Boy’s death in police firing had provoked rioters

The massacre in Ode town of Anand district on March 1-2,2002,was triggered by the death of a boy who was shot when police opened fire to control the rampaging mob which was attacking the properties of those living in the Muslim-dominated Suriwali Bhagol locality of the town.

Written by Express News Service | Ode(anand) | Published: April 10, 2012 6:57 am

The massacre in Ode town of Anand district on March 1-2,2002,was triggered by the death of a boy who was shot when police opened fire to control the rampaging mob which was attacking the properties of those living in the Muslim-dominated Suriwali Bhagol locality of the town.

According to Special Public Prosecutor in the case P N Parmar,around eight policemen were present in the town when the violence began. To control the rioters,the policemen first fired tear gas shells. Later,they opened fire in which the young boy,Nishith,was shot at. Following the incident,the mob dispersed and resorted to scattered attacks on Muslims in the town.

One Rafique Mohammed Khalifa,who later became a complainant in the case,was attacked while he was being taken to the Khambholaj Police Station under protection to register an FIR. Khalifa’s house at Suriwali Bhagol was also attacked by the mob.

It was only when Nishith succumbed to his bullet wounds hours later that the mob turned bigger and more violent. Two policemen were badly beaten up after which the rest fled the area.

Around 4 pm on March 1,the mob attacked residences of Muslim at Pirawali Bhagol. When the families took shelter in a three-storied building,the mob locked its doors from outside and set it on fire by throwing in pouches filled with petrol and kerosene. A total of 23 persons were burnt to death inside the house. The mayhem continued for around two hours. Some in the building,however,managed to escape and later turned eye-witnesses in the case.

Around 10 am on March 2,locals took out a funeral procession of Nishith. After the funeral,they gathered together and torched the vehicles belonging to Muslims. An 80-year-old Gulam Rasool Saiyed,who had come out to give fodder to his goats,was caught by the mob and thrown into the fire. He was burnt alive.

Advocate Irshad Mansuri,who is representing the victims,said,“The survivors of Pirawali Bhagol massacre had escaped to nearby Sureli village and informed the community leaders about the incident. They in turn informed the police,which reached the spot on March 2 and found two charred bodies,of 35-year-old Sikandar Malek and his two-year-old daughter,Guddi.”

However,there is only one FIR in the case. The murder of Rasool Saiyed was treated as a separate case.

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