Prevent Genocide International - Ethiopia (Gambella Region)
Global News Monitor (Current Month)

News Monitor for India
January 2002 to December 2002

(Including coverage of the anti-Muslim genocidal massacre in February-March 2002)

India ratified the Genocide Convention on August 27, 1959.
India ratified the Geneva Conventions of 1949 on November 9, 1950, but did not sign and has not yet become a party to Additional Geneva Protocols of 1977.
India did not sign and has not yet become a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Jan 2002, Feb 2002, Mar 2002, Apr 2002May 2002June 2002July 2002Aug 2002Sep 2002Oct 2002, Nov 2002, Dec 2002

Attack on Sabarmati Express, Godhra, Feb. 27, 2002 | Begining of Anti-Muslim Violence | Chief Minister Narendra Modi reelected


Times of India 2 Jan 2002 Lashkar strikes again, kills six of a family JAMMU: An infant and an eight-year-old boy were among the six persons of a Hindu family killed in a gruesome massacre by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in a village in the border district of Poonch, official sources said on Tuesday. In the second attack against minorities in the last three days in the Rajouri-Poonch belt, an unspecified number of militants wearing combat fatigues swooped down on the home of an ex-serviceman in a remote moutainous village, Mangnard, and fired indiscriminately at the family a little after midnight on Monday. The militants first cordoned off the village and barged into the house of Baldev Raj after breaking open the front door, the sources said. Five members of Baldev's family were killed in the firing and two others seriously wounded. The sources said that Lashkar militants were behind the massacre. One of the seriously wounded, Ashok Kumar, died on way to Poonch hospital while an injured woman was being airlifted to GMC hospital here. The sources said Baldev Raj was severely tortured with sharp edged weapons before being gunned down by the militants, the sources said. Suspected Lashkar militants killed four members of a Hindu family in Kathal area in Rajouri district last Saturday.

WP 4 Jan 2002 Sweating Over Kashmir By Jefferson Morley. The military confrontation between India and Pakistan has escalated since the Dec. 13 terrrorist attack on the Indian parliament and ignited a war of words in the news Web sites of the two countries. Pakistan: Confrontation and Conspiracy The Friday Times, a Lahore weekly, summarized a dominant view in Pakistan: that terrorism does not discredit its claim on Kashmir. "India's view is that if America can attack Afghanistan for hosting Al-Qaeda terrorists, why can't India follow suit against Pakistan for sustaining Islamic groups bent on 'terrorist' violence in Kashmir?" " But this argument is a non-starter. The fact is that the United States had obtained three UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning the Taliban regime in Afghanistan before September 11 and two more later before it took the decision to attack Kabul. Washington also had full NATO support. In India's case, no such legal backing or world support is available." India's demands for Pakistani action and refusal to talk prompted Dawn, the country's largest circulation English language paper, to ask "Why avoid talking?" "By ruling out talks at Kathmandu, New Delhi has made its motives clear: it wants to keep up pressure along the border, and a war-like situation in the region, for that is the only way it believes it can divert the world attention from Kashmir, where its massive troop deployment has failed to crush the insurgency." In the News International, free-lance columnist Humera Niazi voiced the common belief in the Muslim world: that the Dec. 13 attacks were a "raw ploy" by India to discredit Pakistan. Dismissing evidence that the the attackers were in league with Pakistani-based militants, Niazai described them as "plants" whose actions: "benefited the Indian government tremendously, [and were] additionally a bid to damage the Kashmiri freedom movement." A daily paper in Bangladesh, The New Nation, offered the same conspiracy theory. India: Patriotism and Politics In India, the range of commentary was wider, especially in Kashmir itself. Greater Kashmir a Srinagar news site, said the objectives of the Indian government "are crystal clear ….to curb the politico-religious freedom and rights of Indian minority and Jammu and Kashmir's majority Muslims, secondly to empower Indian forces and local police with extra-ordinary powers and to give them free hand with the provision of general amenity to serve Indian objectives of crushing the on-going movement through genocide." In Jammu, the Daily Excelsior made the opposite point, calling for an end to tolerance of Indian political parties that sympathize with the Pakistani agenda in the region. "This nation is littered with subtle and silent enemies who have been pushing the Pak agenda through one excuse or the other. Muslim League is one case in point. This was the party that got the nation partitioned and from its new abode Pakistan mounted the first attack on the Indian nation. There is little evidence that it has renounced its policies and politics. Yet it sits on the political spectrum of this nation as a respected entity. Why should sworn anti-nationals be groomed and guarded in this nation?" But The Hindu, a national daily, criticized Prime Minister Vaypayee for appealing to such anti-Pakistan sentiments. "Mr. Vajpayee, in a manner befitting more a rabble-rousing politician, has spoken in terms that are associated with a state of war. Almost in the same breath as making a reference to India going ahead with the nuclear tests in the face of stiff international opposition and sanctions, the Prime Minister declared that ``no weapon'' would be spared in ``self-defence''. The prime minister's actions, said the paper "will only be counter-productive for the reason that it will render it much more difficult for General Musharraf to act firmly against powerful Islamist groups that sponsor terrorism in India, for any such action will be seen as a capitulation to New Delhi." "In truth," said The Times of India "neither Pakistan nor India has the liberty to attack the other. That much has been taken care of by the United States, which will not allow any precipitate action by either of the nuclear neighbours. Unfortunately, words have a momentum of their own; even if they don't translate as actual war, they can vitiate the domestic environment, leading to polarisation of people on sectarian lines."


Times of India PTI 18 Feb 2002 Hurriyat condemns Rajouri massacre as anti-Islamic SRINAGAR: Hurriyat Conference on Monday termed the massacre of eight Hindus in Jammu region's Rajouri district on Sunday as "inhuman and anti-Islamic" and demanded an impartial international probe to unravel the "mysterious hand" behind the killings. In a statement here, the Hurriyat said "these type of incidents are engineered to malign the on-going freedom struggle in the state." It demanded an impartial international probe into the killings to unravel the "mysterious hand" behind the carnage. In a major strike, suspected Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militants on Sunday gunned down eight Hindus, including five children and two women, in sleep in a remote village in Rajouri district.

PTI (Press Trust of India) 20 Feb 2002 VHP warns of 'Hindu backlash' if temple construction opposed The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Wednesday warned of a 'Hindu backlash' if its plan to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya was opposed and said about one million activists would arrive in the town by March 15 to start construction. "The Ayodhya temple movement is a public expression against militant Islam," VHP general secretary Pravin Togadia told reporters in Jaipur. 'Ram bhakts' being recruited by the VHP throughout the country would start reaching Ayodhya from February 24 onwards and by March 15 about one million would reach the town. "We cannot wait indefinitely for the government to find a solution," he asserted.

26 Feb VHP to go ahead with temple 'at all costs' A defiant Vishwa Hindu Parishad said on Tuesday that it was determined to go ahead with the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya from March 15 "at all costs", despite the government's resolve to maintain the status quo at the disputed site. "We will go ahead with the process of construction from March 15 as announced earlier," the VHP's senior vice-president, Giriraj Kishore, told the Press Trust of India. "We are ready to face bullets or go to jail." He said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had convened Tuesday's all-party meeting and given the assurance of maintaining the status quo on the suggestion of Congress president Sonia Gandhi "only to become popular". Kishore regretted that the opposition parties were not coming up with "constructive ideas" to resolve the issue and were instead creating an uproar in Parliament.

PTI 27 Feb 2002 Sangh leaders meet prime minister on temple issue Senior Sangh Parivar leaders met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Wednesday evening to "convince him of the legality of returning the land acquired by the government in Ayodhya to the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas" to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple from March 15. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Madan Das Devi, Vishwa Hindu Parishad international working president Ashok Singhal and former high court judge Justice Ram Jois attended the hour-long meeting at the prime minister's Race Course Road residence, sources said. During the meeting, Vajpayee appealed to Singhal and other leaders to postpone the ongoing movement at Ayodhya in view of the "tense situation" prevailing in Gujarat following the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, the sources said. Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes and Law Minister Arun Jaitley were present at the meeting. Justice Jois, a leader of the Sangh Parivar's legal wing, the Adhivakta Parishad, informed Vajpayee and other ministers that there were no legal complications in the government handing over the land, they said. The meeting came close on the heels of the Godhra incident where about 55 people were killed when miscreants set afire four bogies of the Sabarmati Express and Advani's warning that the government would not hesitate to take action to maintain law and order in Ayodhya. Emerging out of the meeting, a visibly angry Ashok Singhal declined to talk to reporters.

27 Feb 2002 UP government fears terrorist attack in Ayodhya Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow With thousands of karsevaks arriving in Ayodhya, the Uttar Pradesh government apprehends a terrorist strike in the temple town. "We have received intelligence reports about possible attacks by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and other Pakistani terrorist outfits on the devotees who are thronging to Ayodhya," Principal Secretary (Home) Naresh Dayal said on Wednesday. He said, "Thousands of Hindu devotees and leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are understood to be on the target list of these terrorists, who can sneak into the crowds and create serious trouble." Taking note of the reports, the administration has sounded an alert. "We have to take special care, particularly in view of the devotees who are converging in Ayodhya to participate in a ritual (purnahuti yagna) currently in progress," he pointed out. Some of the devotees are staying back in Ayodhya as part of the VHP's plans to build a Ram temple from March 15. Around 12,000 karsevaks who are now being called Ramsevaks are camping at Ramsevakpuram -- a temporary township erected to conduct the yagna. Asked about the steps being taken to prevent karsevaks from heading for Ayodhya, he said: "The central government had sent word to other states from where most of the devotees were arriving." According to him, the bulk of the karsevaks are arriving from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra and Kerala. He said there would not be any local fallout of the attack on the Sabarmati Express in Godhra, Gujarat and maintained that the victims happened to be devotees returning from Ayodhya. "We have sounded a state wide alert to prevent any communal situation," he declared.

