohalla either to join issue with the processionists or to join hands with their co-religionists if trouble broke out. They went there carrying lathis and whatever other weapons they could lay their hands on. Some of them prepared a few acid–bulbs and took them with them. The roads, lanes and by–lanes of Bhiwandi were strewn with stones, and stones as missiles were, therefore, readily available. Neither the preparation of acid–bulbs nor of Molotov cocktails takes long. Thus, there were preparations by a certain section of the Muslims to meet the contingency of trouble taking place during the course of the procession.
103.130 So far as the processionists were concerned, at the instance and instigation of the R.U.M, a majority of the processionists had participated in the Shiv Jayanti procession carrying lathis to which Bhagwa flags and banners were tied in order to circumvent the ban under section 37(l) of the Bombay police Act, 1951, prohibiting the carrying of weapons, so that the processionists would be armed to meet the contingency of the Muslims starting any trouble either on their own or as a result of the deliberate provoking of the Muslims by the processionists. There were thus prior preparations for the disturbances by the processionists.
The causes of the Bhiwandi
103.131 Under the first part of clause (a) of the terms of reference, the commission is required to inquire into and report on the causes of the communal disturbances which occurred within the limits of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Council and in the revenue villages of Khoni and Nagaon (which are on the outskirts thereof), in the Thana District on and after May, 7 1970. 103.132 Like all communal disturbances, the causes of the communal disturbances which occurred in Bhiwandi were twofold, a basic or underlying cause and an immediate or proximate cause.
103.133 The basic or underlying cause of the Bhiwandi disturbances was the same as the basic or underlying cause of all communal disturbances, namely, communal tension. The causes of the communal tension in Bhiwandi were:
(1) The misbehaviour of the processionists in the Shiv Jayanti processions taken out from 1964 to 1969.
(2) The insistence of certain sections of the Hindus that the Shiv Jayanti procession must go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque.
(3) The refusal of the Muslims to agree to the Shiv Jayanti procession going past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque.
(4) The communal activities of certain political parties, organizations and individuals mentioned later.
(5) Municipal politics.
103.134 The immediate or proximate cause of the Bhiwandi disturbances was the deliberate misbehaviour of the processionists in the Shiv Jayanti procession, which was taken out in Bhiwandi on May 7, 1970, in order to provoke the Muslims and the fact that at the instance and instigation of the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal the majority of the processionists, particularly the proces-sionists from the villages, had participated in the procession carrying lathis to which Bhagwa flags and banners were tied in order to circumvent the ban under section 37(l) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, prohibiting the carrying of weapons, so that the processionists would be armed to meet the contingency of the Muslims starting any trouble either on their own or as a result of the deliberate provoking of the Muslims by the processionists.
The course of the Bhiwandi
103.135 Under the second part of clause (a) of the Terms of Reference, the Commission has to inquire into and report on the course of the communal disturbances which occurred within the limits of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Council and in the revenue villages of Khoni and Nagaon on and after May 7, 1970.
103.136 The disturbances broke out between 5 p.m. and 5.15 p.m. near the Old Fish Market situate in Bhusar Mohalla, near the junction of Bhusar Mohalla and Old Thana Road. When the Shiv Jayanti procession was passing by the Old Fish Market, the provocative behaviour of the processionists led to an exchange of words between some of them and some Muslims standing near the Old Fish Market. In the course of this altercation some Muslim bystanders started throwing stones at the processionists. The processionists immediately started pelting stones at the Muslims and their houses, shops and factories and attacked the Muslims with lathis which they were carrying with Bhagwa flags and banners tied to them and a free fight took place between the processionists and the Muslims. The disturbances rapidly spread to the other parts of Bhusar Mohalla and to Old Thana Road. A number of Muslims and Hindus were injured. The processionists broke into some of the Muslim houses and shops and looted them. They also set fire to some Muslim properties, shops and factories. From Bhusar Mohalla and Old Thana Road the disturbances rapidly spread from locality to locality until hardly any locality remained unaffected. By the evening of May 8, 1970 the fury of the disturbances died out and the disturbances were brought under control, though some incidents continued to take place thereafter but they became progressively fewer. The last incident of the disturbances took place on May 31, 1970 but some of the incidents which took place in the last week of May 1970 were not communal incidents and were unrelated to the actual disturbances.
103.137 In view of the allegation of the Hindu parties and the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, that the disturbances in the other localities commenced at the same time as the disturbances in the Bhusar Mohalla–Old Thana Road locality by reason of the Muslims simultaneously attacking at 5.30 p.m. the Shiv Jayanti procession and the Hindus and their properties in different localities, it is necessary to set out the position established by the evidence with respect to the commencement of the disturbances in different localities and the community of the rioters who commenced the disturbances in such localities. The position is as follows :
(1) The disturbances first broke out in Bhusar Mohalla near the Old Fish Market between 5 p.m. and 5.15 p.m. and from there spread to the other parts of Bhusar Mohalla and to Old Thana Road.
(2) After the disturbances had broken out near the Old Fish Market in Bhusar Mohalla and from there spread to the other
parts of Bhusar Mohalla and to Old Thana Road, the first locality were the disturbances took place was the Vegetable Market Road (Mandai). At Mandai the only rioting, looting and arson was by the Hindus, namely, the processionists, and commenced at about 5.30 p.m.
(3) In Habsan Alli the rioting by the Hindus and the arson to Muslim properties took place some time prior to 5.30 p.m. and the rioting and arson by the Muslims took place at about 5.45 p.m.
(4) At Lendi Bridge the rioting and arson by the Muslims took place at about 6 p.m. and thereafter the rioting by the Hindus and the arson to Muslim properties took place.
(5) At Teen Batti the rioting and arson was all on the part of the Hindus and took place between 6 p.m. and 6.15 p.m.
(6) At Bazar Peth, Thange Alli and Madarchhalla all the rioting, looting and arson was on the part of the Hindus and took place between 6 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.
(7) At Sutar Alli the first act of arson and rioting was by the Hindus very soon after the disturbances took place at Bhusar Mohalla and thereafter the rioting and arson by the Muslims took place.
(8) In Gauripada, which was a purely Hindu locality, the first act of rioting was a clash between a Hindu mob and a Muslim mob followed by arson to Hindu properties and took place a little before 5.45 p.m.
(9) At Kumbhar Alli the, rioting and arson were on the part of the Muslims only and started a little before 6.15 p.m.
(10) At Khadak the rioting commenced at about 6 p.m. with a clash between a Hindu mob and a Muslim mob in which Hindu and Muslim factories and houses were set on fire.
(11) At the Bhiwandi–Karivali Road there was first arson to Muslim houses at about 6 p.m. followed by arson to Hindu houses.
(12) At Prabhu Alli the only acts of rioting and arson were on the part of the Hindus and they took place some time prior to 7.15 p.m.
(13) At the Bombay–Agra Road, the Ganesh Sizing Works, the Shree Krishna Vijay Saw Mill, the National Garage, the Sharda Saw Mill, Savant’s factory and other Hindu factories and houses were set on fire after 10 p.m.
(14) At Kanheri the rioting and arson on the part of both Hindus and Muslims commenced after the disturbances took place in the Bhusar Mohalla–Old Thana Road locality.
(15) At Khoni there was first the stoning of Muslim houses and the arson to Muslim properties at about 6 p.m. by the villagers who were returning from the Shiv Jayanti procession followed by an attack by the Muslims on Hindu properties and looting and arson to some of them. This led to another attack on the Muslims and the setting fire to Muslim properties.
103.138 Thus, the position is that at Mandai, Teen Batti, Bazar Peth, Thange Alli, Madarchhalla and Prabhu Alli the rioting, looting and arson was on the part of the Hindus only; at Kumbhar Alli the rioting, looting and arson was on the part of the Muslims only; at Habsan Alli, the Bhiwandi–Karivali Road, the Bombay–Agra Road and Khoni, the Hindus rioted and committed arson first, at Lendi Bridge the Muslims rioted and committed arson first; in Gauripada, at Khadak and Kanheri the rioting commenced with a clash between a Hindu mob and a Muslim mob followed by arson. In no locality did the disturbances take place simultaneously with the commencement of the disturbances in Bhusar Mohalla and there were no simultaneous attacks as alleged.
103.139 In all, 78 persons died in the disturbances which took place at Bhiwandi, Khoni and Nagaon. Out of them, 17 Hindus, 50 Muslims and two persons whose community could not be ascertained were killed in the disturbances, while 9 Muslims were killed in the police firings. A large number of persons were injured, some of them mutilated or maimed for life. According to the assessment made by the Collectorate, the total loss suffered by the Hindus was Rs.73,56,206 and the total loss suffered by the Muslims was Rs.66,54,654. According to the district police, the total loss suffered by the Hindus was Rs. 7O,39,560, while that suffered by the Muslims was Rs. 82,80,603.
The adequacy of preventive measures
103.140 Under the first part of clause (b) of the Terms of Reference, the Commission has to inquire into and report on the adequacy of the administrative measures taken to prevent the communal disturbances which occurred within the limits of the Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipal Council and in the revenue villages of Khoni and Nagaon on and after May 7, 1970.
103.141 Though in several matters the authorities acted promptly, adequately and efficaciously, the measures taken by them to prevent the said disturbances must be held to have been inadequate for the following reasons:
(1) The authorities failed to take steps to check communal propaganda.
(2) The authorities failed to judge correctly the real objectives of the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal.
(3) The authorities failed to take any action against the misuse of the places of religious worship, namely, temples, by the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal by carrying on communal propaganda at meetings held by it threat.
(4) The authorities failed to take any steps with respect to the communal propaganda carried on after the communal disturbances which took place in Ahmedabad and other places in Gujarat state in September 1969.
(5) The authorities failed to launch any prosecutions under section 153A I.P.C. in respect of communal speech made by Hindu and Muslim leaders.
(6) In respect of some of the speeches the authorities erred in merely resting content with the erroneous opinion given by the District Government Pleader and Chief Public Prosecutor, Thana, based on the explanation to section l53A, I.P.C. (Indian Penal Code), which had ceased to be on the statute–book after coming into force of the Amending Act XLI of 1961, that the said speeches were not actionable, instead of referring the matter to the Government for legal opinion.
(7) The authorities failed to check the misbehaviour on the part of the processionists in the Shiv Jayanti procession which was taken out in Bhiwandi in 1964 and in the subsequent years, either by arresting or prosecuting the misbehaving processionists or preventing them from indulging in further misbehaviour.
(8) The authorities erred in making police bandobast in respect of the Shiv Jayanti procession of May 7, 1970 adequate for dealing with only minor or localised trouble
(9) The police failed to take away lathis from the villagers who came to Bhiwandi to participate in the Shiv Jayanti procession or from any of the processionists, even though there was an order under section 37(l) of the Bombay police Act, 1951, in force prohibiting the carrying of all types of weapons and missiles.
