The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
Conspiracy to deprive Muslims of education in Gujarat
Narender Modi dispensation has ensured that in his model Hindu Prant (state) of Gujarat there is no place for Muslims now. The genocidal tendencies of the State government and its patrons at the Centre now make it amply clear that the Muslims of Bharat should rather make up their mind to live a life under the subjugation of Sangh Parivar communalists for a long time to come.
In Round Two of the genocide in the state, Muslim students have been compelled to boycott their examinations because the state government could not guarantee their safety and safe return from the examination centres to their refugee camps. Not only this, the state government was even not ready to budge an inch from its already declared stand that it would be unable to provide the examination centres for the Muslim students in minority-friendly areas as was done in the case of Hindu students who were provided the examination centres in their own respective strongholds.
In a move which shows paucity of principles for the Gujarat government, the helpless and scary Muslim students had to grudgingly boycott the SSC and HSC examinations being conducted by the Gujarat State Examination Board (GSEB). The second phase of the secondary and higher secondary examinations in Gujarat was boycotted by 90% of the 14,000 Muslim students. The examinations which began on 18 March had to be postponed due to tension and outbreak of communal riots. Some violent incidents in the three cities of Bharuch, Modasa and Himatnagar had necessitated the cancellation of the examinations. At least 9,800 Muslim students who have all been affected during the riots in Ahmedabad, fearing for their lives, boycotted the board examinations beginning Thursday 18 April. Around 8.25 lakh students were to appear in the two examinations being conducted by GSEB at over 600 centres.
"In view of the extreme insecurity and grave threat perception prevailing in Ahmedabad, and, in particular, the recurring violence of recent days that is affecting students, and considering the persistent refusal of the authorities to re-allocate safer examination centres for minority community students, it was resolved that the Muslim community shall not participate in SSC and HSC examinations beginning 18 April," said M. H. Jowher, president, Society for the Promotion of Rational Thinking. Mr. Jowher asked: "Would any Hindu girl be ready to go to Juhapura if her examination centre was there? Is it not irrational to expect young Muslim girls to appear in examinations in Hindu-dominated areas?" The boycott decision was jointly taken by Gujarat Relief Committee chairman Afzal Memon, Habeeb Mev, M. H. Jowher, Mufti Shabbir Alam, Murtaza Khan Pathan, and several others.
In a separate statement to the press, Navaid Hamid, Secretary, Movement of Empowerment of Muslim Indians, said that the purpose of shifting the centres was either to discourage the Muslim students from appearing in the examinations or to put psychological constraints of safety on their minds during the examinations.
However, Gujarat Education Minister Mrs. Anandiben Patel said that the CBSE examinations were already being conducted in the state. "If the SSC and HSC examinations of the State Board were postponed again, there would have been a delay in the results, leading to denial of admission to Gujarat students in key courses outside the state," the minister said. Muslim students huddled in various relief camps said, "We have been living like prisoners for so long, how can we take the exams in this state of mind?" However, in Shah Alam refugee camp, most of the students did appear for the examinations since the Government had agreed to provide an examination centre to them in nearby areas, according to reports.
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
New dimensions of Gujarat genocide
By N Jamal Ansari
When Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Ahmedabad, he said, I have not came here for counting dead bodies. The statement came from heart. It has been established now that more than ninety percent victims of Golwalkarite Doctrine were Muslims and as per his own earlier statement at the time of assembly elections in four states, BJP did not need votes of Muslims. Hence it was quite natural for him to avoid any count.
It is also known to the outside world that the objective of Sangh Parivar for herding terrorised Muslims into camps and isolating them from localities they inhabited is achieved. In short, media has exposed saffron brand of governance under which Muslims should be second class citizen. For enlarging the ambit of saffron Hinduism, the media was taught a lesson on April, 7, on that day Godse overtook Mahatma Gandhi in his own Sabarmati Ashram. Not only Medha Patkar was assaulted but police was pressed to silence media. Some deeper analysis point out that the whole ethnicide of Muslims is not confined to Gujarat alone. The issues involved are not merely dead bodies, burning of houses or humanism. Let us discuss the issues and their impact on Indian Nation.
Gujarat is one of the most prosperous and industrialised states of Indian Union. Edible oil, milk, dairy products, diamond and textiles trading are backbone of state revenue. In short economic health of the state is far better than other states. Rule of law, peace and communal harmony are pre-condition for economic prosperity-Gujaratis themselves irrespective of religious tag are prime business community. But television channels showed people in cars looting and burning Muslim establishments. How this middle and upper middle class gentry changed itself into a group of looters and killers? Behind their attitudinal change lies the Hinduism of Savarkar and Golwalker brand. I must point out that Zionism and Jews are two different concepts. Likewise Hinduism of Golwalkar and Mahatma Gandhi or Swami Vivekananda are poles apart. If one closely follows the culture of Sangh Parivar, one will find out it violent, racist, anti-women and separatist. In the name of Lord Rama, they have done everything which is anti-thesis of his preachings.
