Massacre in Gujarat by Narendra SHARON


More than 700 Muslims have been killed in Ahmedabad

Sitting in Delhi, Gujarat seems far away and uncomfortably close at the same time. On television, the images of what is happening in Ramallah and what happened in Ahmedabad seem uncomfortably proximate.

Except of course the violence in Ahmedabad did not happen with tanks, but with petrol bombs, handguns, burning tires, rape.

What is disturbing though is the way in which the violence, like most outbreaks of violence in India, is rapidly being normalized. The figures of dead and wounded are already statistics of a 'law and order' situation and have begun to cease to have meanings for those in situations of power.

The 'situation' (as we have grown up accustomed to hearing in India) 'is tense but under control'.

But of course, it is not, and the pogrom - with the state govt. looking the other way, and sometimes behaving in a way tantamount to support, continues.

It has been more than a month since violence erupted in Gujarat, one of India's richest states. More than 700 people have died and about 100,000 people have been rendered homeless, and are currently housed in Refugee Camps in their own city.

A Muslim woman mourning the loss of family members.

In a telling image in a newspaper yesterday, a demonstrator was shown carrying a placard with a caricature that indicated that While Gujrat had Narendra Sharon to deal with, Palestine has Ariel Modi. (A juxtaposition of the names of Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujrat, and Ariel Sharon)

Today, the Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, pays a token visit to Gujrat and will view conditions in two refugee camps.

News reportage on television showed how the camps have been dressed up, had DDT sprays, and how people were suddenly doled out compensation after a month, even as people living in the other camps (the ones that the PM wont visit) continue to suffer grossly unhygienic conditions.

The people who have been rendered homeless still do not feel secure about returning to their homes. And incidents of violence continue throughout the state. Two days ago, five Muslim villagers in Abhsana village near Ahmedabad, a city that has witnessed intense rioting, were torched to death and their houses burnt in the middle of the night by unidentified arsonists.

Hindu fundamentalist take to the streets

The incident that sparked off the month of violence was the massacre of a train compartment carrying "Ram Sevaks" - Hindu fundamentalist volunteers returning from Ayodhya - the temple town which is the site of a proposed Hindu Temple (to be built on the site of a 16th century mosque that was demolished in 1992 by Hindu fundamentalists forces). This incident, named the Godhra carnage, (after the town in which it took place on the 28th of February) led to systematic violence in major towns, like Ahmedabad and Baroda, with mainly minority communities being targeted by organized and well armed mobs, with what many have described as the active connivance of the state administration.

A recently released National Human Rights Commission report severely indicts the state administration for their failure to safeguard the life and property of Gujrati Muslims.

While there have been repeated calls for the resignation of the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, his party BJP continues to defend him and his highly questionable record during the riots.

All this has taken place against the background of the growing crisis of legitimacy of the ruling coalition in power at the center in India, which comprises of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a party with a decidedly Hindu revanchist and right wing agenda.

The BJP also runs the government of the state of Gujrat. The BJP chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi has been widely criticized by many civil society groups of contributing to the climate of violence by making extremely provocative statements, that have been read as encouragement to the rioters.

The BJP's rise to power took place on the tide of Hindu Fundamentalism that it has stoked consistently.

A series of electoral defeats in important states, (despite the attempt at manufacturing war hysteria with Pakistan, and trying to take advantage of showing a tough stand on terrorism) and persistent corruption scandals at the highest level have discredited the BJP led coalition, and many in India feel that the latest round of communal violence is an attempt to effect yet again, a climate of the sectarian polarization of everyday life - something that the BJP has always benefited from.

The climate of general insecurity that is part of everyday life in India today, is further exacerbated by extremely repressive legislation like the Prevention of Terrorism Act (recently passed by a joint session of the Indian Parliament) which are widely regarding as contributing to the climate of fear in which many Indians belonging to minority communities, especially Muslims live in today.

The riots in Gujrat come in the wake of at least two years of persistent sporadic attacks on minorities, especially Tribal Christians in Gujarats poorest districts.

If anything, they reveal a social fabric with deep and traumatic divisions, with powerful political interests playing on these divisions cynically and with total disregard of the human consequences of their actions.

It also signals the need to take a long hard look at the entire notion of a politics of identity - whether in its secular or sectarian forms, because in India - just as everywhere else - it has never been able to reap anything other than violence.


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  24 Comments   Comment

  1. abid from India

    Hmm.. so the so called Ram Sevaks were asking for a peaceful discussions while humiliating the people on the train including the muslims.

    Ever noticed that most of the so called Ram Sevaks resemble the hooligans.

    I think hindu religon has to shed its blinds on its eyes and see that many of the religious processions are led by hooligans who have nothing to do with religion.

