House of civil rights advocate attacked in Gujarat

Fearing for his life, Bilal Kagzi is now in hiding and seeking help from human rights defenders.

By Staff Reporter,

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Ahmedabad: The family of a civil rights advocate from Gujarat’s Surat district has been attacked allegedly by an armed mob as he is fighting a case against the relatives of a leader from the ruling party.

The house of Bilal Kagzi, a civil rights advocate from Surat, was attacked around 1 pm on April 17 allegedly by the local BJP workers. While fearing for his life Bilal had escaped, his seven month pregnant wife, his brother’s wife and parents were at home. Several of his family members have been injured.

File photo of Bilal Kagzi (From his Facebook profile.)

“A mob attacked my house and brutally injured my family members, including my wife who is pregnant and is now admitted in hospital,” he told TCN over phone.

His mother later filed a case against the goons with the Kosamba police station, but the police have taken no action yet.

According to Bilal, a day earlier constable Awadesh Narayan Solanki had come to his village and was enquiring about him and his background since he is also the lawyer of a victim in an adivasi atrocity case, for which the constable was transferred.

He later send an SMS to several civil rights activists and media personnel alleging that the local police has now also filed a “false complaint” against him and his relatives under pressure of BJP. Bilal has allegedly been charged with IPC’s section 143, 147, 149 for rioting, section 395 for dacoity and section 324 for causing hurt by dangerous weapons.

He says that he took up the matter with the State human rights commission but is of no avail. “I have no hope for justice. So please help me to save me and my family’s life,” wrote a desperate Bilal in the SMS he forwarded to several human rights defenders.

Bilal is now seeking help from civil society members as attempts by his family members in seeking police protection has so far not been successful.

“It is not easy to be a civil rights advocate in Gujarat. Not only me, but all my family members are at risk,” he told TCN.

Rihai Manch, a political human rights forum for the release of innocents imprisoned in the name of terrorism, meanwhile issued a statement condemning filing of false complaints against him and the attack by the mob.

Link to Facebook profile of Bilal Kagzi