A widespread violence had occurred in Coimbatore on last September 23 during the funeral procession of a Hindu Munnani functionary C. Sasikumar, who was hacked to death by an unidentified gang in the city on September 22. The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) have undertaken a detailed study on this violence and prepared a report. They released an interim report to the public yesterday.
The interim report by the fact-finding team of PUCL has found that that the violence erupted in Coimbatore was premeditated. The report claims that the restraint and tolerance shown by the Muslim community helped Coimbatore return to the normal state.
At the time of funeral procession, two people came in the motor-bike and pointed at a shop. Further, a mob came to that shop and looted the mobile phones. The robbed asset was worth Rs.25 lakh. Many of those mobile phones sold out in the local market the very next day itself. Another closed shop is ransacked with a gas cutter (which won’t be readily available). They didn’t spare even a biryani shop,” Dr R Murali, General Secretary of PUCL Tamil Nadu told Narada News.
Murali said that as part of the report preparation, the fact-finding team met around 40 affected people who are either shop or house owners, and estimated that the overall loss would be around 7-10 crores.
The study claims that the Coimbatore Collector, the City Police and the Intelligence didn’t act properly to control the situation. Only around 800 policemen were deployed to control the crowd, which is definitely not less than 5000. The police were mute spectators to a huge gathering in the hospital and allowed the procession to take a stretch of 18 km with the dead body. It passed through many communally sensitive areas where the religious minorities were settled.
The report noted that the passing time of the procession synchronised with the worshiping time of the Muslims. “People came in an auto-rickshaw with stones to throw at Masjid where around 300 people were praying,” Murali said.
It noted that none of Revenue officials, including the Collector, has visited the victims to assess the damage or to assuage the feelings of the victims.
There are some unconfirmed reports that the violence perpetrated were funded by a section of the North Indian business groups against the Muslims, for sustaining one’s own business interests.
“The Hindutva group have already identified the areas and waiting for an opportunity. They want to economically harm the Muslim community and defame the whole community connecting with isolated incidents like NIA arrests in connection with the international terror organisations. The weapon of Hindutva is nothing but vandalism,” Mr Murali alleged.
The 15-member fact-finding team of PUCL led by R. Murali, at a media briefing in Coimbatore, said they had interviewed the victims of the violence, leaders from both Hindu and Muslim organisations, police, the general public and also the district administration officials.
” Considering the tension prevailed in the city after the murder and the people gathered for the funeral, it would be incorrect to say that the violence was an accident. The selective attacks on shops show that it was a planned one,” the team said.
The fact-finding team said once the final report is made, it will be submitted to the state government with a set of recommendations. The recommendation includes compensation for the damages of commercial establishments and also confidence building measures among those who have been affected. It recommended legal action against those who have involved in the violence.