27 Feb 2002 Attack on Sabarmati Express premeditated: BJP The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station in Gujarat was a "premeditated assault" by elements out to destabilise the nation. "The brutal murder by setting fire to the railway bogies in which they (the kar sevaks) were travelling, near Godra station of Gujarat, has shocked the nation. No words are strong enough to condemn this mass killing by elements who are out to destabilise the country," party president K Jana Krishnamurthy said in a statement in New Delhi. Details clearly indicated that it was a "premeditated assault", he said. Krishnamurthy appealed to the people of Gujarat to "cooperate with the state government to maintain absolute peace and tranquillity when the nation is fighting against terrorism from across the border". "The BJP is sure that the state government will take all necessary steps to vigorously pursue action to apprehend and arrest the culprits whoever they may be," he said. Blaming the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan for the attack, party leader J P Mathur hoped that the "so-called secular leaders, instead of merely condemning the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other organisations, should openly condemn the elements which are trying to provoke communal passions in the country".

PTI 27 Feb 2002 Sangh leaders meet prime minister on temple issue Senior Sangh Parivar leaders met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Wednesday evening to "convince him of the legality of returning the land acquired by the government in Ayodhya to the Ram Janambhoomi Nyas" to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple from March 15. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Madan Das Devi, Vishwa Hindu Parishad international working president Ashok Singhal and former high court judge Justice Ram Jois attended the hour-long meeting at the prime minister's Race Course Road residence, sources said. During the meeting, Vajpayee appealed to Singhal and other leaders to postpone the ongoing movement at Ayodhya in view of the "tense situation" prevailing in Gujarat following the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, the sources said. Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes and Law Minister Arun Jaitley were present at the meeting. Justice Jois, a leader of the Sangh Parivar's legal wing, the Adhivakta Parishad, informed Vajpayee and other ministers that there were no legal complications in the government handing over the land, they said. The meeting came close on the heels of the Godhra incident where about 55 people were killed when miscreants set afire four bogies of the Sabarmati Express and Advani's warning that the government would not hesitate to take action to maintain law and order in Ayodhya. Emerging out of the meeting, a visibly angry Ashok Singhal declined to talk to reporters.

27 Feb 2002 UP government fears terrorist attack in Ayodhya Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow With thousands of karsevaks arriving in Ayodhya, the Uttar Pradesh government apprehends a terrorist strike in the temple town. "We have received intelligence reports about possible attacks by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and other Pakistani terrorist outfits on the devotees who are thronging to Ayodhya," Principal Secretary (Home) Naresh Dayal said on Wednesday. He said, "Thousands of Hindu devotees and leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are understood to be on the target list of these terrorists, who can sneak into the crowds and create serious trouble." Taking note of the reports, the administration has sounded an alert. "We have to take special care, particularly in view of the devotees who are converging in Ayodhya to participate in a ritual (purnahuti yagna) currently in progress," he pointed out. Some of the devotees are staying back in Ayodhya as part of the VHP's plans to build a Ram temple from March 15. Around 12,000 karsevaks who are now being called Ramsevaks are camping at Ramsevakpuram -- a temporary township erected to conduct the yagna. Asked about the steps being taken to prevent karsevaks from heading for Ayodhya, he said: "The central government had sent word to other states from where most of the devotees were arriving." According to him, the bulk of the karsevaks are arriving from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra and Kerala. He said there would not be any local fallout of the attack on the Sabarmati Express in Godhra, Gujarat and maintained that the victims happened to be devotees returning from Ayodhya. "We have sounded a state wide alert to prevent any communal situation," he declared.

27 Feb 2002 Attack on Sabarmati Express premeditated: BJP The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station in Gujarat was a "premeditated assault" by elements out to destabilise the nation. "The brutal murder by setting fire to the railway bogies in which they (the kar sevaks) were travelling, near Godra station of Gujarat, has shocked the nation. No words are strong enough to condemn this mass killing by elements who are out to destabilise the country," party president K Jana Krishnamurthy said in a statement in New Delhi. Details clearly indicated that it was a "premeditated assault", he said. Krishnamurthy appealed to the people of Gujarat to "cooperate with the state government to maintain absolute peace and tranquillity when the nation is fighting against terrorism from across the border". "The BJP is sure that the state government will take all necessary steps to vigorously pursue action to apprehend and arrest the culprits whoever they may be," he said. Blaming the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan for the attack, party leader J P Mathur hoped that the "so-called secular leaders, instead of merely condemning the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other organisations, should openly condemn the elements which are trying to provoke communal passions in the country".

Guardian UK 28 Feb 2002 Fire attack on train shakes India 15 children dead among Hindu activists returning from disputed site of destroyed mosque Luke Harding in New Delhi Thursday February 28, 2002 The Guardian India was last night bracing itself for a bloody upsurge in religious tension after a crowd of angry Muslims yesterday set light to a packed train carrying Hindu activists, killing at least 57 people, including 15 children. Hours after the morning attack in Godhra, police were still pulling charred bodies burned beyond recognition out of the blackened carriages of the Sabarmati Express in the western state of Gujarat. Some 43 people were injured in the attack, many critically. Yesterday's incident appears to have started after some of the activists taunted a Muslim youth on the station platform and shouted pro-Hindu slogans. A crowd of Muslims then stopped the train soon after it set off towards its destination, Ahmedabad, three hours away. They poured kerosene into four carriages, and watched as the passengers tried to escape through barred windows. "I heard screams for help as I came out of the house. I saw a huge ball of fire," said Rakesh Kimani, 18, who lives nearby. "I saw people putting out their hands and heads through the windows trying to escape. It was a horrible sight." The local police chief, Raju Bhargava, said the known victims were 15 children, 25 women and 17 men. Asked whether Muslims were responsible, he said: "It appears so." The Hindu activists had been returning from the northern town of Ayodhya, where thousands have been gathering to campaign for the building of a temple on the ruins of a mosque, the Babri Masjid. Its destruction 10 years ago by Hindu zealots provoked the worst rioting in India since partition, killing more than 3,000 people. With the prospect of a wave of communal violence across the country, India's prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, last night appealed for calm. He cancelled a trip to Australia for the forthcoming Commonwealth summit in Brisbane. Extra policemen were drafted into Old Delhi and other urban areas with large Muslim populations, to prevent reprisals. Gujarat's Hindu nationalist state minister, Gorbardhan Jhorapia, last night claimed the attack on the train was "well-coordinated and pre-planned". As news of the massacre spread there were several attacks on Muslims across the state. Two people were stabbed in the towns of Anand and Baroda, while a mob set light to buses in Ahmedabad. Mr Vajpayaee, whose Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) swept to power in the mid-1990s, appealed to the World Hindu Council, or VHP, to abandon its plan to build a temple on the disputed Ayodhya site. "This incident is very sad, unfortunate," he said. "I would appeal to the VHP to suspend their campaign and help government in maintaining peace and brotherhood in the country." But the VHP said last night it would stick to its deadline for building work to begin in Ayodhya by March 15. In an attempt to dampen the growing crisis the government yesterday banned more Hindu activists from pouring into the town. It also stopped the trans port of temple pillars to the heavily guarded site, which is surrounded by razor wire. Ayodhya remains the most divisive and explosive issue in Indian politics. Although Mr Vajpayee's party emerged from the same Hindu revivalist movement as the VHP, he has increasingly distanced himself from the demands of his old and frequently unreasonable allies. He has called on the courts to resolve the temple dispute. India's hardline home minister, Lal Krishna Advani, who was at Ayodhya when the mosque was destroyed but denies charges of having encouraged it, also warned the VHP that anyone moving to build the temple would face legal action. "The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has embarked on a course of action in Ayodhya which is fraught with dangerous consequences," he said in a statement. "The developments in Ayodhya can thus precipitate a serious law and order problem." Why the mob, which witnesses said numbered several hundred, attacked the train at 6.30am was not immediately clear. Police in some areas of Godhra were ordered last night to shoot troublemakers on sight. The town of 300,000 was shuttered and the streets largely deserted. Muslims comprise about 40% of Godhra's population, compared to a national average of about 12%. The World Hindu Council has called for a state-wide strike today to protest against the attack - one of the most gruesome incidents of communal violence in a decade. "It will be done in a peaceful manner. We will not allow any violence," the council's vice-president Acharaya Giriraj Kishore said. Council officials in neighbouring Maharashtra state called for a similar strike. Flouting court orders banning any construction until the row is settled, the VHP has initiated a holy ceremony as a prelude to building the temple next month. All activity at the site has been frozen while a state court rules on the dispute. But hardline Hindus say it is taking too long and last year set a deadline of March for construction.

PTI 28 Feb 2002 We will not remain silent spectators: VHP Adopting an aggressive posture, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad warned that Hindus would not remain "silent spectators" if incidents like the attack on 'Ram sevaks' in Gujarat were repeated. "It is unfair to attack unarmed devotees who were returning home after attending the Sri Ram Yagya in Ayodhya," VHP joint secretary R S Pankaj told reporters in Ayodhya. Pankaj said the VHP would not in any circumstance change its programme to construct a temple at Ayodhya. Ram sevaks would start moving carved stones from the workshop to the acquired land under the direction of sants and seers as per schedule from March 15. Criticising the tight security measures in the town, he said they had created hurdles in the movement of vehicles carrying food for karsewaks. "The unnecessary curbs should be withdrawn and our religious functions should be allowed to be performed in peace," he said. According to official sources, 22 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force and 12 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary are posted in Ayodhya and another 60 companies of the CRPF and the Rapid Action Force from neighbouring states will reach the town in two or three days.