Coming back to the economic activity, Muslims are engaged in several trades and businesses. Motor workshops and other mechanical jobs are their one of the main jobs. In garment industry Muslims have fair share. Needlework and embroidery traditionally belongs to them. In industrial workforce, Muslim constitute the biggest section. Hoteling and restaurant running are also their prime sectors. In the transport sector, they run majority of local auto-rikshawas and taxis. In truck business also they have stake. Primarily the segment of driving the vehicles of all sorts is a job done by Muslims.
Beside Muslims, trading and industrial activity in general also made a downward slide due to violent and hostile atmosphere of the state. Gujarat Chamber of Commerce has given an assessment. The total loss of nearly Rs 2500 crore within a week includes Rs 1500 crore from closure of markets. Production loss is of Rs 650 crore whereas Rs 100 crore loss is that of self employed people. Diamond trading alone accounted for a loss of Rs 300 crore. Keep in mind that these figures do not include the losses suffered by Muslims.
Naredra Modi is so much busy in experimenting as well as implementing saffron agenda that he has no time to assess these losses. Industry and business associations should have been more active and vocal but they are keeping a deadly silence. Only one of them, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh spoke. He called Gujarat genocide as a national failure. He categorically admitted in an interview that, the carnage after Godhra has hit business sentiment badly. Can you believe that the sales of many manufacturing companies have collapsed in Gujarat in the crucial fiscal end month of March due to riots. Beside riots have damaged Indias reputation more in international forums than what is happening in Pakistan (Indian Express, March 28). Another national daily quotes industry sources to say that, the Prime Minister must announce punitive measures against the people responsible for the mayhem and take steps to resurrect the state economy which has been dealt a body blow (The Hinsutan Times, April 5).
Beside trading and industrial losses, another problem has cropped up in Gujarat. Muslim employees of government and public sector like Banks and Railways are desperate to leave Gujarat at the earliest. According to the Indian Express of April 14, at least 27 employees of western Railways have applied for transfers on humanitarian grounds. The State Bank of India has already transferred eight employees, two or three more transfers are expected. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has also received half a dozen applications for transfer outside Gujarat. There are reports that some IPS officers also want to leave the state. Considering the above mentioned facts published by a national daily one can easily conclude that there is a constitutional breakdown in Gujarat besides law and order collapse. Is it not a fit case of implementation of Article 356?
Finally analyse some points. Narendra Modi has got clean chit from Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, Home Minister L.K. Advani, BJP President Jan Krishnamurthy and the whole Sangh-Parivar despite the fact that each and every responsible forum from media to human rights organizations have questioned his direct role in the genocide of Muslims. National Human Rights Commission has indicted him. The British High Commission has reported to the British Foreign Office in London that, the violence in Gujarat was pre-planned. If the Sabarmati Express tragedy had not happened, another flashpoint would have been created to justify premeditated violence as reaction (Hindustan Times, April 15).
The role of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is very dubious. On April 4, at Shah Alam Camp in Ahmedabad, he said, I dont know with what face I will go abroad. He climbed down from false emotions on April, 9 and April, 11 in Singapore and Cambodia where he stated that, India is an ancient country with one billion people. Let not some of the recent unfortunate happenings in India create any unease in you. And lastly on April, 12, he shouted at Goa- Wherever there are Muslims there is strife. Dont teach us secularism. We allow (Muslims and Christians) to follow their religion. Not even once, he displayed decency to declare that the guilty will be punished.
Now what can be done? Replacement of Narendra Modi is not a solution. Article 356 should be imposed in Gujarat. As the state Governor also belongs to RSS, he should be replaced and any centralist intellectual or diplomat may be appointed Governor. At this time elections cannot be held there. Former Chief Election Commissioner, TN Seshan has clearly pointed out that, the EC has access to reports from the NHRC, National Minorities Commission, media and opposition parties. It depends upon it to decide about it. Presently conditions in Gujarat are not conducive for free, fair polls (Indian Express, April 15). Hence declaring elections will be nothing but a conspiracy.
It is high time for people who believe in rule of law to rise in unison and take determined measures to confront Hindutva Brigade frontally. Otherwise, I am afraid, that we will loose our fruits of independence. We are slowly but surely moving towards a fascist state and we have to reverse this situation.
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
Minority officers flee Gujarat
Ahmedabad: Muslims who can are fleeing Narendra Modi's Gujarat. Shaken by the riots, IPS officers and senior employees of government organisations have started packing their bags.M.A. Wadoo, an ONGC official whose rented apartment was ransacked by a mob and belongings worth Rs 5.3 lakh destroyed, has sought a transfer "on humanitarian grounds''. "I lost everything I had earned in 27 years of service. I have so much pain within me that I cannot express. I just want to leave Gujarat. I cannot live in perpetual fear. I cannot move about freely here. For the past 25 days, my daughter has not moved out of this room (ONGC transit accommodation)," he said.
The officer, who had gone home to Andhra Pradesh when ONGC flew its Muslim officers out of the state for their safety, has returned only because his daughter has to sit for the Class XII board examinations.
