The Bombay Riots Essay Sample
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Introduction of TOPIC
The Bombay Riots of December 1992 and January 1993 resulted in the deaths of 900 people. An investigative commission was formed under Justice B.N. Srikrishna, but the recommendations of the inquiry were not enforced. The riots were followed by a retaliatory on 12 March 1993 Bombay Bombings, perpetuated by Muslim criminal groups with alleged help of ganglord Dawood Ibrahim and his D-Company syndicate, in which 250 people died. According to the Sri Krishna report, the immediate causes of the communal riots on 6 December 1992 were: (a) The demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque
(b) The aggravation of Muslim sentiments by the Hindus with their celebration rallies (c) The insensitive and harsh approach of the police while handling the protesting mobs which initially were not violent.
The riots started as a result of communal tension prevailing in the city after the Babri Mosque demolition on 6 December 1992. It has been reported in the shrikrishna commission that the riots occurred in two phases. The first was mainly a Muslim backlash as a result of the Babri Masjid demolition in the week immediately succeeding 6 December 1992 led by political leaders representing hindutva in the city of Ayodhya.The second phase was a Hindu backlash occurring as a result of the killings of Hindu MathadiKamgar (workers) by Muslim fanatics in Dongri (an area of South Bombay), stabbing of Hindus in Muslim majority areas and burning of six Hindus, including a physically handicapped girl in RadhabaiChawl.
This phase occurred in January 1993, with most incidents reported between 6 January and 20 January. The Report asserted that the communal passions of the Hindus were aroused to fever pitch by the inciting writings in print media, particularly Saamna and Navaakal which gave exaggerated accounts of the Mathadi murders and the RadhabaiChawl incident; rumours were floated that there were imminent attacks by Muslims using sophisticated arms, though the possibility of it happening was very imminent. From 8 January 1993, many riots occurred between Hindus led by the Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks and the Muslims funded by the Mumbai underworld at that time. The communal violence and rioting triggered off by the burning at Dongri and RadhabhaiChawl and then the retaliatory violence by Shiv Sena was hijacked by local criminal elements who saw in it an opportunity to make quick gains.
The cry of danger to Islam was reverberated in the air by hotheaded Islamists. The Muslim extremists seized this opportunity to aggressively propagate that Islam was in imminent danger since proponents of the Hindu nation had been allowed to destroy, under the very nose of the armed forces, the Babri Masjid, despite assurances and undertakings by the Uttar Pradesh state Government and the Government of India that no harm would be permitted to be caused to the Babri Masjid during karseva at Ayodhya on 6 December 1992. The repeated media coverage, particularly on television, of footage of file pictures of previous karseva during which some of the karsevaks were seen dancing on the dome of the Masjid, as well as the latest video shots showing actual demolition of the Babri Masjid, caused a sense of deep resentment. The demolition of the Babri Masjid provided enough fuel to excite, ignite and exploit the sentimentalities of Islamists.
Muslims were proselytized by these exploitative elements that the Establishment and the Government had an active hand in the destruction, since it was not able to prevent the same. Muslims protested violently on the streets. Large number of Muslims congregated near Minara Masjid in Pydhonie jurisdiction at about 2320 hours on 6 December 1992 and came out protesting frenziedly. The first targets of the rioting mob became the municipal vans and the constabulary, both visible signs of the government. Activists of BharatiyaJanata Party and Shiv Sena jumped into the fray, and escalated communal passion, as seen from their act of stopping the vehicles on roads in the jurisdiction of V.P. Road Police Station. In the jurisdiction of Deonar, there was a sharp counter–reaction by Muslims who stoned the house of a local BharatiyaJanata Party leader. The situation was getting uglier with attacks on Hindu temples in this area.
7th December 1992
The Muslim mobs appeared to have come out with the intention of mounting violent attacks as noticed from their preparedness with weapons of offence. There were violent attacks on the policemen in Muslim dominated areas like Bhendi Bazar and its vicinity. The jurisdictional areas affected were mostly Muslim dominated or mixed localities. The situation further worsened when Hindu youths confronted the rioting Musilims, leading to a situation where the police found it difficult to restrain both sections; when the police did it by force, the police came to be attacked by both Hindu and Muslim mobs. By this time the protest had degenerated into a full–scale communal riot between Hindus and Muslims. Eleven temples in different jurisdictions were damaged, demolished or set on fire. The Hindus did not fall behind and damaged mosques and madrassas in different jurisdictions.