PTI 28 Feb 2002 VHP calls for bandh in Maharashtra, Rajasthan on March 1 The Maharashtra and Rajasthan units of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have called for bandhs (general strikes) on Friday, March 1, to protest against the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra in neighbouring Gujarat. "Various Hindu and social organisations and people across the state should participate in the bandh with a humanitarian aspect," Professor Vyankatesh Abdeo, an office-bearer of the Maharashtra unit of the VHP, said in a statement. In Jaipur, Jagannath Gupta, Rajasthan VHP president, said, "We appeal to the people to support this bandh and pay tributes to those who were killed while on their mission to construct the Ram temple at Ayodhya." The Shiv Sena and the BJP women's wing have extended support to the strike in Rajasthan. Abdeo said that at least 15,000 Ram sevaks would depart from Maharashtra for the purna-ahuti yagna at Ayodhya in the first week of March. Meanwhile, police strengthened security and vigilance in the sensitive cities of the state to avert any untoward incident, Inspector General of Police A K Jain told the Press Trust of India. PTI 2 mar 2002 Hindus protect mosque in Bihar Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna While Gujarat was burning, a small town in Bihar set an example of communal amity, when a group of Hindus got together and protected a mosque from being vandalised. During Friday's bandh in Muzzaffarpur, called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to protest the Godhra carnage, a group of hooligans tried to enter the Company Bagh mosque and vandalise it. A senior police official, who was present on the spot when the incident occurred, said that when the word spread about the bid by the hooligans to enter the mosque, almost 100 Hindus converged on the spot from the nearby Goriamath and Sariyaganj area and challenged them. A tussle broke out in which quite few Hindus were injured while guarding the mosque, but the hooligans had to beat a hasty retreat in face of stiff resistance, he said. By the time police reinforcement came in, the hooligans had done the vanishing act. Muzzafarpur has the distinction of never having witnessed a communal riot. "Thanks to timely intervention of local Hindus a major incident was averted," a senior police officer said, heaving a sigh of relief.

AP 28 Feb 2002 Muslim Housing Complex Torched in Western India At Least 38 People Killed in Hindu Reprisal By Ashok Sharma AHMADABAD, India –– Angry Hindus set fire to homes in a Muslim neighborhood Thursday and then kept firefighters away for hours, dragging out one former lawmaker and burning him alive. At least 58 people died in revenge attacks triggered by a Muslim assault on a train. Police appeared outnumbered or unwilling to stop the violence in western Gujarat state. They stood in bunches, watching as groups of Hindus, wielding iron rods and cans of gasoline or kerosene, roamed Ahmadabad, attacking Muslims in their homes, shops and vehicles. The government promised to send the army to Ahmadabad, the region's main city, to quell the rampage. But there were fears violence would spread Friday, when Hindu nationalists called for a nationwide strike. In Thursday's worst attack, 38 people – including 12 children – died when some 2,000 Hindus set fire to six homes in an affluent Muslim neighborhood. Some trapped residents made frantic telephone calls to police and firefighters. But police said they arrived two hours later and firefighters were delayed by more than six hours because of blockades by rioters. A former lawmaker, Ehsan Jefri, fired at the rioters when they tried to enter his house, but he was dragged out and burned alive. Elsewhere in Ahmadabad, rioters pulled a Muslim truck driver out of his vehicle and killed him at a roadblock, police said. Other Hindus made bonfires with goods looted from shops, and 20 men tore down a small mosque. J.S. Bandukwala, a Muslim and human rights activist, said his house was attacked by Hindus who "lobbed burning rags and pelted stones," before his Hindu neighbors took him to safety. In a few instances, police opened fire on rioters, killing two and wounding six in Ahmadabad and two other towns, police said. The violence was in retaliation for an attack Wednesday in Godhra, a town south of Ahmadabad, where Muslims set fire to a train carrying Hindu nationalists, killing 58 people, including 14 children. Tensions have been growing between Muslims and Hindu nationalists who have been using the train to go back and forth to Ayodhya, in northern India, where the World Hindu Council plans to start building a temple next month on the ruins of a 16th-century mosque. The 1992 destruction of the mosque by Hindus sparked nationwide riots that killed 2,000 people – and the government has called for calm, fearing bloodshed could spread quickly in this nation of more than 1 billion, where Hindu-Muslim fighting killed nearly a million people after independence in 1947. Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat state and a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist party, called the assault on the train an "organized terrorist attack." Indian officials often blame longtime rival Pakistan for internal strife. Some police and state officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested that Pakistan's spy agency, or the Islamic militant groups with which it is linked, may have incited Muslims to attack the train. They provided no evidence, and no official has drawn any link between the violence in India and the al-Qaida terror network of Osama bin Laden. Wednesday's attack came after Hindus on the train refused to pay for food taken from Muslim vendors at the station and shouted slogans – a common occurrence in recent days that has fueled Muslims' resentment, police said. Officials said 58 people died in Thursday's violence, and at least 150 people were admitted to Ahmadabad hospitals, mostly with stab wounds. Police gave no estimate of how many people were arrested. On highways in the state, Hindus set up roadblocks, stopping cars to look for Muslims. Smoke billowed across Ahmadabad's skyline from 70 burning buildings. In many areas, rioters prevented firefighters from putting out fires, said Mayor Himmatsinh Patel. "There was a complete breakdown of law and order. I have been calling for the army but no action has been taken," he said. Modi said soldiers would deploy in Ahmadabad on Friday and may also move into 26 other towns that saw violence and were placed under curfew. The chief minister denied police had been derelict in dealing with the riots, saying the region's Hindu majority had "shown restraint" in their response to the train attack. His state government supported a strike called by Hindu nationalists on Thursday. Hindu activists called for that strike to be extended across the country on Friday to protest the train attack, and they said they would set up barricades in the capital, New Delhi. Rajendra Singh, the police superintendent in northern Uttar Pradesh, said 10,000 paramilitary troops had surrounded Ayodhya to prevent violence. Some 20,000 Hindu activists have gathered to pray for the temple construction.


BBC 1 March, 2002, Indian press shocked by bloodshed Security forces are struggling to contain the riots Indian commentators fear that the current violence in Gujarat could spiral into nationwide chaos if plans go ahead to begin work on a Hindu temple in Ayodhya. The widely-read independent Hindi-language daily Rashtriya Sahara says the latest violence "puts the whole human race to shame". "Such an horrendous example of communal frenzy is perhaps unprecedented in independent India," says the daily. "Since the fundamentalist demon of both the Hindu and Muslim communities has been roused, it must be satiated." Conspiracy "The brutal killings were not the result of any immediate tension, but part of a well-planned conspiracy. It is possible that it was hatched by the fundamentalists," the paper says. This is the first phase of communal frenzy. Its reaction might be seen in more massacres since the root of the tension continues to be Ayodhya Rashtriya Sahara "This is the first phase of communal frenzy. Its reaction might be seen in more massacres, since the root of the tension continues to be Ayodhya ... all political parties must regard it as a national problem and start immediate discussions and find a solution acceptable to all," Rashtriya Sahara urges. The Asian Age, an English-language independent, voices fears about activists of the hardline Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) gathering in Ayodhya. "It is now imperative that instead of using the temple issue to create an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity, the government at the Centre lives up to its responsibility and calls off the squads that have started arriving in Ayodhya with the one-point agenda of fomenting tension and trouble," the paper says. Muslim fears The largest circulation Urdu daily in the Indian capital, Qaumi Awaz, calls for the VHP leaders to be arrested. "The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has threatened that the Ram temple will be built even if it leads to riots all over the country. In a provocative statement, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has threatened to start communal riots in order to terrify the Muslims." If the Vajpayee government believes in the supremacy of law, the VHP leaders should be detained Qaumi Awaz Qaumi Awaz says that to destroy secular Indian society, the VHP "is intimidating the people through the prospects of riots all over the country." "If the Vajpayee government believes in the supremacy of law, the VHP leaders should be detained." Hindus 'unsafe' The largest-circulation Hindi-language daily, Dainik Jagran, says the train attack which triggered the riots proved that Hindus were at risk in their own country. "The manner in which pilgrims returning from Ayodhya were burned and killed is no ordinary crime but is the most obnoxious, horrendous, and unpardonable offence against humanity. The complicity of Pakistan's agents and terrorist organisations cannot be ruled out." Islam is absolutely safe in India. A Hindu is gradually becoming an orphan and helpless in his own country Dainik Jagran Dainik Jagran says the Hindu "is gradually becoming an orphan and helpless in his own country, without the least hope of help from any quarter". "Today's leaders, who mostly belong to the Hindu society, are the absolute epitome of cowardice. Nothing can be expected from them." However, Dainik Jagran urges the Hindu community "not to lose its self-control". "The Hindus should not forget that the Muslims in the country are their brothers and the Godhra incident could be part of a conspiracy hatched by foreign forces". Insanity Delhi's Hindustan Times speaks of "the insanity unleashed by the VHP" and accuses the BJP of "perhaps hoping that the VHP's belligerence will consolidate the Hindu vote behind it". Now the worst that was feared has happened in Gujarat. The communal conflagration can spread like wild fire unless preventive arrests are made immediately Hindustan Times "Now the worst that was feared has happened in Gujarat. The communal conflagration can spread like wild fire unless preventive arrests are made immediately and the government makes it absolutely clear that it will crack down on the miscreants wherever they create trouble." In Madras, the Tamil-language Dinamani says the plans for the construction of the Ayodhya temple on 15 March are based on "the auspicious day fixed by astrologers". "Central and state governments should take swift action to see that communal riots are not triggered off in other parts of the country. The evil forces that were responsible for this heinous crime should be identified and punished."