Most of the 20 Muslim officers in ONGC from outside Gujarat have not come back since the riots. Even those who are here only temporarily, having already applied for transfers. S.L. Bhardwaj, an ONGC official, said almost all Muslim officers have applied for transfer on various grounds. But the picture will be clear only in May or June, when transfer orders are issued.
The same story is repeated in all public sector organisations. In banks, the departments of posts and telecommunications and in organisations such as Indian Oil Corporation - anywhere that any Muslims from outside Gujarat work - the management is faced with requests for transfers (The Telegraph, April 10).
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
Gujarat violence a genocide: womens panel
New Delhi: A womens fact-finding panel that toured Ahmedabad and six riot-ravaged Gujarat districts said on 16 April that the pattern of state-sponsored violence against Muslims there clearly indicates genocide.
They found that Muslim women were especially targeted by the Sangh Parivar-led mobs and have documented numerous instances of mass rape, sexual abuse, torture and humiliation.
Apart from the laws of the land, several international conventions that the country has signed stand violated in letter and spirit, they said. Examining the facts, documenting testimonies, we have arrived at the preliminary conclusion that the role of the State in the events of Gujarat since February 28 has violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the panel told newsmen at a Press conference.
The womens activists from Delhi, Bangalore, Tamil Nadu and Ahmedabad found it difficult to narrate the gory details of what they had seen and heard. Sheba George of Ahmedabad broke down, saying,We are Gujaratis and Indians....to people who ask me what I am doing, I tell them Gujarat is my karmabhoomi .
While nothing can justify or rationalise inhuman acts such as the burning of the bogie near the Godhra railway station, the panel found that the post-Godhra carnage did not happen as a spontaneous reaction to burning one bogie, but that it was a calculated response the culmination of a hate campaign carried for over a decade to promote the Hindutva ideology.
The fact-finding team accused several elected representatives like sarpanchs with VHP-Bajrang Dal allegiance of being directly involved in the carnage. Maya Kodnani, the BJP legislator from Narora-Patiya on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, did not bother to check the reports that there had been several cases of rapes and torching of women and children, they said. They found Kodnani herself cited in an FIR for direct participation openly sympathetic to those who had carried out criminal acts.
The group, comprising Syeda Hameed of Muslim Womens Forum, Delhi, Ruth Manorama of National Alliance of Women, Bangalore, Malini Ghose of Nirantar, Delhi, Sheba George, journalist Farah Naqvi and Tamil Nadu-based Mari Thekaekara, was in Gujarat for five days in March.
We have been shaken and numbed by the scale of brutality of the violence that is still continuing in Gujarat, they said in the introduction of their 60-page report (TOI).
Full text of the report is available from:
Delhi: Dr. Syeda Hameed (email@example.com),
Malini Ghose (firstname.lastname@example.org), Farah Naqvi (email@example.com);
Bangalore: Dr. Ruth Manorama (firstname.lastname@example.org); Tamil Nadu: Mari Thekaekara (email@example.com);
Ahmedabad: Gagan Sethi (firstname.lastname@example.org), Sheba George (email@example.com).
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
Citizens' report blames Modi for Gujarat violence
Fact finding team finds out that the anti-Muslim carnage that erupted in the state appeared pre-planned and carried out with the connivance of Modi's government as well as the BJP, to which the VHP and Bajrang Dal are allied reports Ajit Shah
New Delhi: An independent fact-finding mission to Gujarat has blamed Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Hindu radical groups for the anti-Muslim violence that claimed nearly 830 lives in the state since February-end. Consisting of a former top bureaucrat, an ex-police officer and two academicians, the mission that toured the two worst-hit cities of Gujarat Ahmedabad and Godhra - March 22-26 says Modi abetted the carnage of Muslims by Hindu mobs.
In their report issued here these unofficial investigators claim the Modi government told the police and bureaucrats not to hinder Hindu mobs from targeting Muslims, which contributed to the high death toll.
"Throughout the state the police, although responsible for law and order and fully empowered to take all necessary measures in this respect, regardless of what signals were transmitted by the top political leadership, not only failed to fulfil their duties but in various cases actively colluded with rampaging mobs bent on death, destruction and looting," the report says.
It claims that a clutch of Hindu radical groups led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), were responsible for the killings.
"The direct and circumstantial evidence, confirming that there was a systematic and planned pogrom and that the agents responsible are the various organisations of the Sangh Parivar (the RSS and its affiliates), is simply overwhelming."
The former bureaucrats in the mission are ex-Indian finance secretary S.P. Shukla, a retired member of the elite Indian Administrative Service, and former director general of police K.S. Subramanian, who retired from the Indian Police Service.
The other members are Kamal Mitra Chenoy, an associate professor with the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Achin Vanaik, visiting professor at the Third World Academy with Jamia Millia Islamia.
Their report disputes the claim by Modi and Union Home Minister L.K. Advani that the torching of a train by a suspected Muslim mob at Godhra that killed 58 Hindus and set off the anti-Muslim carnage was planned and backed by Pakistan's intelligence agency.
After visiting Godhra to piece together the sequence of events, the mission says the mob that had attacked the Sabarmati Express February 27 most likely did so under serious provocation from activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).