  2. Dr.K.Moulasha from Malaysia

    I read the article on Gujarat massacre. It is not like "S.Patel" says that there is always 'other side of the story'. Because, RSS and VHP always spread the "fabricated stories" against Indian Muslims. Neither RSS and nor VHP has the right to question about "Muslims Loyalty" to India.

    Who are the Muslims living in India? Are they imported from Gulf countries? or "Allah" sent them to India?

    Even the ordinary Indian with basic commonsense aware that Muslims of India were the creation of Aryans by their brahman casteism. Most of the Untouchables (Dalits) and backwards caste indian embraced Islam to liberate from the Brahmanical tyranny.

    History (not stories) clearly reveal that the so called protectors of Hindus and Hinduism acted as TRAITORS during the independence movement of India. BJP is nothing but the Brahman Janata Party. S.Patel is deliberately lying that Muslims Barbarians ravaged the temples of India but conveniently ignoring the historical facts about the ARYAN invasion in to India?

    One simple question to R.S.S.Patel, could you (RSS, VHP, BJP) dare to retalite British rulers for their atrocities on India and Indian during their rule when you claim that you are punishing the Indian Muslims for the activities of "Moghul Rulers". The answere is no. Because you people never and ever had "patriotism" in your blood.

    If the government is not taking the corrective measures for Gujarat atrocities and compensate Muslims, I am sure that "Muslims" should and will retaliate for all the loss of lives during the Gujarat Carnage.

    Government of India should not have experienced "Bombay Bomb Blast", if they had not allowed "Bombay riot". Government of Tamil Nadu might not have experienced if they had not punished the perpetrators of the "Coimbatore Riot". Will the government of India want to learn lessons from the "retaliotary" blasts once again/ It is upto Indian Hindu Government to decide.

  3. Albert Norbert from Yukontrin, MN, USA

    S. Patel says a number of things to justify the massacres, and it shows the Hindutva/Hindu fundamentalist mentality that is seeking revenge for non-existent crimes from hundreds of years ago. The people in these mobs are middle-class Hindus, so it is not impossible that they have internet access. How many Muslims did you burn to death today S. Patel?

  4. S. Patel

    I can understand some of the views you expressed in this article. However, you didn't make an attempt to relate the other side. Let's face it -there are always two sides to a story.

    You claimed that Muslims are treated as second class citizens in India. The "other side" says that Muslims were the ones who wanted to split India, and so they received Pakistan. Today India is 30% Muslim. Pakistan is .5% non-Muslim.

    This conflict came from Hindus who tried to re-build a temple, which was originally torn down by Muslim barbarians years ago. Instead of discussing the issue, a Muslim mob burned several people in a train. What is the sense in all this?

    I just wanted to bring to your attention that another view exists on this topic. May you have peace on this eart, and peace and several virgins in the afterlife.

  5. Muhammed from USA

    Here's a hint for Sofian: if a woman's house and belongings are burned, her family members raped and burned alive, one would expect her to wear the clothes on her back and flee, and not to worry about pleasing judgemental Muslims on the Internet who are looking for EXCUSES to compare her to a Hindu.

  6. Anees Ahmed from India

    Sorry, this passage may have nothing to do with the article, but i want to share something which came to my mind. Why is it that... whenever a muslim kills someone, he is branded as a terrorist and the act is termed as terrorism. When the majority community of India killed thousands of innocent muslims, nobody even uttered the word "terrorist" for them. But if we muslims resist or if we cry in pain... we are TERRORISTS. When LTTE strikes, it is not not known as any Hindu terrorism, but when when some muslim attacks, that is Islamic terrorism.

  7. Muslim Brother from United States

    I don't see why we all try to bring in our own opinions into whats going on in the Holy Land of Al quds as well as in the former Muslim land of India, just read facts of what Allah swt has to say....

    Quran:5:82 Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.

  8. sanee mansuri from india gujarat

    not 700 but more than 2000 killed

  9. Aseem from India

    First of all to Sofia. It's easy to condemn a whole society for a flaw which might/might not exist as a whole. Do you expect a women being dragged out of her home, raped in full public view and all her belongings put to ashes...to go in Niqab? Yes! If she does, it's commendable, f she doesn't it's not condemnable to not to even have our sympathy in words.

    Now the Breaking News:

    Ahmedabad, 30 April: At about 1:30 am early Tuesday, a grave incident of police atrocity took place in Taiwada, Wadi area in Vadodra city. A few Muslims were sitting in front of their homes, keeping vigil against possible attacks by the miscreants. Suddenly about five policemen surreptitiously entered the area on foot and opened fire indiscriminately, killing two Muslims on the spot. These have been identified as Abid Delawala (29 years) and Noorbhai Karvania (45 years).