(10) The authorities erred in releasing the two processionists who were arrested for shouting unapproved objectionable slogans just as the Shiv Jayanti procession of May 7, 1970 was about to start instead of remaining firm and not being cowed down by the clamour of the other processionists and the threats held out by some of the local Hindu leaders, including Baliram Mahadeo More, the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena.
The adequacy of measures to deal
with the disturbances
103.142 Under the second part of clause (b) of the Terms of Reference, the Commission has to inquire into and report on the adequacy of the administrative measures taken to deal with the communal distur
bances which occurred within the limits of the Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipal Council and in the villages of Khoni and Nagaon on and after May, 7 1970.
103.143 Apart from the communal discrimination shown by certain police officers and policemen, the measures taken by the authorities to deal with the disturbances were prompt, adequate and efficient.
103.144 When the disturbances broke out, the senior police officers, although taken by surprise, were able, within a short time, to organize the police force at their command, police reinforcements were asked for and adequate reinforcements were sent. The services of the Home Guards were availed of. Senior police officers, such as D.M., D.N. Capoor and Dy. S.P., M.R. Diwate, though injured, carried on with their work without thought of physical consequences for themselves. The work of dealing with the disturbances was not done in a haphazard manner, but attention was paid to every aspect of it. Curfew order and other prohibitory orders were issued and made to come into force from the earliest practicable point of time. As soon as the senior police officers reached the Bhiwandi Town Police Station, the police force was re–deployed. Fire–fighting operations were organized. Measures were taken to restore and keep working the water and power supplies. Police escort was given to fire-engines, to stranded processionists, to those rendered homeless and to those in search of shelter in safer localities. Highway patrolling and patrolling in villages were introduced and prompt steps taken to render medical help, prevent the outbreak of epidemics and to restore sanitary services. In view of the adequate police reinforcements having been made immediately available and the fact that the situation came under control by 4 p.m. on May 8, 1970, the authorities were justified in not calling out the military.
103.145 Several instances have been proved before the Commission in which police officers and policemen either did not prevent the Hindu rioters from indulging in rioting, looting or arson or showed communal discrimination in dealing with the rioting mobs, or gave incorrect reports to the Control Room or lodged incorrect F.I.Rs. in order to make out that the persons who had rioted or were responsible for looting or arson in particular incidents were Muslim rioters and not Hindu rioters, or actively assisted the Hindu rioters in burning and looting Muslim properties.
103.146 In the case of certain police officers and policemen concerned in some of the main incidents of the disturbances, the exact role played by them has been set out in the relevant chapters of Part III of the Report. These police officers and policemen are:
(1) V. S. Tikale, Circle Police Inspector, Bassein, Headquarters Virar.
(2) S. S. Ghosalkar. Circle Police Inspector, Thana Division.
(3) L. R. Deshpande, P.S.I., Bhiwandi Town Police Station.
(4) S. S. Mane, P.S.I., Bhiwandi Town Police Station.
(5) M. S. Chougule, P.S.I., Dahanu Police Station.
(6) B. D. Sanaf, Reader P.S.I. to the S.D.P.O., Bhiwandi.
(7) W. A. Adsul, Police Jamadar, Bhiwandi, Town Police Station.
(8) C. K. Mullani, Police Jamadar, Security branch, Thana, officiating as P.S.I. in that branch.
(9) R. D. Mokashi, Writer Head Constable, Bhiwandi Town Police Station.
(10) F. N. Mullani, Armed Police Head Constable (Buckle No. 250), Thana Police Headquarters, S. T. Shirsat, Armed Police Constable (Buckle No. 657), Thana Police Headquarters, and Armed Police Constables, W. G. Kudalkar, R. D. Salunke and D. T. Deshmukh who opened fire at Gaibi Nagar in Nagaon village near Dandekar Machine Works Ltd. (Dandekar Wadi) on May 8, 1970.
(11) P. B Kamble, P. C., Buckle, No. 338 of Satara Police Headquarters.
(12) S. W. Jagtap, Unarmed Police Constable of Bassein Police Station.
(13) The police officers and policemen who were concerned in the firing incident near Samadia Building in Habsan Alli on May 8, 1970.
(14) The policemen including S.R.P. men who on. May 8, 1970 looted the rooms in Samadia Building and Masjid Chawl situate at Habsan Alli.
(15) The police officers and policemen who were concerned in the firing incident near the Malaysia Sizing Works in Kacheripada on May 8, 1970.
(16) The police officers and policemen, who were posted on fixed–point duty at the Court House and in the adjoining localities on May 8 and 9, 1970.
(17) The police officers and policemen who were posted on fixed–point duty in Bhusar Mohalla and on Old Thana Road on May 7, 1970 at the time of the Shiv Jayanti procession.
(18) The police officers and policemen who were posted on fixed-point duty in and around Madarchhalla near Bazar Peth in the evening of May 7, 1970.
(19) The police officers and policemen who were posted on fixed–point duty at Dhamankar Naka on May 8, 1970.
103.147 There were also other police officers and policemen concerned in the very same incidents or in other incidents who too appear to have been guilty of the same or similar type of acts, but whose names and the precise nature of the acts they have committed could not be inquired into and ascertained by the Commission as it would have unduly lengthened the Inquiry.
103.148 Discrimination was also practised in making arrests and while Muslim rioters were arrested in large numbers, the police turned a blind eye to what the Hindu rioters were doing. Some innocent Muslims were arrested knowing them to be innocent. Some innocent Muslims who went to take shelter at the Bhiwandi Town Police Station were arrested instead of being given shelter and protection. An instance of it is that of Abdul Tawab Abdul Raoof Ansari and some of his male relatives and workers who on May 8, 1970 went to the Bhiwandi Town Police Station for shelter after Abdul Tawab’s factory and residence were burnt down.
The responsibility for
fomenting communal tension
103.149 Under the first part of clause (c) of the Terms of Reference, the Commission has to inquire into and report on whether there is any organization or group within the limits of the Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipal Council and in the revenue villages of Khoni and Nagaon or outside these places which has fomented communal tension. The organizations operating in Bhiwandi which have fermented communal tension in the said places are:
(1) The Bhiwandi branch of the All-India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat
(2) The Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena.
(3) The Bhiwandi branch of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh.
(4) The Bhiwandi Seva Samiti.
(5) The Rashtriya Utsav Mandal.
103.150 The organization responsible for bringing the communal tension in Bhiwandi to a pitch is the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal. The majority of the leaders and workers of the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal belonged to the Jan Sangh or were pro–Jan Sangh and the rest, apart from a few exceptions, belonged to the Shiv Sena.
103.151 Certain organizations from outside the said places have also to a limited extent fomented communal tension in the said places.
These organizations are:
(1) The All–India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat.
(2) The Maharashtra State branch of the All–India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat.
(3) The Kalyan branch of the All–lndia Majlis Tameer–e–Millat.
(4) The Shiv Sena, and
(5) The Hindu Mahasabha.
103.152 The limited responsibility of the said organizations for fomenting communal tension in the said places arises because their heads, and in the case of all–India parties some of their all–India leaders, have made communal speeches in Bhiwandi and nearby places which have fomented communal tension in Bhiwandi, Khoni and Nagaon. The responsibility of the said organizations does not, however, extend beyond this. The extent of the responsibility of the said organizations is as follows:
(1) The All–India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat is responsible to the extent that some of its all–India leaders, including Suleman Sikander, Syed Khalilullah Hussaini and Shabir Husain, made communal speeches at public meetings organised in Bhiwandi by the Bhiwandi branch of the All–India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat.
(2) The Maharashtra State branch of the All–India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat is responsible to the extent that its General Secretary, Mohamed Ali Isa Khan, visited Bhiwandi after the disturbances which took place at Ahmedabad and other places in the state of Gujarat in September 1969 and carried on communal propaganda in Bhiwandi with respect to the said disturbances.
(3) The Kalyan branch of the All–India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat is responsible to the extent that some of its leaders, including Abdul Aziz, made communal speeches at public meetings organized by the Bhiwandi branch of the All–India Majlis Tameer–e–Millat.
(4) The Shiv Sena is responsible to the extent that the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, made a communal speech about Bhiwandi and its Muslim inhabitants at a Shiv Sena meeting held in Thana on May 30, 1969 in the course of which he referred to Bhiwandi as a second Pakistan and said that such shameful incidents were taking place in Bhiwandi that he was ashamed to speak about them in the presence of ladies.
(5) The Hindu Mahasabha is responsible to the extent that its president, Pandit Brij Narayan Brajesh, addressed public meetings at Dombivli, Kalyan, Uhasnagar. Bhiwandi and Thana between March 7, 1970 and March 11, 1970 at each of which he made a communal speech. The public meeting in Bhiwandi at which he spoke was held on March 10, 1970.
103.153 In addition, communal tension was fomented within the limits of the Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipal Council and in the villages of Khoni and Nagaon by some leaders of certain political parties from outside the said places who visited Bhiwandi, not as representing their party but in their personal capacity, and made communal speeches at public meetings organized by the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal. These leaders are:
(1) Dattajirao Salvi, a Shiv Sena leader from Bombay.
(2) G.M. Puntambekar, a Jan Sangh leader from Malegaon, and
(3) V.R. Patil, the Hindu Mahasabha M.L.A. from Sholapur and the vice–president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Hindu Mahasabha.
103.154 Certain individuals from outside Bhiwandi who did not belong to any political party have also fomented communal tension in the said places. They are:
(1) Ramesh Sambhus, who on several occasions was the, guest speaker of the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal at a public meeting organized by it in Bhiwandi and nearby places and toured several villages along with the leaders of the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal and carried on communal propaganda in the said villages and
(2) Purshottam Bhaskar Bhave, the Marathi novelist and playwright, who was invited to address the function held on May 6, 1970 to celebrate Shiv Jayanti and made a communal speech at the said function.
The responsibility for provoking the Bhiwandi disturbances
103.155 Under the second part of clause (c) of the Terms of Reference, the Commission has to inquire into and report on whether there is any organization or group within the limits of the Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipal Council and in the revenue villages of Khoni and Nagaon or outside the said places which has directly or indirectly provoked the Bhiwandi disturbances. The organization which has both directly and indirectly provoked the disturbances which took place in Bhiwandi, Khoni and Nagaon on May 7, 1970 and thereafter is the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal, the majority of the members of which belonged to the Jan Sangh or were pro–Jan Sangh and the rest, apart from a few exceptions, belonged to the Shiv Sena.
Whether the police firings
103.156 Under clause (d) of the Terms of Reference the Commission has to inquire into and report on whether the firings by the police within the limits of the Bhiwandi–Nizampur Municipal Council and in the revenue villages of Khoni and Nagaon were justified or not.