BEST buses in the Bombay Central Bus Depot and BEST bus stops became easy targets for the Muslim mobs and were damaged and/or set on fire. The area around L.J. Road and nearby roads were strewn with shattered glass and stones with riotous Muslim mobs running around shouting “Allah-hu-Akbar” and allegedly “Has keliye Pakistan, Chhinkelenge Hindustan and indiscriminately throwing stones in Kapad Bazar. To maintain law and order, police resorted to firing which resulted in injuries to two Muslims. Seven police personnel were injured in the riot and the motorcycle was completely damaged. Jogeshwari area, which has been the hotbed of frequent communal riots, saw serious riots at the junction of Pascal Colony and Shankar Wadi. A police officer on duty received a bullet injury in his head and died subsequently, though it cannot be said with certitude that it was a case of private firing. The police recovered large number of iron rods, sickles, choppers, knives and soda water bottles from different jurisdictions indicating that there was intention and preparations to carry on the communal riots.
8 December 1992
On 8 December 1992 communal rioting and communal violence spread to 33 jurisdictions, the number of clashes of rioting mobs with police as well as rioting mobs inter se increased alarmingly. Attacks on places of worship also continued. The police had to resort to firing in 43 cases resulting in the death of 21 Hindus, 31 Muslims and three others. There were several cases of mob violence, stabbing and arson. One temple in Dharavi, four in Deonar, one in Park Site and one in Saki Naka were attacked. Simultaneously, two mosques in Dharavi, one madrassas in Mahim and Bhoiwada each and one dargah in Dadar were also attacked. Though the police found their resources stretched, they were unwilling to take the help of army for carrying out operational duties. Army columns were used only to carry out flag marches which had little impact on the, by now hardened and emboldened, rioters. The imposition of curfew from the night of 7 December 1992 also did not appear to deter the clashing mobs in view of its effete enforcement. Police intervention came about by resort to fire on 72 occasions, killing 20 Hindus and 72 Muslims and injuring 131 Muslims and one other.
9 December 1992
The situation improved for better and the number of cases of mob violence, stabbing, arson and rioting showed a downward trend. The number of occasions when the police had to resort to firing dropped to 28. The police firing resulted in deaths of 17 persons (five Hindus and 12 Muslims) while 13 Hindus, 12 Muslims and six others sustained injuries. Thirty–four cases of arson resulting in loss of property and injuries to one Hindu and 10 Muslims were reported from different jurisdictions. Two temples in Ghatkopar, one mosque in Trombay and one kabrastan in Jogeshwari were subjected to attack by violent mobs.
10 December 1992
The situation improved further with the number of police stations affected coming down to four, though serious communal riots occurred in Dharavi and Mahim police jurisdictions to control which the police had to fire on three and two occasions respectively. Two Muslims were injured in police firing within the jurisdiction of Mahim.
11 December 1992
On this day there was one case of private firing in Azad Maidan jurisdiction in which one Hindu died and four Hindus were injured. However, there was further improvement in overall situation. There was no occasion for police to resort to firing, though 23 different police stations appear to have been affected in varying degrees.
12 December 1992
The situation showed further improvement and the number of police stations affected came down to 14, though there also the occurrences were stray. There were three instances of police firing, one each in Ghatkopar, Bhandup and Dindoshi in which one Hindu and one Muslim were injured. Mob violence took the toll of one Hindu’s life. There were six cases of stabbing in which seven Hindus and two Muslims died and two Hindus and one Muslim sustained injuries. There were eight stray cases of arson. Four dead bodies, all of Hindus, having multiple stab wounds on vital organs and in highly decomposed condition, were recovered from a gutter in Golibar area. In yet another incident, one Hindu woman by name Shevantabai was found murdered with her throat slit and her body was dumped in the open compound of National Girls’ High School adjoining Behrampada. The December phase of the rioting petered out by 12 December 1992.
The police appeared to have regained grip on the law and order situation and peace appeared to have returned. However, beneath the surface there was simmering discontent and seething anger amongst the Muslims that unduly excessive police firing had resulted in large number of Muslim casualties. Media had criticized the police for having used unnecessary and excessive fire–power, going so far as to suggest that Muslims were intentionally targeted and selectively killed. This refrain was repeated by political leaders and ministers, past and current. The explanation of the commissioner of police that the aggressive and violent mobs in the initial stages comprised Muslims and therefore, Muslim casualties were higher. Considering it from all aspects, the Commission was not inclined to give serious credence to the theory that dis–proportionately large number of Muslim deaths in December 1992 was necessarily indicative of an attempt on the part of the police to target and liquidate Muslims because of bias.