PTI 1 Mar 2002 AIR staff reprimanded for Godhra report Josy Joseph in New Delhi Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj has pulled up the top brass of All India Radio for its coverage of the attack on passengers of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra on Wednesday. According to officials, Swaraj took up the issue on behalf of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The Gujarat CM objected to AIR reports, which said the entire trouble in Godhra started after some karsevaks, returning from Ayodhya, refused to pay up for the tea that they had at the station. The argument between the vendors and karsevaks flared into a carnage, the report said. The reports was used in the English news bulletins and almost every regional bulletin, most importantly in the Gujarat bulletin. Modi complained that the report was based only on rumours. The Gujarat government believes the Godhra massacre was pre-mediatated and was not spontaneous as the report indicated. Swaraj gave a dressing down to the top brass of AIR, officials said, though no action taken against anyone. But, fear and anticipation of future action hung heavily in the AIR newsroom where reporters pointed out that their report was not an isolated one. Similar reports had appeared in other media, including newspapers. When contacted, D R Malakar, director general, AIR, who retired on Thursday, said he was not aware of any such incident.

Afternoon Despatch & Courier (Bombay) 3 March 2002 CITY RAM SEVAKS OUT SMART POLICE Mock demo held at CST while real Sevaks leave for Ayodhya from Dadar BY HUBERT VAZ A batch of 500 `Ram Sevaks' this morning outsmarted the police and left for Lucknow, on their way to Ayodhya, by the Pushpak Express that departed from Dadar Station at 8.30 o'clock. According to the general secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's city unit, Mr. Mohan Salekar, their plan of diverting the attention of the police to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, where a mock demonstration by some activists was held, was successful. The "real Ram Sevaks" boarded the Pushpak Express from Dadar Station, he said. The police and railway police were out in large numbers at CST this morning when the VHP activists carrying saffron flags and wearing bands on their foreheads sat on the CST outstation concourse demonstrating against the attempts to prevent them from going to Ayodhya. At least 20-25 police vans, besides around 10-15 specially requisitioned BEST buses, had been stationed outside CST to take them away. However, just three vans were sufficient when the police later arrested them for attempting to disregard the government directive. Those arrested included six young women. Mr. Salekar said the VHP had known about the police's intentions to stop the activists at CST and so staged a demonstration just to fool them. Those who left by the Pushpak Express did not go together and did not carry any flags or ribbons to give away their identity. He said that the VHP would be sending more batches "by hook or by crook" on March 4, 11 and 14. VHP city president, Mr. Ramesh Mehta, who also courted arrest along with the activists at CST, said: "No one can stop us from going to Ayodhya and building the Ram temple. This is our land we will not allow anybody to let Pakistani forces rule us." South Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, Mr. Mangal Parbhat Lodha, who also joined in the demonstrations at CST, swore that Ram Sevaks from Mumbai would reach Ayodhya by all means and that no force in the country could stop them. Last night, the state government had issued a directive to thwart all attempts at sending Ram Sevaks from Mumbai to Ayodhya in view of the violent outbursts in Gujarat. The police and the railway authorities had been told to see to it that the activists did not make their way to Ayodhya in line with the prime minister's directive in this regard.

PTI 3 March 2002 Ahmedabad, In an apparent slip, Home Minister LK Advani on Sunday said the magnitude of violence on the innocents taking place in Gujarat was "terrorism" before retracting to label it as "communal violence". Addressing a press conference here, he said what has happened in Godhra and subsequently in Ahmedabad in which innoncents were targetted and killed was terrorism. "The Godhra incident and its fallout at Naroda and Meghaninagar was a blot on society and for country," he commented. Showing his distress, he continued "here innocents have been killed. Like we ask them (Pakistan), does killing innocents in Jammu and Kashmir mean freedom struggle for them. Many innocents have been killed here which was very unfortunate and this is what is terrorism," Advani said. But when a reporter asked him to clarify on his terming the Gujarat violence "terrorism", Advani retracted saying "it is not terrorism. It is communal violence." Indian Express Kar sewaks going but look who’s waiting » VHP says we don’t need trains, buses, its 25,000 UP cadre will simply cross the bridge over Saryu river SONU JAIN & RAKESH SINHA AYODHYA, MARCH 3: THE number of Ramsevaks dwindled to just 800 today — with the daily departures and no arrivals because of restrictions — but the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) wasn’t looking despondent. They say they have been holding a trump card for years which can swing the game their way if they believe they are not going to score enough points in this round of the Ayodhya campaign. One of the best kept secrets of the VHP is the rapid deployment strength of its Uttar Pradesh cadre. They are only waiting for word from New Delhi where the Mandir Nirman Samiti is meeting tomorrow. With the Centre being forced to take a hard line, the VHP has already held a strategy meeting of its six Prant coordinators with its central minister Rajendra Singh Pankaj. On eve of VHP meeting, first ally sends a warning Kumbakonam: DMK chief M Karunanidhi said his party will quit the NDA in the ‘‘unlikely’’ event of permission being granted for the construction of the Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. He added, however, that he was satisfied with Prime Minister Vajpayee’s handling of the issue. n New Delhi: The VHP postponed its Sunday meeting to Monday to finalise its stand on its current temple campaign. Finding it hard to climb down, VHP leaders met the RSS today and are said to be working on a face-saver although Ashok Singhal said that the March 15 plan remains unchanged. If the Delhi meeting leads to a situation that’s unacceptable to the VHP or doesn’t throw up a face-saving formula, the UP cadre would be called in to storm Ayodhya. According to the earlier VHP schedule, the UP cadre was to arrive in limited numbers from March 9. Ramesh Mani Dixit, prant sanyojak for Ayodhya, who is now in Balrampur, told The Indian Express that he plans to return to Ayodhya with at least 25,000 Ramsevaks on March 5. His writ runs over a huge area, stretching from Gorakhpur to Bahraich. Earlier, they would have entered the holy city in four separate groups on March 9, 13, 17 and 21. The VHP has divided UP into six prants — Avadh, Kashi, Ayodhya, Meerut, Uttaranchal and Braj. It’s sweep is both wide and deep. Each prant has at least 20 zilas, each zila at least 214 blocks. Each block has its own units of VHP and Bajrang Dal, making the region a fertile ground for the growth of the saffron brotherhood. These areas, especially the villages on the other side of the Saryu, have been cultivated with great care for more than 30 years because the distance to Ayodhya can be covered on foot if the need so arises. In these villages, Ramsevaks do not have to wait for trains and buses — they simply walk along the road which leads to the bridge over the Saryu. In fact, even in 1990 when Babri Masjid was first stormed, it was from the Saryu-end that people poured in. So huge was the number that the police had to resort to teargassing at several points. The VHP support base in villages which hug the road to Gonda, Balrampur, is quite strong. The approach road and other access points have been carefully studied and woven into the revised VHP strategy of calling upon the UP cadre at a short notice. ‘‘I am going to concentrate on the visits to Taraliganj and Manakpur which are the nearest blocks,’’ said Dixit. According to him, the Ramsevaks will try not to bring in their children but women would definitely be around in large numbers. Many are members of the Durga Vahini, the women’s wing which has played an active role in the temple movement. The Avadh prant has been asked to bring in a similar number on March 6. The organisers claim Union Home Minister L K Advani is familiar with most of their strategies but are confident that they have worked out a plan which can penetrate the security cordon of 70 CRPF companies and 22 state police companies.