103.157 During the Bhiwandi disturbances, the police opened fire on 37 occasions. At Bhiwandi, fire was opened on 18 occasions on May 7, 1970, on 14 occasions on May 8, 1970, once on May 9, 1970, once on May 12, 1970 and once on May 23, 1970. At Nagaon, fire was opened only once, namely, on May 8, 1970. At Khoni also fire was opened only once, namely, on May 9, 1970. In all, 379 rounds were fired, 71 of .303 rifles, 219 of .410 muskets, 37 of .455 revolvers out of which 8 misfired, 47 of .38 revolvers out of which 6 misfired, and 5 of 9 mm. pistols.
103.158 Out of the said 37 police firings, the following 3 police firings were not justified :
(1) The police firing at Kacheripada near the Malaysia Sizing Works on May 8, 1970 at about 11a.m.
(2) The police firing at Habsan Alli near Samadia Building on May 8, 1970 at about 11–30 a.m., and
(3) The police firing at Gaibi Nagar in Nagaon Village on May 8, 1970 at about 11–30 a.m.
103.159 Out of the remaining 34 police firings, the Commission has given the benefit of the doubt to the police officers and the policemen concerned in the following two police firings and held that the said two police firings were justified :
(1) The police firing at Prabhu Alli on May 7, 1970 at about 7–15 pm., and
(2) The police firing at Nizampura 4th Mohalla on May 8, 1970 at about 5 p.m.
103.160 The other 32 police firings were justified.
103.161 Under clause (e) of the Terms of Reference, the Commission has to inquire into and report on such other matters as may be germane to the other Terms of Reference. The germane matters which have been inquired into by the commission are:
(1) The treatment of prisoners;
(2) The investigation of riot cases;
(3) The work of relief and rehabilitation; and,
(4) The recommendations to be made to the Government for preventing and dealing with similar disturbances in the future.
Treatment of prisoners
103.162 The evidence led before the Commission has established the following facts with respect to the treatment meted out to the prisoners:
(1) Some Muslim prisoners were beaten both when arrested and while in police custody.
(2) There was almost no food or water for the prisoners on May 7 and 8, 1970.
(3) Prisoners were made to sit out on the road outside the Bhiwandi Town Police Station in the sun, without any shade, as alleged by the Muslim parties.
(4) Prisoners were not at any time made to sit on broken glass pieces or acid.
(5) Muslim prisoners were made to stay in the compound of the Taluka Police Station, with the shade of trees for only a few
of them, while Hindu prisoners were made to stay on the verandahs.
(6) Discrimination was practised in the distribution of food and water between Hindu prisoners and Muslim prisoners.
(7) All the prisoners were produced before the Magistrate, though some of them were produced more than 48 hours later or even after longer periods.
(8) Prisoners were carried to jail in S.T. buses under circumstances of considerable hardship.
103.163 Nobody can condone the beating of prisoners or arrests of innocent persons, knowing them to be innocent, or discrimination in making arrests or in treatment between prisoners of one community and another, and those responsible for these acts should be punished and not allowed to escape. Wholly different considerations, however, apply to the question of hardships in this case. The hardships were there and were real, but it was beyond the control of the authorities to do anything about them, except that P.S.I., S. S. Mane and the other police officers and policemen in charge of the prisoners at the Taluka Police Station could have procured water–tankers earlier. Not doing so was an act of deliberate callousness on their part. Their reason for not sending for fire–engines to bring drinking water for the prisoners was that most of the prisoners were Muslims and not Hindus, and the Hindu prisoners were allowed free access to the water taps at the Taluka Police Station. The hardships of accommodation and the paucity of food and water were inevitable under the circumstances. The segregation of prisoners of the two communities was necessary and as the number of Muslim prisoners was much larger than that of the Hindu prisoners, the Muslim prisoners had perforce to be kept in the compound of the Taluka Police Station. The mode of transport of prisoners to the jails was such as to cause great hardship and suffering to the prisoners. This perhaps could have been avoided, but then it would have taken a much longer time to carry all the prisoners to the jails at a time when the police had their hands full in dealing with the disturbances not only in Bhiwandi but also in the other parts of the Thana district. In this matter the police acted thoughtlessly, but not with a deliberate intent to cause hardship and suffering to the prisoners. Thus, apart from the question of discrimination in the treatment of prisoners by the police officers and policemen at the Taluka Police Station, the hardships suffered by the prisoners were inherent in the circumstances of the case and the situation as it then prevailed.
103.164 It is undoubtedly true that the prisoners underwent great hardships and suffering and that some of them were innocent. Those who arrested innocent persons, knowing them to be innocent, should not be allowed to escape. But what about the other prisoners? They were guilty. Let us, therefore, not waste our sympathy on their complaints of hardships and suffering. Let us save our sympathy for the victims of their crimes. If they have undergone hardships and suffering, what about the hardships and suffering they have brought upon others? What about the maimed and the murdered, the mutilated and the disfigured, the wounded and the raped? What about the misery they have brought upon thousands of people by rendering them homeless and by murdering or disabling the bread-winners of their families? What about the women widowed and the children orphaned by them? It was said that a large number of prisoners were not guilty of any serious crime, but had merely committed a breach of the curfew order or a prohibitory order. This is an argument which deserves to be rejected with contempt. A round–the–clock curfew was in force. All shops, hotels, restaurants and bazars in Bhiwandi were closed. If they were respectable, law–abiding citizens, what were they doing outside their homes? Were they out on the road to make purchases or to go for their meals? Why were so many of them arrested on the roads at night? Were they taking an after-dinner walk? Were they returning home from the late cinema show? They complain of being kept hungry and without food. What about the police officers and policemen who had to rush to Bhiwandi as reinforcements and who had to go without food at times for no fault of their own? They complain that they had no beds to sleep on. What about the policemen from outside Bhiwandi who had to rush to Bhiwandi at a moment’s notice? Did most of them have proper accommodation or beds to sleep on? They complain of being kept out in the sun. What about the police pickets who had to remain out in the sun day after day for no fault of theirs? They complain of hardships. What about the hardships to the police force, the Fire Brigade and the other services which had to work for long hours and some of them round-the–clock? What about the doctors and the nurses, the hospital orderlies and the ward boys who had to work throughout the day and night to cope with the flood of the dying and the injured pouring into the hospitals and dispensaries? They complain of feeling hot and stifled in the buses in which they were carried to jails. What about the men of the Fire Brigade who had to carry on hour after hour in the blazing heat of the flames, choked by the suffocating fumes of the fires? Did they have enough air to breathe? Who were responsible for all these hardships and suffering? It was not the police force. It was not the Fire Brigade, not the doctors and the nurses, not the widowed and the orphaned. Ill lies it in the mouths of those who were, the real authors of hardships and suffering to complain of hardships and suffering to themselves.
The investigation of riot cases
103.165 A Special Investigation Squad was set up to investigate all riot cases in the Thana and Kolaba Districts and another Special Investigation Squad to investigate all riot cases in the Jalgaon District. A large number of allegations were made before the Commission in respect of the investigation of riot cases arising out of the Bhiwandi disturbances, conducted by the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi. The evidence before the Commission has established the following facts with respect to the working of the said Squad:
(1) The working of the Special Investigation Squad, Bhiwandi, is a study in communal discrimination.
(2) The officers of the Squad systematically set about implicating as many Muslims and exculpating as many Hindus as possible, irrespective of whether they were innocent or guilty.
(3) In order to enable them to achieve their aforesaid object, the officers of the Squad asked the Bhiwandi Town Police Station not to enter the C.R. numbers in the Muddemal Registers but leave it to them to enter subsequently the C.R. numbers they wanted. The officers of the Squad also did not prepare a plan of investigation as required by Rule 15 of Chapter III of the Manual of Instructions, Maharashtra State, Crime and Railways branch (C.I.D.) and did not submit any copies of the Case Diaries as required by Rule 225 of Volume III of the Bombay Police Manual, 1959, and Rule 15(d) of the said C.I.D. Manual of Instructions and of Progress Reports as required by Rule 16 of Chapter III of the said C.I.D. Manual of Instructions. Except for a few Case Diaries and Progress Reports in one or two cases, no Case Diaries and Progress Reports were written out contemporaneously as required by the aforesaid rules.
(4) The complaints filed at the Bhiwandi Town Police Station and the Bhiwandi Taluka Police Station in respect of offences committed during the disturbances were classified and grouped in such manner that in the case of some localities, the complaint of a Hindu was taken as the F.I.R. and the complaints of Muslims were taken as the police statements recorded in that case and thus remained uninvestigated. Though the cases were registered by the Bhiwandi Town Police Station or the Bhiwandi Taluka Police Station, as the case may be, this grouping and classification was done with the assistance and in all probability under the instructions of the Squad.
(5) In spite of the order passed by the Commission on July 7, 1970 not permitting inspection of affidavits and docu
ments filed before it unless the party asking for such inspection had completed the filing of its affidavits, copies of the affidavits filed before the Commission were made available to the officers of the Squad by 0.L. Sane, the Tahsildar and Taluka Magistrate, Bhiwandi, in spite of knowledge of the Commission’s said order, prior to the Executive Magistrates and the District Police Officers completing the filing of their affidavits. It thus enabled the Squad to know the case the other parties were presenting before the Commission and thus to tailor its investigation accordingly.
(6) Police statements were not correctly recorded by the officers of the Squad and quite a few of them contained, not what the witness had stated, but what the investigating officer wanted to put into them.
(7) Quite a few panchnamas were also not correctly made and did not record the correct facts.
(8) Cases against several Hindus were wrongly classified as ‘A’ Summary on flimsy and untenable grounds and the Hindu suspects not arrested at any time. Instances of this are C.R. No. 194/70 against Bhaskar Ganpat Mali who was the president of the R.U.M., Ashok Govind Sutar, Prabhakar Mukund Mali, Vinayak Moreshwar Patil, Suresh Moreshwar Patil, Krishna Mestri and Krishna Gaikar; C.R. No. 291/70 against Bhaskar Ganpat Mali, Ramesh Tukaram Patil alias Sutar, Madhukar Brahmin of Ganesh Mechanical Works, Sharad Patwardhan, Avinash Niphadkar, Krishna Punyarthi, Pradeep Khanderao, Kanti Shetye, Laxman Tavre, Kondiya Tavre, Gopal Tavre, Shantaram Tavre (who was the secretary of the R.U.M., Chandu Tavre and Madhu Tavre; C.R. No. 358/70 against Bhaskar Ganpat Mali and Vasant Patil ; C.R. Nos. 252/70 and 136/70 against Sitaram Nakiya Bhoir who was a P.S.P. leader of Shelar village and a police informant; C.R. No. 232/70 against Datta Gajanan Punyarthi who was one of the leaders of the R.U.M. and the local Jan Sangh, his brothers Vasant Punyarthi and Krishna Punyarthi, Mohan Kondalkar, Ramchandra Purushottam, Hasmukh Madhavji Thakkar, who was a deputy treasurer of the R.U.M.; and C.R. No.1491/70 of the Bhiwandi Taluka Police Station against Datta Gajanan Punyarthi who was one of the leaders of the R.U.M. and the local Jan Sangh.