12 December 1992 to 5 January 1993
On 20 December 1992, two Muslims were locked inside a room in Goregaon jurisdiction, and the room was set on fire as a result of which they suffered severe burns resulting in the death of one. Two bodies, one of a male Hindu and another identified as that of a uniformed Muslim police constable attached to the Nasik Rural Police Head Quarters, were recovered from the septic tank of the public latrine in Behrampada on 20th and 21st December 1992 respectively. These bodies bore multiple stab injuries. It would appear that there was a systematic attempt to stab and murder Hindus and the policeman, though a Muslim, became a victim of the anger of the Muslims directed against the uniform worn by him. On 24/25 December 1992 one Mathadi worker was killed in Dongri area. Though subsequent investigation by police resulted in arrest of the accused who was an alcoholic and whose motive was far from communal, at the material time the immediate reaction was that the killing was done by a Muslim.
The fires under the simmering cauldron were continuously stoked by communal activities even after the active phase of the December 1992 riots was over. There was a sudden spurt in attendance at Friday namaaz in mosques, which was interpreted by the Hindu as ominous and evidencing intent to seek revenge on the part of Muslims. This was because it was alleged that the namaaz were used as occasions for delivering instigatory communal speeches. The Hindus replied with their ingenious Mahaartis (Hindu worship of the Gods), in an ostensible response against the sudden spurt in namaaz on streets. The Mahaartis were started from 26 December 1992 were viewed as a direct challenge to the Muslims, and endangered the fragile peace which had been established, with allegations that participants of the Mahaartis indulged in rioting. The Mahaartis continued unabated throughout January 1993 and came to an end only by or about the first week of February 1993.
The last week of December 1992 and first week of January 1993, particularly between 1 and 5 January, saw a series of stabbing incidents in which both Hindus and Muslims were victims, though the majority of such incidents took place in Muslim dominated areas of South Bombay and a majority of victims were Hindus. The stabbings appeared to be executed with professional accuracy intended to kill the victims. The killers had not been then identified in several cases, though it was presumed, at least in the cases where the Hindus were victims, that the killers were Muslims. The motive for the stabbings appears to have been to whip up communal frenzy between Hindus and Muslims. Some of the Muslim criminal elements operating in South Bombay, like SalimRampuri and Firoz Konkani, have been identified as the brains behind the stabbing incidents. That they were Muslim criminals was publicised in the media, and it was general opinion that the Muslims were keen on resuming aggression.
On 25th December 1992 a pamphlet in Urdu language was distributed around Jama Masjid in Mahim area. This pamphlet was communally provocative and incited Muslims to fight against Hindus and calls upon the Muslims to the construct the Babri Masjid if necessary, with blood. On 1 January 1993 there was an article in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Saamna under the caption “Hindunni Akramak Vhayala Have” (Hindus must be aggressive now), openly inciting Hindus to violence. On 2 January 1993 a number of Muslim hutments in M.P. Mill Compound in Tardeo jurisdiction were set on fire. On the same day there was an incident in Dharavi jurisdiction in which two Muslims were assaulted with iron rods by Hindus. On 4 January 1993 a big mob of Hindus led by ShriGajananKirtikar, Shri Ramesh More and other Shiv Sena activists took a morcha to the Jogeshwari Police Station complaining of lack of security for Hindus. Some of the people in the morcha attacked Chacha Nagar Masjid and the Muslims in the vicinity and injured them.
Several Muslim huts in Magdum Nagar in Mahim jurisdiction were set on fire by Hindus. On the night of 5 January 1993 a Mathadi worker employed in the godown of Vijay Transport Company who was sleeping in the godown went to the street to relieve himself. Suddenly, he was set upon by miscreants who stabbed him to death. Three more Mathadi workers who came out of the godown to help him were also stabbed to death. The murders of the Mathadi workers created tremendous tension in the area. The Mathadi workers’ Union called for a Bandh. Huge meetings were held which were addressed by leaders of Mathadi Unions.