    After this brutal killing the police party fled the area and a short while later it re-entered the same locality under the leadership of the area deputy commissioner of police escorted by about 25 policemen. They took the two dead bodies in a push-cart (larri) and fabricated a story that the above victims of its own bullets were rioters who were attacking police with stones. Police has registered a false case claiming that these people were trying to attack the police and were in turn fired upon. There is not a single stone lying in that area.

    Police has been playing a clear partisan role in the on-going riots of Gujarat. Most of the people killed and injured by police firing are Muslims according to umpteen media and fact finding missions' reports. Police officers who refused official instructions to side with the rioters have been sidelined and transferred.

  10. Abdullah from Canada

    It is shameful -yet not surprising- to see how the situation in India has been largely ignored (and is still being ignored) by many Muslims. Muslims must put their nationalism and casual contempt for each other aside and strive inshallah to create unity.

  11. Salahudin from USA

    If Only We Were United As One Nation Reaching Far East Malaysia to Far West Morocco! If Only we Followed Verse [3-103]! Who Would Even think of Raping our Sisters & Killing Our Children?

    Asalaamu Alaykum!

    Dear Brothers and Sister! Enough is Enough, How long will we sit an watch? how long? Allah said in his Noble Qur'an: [ And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allh (i.e. Islam, Qur'n), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allh's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islmic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allh makes His Ayt (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.]

    Now lets ask our selfs, did we follow this Great Ayah, did we? or did we follow the Opposite while our enemy followed it? Why is a Ummah Billion Strong so weik that it can't even protect its own Brothers and sisters? Why? Because it is a Ummah of Billion Segments! What good can a hand do if each finger has its own border! As It sits back and watch his other brother killed and his sister raped?

    Dear Brothers in Faith, Our Ummah need to unite, not only in our hearts but also we must unite as whole in One Nation. What has happened in Gujarat is nothing compare to when we look at what has been happening and still is happening in other parts of the world, Such as Palestine, Kashmir, chechnia etc.

    WHEN WILL WE WAKE UP? Only when we start with in our selfs and turn back to Allah(swt)!

    Asalaamu Alaykum! May Allah Guide us to the Straight Path! Ameen!

  12. Sofian from USA

    I couldn't tell the difference between the Muslim woman and the Hindu women...could you?

  13. Dr. Naushad Ali from USA

    One of my Hindu friends said while reacting to Gujarat killings,"If India as a whole is disturbed, 85% Hindu will be badly affected. The action of BJP and its Sangh extremist is not even favor of Hindus, Why these people are doing shameful acts. I feel ashamed. Think about this"! Is India not divided on communal lines again very much similar to what we had in 1947? The result-India's disintegration. Mr. Vajpayee, think what you are doing to our beloved nation.

  14. sumy from england

    i think it is very sad to see all these people suffer in this way. i think there should be something done abut this.it does not matter if they are muslims, hidus, chritians e.t.c at the end of the day they are humans.

  15. Fahim from UAE

    The comments by brother Rabbani and Aseem are so true. Even I have noticed here in the mosques, seldom any prayers are said for our Indian counterparts who are unoffcially the largest Muslim community but unfortnately the most deprived.

    Dear brothers, there is really no use of looking upon others to come to our resque. Everyoen is so much embroiled and entagled in it's issues to hardly think about the universal Muslim brotherhood. Let's take our destiny in our hands. Wherever we are, let's start our own association and interest groups in the line of Indian Muslim Association of America. Let's be proactive and regularly send articles to major newspapers. One of the 100 will be accepted. Let's start donating to the cause of Indian Muslims regularly rather during the time of calamity. Let's support Br.Zakir Naiks commendable endeavour atIRF.net. InshAllah...we'll get over it. Allah(swt) says in (Holy Qur'an 13:11) "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves."

    So when even Allah(swt) doesn't intend to change the condition of the people until they change what's within themselves, to look up towards Arabs and Turks and West etc. is futile.

  16. asad rahim from india

    assalam brothers,

    this is ur brother from south india,like to enlighten u regarding the plight of muslims in india esp in gujrat here up to 2000 momins were slaughtered hundreds of women were gang raped just before the eyes of their husbands,bros,sons even the pregnent were not spared. crores of muslim property burnt to ashes under the pretext of revenging godh ra incident(WHICH ACTUALLY IGNITED AFTER KIDNAPING A MUSLIM GIRL FROM PRIOR RAILWAY STATION AND RAPING HER IN TRAIN BY HINDU FACISTS).i would like to question the muslim brother hood of world with 50 independent muslim countries,is it not ur duty to raise ur voice against this ethnic cleansing,genocideby non believers of india cant 0ur muslim countries press indian govt to safe gaurd muslims,as on today only some countries condemend the voilence.

    i once again request my bros to ask their respective govts to ask india to control voilence and save muslim life,property,women,children. two lacks of our bros are living in camps in their own country.camps where there is no facilities of even sanitation leave alone food and water,the refugees have contracted deseases lack of water and medication there are no of expecting mothers,some delivered in camps awaken at least now or we have to witness other bosnia or chechenya or palestine . the christian govts

    of world were not promt in saving their people every where in world for ex east timor of indonesia they even bifurcated that country force fully.please act atleast now better late than never. may allah give all of us the courage to face the enemies of our brothers.

    allah hafiz

  17. amy brewerton from england

    i feel that it is a real shame that the world has come to this!