(9) There was no proper investigation into several complaints of arson to Muslim properties and murders of Muslims, particularly in C.R. Nos. 194/70, 291/70, 358/70, 252/70, 136/70 and 232/70 of the Bhiwandi Town Police Station and C.R. No. 149/70 of the Bhiwandi Taluka Police Station or into the arson to the Bagh–e–Firdaus Mosque situate at the junction of Nizampura Fourth Mohalla Lane and the Bombay–Agra Road, into the arson to Muslim properties in Gaibi Nagar and the murders of Muslim residents of that said locality, or into the arson to Muslim hutments in Chauhan Colony. There was also no investigation into the death of Mobin Ahmed Mokif Ahmed Ansari, though his post-mortem report showed that there were certain suspicious features which might be indicative of death by strangulation or throttling.
(10) The cases against Bhaskar Mali, the president of the R.U.M., Datta Punyarthi, one of the leaders of the local Jan Sangh and the R.U.M. and their co-suspects, were classified as ‘A’ Summary as a result of pressure brought to bear upon D.I.G. (Crime), B. K. Govardhan and S.P., Bhave by some highly–placed person whose name was not disclosed by them to the Commission.
(11) In C.R. No. 248/70, Sitaram Naklya Bhoir, a P.S.P. leader of Shelar village and a police informant, was arrested after one year and seven months, and then only because the complainant, finding all his approaches to Dy. S.P. Saraf, futile filed an affidavit and gave evidence before the Commission with the permission of the Commission.
(12) In several cases panchnamas of burnt down Muslim properties were included in the case papers of cases against Muslim accused in respect of arson to Hindu properties and their panchas shown as witnesses in the said cases. Instances of this are the panchnamas of burnt down Muslim properties at Kacheripada, the Bagh–e–Firdaus Mosque at the junction of Nizampura Fourth Mohalla and the, Bombay–Agra Road, and some Muslim huts in Chauhan Colony.
(13) No investigation was conducted into the composition and activities of Hindu-communal and allegedly communal organizations operating in Bhiwandi but only in respect of Muslim communal and allegedly communal organizations.
(14) A false case was got up against 223 Muslims in which it was alleged that 16 out of them had entered into a criminal conspiracy, later joined by the remaining 207, to attack simultaneously at 5-30 p.m. on May 7, 1970, the Shiv Jayanti procession in the Bhusar Mohalla–Old Thana Road locality and the Hindus and their properties in different localities particularly Prabhu Alli, Kumbhar Alli, Habsan Alli, Gauripada, Sutar Alli, Hamal Wada, Khadak, the portion of the Bombay–Agra Road in which the Ganesh Sizing Works, the Shri Krishna Vijay Saw Mill, the National Garage, the Sharada Saw Mill, Savant’s factory and some other Hindu factories and Hindu houses were situate, and in Khoni village — on a pre-arranged signal being given by the local communist leader, Ibrahim Maddu.
(15) Dy. S.P., Saraf held private conferences and discussions with several local Hindu leaders including some who were implicated by the Muslims in offences of arson and murder. Some of these Hindu leaders with whom Saraf held such private conferences and discussions were :
Dr. B. P. Vyas, who was the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh and the guiding spirit of the R.U.M.;
Baliram Mahadeo More, who was the Shakha Pramukh of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena; Mohanlal Parshram Karwa, who was one of the founders of the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal which was a body set up to present the case of the Hindu parties before the Commission;
Anna Mestri, who along with some of his relatives was implicated by Muslim complainants in the offences of the arson to Muslim properties in Khadak;
Chandrakant Chintaman Bhise, who belonged to the P.S.P. and was one of the founders of the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal;
Parshram Dhondu Tavre, who belonged to the, P.S.P. and was one, of the founders of the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal;
Hari Dhau Gaikwad, who was the Upasarpanch of the Gram Panchayat at Kambe and friend of Datta Punyarthi and who had brought forward the totally false story that a secret meeting of the Muslims was held in the Kargah Mosque on May 5, 1970; and,
Zumberlal Motilal Kalantri, who though he was a Congress M.L.C. and who sided with the Nagarik Hitarakshak Mandal and adopted the case of the Hindu parties.
(16) The frauds and manipulations committed by the officers of the Squad in the investigation of riot cases were done partly under the instructions of Dy. S.P., P.J. Saraf, D.I.G. (Crime), Govardhan, S.P. (Crime), C. P. Kurle and S.P. (Research), Dr. H. G. Abhyankar and partly with their connivance.
(17) The officers who are responsible for what has been done by the Squad in the investigation of the riot cases are D.I.G. (Crime), B. K. Govardhan, S.P. (Crime), C. P. Kurle, S.P. (Research), Dr. H. G. Abhyankar, Dy.S.P., P. J. Saraf and the investigating officers who were concerned in these cases.
The work of relief and rehabilitation
103.166 The disturbances took a heavy toll. A number of families lost their liveli
hood and many others found themselves without a roof over their heads. In all 17,422 persons — members of 3,447 families — were affected. They had to be rehabilitated. There were also thousands in the Relief Camps who had to be fed and looked after. All this work had to be undertaken while the Thana district was in the throes of serious communal disturbances. In spite of the difficulties of the task, the Government and the district authorities took immediate steps to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of the disturbances. The measures taken by them for granting relief to those who had suffered in the disturbances and for rehabilitating them were immediate, efficacious, adequate and generous. No witness or affidavit has alleged that any communal discrimination was practised in the work of relief and rehabilitation.
103.167 A number of matters which have come to light in the course of the Inquiry into the Bhiwandi disturbances give rise to reflection. In respect of these matters a solution has to be found so that they may not recur in the future. Certain suggestions in that behalf have been made by the commission in Part VII of the Report.
Reflections and Recommendations
106.1 Several questions which came up for consideration by the Commission in the course of this Inquiry were matters for reflection and some out of them for anxious consideration. Some of them were general in their nature, others applied to a particular area only and did not involve any question of general public interest. Each of them, however, requires a solution to be found so that such a question does not arise in future. The disease of communalism is taking too deep a root, its symptoms are too painful and the agony in loss of life and property too great, for a drastic remedy to be delayed any longer.
Certain recommendations in that behalf have, therefore, been made by the Commission and are set out in this chapter. Suggestions were also made before the Commission by several witnesses, principal among them being R.L. Pardeep (C.W. 21) who was at the relevant time the Collector and District Magistrate, Jalgaon; D. N. Capoor (P.W. 59) who was at the relevant time the Collector and District Magistrate, Thana; E. S. Modak who was at the relevant time the Additional Inspector General of police, Maharashtra State; S. V. Bhave who was at the relevant time the Superintendent of police, Thana; S.V. Dhamankar, popularly known as Bhausaheb Dhamankar, a highly respected citizen of Bhiwandi and later a Member of Parliament; and Gulam Rasool Haji Hasan Bagban [J.U.(J.)W. 3], a Congressman and a former Member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. Recommendations have also been made in the Reports of certain Commissions of Inquiry set up in this country, in England and in the U.S.A. in connection with various disturbances. Suggestions are also to be found in books by Indian and foreign writers. All these suggestions, as also the recommendations made by other Commissions of Inquiry, have been carefully considered by this Commission. The problem is too vast and too complex for any one man to offer a complete solution. It requires the urgent attention of the Government and of all right-thinking persons who believe in secularism and national integration.
106.2 The most important question for consideration which has arisen in this Inquiry is that of processions. The real controversy between the two communities in Bhiwandi was the insistence of certain sections of the Hindus that the Shiv Jayanti procession should go past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque and the objection thereto of certain sections of the Muslims. The question of processions is, however, not confined to Bhiwandi alone. Processions in one form or another, particularly by way of a demonstration or a protest march or morchas, have become a regular feature of ones daily life, dislocating traffic, preventing other citizens, tired after a day’s hard and honest work, from going home at a reasonable hour, and causing anxiety to the police and the law and order agencies. What was once the King’s highway for his subjects to pass and repass has today become the venue for demonstrations and morchas and a battle-
ground for political and communal forces. Even processions taken out on religious and festive occasions today stand on no different footing, but pose an equal law and order problem. The spirit of festivity has long since gone out of them and what was once a season of festivals has now become a season of tension and disorder.
106.3 The law relating to processions is now well settled by the pronouncements of the Privy Council in Manzur Hasan and others v Muhammad Zaman and others, L.R. 52 I.A. 61–A.I.R. 1925 P.C., 36, and Martin and Company and another v. Syed Faiyaz Hussain and others, L.R. 71 I.A. 25-A.I.R. 1944 P.C. 33; of a Full Bench of the Bombay High Court in Chandu Sajan Patil v. Nyahalchand Panamchand Marwadi, (1950) 52 Bom. L.R. 214: and of the Supreme Court in Shaikh Piru Bux and others v. Kalandi Pati and others — A.I.R. 1970 S.C. 1885.
The law as laid down in
these cases is:
(1) The right to go in a procession stands on the same footing as the right which the general public has of passing and repassing a highway.
(2) No religious community has the right to insist that the procession of another community should not go by its place of worship.
(3) The right to take out processions extends to both religious and non-religious processions and includes the right to take out such processions with the accompaniment of music.
(4) This right, however, is not an unfettered and unrestricted right for it is subject to (a) the rights of the other users of the highway, (b) the orders of the local authorities regulating the traffic, and (c) the directions of a Magistrate under any law for the time being in force for the prevention of a breach of the peace. While great publicity is given by communal bodies and organizations to the second and third propositions set out above, the first and the fourth propositions, are quietly slurred over by them.
106.4 A number of processions all over the country have led to violent clashes and destruction of property and even loss of life. Many a balanced and sane–minded person today feels that it would be far better if all processions were banned. There are, however, difficulties in the way. The Home Secretary, L. G. Rajwade, has deposed (G.W. I/ 68154), "I have considered the question of banning all processions, whether in respect of Hindu or Muslim festivals, as also all other processions and meetings, but I have not been able to make much progress in getting this implemented. My proposal in this behalf could not make much progress because of constitutional difficulties and the demands and expectations of parties."