Speeches were made during this meeting to condemn the police and Government for their ineffectiveness with exhortations that Hindus might have to pick up swords to defend themselves if the police failed to protect them. At the time when these murders of Mathadi workers took place, neither the police, nor the public, had a clue as to the identity of the killers, which came to be established much later. Nonetheless, the Hindus spearheaded by the Shiv Sena kicked up a furore that the murders had been committed by Muslims, virtually giving a call for arms. On 5/6 January 1993 the Mathadi workers gave a call for bandh of wholesale markets, which also gave immense publicity to the murders of the mathadis allegedly by Muslims.
6 January 1993 to 20 January 1993
On 6 January 1993 there were several cases of stabbing in Don
gri, Pydhonie, V.P. Road and Nagpadajurisdictions in which the victims were innocent pedestrians who
These stabbing cases resulted in one Hindu, one Muslim and two others being killed and 13 Hindus, one Muslim and one other being injured. Mob violence accounted for the deaths of seven Hindus and one Muslim and injuries to nine Hindus and eight Muslims. Rumours of further imminent attacks by Muslims swept the city and the police were unable to scotch them. Despite repeated denials of such rumours by the police, the public did not believe them. The situation in Mahim went out of control at 2100 hours. Hindus attacked Muslims in Muslim pockets in Mahim area led by Shiv SenaCorporator, MilindVaidya, and a police constable, Sanjay Gawade, openly carrying a sword. There were serious riots in which frenzied mobs of Hindus and Muslims attacked each other.
7 January 1993
The violence and riots spread to several parts of the city. There were more deaths and more stabbings and 16 police station areas (Pydhonie, Dongri, Agripada, Gamdevi, V.P. Road, Byculla, Bhoiwada, Nagpada, Kherwadi, Nehru Nagar, Kurla, Deonar, Trombay, Bandra, Vakola and Jogeshwari) were affected by serious riots. The stabbing incidents resulted in deaths of 16 Hindus and four Muslims and injured 41 Hindus and twelve Muslims. Eleven cases of mob violence occurred in different jurisdictional areas, killing two Hindus and injuring ten Hindus and two Muslims. Seven cases of arson were reported on that day in which, apart from huge property loss, two Hindus were killed; five Hindus and two Muslims were injured. The police resorted to firing on four occasions, resulting in injuries to 6 Hindus and 5 Muslims. Violent mobs of Hindus and Muslims kept attacking each other and the police when they tried to intervene. The mobs also created roadblocks to prevent the police and fire-brigade from reaching the sites of incidents for rendering assistance. A taxi in which two Muslims were travelling was set on fire in Pratiksha Nagar, Antop Hill jurisdiction, resulting in the two Muslims being burnt alive.
8 January 1993
A gruesome incident occurred during the wee hours of 8 January 1993, at about 0030 hours, some of the Hindu residences in a chawl popularly known as RadhabaiChawl in Jogeshwari jurisdiction were locked from outside and set on fire by miscreants. One male and five female members of a Hindu family (Bane) and their neighbours were charred to death and three other Hindus sustained serious burn injuries. One of the victims was a physically handicapped girl. The Hindu backlash commenced. The communal riots spread to the jurisdictions of Pydhonie, Dongri, Jogeshwari, M.R.A. Marg, L.T. Marg, V.P. Road, D.B. Marg, Gamdevi, Nagpada, Agripada, Byculla, Kala Chowki, N.M. Joshi Marg, Worli, Bhoiwada, Dadar, Mahim, Dharavi, Kurla, Nehru Nagar, Trombay, Chembur, Bandra, Nirmal Nagar, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Parksite, Vakola, Oshiwara, D.N. Nagar, Jogeshwari and Aarey sub–police stations. Sixty–six stabbing cases were reported from different jurisdictions, in which 11 Hindus, 15 Muslims and two others were killed and injuries caused to several Hindus and Muslims.