  18. Aseem from India

    Too little too late.

    Muslim community effort to highlight the Indian Muslim apathy is a late effort by Islamicity but still commendable. According to some NGO doing relief in Gujrat, the feelings are that the carnage of Muslims undertaken by Hindutva proponents will put Bosnia genocide to shame. It's reported that pregnant women had their wombs slit open and fetuses slaughtered in front of their eyes before dousing them to fire.

    May Allah(swt) have mercy on us and keep us and our families in safety and may not put is into trials more than we have strength to bear. The collective slaughters of Muslims in the world of today, if only it serves one purpose, and that to bring about unity in Islamic ummah...if only, all these Muslim lives lost, would have solved some purpose. Time to rise above Shia, Sunni, Ahmedi, Ismaeli, Ahls sunnah and all that crap.

    We are ONLY Muslims, when we get slaughtered at the hands of Israelis and Hindutva proponents, let's be only Muslims while we are alive.

    Please read and HELP!

  19. jawid from India

    Plz stop violency in Gujrat.

    Killing innocent people in Gujrat.

  20. rabbani from saudi arabia

    salaams,

    yeah its a sad thing to see and hear about gujarat, but more worst thing is that not a single so called arab country is coming forward to critize or raise this issue. the same countries who have completly boycotted israel for palestine cause, where r they now? there can be a tough critcism if an 8 year old boy mohd.durra was shot down by israel forces, but not a single arab came forward to critice about a 3 month old baby (or even less than that) who was burnt alive in gujurat. No so called arab country raises their concerns on young mothers being gang raped in front of their children and then burnt alive. Y this hypocricy in our muslim world. We blame america of being double standards, but we ourselves have splitted muslim world into two parts called ARAB WORLD and muslim world. Does Allah tells us in quran somewhere not to be sympathetic towards non-arab muslims instead support only arab muslims? if anyone can provide me with any such authenticated quranic ayath or hadith, then i will try to change my nationality atleast to any arab country so that i can be atleast be remembered in the prayers of arab muslims who are in majority. Sad thing is that here i have seen that even the imam of the mosque doesnt feel like remembering gujarat victims in his friday prayers and only prays for palestine (which ofcourse is a matter of concern, but even gujarat is also a worst issue...isnt?)

    regards,

    non-arab muslim (dunno if its a sin to be non-arab)

  21. Gulam Hussain Wazir from UK

    Hinduism is from the dark ages and Hindus' attitudes extend from those ages. They even discriminate amongst themselves so what chance do the Indian Muslims have?

    The only hope for a country like India, riddled with corruption, is Islam. The sooner the Hindus realise this and revert to Islam the better off they will be and the Indian muslims will have peace.

    Having said that, the muslims should not become complacent. This has cost them dearly in the past after squandering the wealth and power they had from the Mogul era.

    The muslims themselves should learn to be a little more clever and seek guidance from Allah (SWT).

    The muslim world should also help the Indian muslims and be just as outraged as they are with Israeli attrocities against Palestinians. The Indian government might then sit up and notice the overwhelming support of the muslim world for Indian muslims and really do something positive to protect them than just pay lip service.

  22. MIR KHAIRUDDIN ALI KHAN from INDIA

    THE BRUTALITY WITH WHICH THE MUSLIMS ARE TREATED IN INDIA IS CLEARLY DISPLAYED IN GUJRAT. A MUSLIM POPULATION OF 200-300 MILLION MUSLIMS [NOT AS PEROFFICIAL STATISTICS ARE DOOMED UNLESS THE WORLD COMMUNITY TAKES SERIOUS NOTICE AND PRESSURISSES THE AUTHORITIES> SOS

  23. Imran Patel from Gujarat, India

    As-salam Br and Sr.

    Thanks for bringing this issue up.

    This issue requires more coverage and attention.

    I suggest islam.org should visit Gujarat and get the local people's opinion on the Massacre; also video format documentary /report should be made to do more justice to this issue.

    Massacre in Gujarat is a typical example of injustice done by ruling government around the world-giving rise to extremist Islamic groupsindividual.