India Rights & Wrongs
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April 26, 2003
Gujarat - A
State Under Seige
Terror continues to be unleashed systematically against the Muslim
minority in Gujarat through indiscriminate arrests and illegal
detentions by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch of at least 80 Muslim
youth, the selective application of POTA against 12 Muslims for
alleged involvement in the Haren Pandya murder and 123 accused in
the Godhra mass arson. Muslim women, relatives of allegedly
absconding accused and even of detained persons, have also been
brutally abused during questioning by the Ahmedabad police. A
delegation of Muslim women petitioned the Ahmedabad Police
Commissioner, Kaushik on this matter the day before yesterday. The
Sunni Bohra community is the
singular target of these actions.
While the investigation into Mr Pandya's murder has been formally
handed over to the CBI, it has effectively been entirely 'hijacked'
by the City Crime Branch. Over the past fortnight, police officers
like PN Barot and others directly accused of close proximity to the
ruling political dispensation have been brought in and are
terrorising people in order to extort money from them.
One year later, the Genocide in Gujarat continues through social and
economic boycott of Muslims in atleast 10 of the 24 districts of the
State and a politically vindictive state headed by Chief Minister
Narendra Modi seeks to subvert all criminal investigations int the
incidents of violence last year. Moreover a sinister and systematic
plan to target over 325 Muslim-run Institutions, including madrassas
and others has been put in place with the help of the Education
department, Charity Commissioner's Office and the city and State
police. A survey of madrassas has already been made supervised by
the State Home Minister to put this Operation in place. Meanwhile,
Christian Institutions have also been picked for objectionable
questioning by the state's education department.
We appeal to the Nation, to Institutions of Democracy in the
country, to the National and Regional Media and to all secular
political parties to respond to the continuing tragedy, the low
intensity terror and genocide that continues in Gujarat.
Human Rights Defenders, our associates in Gujarat, social workers,
and Lawyers of the minority community fighting cases for Justice
have all been threatened and face a serious threat to their lives.
Activists and workers coordinating the Gulberg massacre, the Naroda
gaon and Pattiya carnage especially are receiving regular threats.
The main accused in the Gulberg massacres run free in the Chamanpura
locality and terrorise victim survivors trying to rebuild their
homes destroyed through blood and murder on February 28 last year.
About 45 families constrained by poverty who have had to go back to
Naroda face verbal sexual threats from the major accused who are
The role of the State Public Prosecutors in the major carnages has
been highly questionable. The Godhra investigation, too is highly
politically motivated and 123 accused on whom POTA was applied last
month have not been seen by their families since then. Five were
even injected with serum that dulled their senses (an objectionable
practice violative of national and international law) during
While tribal areas of the State reel with the onset of hunger and
yet another year of drought, the Constitution is being breached with
impunity in Gujarat. It is time that the entire civil society, as
well as all our institutions for enforcing the rule of law including
courts take stock of the situation in Gujarat which is no less
alarming than what prevailed during the Nazi regime in Germany.
Addressed By Teesta Setalvad, Prashant Bhushan, Kamal Mitra Chenoy.
Sahmat & Communalism Combat
8 VP House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi 110001
Tel 2371 1276, 2335 1424. E Mail: [email protected]