Forty–eight cases of mob violence occurred in which six Muslims were killed and 11 Hindus and 17 Muslims and one other received injuries. Thirty–one cases of arson were reported which, apart from causing loss of property, resulted in deaths of six Hindus and two Muslims and injuries to five Muslims and two Hindus. A dargah and mosque in Pydhonie jurisdiction, a kabrastan and a madrassa in Jogeshwari jurisdiction and temples in Byculla, Mahim, jurisdiction were attacked and damaged. Police resorted to firing on 31 occasions in different jurisdictions resulting in the killing of nine Hindus and 18 Muslims and injuries to 20 Hindus and 24 Muslims and one other. Several raids conducted by the police resulted in seizure of weapons of offence like broken tube lights, swords, petrol bombs and daggers. That the rioters had become defiant and the authority of the police was considerably eroded, appeared clear when a crude bomb was hurled at the police commissioner’s car from one of the buildings in Pydhonie jurisdiction and exploded on the road. The commissioner of police and his staff had a lucky escape, though the severity of the explosion caused a big dent on the road. Eleven army columns were deployed by the police to do Flag March in different areas. Curfew was imposed in areas where it was considered necessary.
9 January 1993
The riots continued unabated in 43 police station jurisdictions. Fifty–seven cases of stabbing resulting in death of eight Hindus and 18 Muslims and injuries to 27 Hindus, 33 Muslims and one other, were reported. Ninety–seven cases of mob violence occurred in various parts of the city resulting in the death of one Hindu and six Muslims and injures to 19 Hindus and 24 Muslims. Seventy-three cases of arson were reported from different jurisdictions which caused loss of property, death of three Hindus and six Muslims and injures to four Hindus and six Muslims. In Pydhonie jurisdiction, few rounds were fired at a police picket from the Suleman Bakery rooftop.
The policemen climbed to the terrace of the Taj Book Depot, a neighbouring building, and sighted 8 – 10 persons hiding behind the water tank on the bakery rooftop. Inspector AnantIngale shouted warnings and fired a few shots from his service revolver, but his party was no match to the automatic weapon wielding group. Joint Commissioner of Police R. D. Tyagi arrived with the Special Operations Squad (SOS), and demanded the opening of the locked door of the Bakery. The inmates responded by throwing soda-water bottles and acid bulbs. The SOS stormed into the Bakery and were promptly attacked by about 15 people armed with choppers, knives and ironbars. There wasn’t surrender or ceasement of attack, so the Police had to open fire. Totally, 78 persons were flushed out of the bakery, with 9 dead. Fifty–two cases of police firing occurred in different jurisdictions, killing 15 Hindus, 22 Muslims and one other. Police combing operations resulted in seizure of stocks of swords, iron bars, choppers, kerosene cans, acid bulbs and soda water bottles from different areas.
10 January 1993
Twenty–six army columns were deployed for carrying out flag marches and for the first time the Government issued instructions to the commissioner of police that the army personnel may be directed to do operational duties by resorting to firing after taking control of a situation. Fifty–one police stations were affected by the riots. Eighty–one cases of stabbing occurred in different jurisdictions resulting in deaths of 10 Hindus and 39 Muslims and injuries to 24 Hindus and 42 Muslims. One hundred and eight cases of arson occurred in which there was property loss, death of one Hindu, five Muslims and two others, while one Hindu, one Muslim and one other were injured. Attempts of the fire brigade to reach the places of fire were frustrated by the rioters who not only blocked the streets but also threatened the fire brigade staff and resorted to stone throwing against the fire brigade vehicles.
Fires blazed uncontrolled. Mob violence was reported from 25 jurisdictions causing deaths of two Hindus, nine Muslims, while 13 Hindus, 27 Muslims and two others were injured. The police were given orders to fire and resorted to firing on 82 occasions, resulting in deaths of 22 Hindus, 23 Muslims and one other, while injuries were caused to 77 Hindus, 27 Muslims and two others. Police seized large number of swords, choppers, tube lights, fire balls, soda water bottles, iron bars, guptis and also one country made revolver. The situation was very grave in several jurisdictional areas. Even normally law-abiding citizens seemed gripped by the communal frenzy and were seen attacking members of the rival community. Peace committee members, politicians and other social workers were conspicuous by their absence. Communal hatred and fear psychosis appeared to have overtaken the citizens of Bombay making tolerance and reason prime casualties. Rumours about attacks from rival community swept the city.
