[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

 

[Emblem]

Ministry of Justice;

Folder:-----, File number:-----, Page:-----

Copy:-----, Year:-----, Month:-----, -----132 [9 Tir 1325- 30 June 1946]

 

Confidential and direct,

 

Mr. Saba, Esteemed Representative of the Provincial Governor General, Ninth Province

 

Regarding the incident of 8/4/1325 [29 June 1946], you are respectfully informed that on the said day, there was a committee meeting at the Finance Department for tax determination, where I was in attendance with other representatives, including Mr. Ameri, on behalf of the lawyers at the Judiciary.  During the discussion, Mr. Ameri brought up the problem of taxes from previous years which had not yet been paid.  He read a list [of those who had not paid their taxes] and demanded those individuals’ files.  The head of Finance and I mentioned that that was not a subject for this meeting and that his demand could be dealt with in future meetings.  Mr. Ameri left the meeting upset and offended. 

The meeting continued until half an hour after midday.  After that, I went towards my office.  As soon as I entered the office, the sound of repeated gunshots was heard.  I immediately [ordered to] suspend the work in the office as a precaution.  On the way, I met the governor, who was leaving the Governorate in a rush, going towards home.  I inquired what was happening; he said “Are you coming with me?”  [Together], we went to Mr. Haj Sheikh Hadi’s residence.   Meanwhile, Captain Ganji, Captain Agah, the police chief and the head of the Judiciary also arrived.  [We] found out that a group of people had used religion as an excuse to attack the homes of those who were accused of being Baha’is and plundered their belongings.  The governor, the head of Judiciary, and I, as well as other gentlemen, asked Mr. Haj Sheikh Hadi to come and calm the crowd, as the incident had turned into a religious matter.  He excused himself on the pretext of slight illness.  He said, “Take Mr. Sheikh Ebrahim Ayati”.  Unfortunately, we were informed that he was not home either.  Following a consultation, it was decided to ask Mr. Sheikh Mohammad-Hosein Ayati.

When we went to his house and explained the situation, he at first agreed to come.  Then he went to his room, and upon his return, he said, “I did Istikharah[1]; the answer was negative”.  As much as we insisted that since this was a religious matter, and they should cooperate with the government officials, he did not agree to offer minor help with this matter to help a number of poor people [Baha’is].  In any case, we started towards the Governorate in utter disappointment.  A group of men and women had gathered at the beginning of the Post and Telegraph Alley.  As a precaution, the police chief was advising them to go home, as standing there was not safe.  During this conversation, two strong-built individuals, each wearing only a shirt and a pair of pants, were standing there; all of a sudden one of them started to attack the police chief verbally by swearing and using vulgarity.  It was then that, by either punching or beating of the other, he fell on the ground.  Those two started again to kick him, one from the front and the other from the back.  It was obvious that the police chief was badly injured, when suddenly by his agility [and] military training, he got up and charged towards the two with his pistol. The governor stopped him, and they ran away.  On the way to the Governorate, Hosein Khajeh Amiri Khayat, members of the Tudeh Party, arrived dishevelled and pale, and said, “These two are my relatives and I know them.”  I don’t know if this was true or not.  He said one of them went by the name of Hosein Gheychi.  Of course, that will become clear.  Then, [when we arrived] at the Governorate door (located on Bargh Street), suddenly Mr. Ameri came out of that office and told the police chief not to enter, as they had intended to attack and beat him.  The crowd had slowly assembled and was visible behind him.  The head of the Judiciary and I stood by the Governorate door; the police chief [and] the governor went in the front of the Governorate building.  The crowd was constantly threatening to attack the police chief, and the governor was constantly trying to quiet them down and disperse the crowd. 

Since the situation was not good, I started to go towards home with the head of the Judiciary.  I have no further information about what followed.  Later, at 5:00 in the afternoon, a City Council meeting was held by invitation of the governor at the [police station].  It was decided after consultation that the existing three forces in the city should assume the responsibility of the city’s security, till the end of the riot.  Then around sunset, we went to Mr. Haj Sheikh Hadi’s home with the heads [of departments].  There, the religious leaders and leaders of trades had gathered.  Following extensive discussions, it was decided that the religious leaders would advise the people during the prayers at the mosque and compel them not to repeat such behaviour.  A small crowd had gathered outside the entrance to the house.  They brought one person who had been killed, and demanded that the bullets be removed from his body to find out what weapon they had been shot from.

This was what I observed on the said day.  According to the information received, a great deal of furniture and belongings of the Baha’is were plundered, and what could not be taken was destroyed.  As for the agents and instigators, of course you recall that Birjand’s residents are poor, addicts and helpless people who were never seeking disturbance or riots and are not mentally prepared for such.  Obviously, this was a game planned and managed by a group, to create unrest in the name of religion, to kill Baha’is, in order to advance their own objectives.  Of course, by your proper policy and neutrality, and that of Major Jahanbin, the main instigators of this incident will be found and punished for their indecent acts.  Meanwhile, it should not be left unsaid that if, God forbid, this incident is left quiet or not prosecuted, and those who attacked, insulted and even planned to kill the police chief be left unpunished, the non-local officers, who only rely on the government’s power and force, will not feel safe for their own lives and belongings, and another riot with a different name will start for us.

 

Submitted with respect,

Malek-Afzali

 

Copy, following letter number 4093 – 9/4/1325 [30 June 1946] submitted for information of the Registry Office of the Ninth Province.  It was decided at the City Council that the heads of the departments would submit their observations of the incident of 8/4/1325 [29 June 1946] with their opinions to Mr. Hasan [Saba] the representative of the provincial governor general, Ninth Province.

 

Birjand County Head of Registry, Malek-Afzali

 

This is a true copy of the original.

 

 

 

 

[1]  [Invoking God for guidance. It is a ritual in which a prayer is  recited by Muslims when in need of guidance on an issue in their life and then randomly opening the Quran and reading the first verse that appears; if the verse contains a negative connotation, they perceive a negative reply. This ritual can be carried out with a rosary.]