106.5 The constitutional difficulties referred to by the Home Secretary is sub-clause (b) of clause (1) of Article 19 of the Constitution which confers upon all citizens of India the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. The right to go in a procession is a corollary flowing from Article 19(l)(b) and the ordinary law of the land, but this constitutional right is made subject by clause (3) of Article 19 to reasonable restrictions which can be imposed in the interests of public order on the exercise of the said right. A blanket ban on all processions would, therefore, not only violate the constitutional guarantee under clause (b) of Article 19(l), but would rightly be taken as a dictatorial and repressive measure to stifle all opposition to the party in power. The people must have a right to voice their dissatisfaction or publicly demonstrate their grievances, particularly when it appears that at times even reasonable demands have not been granted unless there were public demonstrations. This, however, does not mean that processions should be allowed to become a public menace. What is therefore required is to make proper provisions for the conduct and control of processions.
106.6 In order to counteract the propaganda of the communalists that they have an unfettered and unrestricted right to take a procession through any locality and past any place playing music, the first requisite is that the Government should give proper publicity to the restrictions to which the right to take out processions is subject, so that the young and impressionable sections of the public are not taken in by this false propaganda. In a case where the insistence of the organisers of a procession to take procession through a particular locality or past a particular place appears to be motivated more by a desire to provoke trouble, as in the case of Bhiwandi where the insistence of the leaders of the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal, of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh and of the Bhiwandi branch of the Shiv Sena to take the Shiv Jayanti procession with the accompaniment of music past the Nizampura Jumma Mosque was motivated by a desire to strengthen their own position and influence and to humiliate, insult and provoke the Muslims, the authorities should remain firm and make it clear that no permission would be granted to take the procession either through that particular locality or past that particular place, as the case may be. In such an event, the authorities should also make it clear to the organisers of the procession that they would not permit any meeting or demonstration against their decision and that if any trouble is started they would put it down with a firm and heavy hand. If thereafter a meeting is called or a morcha organized to protest against the refusal of the authorities to give permission as asked for, the authorities should ban the holding of the meeting or the taking out of the morcha.
Similarly, where it appears to the authorities that the objections to a procession passing through a particular locality or past a particular place is unreasonable or based purely on a false sense of prestige, the authorities should remain equally firm and tell the objecting local leaders concerned that they would grant the permission asked for in spite of their objection and, in case there was any trouble, they would put it down with a firm and heavy hand and will take the sternest measures against the instigators and trouble–makers. If, in spite of this warning trouble takes place, the authorities should not hesitate to act firmly in order to put down the trouble and see to it that the authors of it are brought to book.
Regulations for the control
106.7 Processions likely to provoke trouble stand on a special footing. Before granting permission to the organisers to take out such a procession and before prescribing a route for it under section 36 of the Bombay police Act, the officer concerned should undertake a thorough reconnaissance of the proposed route, note the bottle–necks, the likely points at which there may be danger to the procession by reason of an attack from rival groups and the places where there may be danger from the procession itself by reason of the processionists attacking the inhabitants, shops or houses of that locality, and should ascertain the places where escape routes are available and where the procession can be stopped and dispersed when it becomes unruly.
106.8 The route of the procession should be divided into sectors and each sector put in the charge of an officer who should be made responsible for the law and order situation there. A reserve should be detailed for each sector and there should be constant liaison between various sector commandants.
106.9 Disturbances would not have broken out in Bhiwandi on such a large scale at the time of the Shiv Jayanti procession on May 7, 1970, had it not consisted of about 10,000 persons, most of them armed with lathis to which Bhagwa flags or banners were tied in order to circumvent the ban under section 37(l) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, prohibiting the carrying of weapons and missiles. To permit lathis to be carried in this fashion is to make a mockery of an order under section 37(l). The right conferred by Article 19(l)(b) of the Constitution is to assemble peaceably and without arms. A procession of 10,000 persons marching through the streets, armed with lathis, is like an army on the march. Police officers and policemen at times fail to carry out their
duty as they did in the case of the May 1970 Shiv Jayanti procession in Bhiwandi, where they did not prevent the processionists, so armed, from joining or participating in the procession, either out of a hesitation that in case they did so, trouble may be provoked, or out of a misplaced sentiment that they would thereby insult the Bhagwa flag tied to the lathis. To prevent the recurrence of such a contingency, no flags or banners should be allowed to be carried in a procession, except just one banner and one flag, and that also tied to a thin stick not more than two feet in length and one inch in diameter in the case of a flag, and to two thin sticks not more, than three feet in length and one inch in diameter in the case of a banner.
106.10 Mammoth processions should never be permitted to march through the streets even if they are peaceful and not likely to provoke trouble, as they create a traffic problem, deprive other citizens of the use of the highway and paralyse normal life and activity for several hours. It may not be possible in practice to limit the number of processionists who should participate in a procession. Where a mammoth procession is expected, the solution, therefore, appears to be to permit the processionists to move only in groups of one hundred each with a distance of about 100 to 200 meters between each group.
106.11 There should be police parties at the head and tail of each procession of a controversial nature, and where a procession has been divided into groups as aforesaid, at the head and tail of each group. In the case of processions likely to give rise to or provoke trouble, there should be policemen on the flanks of the procession and mobile patrols on the route of the procession, keeping in touch with each sector commandant, and the progress of the procession and the Control Room.
106.12 We have seen in the course of the Bhiwandi Inquiry that at times trouble has taken place not in the course of a procession or a meeting, but when the procession has dispersed after it has reached its destination or a meeting has terminated and the audience is dispersing. The preventive measures put into operation during the progress of the procession or for the meeting should therefore continue till all persons who have formed the procession or attended the meeting have dispersed.
106.13 Since processions are an evil we have to put up with, there is no reason why peaceful and law-abiding citizens should be made to suffer greater inconvenience than necessary. Processionists, therefore, should not be allowed to march through the streets except in a file of not more than two, or three abreast, in such a manner that they do not impede the flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
106.14 Once an incident has taken place during the course of a procession, either by an altercation between a section of a procession and the bystanders or by a counter-demonstration by some hostile elements or by some stones and brickbats thrown at the procession, the police should endeavour to isolate the affected area by placing a cordon around it.
Photographers with processions
106.15 At times a photographer is kept to accompany a procession, particularly a procession of a controversial nature. The value of this measure is, however, debatable. The photographer may not be in that part of the procession in which the trouble breaks out. We have seen in the Bhiwandi Inquiry that the photographer remained in the front part of the procession until the procession reached the Saudagar Mohalla Jumma Mosque and from there straight went to the Nizampura Jumma Mosque and he was waiting there with his camera while the disturbances broke out in Bhusar Mohalla. Even had he been with the procession all throughout, as he was in the front part of the procession his photographs would have thrown no light on how the disturbances started, because the disturbances broke out in the middle section of the procession. Rioters are not likely to oblige a photographer by commencing the riot at the precise moment when the photographer has trained the lens of his camera upon them. It was suggested that considerable difficulty felt in riot cases in establishing the identity of the rioters would be obviated if a photographer took action shots of what was happening. Apart from the fact that this requires considerable skill in photography, photographs so taken could also be misleading. A photograph of a man with an up-raised lathi in his hand may not necessarily be of the assailants, but of the assailed seeking to defend himself against an attack after having picked up a lathi. It may not be of the first blow but of the retaliatory blow. A movie camera would be much more useful for this purpose. Even then, the utility of a movie camera is limited as it can only film the action taking place within the limited focus of its lens and both in the case of a still camera and a movie camera there is hardly likely to be a clear field for a photographer to take proper pictures or film a scene properly.
Ministers participating in processions
106.16 We have seen in Bhiwandi that Mr. Kalyanrao P. Patil, the then Minister of State for Home and Labour, was invited by Zumberlal Kalantri, the Congress M.L.C., from Bhiwandi, to lead the Shiv Jayanti procession. Had Mr. Patil done so it would have been a disaster. Fortunately, he consulted the District Magistrate who advised him against it. Before ministers accept invitations of this nature, even if the invitation is extended by one of their own party men, it would be best for them to consult the District Magistrate about the advisability of doing so. No minister should ever participate in a function, meeting or procession which is of a controversial nature or has given rise to a communal or religious controversy. To do so would be to convey the impression that the Minister is siding with one party to the controversy against the other. Even otherwise, a minister’s presence would divert the energy and attention of the District Magistrate and the police from the bandobast arrangements, as the senior officers would all have to remain with the minister and a considerable part of the bandobast which could otherwise be usefully engaged would have to be deployed for security measures for the minister.
106.17 A frequent cause of clash at the time of processions is the shouting of slogans, abusive or provocative of the other community. Some slogans are on the face of them abusive or provocative. Some other slogans, such as "Pakistan Murdabad", though apparently patriotic in their character, are abusive or provocative in the context in which they are shouted. The evidence before the Commission has shown that this slogan is shouted only in Muslim localities and not in Hindu localities or is shouted to a group of Muslims or outside the house of a Muslim leader, however staunch a nationalist he might be. The imputation conveyed by the shouting of this slogan in such a manner is clear. It is that the Muslim against whom it is shouted is suspected of and charged with being pro–Pakistani. Restrictions should, therefore, be provided in the order to be issued under section 36 of the Bombay police Act, 1951, prohibiting the shouting of slogans other than those set out in the said order. The issuing of such an order is, however, not enough. We have seen in the Bhiwandi Inquiry that the operation of such orders was only on paper and hardly anyone was arrested for committing a breach of the said order. Not only should the order under section 36 of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, contain these restrictions but the said order should be strictly enforced against any processionist, whether Hindu or Muslim, who commits a breach of the said order and such a processionist should forthwith be arrested and removed from the spot.
The throwing of gulal
106.18 In addition to the playing of music another question which arises in respect of Hindu processions is the throwing of gulal at members of the other community or when passing by a mosque. The position in law
has been discussed in Chapter 7 (paragraph 7.8 to 7.10) of Part II of this Report. No one has a right to sprinkle any matter, however auspicious he may consider it, upon the person or property of another if that other person objects to it. Whether the Muslims should object to the throwing of gulal is a different matter and is not a matter of law. It is a matter of tact, common sense and an attitude of live and let live. Until such time as these qualities manifest themselves in the two communities, particularly the militant and extremist sections of these communities, gulal should not be permitted to be thrown within 25 feet on either side of a mosque or on any person if he objects thereto and restrictions in that behalf should be prescribed in the order under section 36 of the Bombay police Act, 1951. Where a breach is committed of the said order, the offender must be forthwith arrested, removed from the spot and prosecuted.