11 January 1993
The situation continued to be serious. Fifty–two police stations were affected by communal violence in varying degrees. Eighty–six cases of stabbing occurred in different jurisdictions resulting in the death of 11 Hindus, 44 Muslims and one other; 23 Hindus, 58 Muslims and one other were injured. Four Hindus, 19 Muslims and two others were killed in 129 incidents of mob violence in different jurisdictions. Ninety–three cases of arson in different jurisdictions resulted in the death of two Hindus and 12 Muslims and injuries to seven Muslims. Police firing on 67 occasions caused to deaths of 19 Hindus and seven Muslims and injuries to 45 Hindus, 21 Muslims and two others. The army column was used for operational duty in Dadar jurisdiction where it fired on a riotous mob of Hindus without causing any injuries. Police raids in several Muslim pockets unearthed several swords, knives, choppers, kerosene bottles, acid bulbs, tube lights, one country made revolver and live cartridges.
12 January 1993
In Devipada in Kasturba Marg jurisdiction. A Hindu mob surrounds, strips and assaults two Muslim women. The older woman manages to run away. The uncle of the younger woman who comes to rescue the young girl of 19, and that girl, are beaten and burnt alive by the violent mob. The names of the miscreants are disclosed to police by a Hindu lady in the locality. (Though the miscreants were arrested and tried by the Sessions Court at Bombay, later on they were all acquitted on the ground that the panchanamas were defective and that the eye–witnesses were not produced). Police resorted to firing on 31 occasions in different jurisdictions resulting in the deaths of four Hindus and six Muslims and injuries to 23 Hindus and seven Muslims. Fifty–six cases of stabbing occurred in different areas resulting in the deaths of three Hindus, 27 Muslims and injuries to 11 Hindus and 41 Muslims. Seventy–one cases of mob violence in different areas occurred in which one Hindu and six Muslims were killed; nine Hindus and 21 Muslims were injured. Seventy cases of arson were reported from different police stations, in which two Muslims were killed and one Muslim was injured.
13 January 1993
The situation improves slightly in several areas; the number of affected police stations comes down to 48; stabbing cases to 36; mob violence to 67 and arson to 51. The police resort to firing on 24 occasions resulting in the killing of one Hindu and two Muslims and injuries to six Hindus and four Muslims. Mob violence takes a toll of the lives of three Muslims and injures eight Hindus and 18 Muslims. Stabbings cause the death of one Hindu and 16 Muslims, while eight Hindus and 10 Muslims and one other are injured.
14 January 1993
The situation shows substantial improvement. The number of affected police stations comes down to 40, the number of arson cases drops to 39, in which one Hindu and five Muslims were killed apart from loss to property; mob violence is reported only in 34 cases in which one Muslim and three others are killed and seven Muslims are injured; the police resort to firing only on four occasions in which no one is killed and two Hindus are injured. Stabbing cases resulted in death of four Hindus and 12 Muslims and three others, while seven Hindus, 12 Muslims and one other are injured. The deployment of army columns is increased to 36.
15 January 1993
There is further improvement in the situation; the number of police stations affected comes down to 29; mob violence occurs only in 24 cases resulting in death of two Muslims and four Hindus and injuries to eight Muslims. The number of stabbing cases comes down to 12 in which one Hindu and 11 Muslims are killed and three Hindus and five Muslims are injured; the number of arson cases comes down to 25 in which there was only loss of property without death or injury to anyone. The police resort to firing only on two occasions which result in killing of three Muslims, one Hindu and injuries to 14 Muslims. Army column deployed at Nirmal Nagar resorts to firing to quell a riotous mob. The Prime Minister of India, ShriNarsimhaRao, makes a quick tour of the riot affected areas amidst heavy security arrangements.
16 January 1993
The situation shows further improvement. Only 15 stray cases of stabbing are reported in which 12 Muslims are killed and injuries caused to eight Hindus and seven Muslims. Seven mob violence cases occur resulting in injury to one Muslim; 23 stray cases of arson are reported in different areas in which there is only property loss. Police firing comes down to two cases in which none is injured.
17 January 1993
The situation seems to be improving for the better. There is no occasion for the police to resort to firing. Three cases of stabbing are reported from different areas in which one Hindu and two Muslims were injured; three minor cases of mob violence occur causing injuries to five Hindus and thirteen Muslims; and six minor cases of arson reported in which, apart from loss of property, one Muslim is killed and one Hindu is injured.
18 January 1993
There was no occasion on which police resorted to firing on this day. There was one case of stabbing resulting in the killing of one Muslim, three minor cases of mob violence in which none was injured; five stray minor cases of arson were reported in which none was injured.