Times of India 3 March 2002 Number of karsevaks dwindle in Ayodhya ] AYODHYA: The continuing administrative squeeze around Ayodhya and Faizabad got tighter on Saturday, with the cancellation or diversion of all trains reaching the twin towns till further notice. The last of the trains, carrying some 2,000 karsevaks from Ayodhya, left town on Friday evening. Ironically enough, it was the Sabarmati Express, bound for Ahmedabad in Gujarat, the same ill-fated train which was attacked in Godhra last Wednesday. The lack of easy transportation to and from Ayodhya has already begun to reflect in the numbers at Karsevakpuram, the VHP headquarters in Ayodhya. Just before noon, the site of the Purna Ahuti Yagna conducted every morning since February 24 looks deserted but for a dozen or so karsevaks. ``We have strict instructions not to let the media in,'' says the young volunteer in-charge of regulating the negligible human traffic to the holy fire. Local media in-charge of the VHP Sharad Sharma at first sullenly denied that the number of karsevaks had dwindled. Then he said since the trains were stopped on Friday, some 2,000 karsevaks arrived on Saturday by other means. The local BJP leaders, re-elected MLA Lallu Singh and the Faizabad district party president Mahant Manmohan Das, are more forthright. Because of the administration's dictatorial ban on rail and road travel, religious-minded karsevaks are being prevented from reaching Ayodhya, they complain. There are no exact estimates of how many karsevaks are still left behind in Ayodhya. The figure varies from an optimistic 4,000 to an improbable 10,000. Requests to visit Ramsevakpuram ^ the semi-permanent township which houses the VHP volunteers ^ for an independent assessment, are firmly turned down. ``The karsevaks have told us not to send anyone from the media there...Because the media can some times be too aggressive with its questioning,'' says Sharma. That might be so, but he clearly has other things on his mind. On Friday evening, a wire service photographer was manhandled inside Ramsevakpuram and his chain snatched. Just a stone's throw away from Karsevakpuram, the administration has, in the past 24 hours, part-sealed the workshop where stone pillars for the proposed temple are being chiseled and carved. The gate used for bulk transportation has been locked up, with a single-file side entrance allowed for individual access. The men in uniform posted outside have orders not to let anyone unlock the main gate. But none of this is having a reassuring impact in the Muslim areas of the temple town. From Kutia to Panjitola, Kajiara to Begumpura, the mood among the minorities remains grimly nervous. Many families have moved their women and young ones to safer areas. But it is impossible to ascertain how many. Mohammed Salim, nephew of Hashim Ansari, the man who filed the original court petition against the installation of Ram idols in 1949, claims that nearly every Muslim family in Panjitola located within shouting distance of the barbed-wire fencing that marks off the acquired land around the disputed masjid has seen some safety-driven migration. But in Faizabad, Khalil Ahmed Khan, of the Faizabad Helal Committee, has compiled a list complete as of Friday of those Muslim families who have left Ayodhya for safer destinations. While Khan feels that the administration has clearer directions today than in December 1992 ^ both from the court and the Central government to maintain the peace and the status quo, there is ample room for concern. But the last word belongs to a retired Muslim teacher: If the Muslims are migrating, can anyone blame them? Do you think a Muslim can really trust the system after what has happened in Gujarat in the last two days? Bangladesh pledges communal harmony

Scotsman UK 3 March 2002 Hindus torch more Muslims as Indian mobs defy their prime minister BETH DUFF-BROWN IN AHMADABAD VENGEFUL Hindu mobs continued to torch Muslim homes, killing scores, and rioting spread through western Gujarat state yesterday as the death toll in India’s worst religious strife in a decade reached 415. Among the dead was a British man who was killed while visiting family in the region. Mohammed Aswat Nallabhai, 41, from Batley, West Yorkshire, was attacked on Thursday along with three relatives . It is understood Nallabhai’s group were travelling in a minibus when they were attacked near Himmatnagar, about 100 miles from Gujarat’s biggest city, Ahmadabad. Two of his companions, men named as Saeed Dawood and Shakil Dawood, are missing. Consular officials are making efforts to trace them, the Foreign Office said. A third family member, Imran Dawood, also from Batley, is recovering in hospital in Bombay with "minor injuries". A Foreign Office spokeswoman said she had no further details about Nallabhai’s death. "I can confirm that one British male is dead and another is in hospital," she said. The violence continued unchecked for a fourth day despite troops being deployed with orders to shoot rioters on sight. A curfew was imposed in 37 towns and prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went on television to appeal for peace and restraint, saying the violence was a "blot" on the nation’s reputation. "Whatever the provocation, people should maintain peace and exercise restraint," Vajpayee said. "The burning alive of people, including women and children, is a blot on the country’s face." But on the streets, some members of the country’s Hindu majority shunned their prime minister’s words. "Learn from us how to burn Muslims," said chilling graffiti on a wall in Naroda on the outskirts of Ahmadabad. Fresh rioting and arson were reported in the cities of Surat, Bhavnagar, Vadodra and Ahmadabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat. In Ahmadabad mobs set fire to shops in at least three neighbourhoods and prevented fire engines from approaching. In the eastern town of Vadodra, at least seven Muslims working at a bakery were burned alive by a mob. On Friday, at least 122 Muslims were burned to death in their homes by Hindus in three separate attacks in Ahmadabad and two other villages. The bloodshed was triggered by a Muslim mob burning a train carrying Hindu nationalists on Wednesday, killing 58 people. Since then, right-wing Hindus have been on a retaliatory rampage in Gujarat, one of India’s richest states. Muslim residents have accused police and soldiers of standing by and watching residents being slaughtered, often with swords and sticks. Authorities said they had begun moving Muslims in some parts of the state from mixed neighbourhoods to Muslim areas where security had been stepped up. State government officials said the death toll in four days of carnage was 415, including those killed in the train and 47 killed from fire. The religious clashes were the worst in India since 1993, when 800 people were killed during Hindu-Muslim riots in Bombay. "It’s not a good thing what happened but this chain reaction is normal. Now everybody has to suffer," said Satish Aggarwal, a Hindu who operates a dairy kiosk in Ahmadabad. A small crowd of Hindu residents gathered at Aggarwal’s kiosk said Muslims were to blame for the events of the last few days. "It’s the Muslims’ fault!" they shouted. Gujarat is the home state of Mohandas Gandhi, India’s independence leader, an icon of non-violence who struggled for reconciliation between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority during religious riots following the country’s independence in 1947. About 12% of India’s one billion people are Muslims, and 82% Hindus. During partition, many educated and professional Muslims left for Pakistan. Muslim leaders had ruled the Indian subcontinent until the arrival of the British in the 18th century. Although the majority of Indians are not religious extremists, the British and later Indian politicians including Gandhi have manipulated religious differences . In Ahmadabad many hotels, shops and restaurants have been destroyed and looting has been widespread. Bodies blackened by fire lay in the streets, along with burned-out furnishings and vehicles, shredded clothes and other personal belongings. Muslims streamed into hospitals, for treatment of stab wounds and burns, but also for refuge. The origin of the violence lies in the World Hindu Council’s campaign to build a temple at the site of a demolished 16th century mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya. The 1992 razing of the mosque by Hindus sparked nationwide riots that killed 2,000 people. Hindus claim the site is the birthplace of their most-revered god, Rama. The Hindus killed in the train massacre were returning from Ayodhya. A council spokesman said the plan to start building the temple would go ahead on March 15. About 10,000 security forces are deployed in the town.

Times of India 3 March 2002 VHP, BJP workers named in FIR on riots AHMEDABAD: Workers of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party have been booked for murder in FIRs filed in the Naroda-Patia violence on Friday which claimed nearly 65 lives. Interestingly, the FIRs filed at the Meghaninagar police station names shopkeepers of the area as being the culprits responsible for the killing of nearly 38 persons who were burnt alive. The five BJP and VHP workers named in the Naroda-Patia incident are Kishan Korani, PJ Rajput, Harish Rohera, Babu Bajrangi and Raju Noble apart from 10-15,000 people, in this complaint filed by police sub-inspector AK Solanki. At Chamanpura, the persons have been vaguely identified in the FIR as small-time traders in the area mostly operating around a temple in this area, that has always been in a state of communal frenzy. Their identities in the FIR run as those dealing in furniture, imitation jewellery and even country liquor. "The persons named in this carnage are Girish, identified as "who lived near the mandir" and "does furniture work", Ramesh "who lives near the mandir", Mangilal Dhulichand Adinath, Mukesh Mochi, Prabhu Mochi, ‘Gabbar’, ‘Abesh’, Ashish — the son of a chanawala, Ramesh of ‘Sadhna stores’, Deepak alias Pradeep who is a BJP worker and ‘Ghunghriya vaal wala’ (the curly-haired one) who deals in country liquor. This FIR was lodged by senior police inspector of the Meghaninagar police station KG Erda. Apart from murder, arson, rioting with deadly weapons, conspiracy, the accused in the Chamanpura case have also been booked for dacoity. The other sections under the IPC that have been applied on the accused are 143,144,147, 148, 323, 336, 337, 435,436, 427, 186, 188, and Section 135 (1) of the Bombay Police Act. Advani calls Gujarat violence terrorism before retracting

Hindustan Times 3 March 2002 Police indulgence towards Sangh led to carnage Rathin Das (Ahmedabad, March 3) The unfortunate conflagration that claimed more than 400 lives in Gujarat till now can directly be attributed to the police indulgence towards the Sangh Parivar activists over the last few years since the BJP has come to power in the state. By all accounts, most of the attacks on the minorities in Ahmedabad came in full view of the police, who remained mute spectators to the crime. The continued indulgence of the Gujarat Police towards the Sangh Parivar over the years has actually snowballed into Hindutva protagonists virtually acquiring quasi-police powers, calling the shots in almost every walk of life. The over-indulgence of the Gujarat Police towards the saffron brigade actually dates back to the BJP coming to power in early 1998 when the then Chief Minister, Keshubhai Patel, had described the torching of cola vans by the VHP, in protest against the economic sanctions following the Pokhran blasts, as a 'patriotic' act. Encouraged by Keshubhai's comment, the Sangh Parivar soon took the liberty of dictating terms in various fields. They disrupted fashion shows and beauty pageants, interrupted distribution of Christian literature, prevented Valentine's Day celebrations and tore off Christmas related festoons and decorations on the eve of the New Year. The situation acquired such a serious dimension that the State Director General of Police had to attribute the deteriorating law and order in Gujarat to the Sangh Parivar's increased 'belligerence' following the BJP's coming to the power in the state. Though the DGP's statement brought enormous embarrassment to the ruling BJP in Parliament, the Sangh Parivar continued to get police patronage in their quasi-police role in preventing what they perceived as moral decay in Indian society like fashion shows, inter-community marriages, conversions, celebrations of Valentine's Day or New Year. Two years ago, the Sangh Parivar's writ extended even up to preventing slaughter of animals during Bakri-Eid as it hurts the sensibilities of the Jains, an economically influential community in Gujarat. The pattern of identifying the minority victim and their establishments even without their typical beard and cap - as testified by some incidents in Gurukul and Sola Road areas this time - confirms the worst apprehension that the VHP had indeed completed its ethnic mapping to pinpoint the minorities in 'general' localities of the communally surcharged city. Not only that the state police had turned a blind eye to the moral policing by the Sangh Parivar, it remained silent when the state Bajrang Dal distributed to its members tridents with the cutting edge longer than six inches. The state police did not act even after the Central intelligence agencies pointed out that cutting tools longer than six inches, as distributed to nearly a lakh Bajrang Dal activists during a membership drive last summer, is a clear violation of the Arms Act. True, the police and the Sangh Parivar would certainly say that these tridents were not used in the current carnage, but the increased arrogance of the saffron brigade due to the police indifference must have surely added to the mood of revenge. And the Chief Minister's ambivalent statements blaming the victims for provoking the attacks added the necessary fuel to the already uncontrollable fire. And, giving the marauders a free hand for the first 48 hours also served their intended purpose of settling scores with the minority in the same fashion as the original carnage. Juxtaposing this 'eye for eye' strategy with the reports of many roadside dargahs being converted into small makeshift temples overnight brings out the Sangh Parivar's political statement that remains unfinished as yet at Ayodhya. In sum, the carnage, followed by building temples on demolished dargahs, has actually helped the BJP re-consolidate its position which was under serious threat as evident from a series of electoral reverses.