The playing of music in processions
106.19 We have seen that every community has a right to take out processions with the accompaniment of music, subject to the rights of the other users of the highway and the orders of the local authorities regulating the traffic and the directions under any law for the time being in force, for the prevention of a breach of the peace. To the Muslims the disturbance of their prayers by a procession passing by their mosque playing music is an act which offends their religious sentiments. In the note containing his suggestions, filed before the Commission, Addi. I.G.P., Emmanuel Sumitra Modak has stated that the Hindus deliberately linger in front of mosques playing music and throw gulal in front of mosques because it annoys the Muslims and because the Muslims object to it. In the said note he has further stated: "In this jet age, the rationale for the objection of the Muslims is not understood. When literally jet planes fly overhead and shake the rafters or break the window panes of mosques, what do the Muslims propose to do? I would give a comparison of two other minority groups — the Christians and the Jews, and of their churches and synagogues. In Bombay City there are any number of churches right on the streets. Similarly there are churches even in small towns and in villages. Has there been even one single instance ever reported of a communal riot taking place because music was played in front of churches? There has not, because Christians do not object to the playing of music or similar disturbance. Since they do not make an issue of it, Hindus do not tarry in front of churches, nor do they throw gulal, because their natural reaction in such circumstances is to respect the religious feelings of the devotees. Should the Muslims decide to ignore the alleged disturbance caused by the playing of music, Hindus, too, would, within a short time, stop the deliberate annoyance which they cause and the occasions which give rise to communal tension would be reduced."
106.20 It is difficult to understand the logic of this suggestion. Jet planes do not fly over mosques deliberately in order to annoy the Muslims or to bring about a breach of the peace. Everyone is helpless against the ear-shattering noise of a jet plane flying overhead. It is fallacious to equate the deliberate throwing of gulal or the playing of music with a jet plane flying overhead. For one of the police chiefs to suggest that the only solution is for the Muslims to ignore the disturbance caused by the playing of music so that the Hindus, finding that they are unable to provoke the Muslims, would give up playing music while passing by a mosque is tantamount to the police transferring to the shoulders of the Muslims their responsibility for preserving law and order. It is tantamount to saying that the Muslims must submit to the provocative behaviour of the Hindus so that in future the Hindus would not provoke them. Addl. I.G.P., Modak is a Christian by religion and not a Hindu. If even he is of this opinion, one can well understand what the attitude of the police officers and policemen who are Hindus must be towards the throwing of gulal and the playing of music by the Hindu processionists while passing by mosques. None of the processionists who indulge in these acts in Bhiwandi was at any time arrested. Such an attitude and even the suggestion of such a solution is bound to shake the confidence of the minorities in the ability of the administration and the police to safeguard their rights or to, give them protection. It is to play into the hands of the Muslim communalists who charge the administration and the police with practising communal discrimination. The solution is not, therefore, to ask the Muslims to put up with the playing of music and the throwing of gulal while a procession passes by a mosque, but, in the order under section 36 of the Bombay police Act, 1951, to prohibit the throwing of gulal within 25 feet on either side of a mosque, or the playing of music near a mosque at prayer times. The psychological change of attitude suggested by Addl. I.G.P., Modak can only come when there is a radical psychological change of attitude in both communities. Till that time comes, it is the responsibility of the police to see that the orders issued under section 36 of the Bombay police Act are not violated and to arrest and punish those who violate them and thus to preserve law and order.
The banning of processions
106.21 If the circumstances are such that a riot is bound to take place during the course of a procession, the taking out of such a procession must be banned by the authorities whatever public clamour it might evoke, unless the opposition to that procession going through a particular locality or going past a particular place is of so unreasonable a nature that banning the procession would create the impression that the authorities had succumbed to threats of violence.
Shiv Jayanti processions
106.22 The greatness of Shivaji cannot be disputed or denied. Shiv Jayanti is a national festival and treated as such in the state of Maharashtra, a large percentage of the population of which venerates Shivaji almost as a God. What is wrong with the Shiv Jayanti celebrations, particularly the celebrations which we have come across in the course of the Bhiwandi Inquiry, is that the Hindu communalists have deliberately and studiously tried to turn this national festival into a purely Hindu festival or into the function of a particular party. In the course of the Shiv Jayanti processions in Bhiwandi, the slogan "Hindu Dharmacha Vijay Aso" was repeatedly shouted, and in the course of the May 1970 Shiv Jayanti procession, the processionists also shouted the slogans, "Shiv Sena Zindabad", "Jan Sangh Zindabad", "Rashtriya Utsav Mandal Zindabad" and "Dr. Vyas Zindabad". Dr. B. P. Vyas was the president of the Bhiwandi branch of the Jan Sangh and the guiding spirit of the Rashtriya Utsav Mandal. The shouting of such slogans in a Shiv Jayanti procession, though not abusive or provocative, is not as light a matter as it may at first sight appear.
These slogans are not innocuous, for the shouting of the slogan "Hindu Dharmacha Vijay Aso" wrongly stamps the festival as a Hindu festival and is bound to create a psychological opposition and resentment amongst those who are not Hindus. The shouting of the other slogans mentioned above would equally create resentment amongst those who do not belong to these parties, for it gives to a procession taken out on a national occasion the colour of a procession of a particular party. These slogans, therefore, rob Shiv Jayanti of its national character and debase Shivaji from the great and outstanding figure of history which he is into a sectarian and communal leader. The police officers and policemen in Bhiwandi who did not take any action in respect of the shouting of such slogans failed to realize the incalculable damage they by their inaction were doing to the national character of Shiv Jayanti and to the image of Shivaji whom they revered and venerated. It is they who by their negligence and communal cast of mind allowed Shiv Jayanti in Bhiwandi to be turned into a communal controversy. In order to prevent the shouting of this type of slogans in the order under section 36 of the Bombay police Act, 1951, regulating the conduct of a Shiv Jayanti pro
cession, the shouting of slogans other than the slogans specified in the said order should be prohibited and if in breach of the said order anyone shouts them, he should immediately be arrested, removed from the spot and prosecuted.
Hartals and morchas to protest against communal disturbances
106.23 After the Bhiwandi disturbances hartals were observed, protest meetings held and morchas taken out in several places in the Thana district and even outside the Thana district to protest against the said disturbances. Such hartals, meetings and morchas are the work of the communalists and the only purpose they serve is to further inflame communal passions. No meeting should be permitted to be held and procession or morcha permitted to be taken out in order to protest against any communal disturbances.
Parading of animals and
meat on Bakri–Id
106.24 The Muslims who are so sensitive and vociferous about their religious sentiments being offended by the throwing of gulal on a mosque or the playing of music by the Hindu processionists while passing by a mosque should realize that those who belong to other faiths have also religious sentiments which can be offended. It offends the religious sentiments of those who do not eat meat or are against the slaughter of animals to see on Bakri–Id either beef carried openly or to see a cow or goat taken through the streets for being slaughtered. Ordinary decency and a regard and respect for the religious feelings and sentiments of others require that this ought not to be done except in exclusively Muslim localities. Since it is difficult to expect reasonableness or commonsense from the communalists belonging to either the Hindu or the Muslim community, particularly from their fanatic and extremist sections, in the order under section 36 of the Bombay police Act, 1951, issued on the occasion of Bakri–Id, a route should be prescribed requiring animals to be carried to the slaughter–house through certain specified Muslim localities only and prohibiting the taking of animals to the slaughter–house in groups or processions except through certain localities or the carrying of meat otherwise than in closed vehicles.
The method of taking searches
106.25 Where, before a festival or an occasion full of potentialities of communal trouble, information is received about the collection of weapons or missiles in certain places, surprise searches to verify this information must be carried out simultaneously. To carry out such searches one after another is to denude them of the element of surprise and give enough warning to the other persons who have such stocks with them to transfer the stocks of weapons and missiles to some other place in cases where the information received is true.
The method of dealing with
crash wireless messages
106.26 We have seen in the course of the Jalgaon Inquiry that the crash wireless message received from the D.I.G. (B.R.) asking the S.P. to alert his staff and take all proper precautions in view of the communal disturbances which had broken out at Bhiwandi was treated as a routine message and the S.P., who was camping at Pachora, was not informed about it until next morning. It is, therefore, necessary that specific instructions should be issued to the effect that prompt information of any crash wireless message from the Government, the I.G.P., the D.I.G. (Int.) or the D.I.G. of the concerned Range should be given to the D.M., the Additional D.M., the S.D.M., the S.P. and the S.D.P.O. Further, when a crash wireless message has been received about the outbreak of serious communal disturbances in another district or even in another state which is likely to have a possible repercussion within the district, the police stations should not be left in charge merely of a head constable as happened at Jalgaon, but should remain in charge of a police officer of the rank of at least a sub-inspector until the emergency is over.
The use of force to put
106.27 A cane–charge or, to use the time-honoured term, ‘a lathi–charge’, is the type of force used most often to disperse unlawful assemblies. It has its disadvantages for it only affects the rioters in the front part of the mob and unless a proper lathi–charge is made, it might not succeed in dispersing the mob, but might result in tiring out the policemen and sometimes in getting the policemen mixed up with the rioters so that subsequently it would be difficult to fire tear–gas shells or to resort to gun–fire for fear of injuring the policemen. Lathi-charges should not be half–hearted or ineffective nor should they consist merely of pushing back the mob with lathis as happened at the time of the Jalgaon disturbances. Whenever a lathi–charge is made it should, therefore, be made energetically and with the intention of making it effective and must be directed at the most determined part of the mob.
106.28 Tear–gas is a very effective weapon for dispersing an unlawful assembly without causing serious injury. There are, however, various precautions which are required to be taken to use it with the maximum effectiveness. The main precaution is to note the direction of the wind for if the wind is blowing in the direction of the police party or the people who are being attacked by a rioting mob, tear–gas will result in rendering the police or those who are the target of attack by the rioters powerless to protect themselves.
106.29 The three Inquiries which this Commission has conducted have shown that the most effective way of putting down a disturbance, which has taken a serious turn or is about to take a serious turn, is to use fire–arms. On account of the small Muslim population in Mahad, the history of Jalgaon would have been repeated there but for the courage and determination of Circle Police Inspector P. R. Salunke who did not hesitate to open fire the moment he felt that the situation required it and who, when he opened fire, did not choose to do so in the air but on the rioting mobs so that though the number of rounds fired were seven rounds of .455 revolver and one of .410 musket, four rioters were injured, but there was no loss of life. Police firing should never take place in the air and should not be long delayed. There is a natural hesitancy on the part of police officers and policemen to open fire on rioting mobs. They are afraid of the public demands for a judicial inquiry and of allegations which are likely to be made in the press, by the public and on the floor of the House. The police must take all such outcries and demands as part of their occupational hazard and when they open fire must open effective fire on the most determined part of the mob keeping their aim low so as to avoid taking life as far as possible. So much tender regard and concern which we find shown for the physical, well-being and safety of those who have gone about maiming, looting, burning and murdering, is misplaced. The object of concern and protection should not be these persons but their victims.
106.30 In every case of police firing it is, therefore, not necessary for the Government to accede to a demand for a public or a judicial inquiry. It is true that in a democracy the Government must listen to the voice of the people and to public opinion, but democracy can become as much of a mixed blessing and capable of as great abuses as other systems of Government.