19 January 1993
The city appears to be limping back to normalcy. Five stray cases of stabbing are reported in which one Muslim was killed and two Hindus and two Muslims were injured. Though nine stray cases of arson are reported, there was no loss of life or injury.
The period subsequent to 20 January 1993
From 20 January 1993 onwards there was no major communal incident despite a few stray cases being reported. The rumour mills worked overtime and rumours about imminent attacks and explosions likely to occur were thick. Call was given out by Imam of Jama Masjid that Muslims should boycott the Republic Day and hoist black flags on their establishments and houses. Police maintained continued vigil along with the army and para–military forces. On 25 January 1993, there is a minor riot in Dharavi jurisdiction which is quickly controlled by police firing without any death or injury. 26 January 1993 passed off peacefully in all jurisdictions except Dindoshi where the police resorted to firing in which two Muslims were killed and three Muslims were injured; mob violence caused injuries to two policemen and two Muslims. During the subsequent period in January the situation in the city slowly comes back to normalcy.
At 1:30 pm a powerful car bomb exploded in the basement of the Bombay Stock Exchange building. The 28-story office building housing the exchange was severely damaged, and many nearby office buildings also suffered some damage. About 50 were killed by this explosion. About 30 minutes later, another car bomb exploded elsewhere in the city and from 1:30 pm to 3:40 pm a total of 13 bombs exploded throughout Bombay. Most of the bombs were car bombs, but some were in scooters. Three hotels, the Hotel Sea Rock, Hotel Juhu Centaur, and Hotel Airport Centaur, were targeted by suitcase bombs left in rooms booked by the perpetrators. Banks, the regional passport office, hotels, the Air India Building, and a major shopping complex were also hit. Bombs exploded at Zaveri Bazaar, area opposite of Century Bazaar, Katha Bazaar, Shiv SenaBhawan, and Plaza Theatre. A jeep-bomb at the Century Bazaar exploded. Grenades were also thrown at Sahara International Airport and at Fishermen’s Colony, apparently targeting Hindus at the latter. A double decker bus was very badly damaged in one of the explosions and that single incident accounted for the greatest loss of life – perhaps up to ninety people were killed.
Locations attacked included-
* Fisherman’s Colony in Mahim causeway
* Zaveri Bazaar
* Plaza Cinema
* Century Bazaar
* Katha Bazaar
* Hotel Sea Rock
* Sahara Airport
* Air India Building
* Hotel Juhu Centaur
* Plaza Theatre near Shiv Sena HQ
* Lucky Petrol near Shiv Sena HQ
* Bombay Stock Exchange Building
* Hotel Centaur, Santa Cruz
* Area opposite of Century Bazaar
* Passport Office
Total number of deaths
Dead – 900 (575 Muslims, 275 Hindus, 45 unknown and 5 others). The causes for the deaths are police firing (356), stabbing (347), arson (91), mob action (80), private firing (22) and other causes (4).
New Delhi: The Supreme Court was told Tuesday that the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts were linked to the demolition of Ayodhya’s Babri Masjid Dec 6, 1992 and the subsequent riots targeted at the minority community. In pursuance of narrow ideological designs, “the house of God was demolished in the name of God”, said senior counsel Jaspal Singh, appearing for Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, who was awarded death penalty for the explosions. The apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan was told that it was the narrowness of the ideology that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and desecration of the Golden Temple in Punjab in 1984. It was in this atmosphere of hurt that Tiger Memon, brother of Yakub Memon, decided to take revenge and found a “very willing friend in (don) Dawood Ibrahim” to execute his plan. The apex court is hearing the cross petitions by the Maharashtra government and the convict challenging the trial court judgment.
The court was told that in the blasts case 100 people were convicted, included 12 who were awarded the death sentence, 23 were acquitted and 44 accused were still absconding. Jaspal Singh said that the trial court judgment of July 27, 2007 awarding punishment to the convicts was nothing but trash. “The judgment is trash. It has no legal sanctity. It is no judgment in the eyes of law,” he told the court. The judgment was bereft of any grounds and reasoning supporting the conviction and consequent sentencing. He said that there could not be two judgments – one pronouncing guilt and sentence and the other giving reasons. The second judgment giving reasons supporting the conviction and sentencing was given on Oct 25, 2007. The court was told that Yakub Memon was a chartered accountant having a flourishing practice. He came back to the country to stand trial because he believed he had done no wrong and had faith in the country’s judicial system, if not in police. The senior counsel wondered why a man who was comfortably staying abroad would come back to India to suffer punishment. “The truth of the matter is that the prosecution has not been able to explain why he came back from Dubai. The truth of the matter is that he was very confident of the Indian judiciary,” Jaspal Singh told the court.