The VHP activists were returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh after attending a religious show in support of a divisive bid to build a temple on the ruins of a razed 16th-century mosque despite a court ban.
There was already substantial tension in Godhra - where Muslims equal Hindus and which has had a history of sectarian violence - as VHP activists on the train had reportedly misbehaved with Muslim passengers and vendors, the mission said.
"Given the specific (communal) history of the area and the general circumstances prevailing, the speed with which a large mob of several hundred Muslims could gather together and resort to fire bombs is not at all surprising and did not require the kind of pre-planning suggested by various conspiracy theories.
"Moreover, the fact that the attack was confined to basically one bogie indicates that the presumed provocation was deemed to have come from there. There were 1,700 VHP activists on the train but only one coach was targeted."
By contrast, the mission's report said, the anti-Muslim carnage that erupted in the state appeared pre-planned and carried out with the connivance of Modi's government as well as the BJP, to which the VHP and Bajrang Dal are allied.
"The connecting link between this localised riot (Godhra incident) and the pogrom that followed was provided by the VHP-Bajrang Dal-RSS decision to deliberately inflame matters by calling for a bandh (shutdown) the next day.
"No only did the BJP's state government not disallow this bandh (which it should have) but actually endorsed and supported it.
The mission, which also visited Ahmedabad, said it based its report on interviews with eyewitnesses, serving and retired administrative and police personnel, journalists, judges, lawyers, rights activists and managers at the relief camps for victims.
It has demanded that Vajpayee dismiss the Modi government and institute an inquiry by a Supreme Court judge into the sectarian violence. - IANS
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
Riots continue to rock areas outside Gujarat
By Danish A Khan
The fires of the post-Godhra carnage in Gujarat still continue to smoulder. Several parts of the Indian nation have been engulfed in the Gujarat fire. Reports of communal riots keep on emanating with each passing day. Parts of several states of the country such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka have been overtaken by communal madness and frenzy. The incidents taking place have been horrendous and heart-rending.
The murder of a 17-year-old boy in Mhow town in the State of Uttar Pradesh on 19 April night led to the outbreak of communal violence. People from Hindu and Muslim communities clashed with each other and indulged in brickbatting. Properties were also set on fire, reports said. Incidents of violence and arson prompted the district authorities to impose curfew in the trouble-torn town. Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel were also deployed in strength to curb the violence. While talking to the media persons, Inspector General of Police B. M. Kannur said that so far 150 persons have been arrested by the police for violating the curfew. The situation is now under control, he said.
Cases of eve-teasing and misbehaviour with young girls at Bhopal in the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh led to communal tension between the two communities. The incident took place on the night of 19 April. Even as the news of misbehaviour with young girls spread, Hindus and Muslims took to streets and clashed with each other. The violence left at least four people grievously injured. Superintendent of Police A. P. Singh said that 12 persons have been arrested. Besides, additional police forces have been deployed at sensitive spots and the situation was being continuously monitored.
Stray incidents of violence have been reported from the State of Rajasthan too. In Banas Badanpura locality of Jaipur district in Rajasthan a person was done to death. The killing which took place on 14 April night resulted in communal tension in the area. There were reports of stone pelting and group clashes between the people of Hindu and Muslim communities. The district authorities, however, said that the situation had been carefully handled and was under control.
Communal riots were also reported from the communally-sensitive western Indian State of Maharashtra. Three persons were killed, two stabbed to death and one succumbed to heart attack due to shock, after communal riots broke out on Tuesday night. Mob clashes between Hindu and Muslim communities left several people injured, most of them grievously when violence broke out in Kalyan in Thane district, 55 kms from Mumbai, on 9 April. Giving a detailed account eye witnesses said that an ordinary squabble between a Muslim autorickshaw driver and his Hindu passengers led to fisticuffs. The altercations later on took a communal turn sparking off riots. Mobs went on rampage and started setting fire to houses and business establishments. At least 14 houses were burnt and several shops ransacked. The rioters also burnt two scooters, an autorickshaw and damaged several other vehicles. Indefinite curfew was imposed in the satellite town on Wednesday, 10 April afternoon following reports of fresh incidents of brickbatting and arson in the Rohidaswada area of the old township which also saw large scale rioting and violence just a day earlier. Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police said that 10 persons were arrested. Adequate companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) had also been stationed in the trouble-prone area. A strict watch was being kept on the situation.
Earlier, according to reports reaching here late, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists during a bandh call in Ludhiana tried to attack Jama Masjid. However, the alleged attack was foiled by the alert police force of the district. Security measures were also further tightened following the incident. In Ludhiana district of the State of Punjab, Muslim population is at an estimated strength of five lakh. Besides, there are nearly 50 mosques and six madrasas in the district.
