lod (oldhen) wrote,

Five Years After

Five years ago this past week Gujarat burned while its CM Modi played the fiddle, figuratively. Various historians doubt that Nero actually played the fiddle, yet stories abound about his use of human torches to light his parties. There were certainly quite a few human torches in Modi's pogrom. To quite Amnesty reports:
The violence [in Gujarat] left over 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead. Several hundred girls and women were stripped naked, raped or gang-raped, had their wombs slashed and were thrown into fires, some while still alive...

..Bilqis Yakoob Rasool, herself a victim of gang-rape who lost 14 family members reported: "They started molesting the girls and tore off their clothes. Our naked girls were raped in front of the crowd. They killed Shamin's baby who was two days old. They killed my maternal uncle and my father's sister and her husband too. After raping the women they killed all of them... They killed my baby too. They threw her in the air and she hit a rock. After raping me, one of the men kept a foot on my neck and hit me.
During the attacks, police stood by or even joined in the violence. When victims tried to file complaints, police often did not record them properly and failed to carry out investigations. In Bilqis Yakoob Rasool's case, police closed the investigation, stating they could not find out who the rapists and murderers were despite the fact that she had named them earlier

..officials of the state government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), claimed that a fire on a train on 27 February 2002 was planned and caused by Muslims. It then took no steps to prevent or stop the widespread and systematic attacks by Hindu mobs on members of the Muslim minority which followed, and indeed many party and state officials were seen to participate. In many cases, these human rights abuses constitute crimes against humanity. The central government (until May 2004 also led by the BJP) failed to censure the government of Gujarat during and after the violence...

The images of the pogrom horrified many at the time, there was a many poem and column written, yet a lot of us forgot.. As Mike Marqusee notes in the Guardian:
Five years on, Muslims in Gujarat still live in fear. About 50,000 remain in refugee camps. Most of the cases filed by victims of the violence have never been investigated. Witnesses have been intimidated. No more than a dozen low-level culprits have been convicted. None of the major conspirators has been brought before the courts.

...Modi remains chief minister and has become not only the BJP's most popular figurehead, but also a poster boy for big business, foreign and domestic. Gujarat, which contains 5% of India's population, now boasts 18% of its investment and 21% of its exports. At this year's Vibrant Gujarat conclave, the showpiece of the BJP regime, the great names of Indian capitalism - Ambani, Birla, Tata - sang Modi's praises, echoed by delegations from Singapore, Europe and the US. Anxieties about dealing with a politician accused of genocide have been allayed by the appeal of Gujarat's corporation-friendly environment, not least its labour laws, which give employers hire-and-fire rights unique in India.
Yeah yeah, the issue has been much commented on, but as long as bigotry lives we will continue to fight it..
Tags: hindutva, politics
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