WP 3 March 2002 Trapped in House of Fire Wave of Religious Reprisals Ensnares Indian State By Rajiv Chandrasekaran; Page A01 SARDARPURA, India, March 2 – Carrying wooden sticks and plastic jugs of kerosene, the mob of 500 Hindus made no secret of its intentions as it swarmed into this tiny farming town late Friday night. "Kill the Muslims," they chanted. "Kill the Muslims." Trying to flee but surrounded on all sides by the Hindu crowd, most of the town's Muslims holed up in the one place they believed was safe: a one-room house with thick concrete walls and metal-barred windows at the end of their neighborhood. But the throng soon followed them there and encircled the house, seeking revenge for a Muslim attack on Hindu train passengers earlier in the week. "Get rid of the Muslims," some of the Hindus said, according to a Hindu man who witnessed the attack. Panicked and crying, those inside the house begged for their lives. "We said, 'Please forgive us. Please let us go,' " said Ruksanabano Ibrahim, 20, who was packed inside with a dozen family members. "We kept saying, 'We are not your enemies. What have we done to you?'‚" Then, just as it did moments earlier with shops, cars and other homes in the neighborhood, the mob doused cloth-wrapped sticks with kerosene, ignited them and hurled them through the windows. The terrorized occupants, who were locked inside the house, tried in vain to smother the flames with wool shawls and douse them with bottles of drinking water. When police officers arrived a half-hour later and broke down the door, 29 people were dead. Most of the 15 others in the house were seriously burned. The gruesome attack was the latest in a wave of retaliatory killings by Hindus that have plunged India's western Gujarat state into anarchy since Muslims firebombed the train on Wednesday, killing 58 Hindu nationalists who had been rallying to build a temple at the site of a destroyed mosque. Subsequent clashes have claimed more than 350 lives in the most severe religious strife in India in almost a decade. Although police imposed a curfew in 37 towns and army troops sent to the state received orders to shoot rioters on sight, the unrest continued today. In Ahmadabad, which was the scene of brutal slayings and arson attacks on Thursday and Friday, Hindu gangs set fire to shops in several Muslim neighborhoods. In the town of Vadodra, police said seven Muslims working in a bakery were burned alive by a Hindu mob. Police said more than 120 people were killed Friday in Ahmadabad, Sardarpura and another village in eastern Gujarat. Despite fears among some government officials that the fighting would spread to other states, most of the violence has been confined to Gujarat, which has a long history of Hindu-Muslim clashes. Police said they have killed 47 rioters in the state and arrested 1,200 people, including several dozen who allegedly participated in the train attack. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee delivered a nationally televised address calling for peace. He said the attacks were "a blot on the country's face." About 12 percent of India's 1 billion people are Muslims, while 82 percent are Hindu. Although India is an officially secular nation, religious tension between Hindus and Muslims has existed for centuries. In 1947, when India gained its independence and was partitioned to create the Muslim nation of Pakistan, hundreds of thousands of people were killed as they tried to move between the countries. And in 1993, in the last major round of religious fighting, more than 800 people died in sectarian riots in Bombay. While the police and military have increased their presence in large cities, the revenge attacks appear to be spreading to rural areas like Sardarpura, where security forces are stretched thin. Local police officials expressed concern at their ability to stem a wave of vigilante attacks across the state's farming villages, many of which have small Muslim enclaves but lack full-time police protection. In Sardarpura, which has the largest Muslim population in a 30-mile radius, the violence began on Friday afternoon, when several hundred irate Hindus arrived from Jhantral, a nearby village. Claiming that two Jhantral residents were killed aboard the train on Wednesday, the mob used pickaxes to demolish a light blue mosque on the road into Sardarpura, located about 40 miles north of Ahmadabad. Forced to disperse from the mosque by police, the Hindus later regrouped and returned to the village around 9 p.m., police officials said. Once again, the police pushed them back by firing tear gas canisters, the officials said. But then, the 14-man police contingent left the town to patrol neighboring villages. As soon as they departed, the mob returned – with devastating consequences. "We couldn't just stay here," said B.K. Purohit, a police sub-inspector. "We had to patrol other areas." After an emergency call from the town, the officers headed back, but said they were stopped a few miles away by roadblocks. Muslims who used to live here, as well as those in other parts of the state contend security forces have been slow to respond. In some cases, they said, police and soldiers simply stood by as women and children were killed with sticks and swords. "The police were nowhere to be seen when we were attacked," said Fatima Bibi, 48, who hid with nine relatives in the home of a Hindu family. "They should have been protecting us." As the mob closed in on the Muslim neighborhood, the residents attempted to defend themselves by throwing stones and brandishing knives, said Sanju, a Hindu mechanic who witnessed the confrontation. But the Muslims quickly found themselves outnumbered and were forced to retreat, he said. Although some Muslims managed either to run away from the village or to hide in the homes of Hindu families, most made their way down a rutted dirt path, past burning cars and huts, to the concrete house. "We thought it would be the safest place because the walls are so thick," Ibraham said from her hospital bed today in a nearby city. But it also was the most crowded. By the time Ibrahim arrived with her relatives, the small house already was stuffed with people. So when the mob began throwing flaming sticks through the open windows, setting the bed and other furniture alight, there was no place to retreat, she said. "Those who could not move into the corners, they were sucked into the flames," she said. As new pieces of blazing material were tossed into the house and flames danced up the walls, Ibrahim and a few others kept moving around the room, tripping on the bodies of people who had collapsed. "We were filled with fear," she said. "We were crying, begging them to let us go." Ibrahim, who has a large bandage over her right eye, said she lost 10 relatives in the blaze, including her aunt, who owned the house. Police officers said they removed the 29 badly burned bodies from the house this morning. By this afternoon, the village was largely abandoned except for police officers and cows wandering the streets, which fleeing residents had been too panicked to take. Those Muslims who were not taken to the hospital ran off to other villages, where they planned to move in with relatives. Hindus joined the exodus out of fear that Muslim gangs might attempt to exact revenge. Hindus in the area neither praised nor repudiated the attack. A group of middle-aged Hindu men loitering outside the town said they were particularly upset by rumors that some of the women and children aboard the train had been raped. "They should be punished because they have done awful things to our people," one man said. Police officials said they have found no evidence that any of the passengers were raped. The train was returning from the northern town of Ayodhya, where hard-line Hindus want to build a temple to the god Ram on the site of a 16th-century mosque that was razed by Hindus in 1992. A Hindu group said it plans to start construction of the temple on March 15. Hindu and Muslim residents said they could not recall another incident of religious violence in the town, even when the Ayodhya mosque was torn down and riots engulfed Bombay. "Relations were always very good," said Nasir Mohammed, a Muslim driver. "Sometimes, we would even go into the homes of Hindus." But he and Ibrahim said they can no longer imagine returning to Sardarpura. Mohammed said he plans to continue living with relatives in a smaller village 35 miles away. Ibrahim said she has no idea where she will go after she leaves the hospital, but she said it likely will not be to a village where Muslims are in the minority. Analysts said those sentiments suggest that even if government forces quell the violence, the lingering polarization could set back India's efforts to foster a multi-religious society. "In one night, the Hindus ended years of harmony," Ibrahim said. "Why in the world would anyone want to go back?" Special correspondent Rama Lakshmi contributed to this report.