The communal campaign and incidents of rioting are not solely being directed towards the Muslim community alone. Even the Christian community is not being spared. A church was attacked on Sunday 14 April near Mangalore in the southern State of Karnataka. According to reports, a mob of about 60 persons carried out attack on the Church when prayers (Mass) were being conducted. The mob attacked the Church in protest against what they claimed as alleged attempts to convert local Hindus to Christianity. Worshippers said that stones were hurled at the prayer hall used by a Protestant group at Moodabidri when Sunday prayers were being underway. Some Hindu families were also attending the prayers. However, no one was injured in the attack, although two cars and some window panes were damaged in the communal incident.
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
Were sexual crimes in Gujarat planned?
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman
Ahmedabad: Women have been the main target of the rioters in Gujarat. After visiting the state for more than a week and meeting hundreds of people in different camps spread over the four most affected districts of the state including Panchmahal, (under which Godhra comes) Baroda, Anand and Ahmadabad, I have reached the conclusion that women were consciously and specially targeted by the rioters who were being controlled by the VHP and Bajrang Dal criminals besides the members of the RSS and the BJP.
The way the Hindu mobs acted while brutally dishonouring Muslim women will put the Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo to shame. Wherever there were killings, there were large scale rapes of Muslim women irrespective of age differences. There are incidents when all this was done while their fathers, brothers and husbands were made to witness this brutality after being made captives. And at times all this was done inside the village mosques.
Fatima Bibi Md Yaqub Sheikh whose family lost 19 members including her sisters and brothers says that whatever they did could have been justified, except the way they raped women. She says that when her family tried to flee Naroda Patia, the area where 90 people were burnt alive they all requested the police to save them, but police instead of doing anything for their safety asked them to surrender themselves to the mob.
She says that her sister and her niece both were repeatedly raped by the mob. She adds that her sister offered the rioters twenty thousand rupees that she had with her and asked the rioters to spare her and her daughter. But she says, those were not men, they were devils wearing Khaki shorts, Fatima Sheikh refers to the RSS men who were in the mob. She adds that those devils not only snatched those twenty thousand rupees from her sister but raped her and then burnt her alive. Her niece too was given the same treatment after being raped by men she lost count. And both of them were disgraced there on the road.
Fatima, sobbing inconsolably told me that her sister and niece were not the only ones who were raped by the mob on the road near Naroda Patia. She says there were at least 25 such cases. And all the women were stripped naked before being raped and then were burnt alive. She says that even the very old ones who were not raped were also stripped first before being thrown in the fire.
Jawed, one of the worst victims of the riots, who has been left alone after his father, sister and all other family members were killed by the rioters is another victim. All of eleven years old, he says, unhon ne meri mummy, papa, aur baji ko zinda jala diya. Meri masi ke ladke ko jaan se mar diya aur meri masi ki beti aur bahu se badtamizi ki aur phir unko bhi jala diya (they burnt alive my mother, father and sister. They killed my cousin brother and then outraged his wife and sister). Jawed saw all this being done to his closest relatives. This young boy who has been brought to Shah Alam dargah camp in Ahmadabad by some strangers will probably never forget what his innocent eyes saw being done by these beastly people.
Bilqis Yaqub Patel from Randhikpur is one of the worst cases of this horrific crime to whom I met in Godhra relief camp. Five months pregnant this woman of around 20 years was not only beaten up badly and left for dead, she was also raped by three men from her own village. Eight other women, her close relatives including her sister Shamim, Amina Adam, Halima, Munniben Abdul and Madina who were with her too were meted out the same barbarous treatment. Munniben was just all of nine years and Halima was over 45. But for those age difference was nothing.
Shamim, Bilqiss sister who had delivered a baby boy just two days ago while fleeing was not only tortured brutally by those people who had thrown her two-days old baby into the fire but also repeatedly raped. No woman was spared. Everyone was given the same brutal treatment. Bilqis says she and all other women who were killed-Bilqis too was taken as dead when the rapists and killers fled-were lying stark naked when she regained consciousness.
Bilqis who lost her two-years-old child and the one in her womb due to miscarriage refuses to speak. Sharifa Umarjee and her aids who take care of these devastated women in the Godhra camp ask her to tell what happened and it was only after their prodding that the young lady spoke. Sharifa Umarjee told this correspondent that it was only today when they received the news that Bilqis husband has survived and is in another camp in Dahod district.
But Bilqis is a unique case as she was among the very few women in the whole state who were able to file an FIR against the devils whose name she told me as Govind Nai, Naresh Moria and Jaswant Nai. She has also named all the 23 people who killed all the women and children who were with her.
Others are not so fortunate. Hundreds or probably thousands of women who were raped after every incident of violence and burning around this devilish land have not been able to file FIRs. Don't ask about those who were burnt alive after being raped and mutilated.
Reenu Khanna a social activist in Baroda says that the rioters from Sangh and more particularly from the VHP have used rape to inflict deep psychological wounds in the minds of the whole Muslim community. Khanna who has been working for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people along with her husband says she knows that whichever locality these people attacked they also left horror tales after playing havoc with the women there. When asked about the police registering FIRs against the perpetrators, she says that the police rarely files any charges against the criminals and even if it does it makes the criminal look like a group where no name would be mentioned. She says that rape cases have gone almost unreported and there are very few cases when any FIR has been filed.