106.31 Some officers concerned with the Jalgaon disturbances felt some doubt about their right in law to order fire to be opened fire in a place in which they had no jurisdiction for the reason that they were either the Sub–Divisional Magistrate or the Sub-Divisional Police Officer to another sub-division. It is necessary that the legal position about the jurisdiction of Sub-Divisional Magistrates and Sub–Divisional Police Officers of other divisions to order the use of
force, including the opening of fire, in times of riots should be clarified, so that a doubt about the legal position may not cause a hesitancy in the minds of these officers in ordering fire to be opened.
riot duty in mufti
106.32 It was also seen in this Inquiry that at the time of the Jalgaon disturbances, some constables came on riot duty dressed in mufti though on that day they were assigned duty which required them to be in uniform. Constables in mufti when they get mixed up with the rioting mob hamper measures for dealing with the riots. Each such case should be investigated and a disciplinary inquiry held against the offending constables, and if found guilty, suitable punishment should be awarded to them.
The Anti–Riot Mobile Column
106.33 Additional I.G.P., Modak suggested the formation of two Anti-Riot Mobile Columns, one stationed at Poona and the other at Nagpur. These columns could be deployed when communal trouble is anticipated over a procession or festival in a town, with a history of communal tension, and placed in position. They could also be deployed on the outbreak of a serious communal riot, by being rushed within a matter of hours to the affected area. Each Column would be led by the S.P. of a district who would be in charge and would be in a light police van along with one sub–inspector, two head constables and six constables, all of them armed, and a wireless operator, followed by a Mobile Control Room with one high–fidelity channel and two very high -fidelity channels, along with a deputy superintendent, three inspectors, three constables to act as runners and three head constables, followed by a dispatch rider. The third row would, consist of six wireless patrol vans with V.H.F. sets, three of them being jeeps with one sub–inspector, one armed head constable, three armed constables and a wireless operator each and the other three being light vans with one sub–inspector, two armed head constables, six aimed constables and a wireless operator each. The fourth row would consist of three fire tenders, and a portable pump with an armed escort in jeeps and three ambulance vehicles equipped with a full complement of staff. This would be followed by two wreckers with a platoon of S.R.P. men equipped with pickaxes, shovels, ropes, etc., then would come a Shield Company with a Gas Squad and thereafter an investigation staff consisting of three inspectors, six sub–inspectors, three head constables and nine constables, followed by a vehicle carrying accessories like instalites, torches, petromax lamps, etc. Behind this vehicle would come a truck carrying 20 raoties or small tents, followed by three water tankers for water-supply and the rearguard would be taken up by a mobile canteen, followed by a mobile workshop consisting of mechanics from the Motor Transport and Wireless branch and a motor transport police sub–inspector.
According to Additional I.G.P., Modak, the cost for the equipment and maintenance of such a Column would be less than that of the S.R.P. battalion which consists roughly of 1,000 men, as, according to the figures given by him, the non–recurring cost of an S.R.P. battalion would be about Rs.37,00,000 and the recurring cost about Rs. 38,00,000, while the non-recurring cost of an Anti–Riot Mobile Column would be Rs.24,91,866 and the recurring cost would be Rs. 10,22,263. In Additional I.G.P., Modak’s opinion such a Column would be more effective in dealing with riots than an S.R.P. battalion, as the troops would be highly motivated and specially trained and would be able to co–ordinate effectively the anti–riot operations. He has further suggested that during the periods when there is no communal trouble, the personnel of the Column would undergo intensive training and would visit the towns or cities with a history of serious communal trouble so that the men and officers could familiarize themselves with the local topography and situation. It is not possible for the Commission to say how far this suggestion is feasible or would be efficacious, but it deserves to be studied.
Arrests during communal
106.34 We have seen in the course of the Bhiwandi Inquiry that in pursuance of the instructions given by Additional I.G.P., Modak, large–scale arrests were made. We have also seen in Chapter 47 that several police officers and policemen concerned in making these arrests turned a blind eye to what the Hindu rioters were doing, but concentrated their energies upon the Muslims. Additional I.G.P., Modak deposed that he did not ascertain the community of the persons who were arrested on May 7 and 8, 1970. He has further deposed that when he gave his orders for large–scale arrests he expected persons of both communities to be arrested because he had found that arson and rioting were being indulged in by both the communities (G.W. 3/84–5/199–200). In Jalgaon also the only persons who were arrested during the entire course of the disturbances were three Muslims. It is necessary that the officer in overall charge of the law and order situation at the time of a communal disturbance should ascertain, as often as practicable, the community of the persons arrested so that he may know whether any communal discrimination is being practised by the officers and men under him in putting down the disturbance.
106.35 It is desirable that in cases of serious communal disturbances a Special Prosecutor should be appointed, preferably from outside the district concerned or in any event from outside the affected area. We have seen in the course of the Jalgaon Inquiry that a relative of the principal accused was made the Additional Special Prosecutor. Though there is no warrant for saying that any prosecution suffered at his hand or was not conducted in the same manner as it would have been had he not been so related, prosecutions in respect of offences committed during the course of communal disturbances require to be viewed in a special light. There should not be anything either in the manner of dealing with the communal disturbances or in the investigation of offences committed during the disturbances or in the prosecutions launched in respect of such offences which would convey the least suggestion that one community is sought to be favoured at the expense of the other. To appoint, therefore, a relative of an accused as a Prosecutor would result in shaking the confidence of the aggrieved community and would lead to an impression that the authorities want to let the accused of the other community go unpunished.
106.36 Fire Station Officer V.P. Chitre of the Thana Municipal Fire Service deposed that so far as he was aware, in all states, except the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat, fire services were in charge of the Government, but that in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat they were run by local authorities, except in the Marathwada areas of the state of Maharashtra. He further deposed that the efficiency and equipment of the fire services were, as a rule, better when a fire service was run by the state and not when it was run by a municipality, for in the latter case there was often interference by Municipal Councillors which affected discipline, morale and efficiency and resulted in proper equipment not being provided. The evidence before the Commission with respect to the municipal fire services in the Thana district which have featured in the Bhiwandi disturbances amply bear out this statement of Chitre. It is, therefore, suggested that fire services in the districts should be run by the state and not by the local Municipal Councils, quite a few of which are ridden with factions, power politics and corruption as shown by the examples of the Bhiwandi–Nizampur and Jalgaon Municipal Councils. If necessary, an inquiry should be conducted by the Government into the running of the various municipal fire services and a decision taken.
The "Guide Lines for Dealing with
166.37 Before the Commission criticism was levelled against the booklet, the "Guide
Lines for Dealing with Communal Disturbances" published by the Home Department in August 1968 for the guidance of the Executive Magistrates and police officers about the one-sided manner in which the background of the communal tension in the state has been set out in the introductory part of that booklet. This criticism is, to a certain extent, justified. The introductory part of the said booklet might convey a wrong idea to the Executive Magistrates and police officers about the community responsible for creating communal disharmony. It is necessary that such booklets containing official instructions should be drafted with greater care so as to convey an objective picture, lest the officers for whom such instructions are meant get an incorrect idea of the communal situation. It is, therefore, recommended that a new edition of the "Guide Lines for Dealing with Communal Disturbances" should be issued by the Government containing a balanced, detached and objective introduction to the communal situation in the state.
106.38 The evidence before the Commission has revealed that the Peace Committee in Bhiwandi served more as a platform for communal-minded leaders to make communal speeches rather than as a vehicle for bringing about mutual trust and understanding between the two communities. The Municipal president was the ex-officio president of the Peace Committee. We have seen in the course of the Bhiwandi Inquiry how Municipal presidents were made and unmade and how they managed to obtain their offices. Some of them were wholly unfit to preside at any Peace Committee meeting. All the Municipal Councillors were members of the Peace Committee. A number of other citizens of Bhiwandi were also co-opted as members of the Peace Committee. The Peace Committee in Bhiwandi was thus an unwieldy body. S.V. Dhamankar, who was the vice–president of the Peace Committee in Bhiwandi, has deposed [C.W. 2/1(72)1 1692(41)] : "In my view, duration of the constitution of the Peace Committee should be for a specific period and preferably for a period of one year. A responsible officer of sufficiently high grade who is familiar with the problems of local area or of a particular place should nominate the members of the Peace Committee so that Peace Committee becomes a small body capable of consisting of men who have real faith in the objectives of Peace Committee. My experience is that on a number of occasions Peace Committee was used as a platform to inflame the feelings by fanatic speeches rather than appeasing of fanatical communalism."
106.39 The Commission agrees with the aforesaid suggestions made by S. V. Dhamankar and further recommends that meetings of the Peace Committee, particularly important meetings, should be presided over by the District Magistrate or in his absence the Additional District Magistrate or failing them both by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, the Superintendent of Police or the Sub-Divisional Police Officer.
The making of misleading
and incorrect reports
106.40 We have seen in the course of this Inquiry that some members of the police force, including some senior officers, have made reports to their superiors which were false and have thereby misled their superiors and through them the Government. We have seen that in one case the officer concerned was given a warning. A warning, however, is not enough. The I.G.P., the D.I.G. (Int.) and the Home Department depend for their knowledge and information to a large extent on the state intelligence officers and the district officers. Any officer found to have made a false or inaccurate report, unless he proves that he had made that report bona fide, should be severely dealt with.
Inquiries against police officers
106.41 In the course of the Bhiwandi Inquiry we have seen that several representations were made to the Government and the I.G.P. about certain acts of police officers and the Special Investigation Squad. These representations were referred either to the Superintendent of police of the District or to the Deputy Superintendent of police in charge of the Special Investigation Squad, depending upon to which branch the representation related, to make inquiry into the matter and make a report thereon. In some cases the manner of inquiry was to take the statements of the police officers and policemen concerned and on their denying the allegations made against them — allegations which if true they were hardly likely to admit — to report back that what was stated in the representation was false and mischievous. This is not a proper method of conducting inquiries. The person making the allegation ought to be given an opportunity of proving them. In the case of the Bhiwandi Inquiry, the evidence before the Commission has shown that a number of allegations made in such representations were true. Now that we have the Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayuktas Act, 1971, such complaints, if serious enough, should be referred to the Lokayukta or an Upa–Lokayukta and in other cases the inquiry should be held by an officer not connected with the department concerned. This alone would ensure confidence amongst the public that their grievances are not being lightly treated or summarily dismissed.
The maintenance of case diaries
106.42 We have seen in the course of this Inquiry that the officers of the Special Investigation Squads did not submit copies of case diaries as required by Rule 225 of Volume III of the Bombay police Manual, 1959, and Rule 15(d) of the Manual of Instructions, Maharashtra State, Crime and Railways branch (C.I.D.). In this state, case diaries are written out on loose sheets of paper and then tagged together, leaving ample scope for substituting, subsequently written-out pages. In the, course of the evidence, the Commission was informed that in the, erstwhile state of Madhya Pradesh, case diaries were in the form of bound books and were required to be written out in triplicate, that is, with one original and two carbon copies, and the two carbon copies detached and forwarded to the prescribed authorities. Though this does not completely eliminate the possibility of what happened in the Special Investigation Squads where the superior officers authorized and connived at the practice of not submitting copies of case diaries and presumably of not writing them, the practice said to have prevailed in Madhya Pradesh provides a certain amount of safeguard and should be introduced in this State.