PTI Ram-Rahim Nagar: An oasis of peace SANJAY PANDEY AHMEDABAD: They have done it again. For the fourth time in a row Ram-Rahim Nagar slum residents in Behrampura have set a record of sorts. Once again their respective faiths did not come in way of the violence all around them or create a rift among them. After easily sailing through turbulent times in 1969, 1985 and 1992 the locality once again did not witness any form of violence or disturbance. When everything burnt in communal frenzy, harmony reigned supreme in these slums despite having a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims. A temple of Lord Hanuman and a dargah alongside summarises the brotherhood and peace at Ram-Rahim Nagar even in these turbulent times. Mutual trust helps 20,000 people living in this slum to overcome any communal hailstorm. "Humanity is our religion here," says Pyar Ali B Kapadia, President, Ram-Rahimnagar Jhupdawasi (slums) Mandal adding that nobody is worried about each other’s faith. This secular colony instead has become a refuge for some 300 riot-affected people housed in a nearby mosque. "Members have contributed on their own to arrange for food and shelter for these riot victims," says Taj Bano Sayyed, who is co-ordinating the relief measures. Poverty being their common enemy, co-existence of Hindu and Muslims is at its best. People here are least concerned about Mandir-Masjid issue. "Everytime Mandir-Masjid issue is raked up tension crops up and innocent people die," says A H Badami, a retired clerk from Central Excise and Custom adding that issue should be buried forever. Originally a resident of Bijapur in Karnataka he settled here in 1951 and today feels himself lucky to be here for obvious reasons. Home to some 20,000 people Ram-Rahimnagar never experienced the riots and its ugly aftermath. Since 1973 the Mandal, the local governing body comprising 21-member executive committee, has gifted peace and communal harmony to the residents. The secret behind the peace at Ram-Rahimnagar is its Mandal’s neutrality. Equal representation of both communities at the local body and official work sans money transaction are twin factors that have kept the Mandal’s role out of controversy or doubt. "If there are any disagreements we identify the root cause and nip it in the bud," says 30-year-old Mohammed Rafiq Sheikh, a member of the Mandal. "Everybody strives here to maintain peace," says Aljibhai Parmar, Vice-President who has been living in these slums for 35 years now. But peace does not come cheap. Residents now keep night-long vigil so that no outside elements can enter and spread rumours and hatred among them, explained Parmar on how peace was maintained in a locality surrounded by riot ravaged areas. "The residents seem to be uneducated and impoverished but they have great sense and maturity," says Abdul Salam, a local resident and tailor by profession. "Every celebration whether it is holi, diwali or uttarayan everybody joins in and revels," says Shabbir Khan ‘Master’, a teacher at nearby Behrampura municipal Urdu School. Today, Ram-Rahimnagar personifies that proverbial oasis of peace in a city where rioters have shaken the common man’s faith on peaceful co-existence. The fear that may grip you while rushing through the narrow bylanes, leading to this colony, does a disappearing act when you meet the residents who stand guard on their peace. Once you have established your identity, members of both the communities are eager to accord a warm welcome, that is if you deserve it.

Indian Exprerss 4 Mar 2002 Mob forces NID, IIM students to call off dharna against violence ENS & AGENCIES AHMEDABAD, MARCH 3: A 100-strong mob today forced students and faculty from three city-based institutions, sitting on token fast to protest ongoing violence in Gujarat, to call off their stir midway. Students and faculty members from the National Institute of Design (NID), Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Centre for Environment Planning and Technology had organised a token fast near the IIM, when the group arrived at the venue, police said. It asked those at the venue to go to Godhra, if they were serious about the protest, even as the group threatened of dire consequences if the ‘dharna for peace’ was not stopped at once, police said. The threat forced the organisers to call off the dharna, police said. The IIM has been an island of peace in the state which has been swept by violence. Inside the gates of Louis Kahn’s architectural masterpiece, the institute was working on as usual. The only casualty was annual placements, postponed by a week from the scheduled March 1. More than jobs, the management students are worried about the violence. ‘‘Ahmedabad appeared to be one of the safest cities, especially for me who is from Bihar,’’ said second-year student Himanshu Rai. The faculty share the students’ views. ‘‘After violence of this magnitude, I no longer believe we are a civil society,’’ Prof Jagdeep Chokkar, IIMA Dean, said. ‘‘I have been witness to communal riots earlier. But this is the worst.’’

Daily Telegraph UK 4 March 2002 Soldiers 'held back to allow Hindus revenge' By Rahul Bedi in Ahmedabad (Filed: 04/03/2002) TROOPS and police appeared to have most of Gujarat state under control yesterday after almost 500 people had died in India's worst Hindu-Muslim bloodshed in a decade. Noorjehan, a muslim woman, recovers after beaten by Hindus in Ahmedabad Intelligence officials admitted, however, that there had been a deliberate delay by federal and state governments in deploying the army to give Hindu militants a free hand after a Muslim mob killed 58 Hindus on a train. The air force had 13 transport aircraft fuelled and ready at Jodhpur in neighbouring Rajasthan state to ferry troops to Ahmedabad, early on Thursday evening, when the rioting was at its height. "But for an inexplicable reason, even though it was apparent that the state police were proving incapable, 1,000 troops were flown out only the next morning," said a senior military officer. On arriving in Ahmedabad, scene of the worst violence, the soldiers were not provided with transport, information on communally sensitive areas or guides. "When the army was eventually deployed on Friday evening it was not taken to the trouble spots, but merely asked to display itself in areas from which the Muslims had already fled," a security officer said. "It was a calculated decision by the state's Hindu nationalist government." Intelligence officials admitted that a "systems failure", prompted by politicians, allowed the rioting to continue. They said some police connived and, at times, even helped Hindu mobs. Narinder Modi, Gujarat's chief minister, said yesterday: "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." His officials conceded that this was a "cynical justification" of four days of rioting. Mr Modi, who belongs to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party that heads the federal coalition, added that Gujarat's 50 million people had shown "remarkable restraint under grave provocation", implying that the violence could have been worse. A curfew was in place last night in sensitive parts of Ahmedabad, but an air of normality was returning. However, Muslim survivors of grisly massacres and the unchecked 30-hour orgy of violence and arson, were bemused. They said the police simply stood by, or in some cases even encouraged the rioters as they went on the rampage, burning entire families to death in their homes. "The police actively supported the rioters, almost as if they were accompanying them," Sakina Inayat Sajid, who lost six of her family and whose husband is missing, said from her hospital bed. The few policemen she pleaded with for help in Shehajpuri Patia told her to "go and die elsewhere". But there was no escape. All exit points had been surrounded by mobs armed with swords, iron rods, acid and paraffin. "I do not know how I made it out alive," said Mehboob Sheikh, a lorry driver, who lost all nine family members, including his two children. The killings ended when the first troops arrived. "But by then it was too late," said Shabana Abdul Sayeed at the local civil hospital. "There was nothing left to destroy or burn." The roots of the violence lie in the decade-old campaign by Hindus to build a temple to their god Lord Ram on the site of a mosque at Ayodhya. The 16th century mosque was razed by Hindus in 1992, believing the spot to be Ram's exact birth place. This led to countrywide riots in which more than 2,000 died. The Hindus burned in a train last week were returning from Ayodhya. Under instructions from the federal administration, Ayodhya has been sealed off. Atal Behari Vajpayee, the prime minister, who is confronting his worst political crisis since coming to power four years ago, has met World Hindu Council leaders and asked them to drop, or at least postpone their plans in the interests of communal harmony. The Foreign Office said last night that it had no further information on Britons caught up in the rioting other than that Mohammed Aswat Nallabhai, a man from Batley, West Yorks, had been killed. One of Mr Nallabhai's relatives was injured and two others are missing.

AP 5 March 2002 Theories Abound About Indian Riots By BETH DUFF-BROWN, AHMADABAD, India (AP) - The day after the deadly train fire that ignited Hindu-Muslim violence in western India, local authorities blamed the attack on a railroad platform fracas among angry Muslim tea vendors and slogan-chanting Hindus. Photos AP Photo Audio/Video Hindu-Muslim Conflict Appears To Calm (Reuters) Nearly a week later, conspiracy theories abound about who was behind the assault, which claimed 58 Hindu lives and set off riots and attacks that left more than 500 people dead, most of them Muslims. Indian officials, as they often do, hinted at a Pakistan link to the train fire in Godhra on Feb. 27. Other Indians wondered if Islamic militants had a hidden hand in lighting the fire. Islamic Pakistan has denied involvement and called on India to stop the killings of Muslims, who are a minority in India. What appears clear is that Hindus and Muslims in this western desert state don't blame their neighbors, even though they may have turned on them in anger or fled them in fear. They blame religious extremists and outside influences. "All this, blame the Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists," said Satish Aggarwal, a Hindu whose milk shop survived the riots. "We blame the Muslims in Godhra for starting it. But we know the ISI (Pakistan's intelligence service) was behind that." Aggarwal, surveying the damage in his community in Ahmadabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat state, was expressing a common belief held by Indians: Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, ISI, is behind many of their woes. "The needle of suspicion" pointed to some "outside terrorist outfit," said India's Home Minister L.K. Advani. Vipul Vijoy Singh, head of Gujarat's anti-terrorism squad, said Indian intelligence officials were investigating whether ISI agents had a hand in provoking the train fire. "Intelligence is working very hard on various reports on anti-national elements operating within the country and those who are funding operations from outside," Singh was quoted as saying in Tuesday's The Asian Age newspaper. Police have arrested 27 people in the train massacre, including Mohammed Hussain Abdul Rahim Kalota, a Muslim who is chairman of the Godhra municipality. Indian government spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said Pakistani involvement could not be ruled out, adding "there is every reason for us to investigate whether there is a larger design to this whole situation." Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been nose-to-nose along their disputed frontier for months, since India blamed the ISI and Pakistan-based Islamic militant groups for the Dec. 13 attack on its Parliament that left 14 people dead. A main point of contention is disputed Kashmir , over which the neighbors have fought two wars. New Delhi accuses Pakistan of supporting Islamic separatists in India-held Kashmir. Islamabad says it gives the militants only moral support. Pakistan scoffed at accusations it was involved in the train attack. "People within and outside India expect an early end to the ongoing genocide rather than indulging in the game of blaming others," said a statement from Pakistan's government. The blame game resumed Tuesday, in ways that Pakistan likely would applaud. Police in Ahmadabad filed several reports accusing local leaders of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist party and the fundamentalist World Hindu Council of leading Hindus into Muslim communities and commanding them to burn Muslims alive. Gujarat state secretary for the World Hindu Council, Jaideep Patel, denied that members of his group were involved in the attacks. Pran Chopra, a political scientist with India's Center for Policy Research, said Hindu-Muslim riots have traditionally been orchestrated by those with power. In this case, that would be Muslim political leaders in Godhra and Hindu nationalists in Gujarat. "The conspiracy theories are neither completely true, nor are they entirely baseless," Chopra said. When asked if Pakistan or possibly Osama bin Laden 's al-Qaida terrorism network could have had a role in the train fire, Chopra said he would not rule out indirect involvement. "The parentage of the al-Qaida and the parentage of those who might have planned this might be the same," he said. "The very people who produced the al-Qaida are the people who have their own sympathizers and supporters in Gujarat." Kanti Bajpai, a professor of international affairs at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said the train attack appeared to be a well-planned assault and may have been Muslim extremists trying to polarize the communities. "It was tailor-made to make riots in a very calculated way," Bajpai said. Still, he believes the root of the riots lie in the north Indian town of Ayodhya, which Hindus believe is the birthplace of their most revered god, Rama. Most of the Hindus killed on the train were activists returning from a pilgrimage to Ayodhya. The World Hindu Council insists it will begin prayer ceremonies in Ayodhya next week in preparation for building a Rama temple, defying court orders to wait. Muslims deeply resent the temple project as the site is where a 16th-century mosque was torn down by Hindus in 1992, provoking riots that killed 2,000 people. "We know historically that when the temple issue is roiled up, there's going to be communal violence," Bajpai said. Relations between Hindus and Muslims have been rocky since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. An estimated 1 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were killed in rioting that accompanied the partition of Pakistan from the Indian subcontinent. Still, they have lived in relative harmony in India and clashes are rare.