Yasmin Sheikh, only 13-year-old has remained mute ever since she was brought to the Camp in Godhra from her village, Delol near Kalol taluka in Panchmahal district. A young child who had not seen the world at all had a very tragic brush with the marauders. This is the village where 35 men women and children were burnt alive and all the houses were destroyed including the lone double story mosque. All her family members were killed including her mother, father and all other relatives. She was sexually brutalized and then left for dead on the road outside the village. No FIR has been filed in this case.
Similar is the case of Raheemabi who has taken shelter in Rakhyal camp. Her whole family was chased from Ansar Nagar area in Ahmadabad. No one has survived in her whole family and she alone has been left to tell the gory tales of the horrific crime the Sangh goons did with her family. Not only she but her sister, both were sexually targeted by the mob. She says that she recognizes the people who killed her sister and her family, but police is not ready to file FIR.
Examples are scattered all over the state, in all relief camps throughout the state. In every relief camp there are dozens of women and young girls who have been meted out this treatment. And it continues to be done.
YA Charkha asks about the future of these women and girls. He says that the beasts who attacked our localities near Godhra town were well prepared to do what they were assigned to do. He says that he has been told by reliable contacts that the criminals who attacked Muslims were told by their bosses to do as many sexual crimes as they could. And they were told that there would be no police to book them in these charges and no one would ask them anything about what they did.
Muhammad Shamim one of the trustees of the Shah-e-Alam camp says that the large scale sexual crimes against Muslim women were committed to add to psychological frustration of the whole community. He says that it was one of the worst instruments and worst sort of violence perpetrated and planned by the Sangh criminals.
Francis Prakar the principal of the prestigious St Xavier's College in Ahmadabad who has been active in providing relief to the affected people throughout this macabre killing and inhumane assault on women says that he fears reprisal from the affected people if the issue is not addressed properly and justice is not given to them. Justice to the victims and the perpetrators, he adds. He means that criminals should be given fitting reply so that no one could dare to repeat these and victims are compensated properly, though he adds that in these cases no one can compensate them due to the height of mental agony and physical suffering.
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
Unprecedented outpouring, unbecoming of a prime minister
Vajpayee equates Islam with terrorism
Less than a fortnight ago Vajpayee had condemned the killings and the continued riots in Gujarat as a kalank (blot) on Indias face. But now he says: Gujarat mein kya hua? Agar Sabarmati na hota to jo hua who nahi hota (What happened in Gujarat? If the attack on Sabarmati [train] had not taken place, then what followed [anti-Muslim violence] would not have happened). Mr Vajpayee did condemn the aftermath of the train attack at Godhra but hastened to add: Lekin aag lagai kisne? (But who started the fire?).
A statement by the Indian prime minister equating Islam with terrorism continues to cause an unprecedented uproar in the Indian political life, especially among Muslims and secular circles. Vajpayee has been accused of having finally cast off his 'moderate' mask which he has carefully donned all these years to present an acceptable face of the Hindu extremists whose political party, the BJP, he leads.
The whole world heard Vajpayee say it live on TV on April 12 in Goa: Jahan Jahan Musalman hain ghul milkar nahi rahte hain (wherever there are Muslims they dont want to live in peace).
And this was just the beginning. Vajpayee went ahead with Muslim-bashing and added, Auron se ghulna milna nahi chahte. Shantipurna tarike se parchar karne ke bajaye atankwad se dara dhamka kar apne mat ka parchar karna chahte hain (They dont want to mix with others. Instead, they want to preach and propagate their religion by creating fear and terror in the minds of others).
Vajpayee dwelt at length on 'Islamic fundamentalism' in the countries he visited recently. He said: 'one version of Islam taught love, peace and compassion' while 'Islam today was being used for militancy and Jihad and trying to bring the world under its influence. Har jagah jahan Muslims bahut sankhya mein rahte hain, unki chinta hai ki kahin Islam ugra rup na le le (wherever Muslims live in large numbers, the rulers apprehend that Islam can take an aggressive turn) Vajpayee went on to say.
As if even this was not enough, the prime minister of a country, which has 131.5 million Muslim population, tried to squarely blame Muslims for the on-going riots in Gujarat. Less than a fortnight ago Vajpayee himself had condemned the killings and the continued riots in Gujarat as a kalank (blot) on Indias face. But now he says: Gujarat mein kya hua? Agar Sabarmati na hota to jo hua who nahi hota (What happened in Gujarat? If the attack on Sabarmati [train] had not taken place, then what followed [anti-Muslim violence] would not have happened). Mr Vajpayee did condemn the aftermath of the train attack at Godhra but hastened to add: Lekin aag lagai kisne? (But who started the fire?). It is the same theory what the Gujarat chief minister Narendr Modi who is directly and indirectly involved in the massacres in the state has been advocating. Modi has all along been maintaining that the riots are a direct 'reaction' of what happened in Godhra.
After the outcry at all levels inside and outside Parliament, Vajpayee took recourse to the time-tested trick of claiming that the media has quoted him 'out of context'.