106.43 A better system of follow–up, both at governmental and district level of instructions issued by the Government should be introduced. The follow–up system appears to consist of conferences and discussions with officers. There does not appear to be a proper system in force to ensure that important instructions have been implemented, and many of these important instructions have been found in practice in all the three districts, with which this Commission was concerned in this Inquiry, to have been operative on paper only. In the case of the State Intelligence, we have seen that the State Intelligence officers in the Jalgaon District failed to make any mention in their reports of important communal incidents. These incidents were, however, mentioned in the reports made by the district authorities. Copies of these reports by district authorities are also endorsed to the Deputy Inspector–General of police, C.I.D. (Intelligence). Reports received from these various agencies should be compared by an officer in the office of the D.I.G. (Int.). This alone will enable the D.I.G. (Int.) to judge which officers in the district are performing their duties properly.
is, however, a section of the Press which lives on sensationalism, and in India, also by stirring up communal passions and fomenting communal hatred. It is, therefore, necessary that there should be a check on the manner of reporting communal disturbances. The news of communal disturbances in a place at times has repercussions in another part of the same district or even in another district of the same state or at times in another state. In the case both of Jalgaon and Mahad, the news of the Bhiwandi disturbances and wild and exaggerated rumours about them were one of the immediate or proximate causes of the disturbances which took place in those places. It is, therefore, necessary that there should be a pre–censorship of the news relating to communal disturbances before it is published in the newspapers. It would be better if the authorities were themselves to issue news bulletins which should be published by all the newspapers. A bulletin issued by the authorities should, however, be such as not to defeat its own object by giving rise to speculations and providing a feeding ground for wild rumours. The news given by the authorities should, therefore, be factual, objective and not couched in vague terms.
by officers and men
106.57 In the ultimate analysis the implementation of any measure must depend upon human agencies, namely, the officers and men on the spot. No measures, however good on paper, can succeed unless those charged with the responsibility of carrying them out act with integrity and without communal bias. In the course of this Inquiry, we have seen that even some of the senior officers were not free of the taint of communalism. When, therefore, any instance comes to light of any police officer, policeman or Government servant having shown communal discrimination in favour of a community, the person guilty should be severely dealt with.
The disputed structure at Mahad
106.58 Mahad is a classic example of how a communal controversy can be created almost out of nothing. The controversy with respect to the disputed structure might have died out today, but so long as that structure exists and remains in the possession of one community or the other without the controversy with respect to it being definitively settled, it might on some future occasion furnish a cause for another communal disturbance. We have seen that the letter of surrender signed by the five Muslim leaders in pursuance of the decision taken by the Muslim Jamaat, Mahad, on February 18,1970 has no legal validity. The pending appeal against the decision of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mahad, in proceedings under section 145 Cr.P.C. cannot resolve the dispute, if any, as to the title to the said property. In order to remove this cause for communal tension the best remedy would be for the Government to acquire the disputed property under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for a public purpose. It might cost some money but spending this amount in order to preserve law and order will in the long run save the far greater expense incurred in quelling disturbances and restoring normalcy and in providing relief and rehabilitation to those who have suffered in the disturbances. The recommended course would leave no scope for any communal controversy to be raised in future with respect to this structure.
The Government as party before
a Commission of Inquiry
106.59 A large number of facts which this Commission has been able to ascertain would have never come to light but for the fact that the Government of Maharashtra appeared as a party before the Commission and, further, did not claim privilege in respect of any document but made available to the Commission every file or document, however confidential, which the Commission desired to peruse, leaving it to the Commission to decide upon the materials therefrom which should be brought on the record. Further, hearings before the Commission would have been greatly protracted had the Government not itself volunteered to cyclostyle and distribute, free of cost, amongst all parties appearing before the Commission, copies of affidavits, the notes of evidence and copies of the documents exhibited before the Commission. It is desirable that where administrative measures form part of the subject-matter of an inquiry by a Commission, the Government should appear before the Commission and act as fairly as it did in the Inquiry held by this Commission.
A true perspective of
religion and history
106.60 The measures recommended above are either for removing the symptoms of the disease of communalism or for preventing the symptoms from manifesting themselves. They are not measures for eliminating the disease.
106.61 Communalism is a disease which warps the mind and makes a man look at life through tinted glasses so that he cannot see any good in a man unless he belongs to his own community. Today communalism has infected all walks of life and all strata of society. It has so surcharged the atmosphere with distrust and suspicion between Hindus and Muslims that even men of education and culture, liberality and tolerance, when it comes to a communal question, will see "a faction in every chance gathering, a conspiracy in every chance whisper". It is inevitable that every man must be born in a particular country and of a particular race (or mixture of races) and with rare exceptions would be born into and brought up in the faith of his parents. Yet this accidental occurrence of birth in a particular geographical latitude, to parents belonging to a particular race and professing a particular religion, is taken by most men, as the hallmark of superiority and a singular privilege. A man needs the spiritual sustenance of belief and faith. In the midst of life’s trials and tribulations and in the stranglehold of frustrations and despair a man must have belief to anchor his hopes to and his staff of faith to lean upon. No single factor has so shaped man’s thoughts or fashioned his history as religion. Yet it is the tragedy of religion that what was meant for man’s individual salvation should, at repeated intervals in history, have become an instrument of man’s collective damnation.
106.62 Communalism is a way of thinking — the result of the perversions of religion and the distortions of history. Those who have lived for decades with communalism as their creed are beyond redemption. The tragedy is that as they think, so do their children grow up to think. Today the poison of communalism is made more bitter by a mixture of regionalism and parochialism. Indians have ceased to think of themselves as Indians but look upon themselves only in terms of their religion, state or region. Article 25 of our Constitution provides for the freedom of conscience and the free profession, practice and propagation of religion. The ringing sonority of this Article of the Constitution has, however, fallen, on deaf ears and many who so glibly prattle about secularism and national integration are themselves communalists at heart. In order to root out this cancer from our country it is necessary to reorient the thinking of the youth of our country and thus save them from communal brain–washing by their parents. A massive effort is necessary to achieve this. It can only be achieved if our youth understand that they are a part of the great Family of Man, of which the kith and kin are spread all over the world. It can only be achieved if our youth learn to view history and religion in their true perspective. The essence of the teachings of all great religions is the same. It may be expressed in different languages and clothed in different garbs. The ritual observances of a religion are not the real religion. Often the founder of a religion would be horrified if he were to see what his followers have made of the religion he gave to them. Under Article 27 of the Constitution, no person can be compelled to pay any taxes, the
proceeds of which are specifically appropriated in payment of expenses for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination, and under Article 28, no religious instruction can be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds nor can any person attending any educational institution recognized by the State or receiving aid out of State funds be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution, or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person, or if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto. These Articles, however, do not prohibit instruction in the moral and ethical teachings contained in the great religions of the world. In essence, all these teachings are the same, whether they be contained in the Sacred Volume of one religion or another religion. It is, therefore, necessary that a student learns to have reverence for all religions and not merely his own religion and is taught to respect the religious sentiments of others as he would that they should respect his own religious sentiments.
106.63 Along with a proper knowledge and understanding of what the great religions of the world are and what they teach, our youth must be made to acquire a true perspective of history.
106.64 History is the product of many climes and many ages, of wars and political events, of discoveries that have changed man’s life, and inventions that have brought new comforts into it, of arts that satisfy his aesthetic longings, and religions that fulfil his spiritual needs. A true perspective of history must embrace all that has gone to make the sum total of human activities. Till recently, until Will Durant’s delightful The Story of Civilization and Toynbee’s monumental work A Study of History, historians looked on history in segments, the greater number confining themselves to political histories and a few to specialized histories, for example, economic history or religious history or the history of a particular art, such as music, or of a particular science, such as medicine. To consider just one out of the many facets that make man’s life and its activities is to see a column but not the arch which it supports. To know the history of only one country, and since most men only know the political history of their own country, to know only the political history of our own country, as if that country were the geographical pivot of the world and, the focal point of world events, is to delude ourselves into a false sense of our own importance. As T. S. Eliot said, "History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors. And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, Guides us by vanities."
The function of the true historian is to light up for us at one time all these passages and corridors and guide us through them so that we neither get lost in their labyrinth nor believe that a corridor is the whole edifice. His object should be to sound-proof us against the deceitful whispers of ambition by making us aware of the warnings of history and to plug our ego against the inroads of vanity by making us realize, that we are but one of the many that have been and are on the world’s stage. He must make us see history not in fragments but comprehensively as an integrated whole, so that we may understand the interplay of different events and the interdependence of different cultures. He must teach us the lessons of history so that we may learn to rid ourselves of the fallacious and unjustified assumption most men make that their particular country, race or religion is superior to all others.
Retrospect and prospect
106.65 These were really three Inquiries which were conducted by the Commission and not just one — an Inquiry into the Bhiwandi disturbances, an Inquiry into the Jalgaon disturbances and an Inquiry into the Mahad disturbances. In each of these Inquiries the questions which arose, the matters for consideration, the causes of the disturbances, the interplay of political and communal forces, the questions of adequacy of measures taken by the authorities, of justification of police firings, and of matters germane to them, the witnesses and the documentary evidence, were all different. There was hardly anything common to these three Inquiries except the recurring tale — of hatred and violence. It was a lonely, arduous and weary journey through a land of hatred and violence, of prejudice and perjury. The encounters on the way were with men without compassion, lusting for the blood of their fellow men, with politicians who trafficked in communal hatred and religious fanaticism with local leaders who sought power by sowing disunity and bitterness, with police officers and policemen who were unworthy of their uniform, with investigating officers without honour and without scruples, with men committed to falsehood and wedded to fraud, and with dealers in mayhem and murder. Yet the scene has not been all dark and murky, for it has been lit up with other encounters on the way, albeit few, but which shone out "fair as a star, when only one, is shining in the sky". These were encounters with men who opened out their homes and held out their hands to protect those of the other faith, with officers who irrespective of the fear of consequences would not mortgage their conscience to support a lie, with men who were not afraid to give a call for unity when the others around them were preaching hate.
The Preacher hath said: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven". We have had enough of a time to hate and a time to kill, a time to destroy and a time to rend. Let there be now a time to heal and a time to build, a time to clasp hands and a time to be one. With the memory of those bright encounters on the way, let us then end, in hope and confidence, with these words of Robert Burns:
Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a’ that),
That Sense and Worth o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that,
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s comin yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’ er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that."
November 7, 1974