Mumbai: The role of the Shiv Sena is clearly proven in the 1993 Bombay riots, but there is one testimony that proves that Bal Thackeray coordinated much of the January carnage that Mumbai witnessed in 1993. Says Witness, Srikrishna Commission Report, Yuvraj Mohite, “Balasaheb baithe they aur jagah jagah se unko phone aa rahe the aur woh halat poochke bolte the , ‘Maro unhe, kaat dalo. Unko Allah ke pas bhej do’. Balasaheb was sitting and he was getting calls from various places. He would ask what was happening at that particular place (from where he got the call) and then he would say, ‘Kill them. Send them to Allah’.” On the night of January 8, 1993, when the Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray sat in his home controlling the mobs that set Bombay on fire, journalist Yuvraj Mohite was present at the Thackeray residence. Mohite watched as Thackeray ordered his Sainiks like a commander, to riot, burn, loot and commit mass murder. This is what Bal Thackeray said in February ’93 after the riots: “I am proud of what my boys have done. We had to retaliate and we did. If it was not for us, no one would have controlled the Muslims.” What he saw at the Thackeray home, left Mohite stunned.
“Main yeh sab sunke baukhla gaya tha (I was stunned after hearing all of this),” says Mohite. And Yuvraj Mohite wasn’t alone. Another man, Chandrakant Handore, then Mayor of Bombay and now social Justice Minister in the Congress-NCP government, is the one who took Mohite to the Thackeray home, and then told him to forget what’d he’d seen. “Handore ne mujhe bola ki tum yeh sab bhul jao. Balasaheb to aise hee hain. Aur maine bola ki mein yeh kisi bhi halat mein nahin bhool sakta (Handore asked me to forget it all, Balasaheb is just like this. I said that I can never forget this under any circumstances.)” However, Handore now claims he never saw Thackeray giving orders. “Jab kuch hua hi nahi tha to main kaise kuch bolo sakta hoon.
Aur maine kabhi Mohite ko nahi roka (When nothing of this sort happened how could I have said anything? I have also never stopped Mohite to speak),” says Handore. With Handore claiming he had seen nothing, it was left up to the journalist to stand his ground. In his deposition before the Srikrishna Commission, Yuvraj clearly spelt out what Thackeray ordered: * That not one Muslim be left alive to stand in the witness box. * Asked his men to send the additional police commissioner, A A Khan, to his Allah. * Ordered his men to retaliate to the Hindu killings in Jogeshwari. It was this testimony that made the Commission indict the Sena chief. Justice Srikrishna writes: “Even after it became apparent that the leaders of the Shiv Sena were active in stoking the fire of the communal riots, the police dragged the feet on the facile and exaggerated assumption that if such leaders were arrested, the communal situation would further flare up.” And it’s Mohite’s testimony that helped the commission prove the Sena involvement. But what made him stand his ground?
“Jo maina dekha tha us se mein shock hogaya tha aur maine bola ki aisi baat jo maine dekhi hai use dabne nahi de sakta hoon (I was shocked at what I saw. I decided that something that I have seen I will not suppress it).” Yuvraj Mohite’s testimony is a damning indictment of politicians like Chandrakant Handore and the then state government, which not only failed to save over 900 lives, but also didn’t have the will or the guts to put Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in the dock.
There was complete polarisation between Hindus and Muslims. All Hindus-Tamil, Maharashtrians, Gujrati, and others – were on one side, and all Muslims, whatever their origin, were on the other. The police came (Dec 8), fired in which three Muslims were killed and four injured in Chamba Bazar. The police arrested 27 Muslims. In Social Nagar police opened fire in which 6 Muslims died. In Mukund Nagar, five persons, all Muslims, were killed in police firing. There were several other incidents throughout Bombay. The death toll seemed to have crossed 400 and most of them died in police firing. Barring a few places, it was a confrontation between the Muslims and the police rather than a Hindu-Muslim riot. The Bombay police clearly displayed an anti-Muslim bias; though there were some impartial officers as well. It was a very different story in the second phase when it was the Shiv Sainiks versus Muslims.
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