Vajpayee and his spin-doctors now claim that his remarks were being misrepresented: It is projected as anti-Islam and anti-Muslim. A motivated propaganda, both within the country and internationally, is sought to be launched on the basis of such misrepresentation. My remarks taken in totality contained nothing that is either against Islam or Muslims Vajpayee said in a press statement.
Stating that in his speech in Goa he had drawn attention to two contradictory streams in Islam, Vajpayee added in his press statement, I had said Islam has two forms. One is that which tolerates others, which teaches its adherents to follow the path of truth, which preaches compassion and sensitivity. But these days militancy in the name of Islam leaves no room for tolerance. It has raised the slogan of Jihad. It is dreaming of recasting the entire world in its mould he added.
Prime Ministers anti-Muslim and anti-Christian tirade has attracted widespread condemnation. Asked about the controversial statement in a press conference, Congress Party president, Sonia Gandhi, said that Vajpayee has lost his 'mental balance.' Ghulam Nabi Azad, president of the Congress party in Jammu & Kashmir demanded that Vajpayee should be arrested under the anti-terrorism law (POTA) for trying to divide various communities of the country. Shahid Siddiqui, general secretary of the Samajwadi Party, said that Vajpayee's statement is tantamount to declaring war against Muslims.
GM Banatwala, member of Parliament and president of the Indian Union Muslim League, condemned PMs remark and called them most deplorable. His proactive Goa speech and the fascist attitude already endorsed by the BJP in Goa session are grave threats to democracy,' Banatwala said. All-India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat president, Syed Shahabuddin said that the extremist Hindu face of Vajpayee has been unmasked.
The All-India Christian Council (AICC) has also deplored Vajpayee's remarks. In one swoop, he has defamed Islam and Christianity, condoned state terrorism, forgiven the Gujarat chief minister Narender Modi and sought to convert the bigotry and hate campaigns of the RSS and the VHP into votes for the BJP the AICC said. The council also said to now rationalize and thereby encourage retaliatory violence in its wake is to savagely criminalise civilizational discourse in India.
This was not the first time when the Prime Minister made cynical remarks. Vajpayee who has been called a 'moderate' in an extremist Hindu nationalist party, has a history of making such remarks. And he has always tried to explain away criticism by claiming that the media misquoted him.
It was just last year when Vajpayee tried to justify the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya by his own partymen. Appearing in an Iftar Party hosted on December 6, 2000 by the lone Muslim member in his government, Syed Shahnawaz Husain, Vajpayee said: Ayodhya mein Ram mandir ka nirman rashtriya bhavana ke prakatikaran ka kam tha, jo abhi tak pura nahi hua hai (construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya is an expression of national sentiment which is yet to be realized).
Vajpayee also rejected the demand for the resignation of the three ministers in his government including LK Advani, the home minister, who have been charge-sheeted for their role in the demolition of the Babri Mosque. Vajpayee later claimed that he was misquoted.
During the Uttar Pradesh state legislative assembly elections last February Vajpayee had said that his party, the BJP, does not need Muslim votes. Earlier during Bill Clintons presidency when Vajpayee visited the US, he said that he is 'a sawayamsevak first and then Prime Minister' and that 'whether he remains Prime Minister or not he will remain a swayamsevak. Cadres of the extremist Hindu outfit Rashtriya Sawyamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent party of the BJP, are called 'swayamsevaks'. Later Vajpayee claimed that he intended to say that he was a servant of the nation!
Daily Hindustan Times has editorially advised Vajpayee: 'This can't go on. India cannot afford a prime minister who shoots his mouth off on sensitive issues and then issues tedious clarifications two days later.' An editorial in another important newspaper, The Times of India, said that 'A leopard, they say, cannot change its spots. But in India we have long been prepared to believe otherwise. A case in point is that of prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Mr Vajpayee's unwarranted diatribe against a section of his own people will be difficult to reconcile with his image of being a moderate. It will come as a grave shock to a nation still coming to terms with the trauma of the past month and a half,' it said.
The Milli Gazette, May 01-15, 2002
No business, no work, Gujarat Muslims left to their fate
By S Ubaidur Rahman (recently in Ahmadabad and
IS Gujarat turning into a Rwanda? Seems exaggerated, but the way things are turning it may not be far when the same fate will be reflected on the streets of Vadodra, Surat, Ahmadabad and Godhra. Human rights organisations at home and abroad and even the European Union and UK have taken note of this aspect of the carnage in Gujarat. It keeps erupting after a lull. The main culprit has been confirmed in his job and the home minister is conspicuous by his silence and leaders of the mobocracy he unleashed by his rath yatra are threatening to extend the war zone to all parts of India.
Mayhem and curfew have completed two months now. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims inside relief camps and outside are on the verge of starvation. The daily wage-earners are already starving for lack of work. They cannot venture out and find work in the dangerous environment outside Muslim localities. Thousands of such people have almost no contact with the outside world.
Muhammad Muslim who lives in Juhapura locality in Ahmadabad, the biggest Muslim concentration area in the state capital, says that he has not been able to earn even a single penny since 28 February, when the riots erupted. His six member family mostly goes hungry. He says that he can manage somehow without food, but how he can see his six-months old grandson wail as he is unable to get milk for him.
Islam is not a unique case. Hundreds of Islams are living miserably in localities like Gomtipur, Juhapura, Rakhel, Shapur and other areas where curfew continues on and off since the outbreak of riots. This is not confined to the daily wage-earners. Thousands of people, who owned shops and businesses, have been overnight made penniless. Their businesses have been completely destroyed.
People living in multistory housing complexes too are suffering. Several people whom I met in Juhapura and Rakhel besides numerous other places said that it is becoming harder and harder for them to manage two times meal a day in the absence of work. Not to speak about those who have lost their businesses. Their life is doubly miserable. These people have not only lost businesses but also hope as they do not hope that they will ever be able to reclaim their old businesses, shops and factories.
Shafi Madani, chairman of Islami Relief Committee-Gujarat (IRCG) which has been involved in the relief work ever since the outbreak of the riots, says that the magnitude of the problem cannot be gauged by his people. He adds that they have already distributed ration kits to more than eight thousand families in Juhapura area alone. His office in Juhapura is always cramped with ever-increasing numbers of affected people. Thousands are now forced to starve in Muslim areas, confirms Madani. He adds that though his people are trying to reach out to as many people as they can, what they have at their disposal can hardly match the needs of the affected people.
We can provide food to five thousand people or can anyhow manage ten thousand people, but here the whole Muslim localities are facing similar situation, adds one of his aides. If you promise these people two kilo of flour and you ask them to stand in queues for the whole day, they will happily oblige, says Iqbal Mirza, a relief worker in Juhapura area.
Anwar Khan, a relief worker at Rakhyal, says that a large number of people who are starving contact them for food supplies, but there are thousands others who will never ask for any help. He says that people who come from better- off families and who have lost their businesses will never ask for any help. He says that he knows many such families who are starving but are reluctant to reach relief centres while relief organizations think that they do not need help. Even people who have money in their bank accounts are suffering from the same fate. Despite having money in their accounts they cannot venture out to those [Hindu] areas where banks are located. I cannot go to my bank as it is situated on Ashram Road, says Anwar. He says that though he goes out for relief work with his friends, he still cannot dare to move alone even now. Nobody will allow any member of his family to go out to bank and get killed there, he adds.
With almost total business destruction, prosperous Muslim families have been financially crippled all of a sudden. Looking at the number of insurance claims when the trouble is still continuing, it seems that Muslims economic backbone has been broken. Value of claims in the smallest insurance company in the country, National Insurance Company, has reached Rs 540 million. The company has received 1205 claims so far. The New India Assurance Company has received 1058 claims worth Rs 340 million and the United India Assurance Company has so far received the largest number of claims at 1300 which are worth Rs 400 million. The Oriental Insurance Company received 973 claims worth Rs 290 million. This is only the tip of the iceberg of Muslim economic losses since most Muslims did not insure their businesses and houses out of religious considerations.
We are still receiving claims and it seems that the number of claims will increase when the tension recedes, says RM Kaul, regional manager of the National Insurance Company in Ahmadabad.
Small and big businesses alike have suffered during these riots. Arsonists have selectively targeted all the Muslim hotels (restaurants). Indu Kumar Jani, a social activist in Ahmadabad, says that he was not aware of the fact that Tulsi, a chain of restaurants all over Gujarat belonged to Muslims. He adds that most of the customers were Hindus and he believes that hardly anyone knew that it was owned by Muslims. Same is the case with Sarvodya pure vegetarian restaurant. Not even Muslims knew that these eateries were owned by members of their own community. Kaul says that a large number of Muslim restaurants were insured by his company. As many as 38 of them were gutted in the initial days of the riots in Ahmedabad alone. It is the number of restaurants insured by only one company. Many others have been burnt and figures are trickling in.
Now those people who owned big businesses just two months ago have joined in poverty and starvation with others living in Muslim ghettos. Fatima Bibi who has now taken shelter in Shah Alam Dargah camp after the rioters set afire her husbands warehouse in one of the worst affected areas of Ahmadabad, Naroda Patia, says that the loss of business has left her husband almost insane. He has stopped talking and rarely eats anything being given to him by the relief camp volunteers. And to add to Muslim woes the VHP and Bajrang Dal are asking Hindus not to go to Muslim shops and resturants, not to employ Muslims or use their services in any way. This is further aggravating problems and will lead to total ghettoisation.
Husain Umarji, who is running a relief camp in Godhra city, told this correspondent that the business loss is taking its toll on people. He says that not only it becomes harder for us to console those from whom we used to receive large amounts as grants for our schools and societies but also to assist them in this time of need. He says scores of men have been mentally affected due to loss of business and the helplessness it has created in their minds. He adds that prior to riots, the transport business was dominated by Muslims in Panchmahal district in which Godhra falls, but now the whole business has been destroyed. There are reports that more than one thousand trucks belonging to Muslims were burnt in Godhra city alone.
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