News 24 ZA (South Africa) 5 March 2002 -- Hindus, Muslims march for peace Ahmedabad, India - Hindu and Muslim leaders marched side by side for peace on Tuesday in India's Gujarat state, as the grisly task continued of uncovering fresh bodies from the worst sectarian violence in nearly a decade. As many as 800 people took part in the march, which was given a heavy police escort and wound through Gujarat's commercial capital Ahmedabad to finish at the ashram of India's independence hero and apostle of peace, Mahatma Gandhi. Ahmedabad bore the brunt of five day's of statewide communal clashes that claimed more than 580 lives. "This is our city and we want it back," said one of the marchers, K Stalin, who runs an NGO promoting literacy. "This city does not belong to Muslim fundamentalists or Hindu extremists. It belongs to us citizens," he said. Daytime curfew restrictions were lifted in Ahmedabad on Tuesday, although they remained in force in 20 other sensitive areas. "We are still getting reports of the odd incident of violence here and there," deputy inspector general of police K Chakravarty said. Death toll sure to rise Police officials said the death toll was sure to rise as bodies were still being recovered from remote Muslim villages that had been attacked and burned by Hindu mobs. Some officials said the final figure could cross the 1 000 mark. The violence was triggered by a Muslim massacre on February 27 of 58 Hindu train passengers, many of them women and children. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi described the massacre as a "planned, composite terrorist attempt" and said a full judicial inquiry had been ordered into the subsequent riots. The train had been returning from the northern town of Ayodhya, where Hindu activists have been pushing a campaign to build a temple from March 15 on the ruins of a 16th-century mosque razed in December 1992 by Hindu zealots. Fears that the campaign would trigger further sectarian clashes eased on Tuesday when a radical Hindu group agreed to wait for the courts to rule on ownership of the disputed religious site. In return, however, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP - World Hindu Council) demanded the government hand over an adjacent plot where the VHP could go ahead with its temple construction from June 2. The compromise was announced by the chief mediator in the dispute, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswati - one of India's four Hindu pontiffs. Apprehension about handover Saraswati, who had also held talks with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and various ministers, said the government seemed "inclined" to accept the VHP compromise offer, but would first have to discuss the issue with opposition parties. While Muslim leaders had voiced "apprehensions" about the handover of an adjacent plot, they also seemed agreeable to the proposal in principle, he said. The army was still out in force in Ahmedabad and other cities, after being deployed on Friday when it became clear that the state police were unable, or in some cases unwilling, to curb the Hindu backlash that followed the train massacre. Since the riots began, thousands of terrified and homeless Muslims in Ahmedabad have been sheltering in seven "safe homes", which in most cases means the local mosque. In the Shah Alam Aalam mosque, in the heart of the city, around 5 000 Muslims have been living in hopelessly overcrowded conditions for four days. Even with troops on the streets, most are too scared to return to the collection of charred houses and shops which used to be the bustling Muslim commercial and residential hub of the city. Ayub Kureshi, a butcher who lost two of his children in the riots, came to Ahmedabad 15 years ago from the southern state of Karnataka with dreams of building a new life. "I built a home here and things were going well," Kureshi said. "Now I don't know how I will rebuild my home or where I will go." - Sapa-AFP

PTI 7 March 2002 Opposition dharna to protest Gujarat killings NILANJANA BHADURI JHA TIMES NEWS NETWORK NEW DELHI: Expressing outrage at the complete breakdown of law and order in Gujarat, Opposition parties, led by Sonia Gandhi, agitated outside Parliament to demand the dismissal of Home Minister L K Advani and Chief Minister Narendra Modi. About one hundred and fifty Opposition MPs, led by Congress President Mrs Sonia Gandhi, sat in a silent dharna in front of Gate 1 of Parliament to protest against the complete break down of law and order in Gujarat. The MPS sat below Mahatma Gandhi's statue, and there was no slogan-shouting. Some of them held placards which read: "Remove Modi", "give relief to all genocide victims", "maintain peace and harmony", "killer Sangh Parivar down down". Some Opposition leaders also said that there demand includes the resignation of Home Minister L K Advani for the "complete bnreakdown of law and order and administration in Gujarat". Sonia Gandhi is also likely to lead a delegation of Opposition parties that will visit Gujarat tomorrow. The decision to hold the dharna was taken in a meeting held at the residence of senior CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee on Wednesday night. Talking to the Times News Network, Chatterjee said the Opposition demands immediate restoration of normalcy in the state, protection of people and property, relief for the victims and deployment of Army in the state to prevent any further incidents of violence. The parties also lashed out at the state administration and accused the Modi government of conniving with the perpetrators of the dastardly acts of arson and riots that followed the attack on Sabarmati Express on February 27. Present at the meeting were former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Shivraj Patil (Congress), Ramji Lal Suman (Samajwadi Party), Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD), P A Sangma (NCP), Ajoy Chakraborty (CPI), Amar Roy Pradhan (RSP), Joyanta Rongpi (CPI-ML) and Simranjit Singh Mann (Akali Dal-Mann). Earlier on Wednesday, the Congress bitterly criticised the Gujarat government for discriminating against victims of the post-Godhra incident. The state administration has announced a package of Rs 2 lakh for victims of the attack on Sabarmati Express and Rs 1 lakh for those who died in the subsequent incidents of violence in the state. Party spokesperson Jaipal Reddy said, "The Modi administration's stand on compensation is nothing less than institutionalising sectarian discrimination."

Reuters 10 March 2002 Indian Muslims Reject Proposals on Disputed Site March 10, 2002 NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian Muslim leaders on Sunday rejected a proposal by a top Hindu cleric meant to ease a religious land dispute in the northern town of Ayodhya and end communal violence in which more than 700 people have died. Their decision came after a week of negotiations to head off a possible new upsurge of violence before a March 15 deadline set by hard-line Hindus for starting work on a temple at a site in Ayodhya where a mosque was razed in 1992. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board said in a statement it rejected the proposals as incomplete. The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, one of Hinduism's top religious leaders, had suggested hard-line Hindus be given land adjacent to the site where the Babri mosque was demolished in 1992, triggering nationwide riots in which 3,000 died. He had also proposed building a wall to protect the former site of the mosque until a court ruled on whether the land should be given to Muslims or Hindus. Hard-line Hindus believe the 16th-century Babri mosque was built by Muslim Moghul invaders on the birthplace of the Hindu god-king Ram, and see the temple as a means of setting right the insult they believe their religion suffered at the time. The Muslim board said it wanted written guarantees the site of the razed mosque would be protected until the court verdict. More than 700 people have died since February 27 when a Muslim mob attacked a train carrying Hindu devotees back from Ayodhya, burning to death 58 men, women and children. The attack in the town of Godhra triggered reprisals against minority Muslims in the western state of Gujarat and authorities finally had to deploy the army to quell the violence. The Muslim board condemned the Godhra attack but said it had been used as an excuse for "systematic pogroms or ethnic cleansing of the Muslims amounting to genocide in Gujarat." HARD-LINE HINDUS READY TO MOBILISE Thousands of devotees led by the hard-line Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have already gathered at Ayodhya ahead of the March 15 deadline and one of its senior members said Sunday thousands more could be sent there if necessary. "Five hundred people from every district of Gujarat will go to Ayodhya on March 12," said Jaideep Patel, joint general secretary of the VHP in Gujarat's main city, Ahmedabad. "At any time we can send between 5,000 and 50,000 people to Ayodhya whenever required," he told Reuters. "It will all depend on instructions from Ayodhya." So far the violence has been limited to Gujarat, with a massive police presence preventing it spreading to other states. But Sunday, one Hindu activist was killed and four wounded in the village of Taldi in eastern India when police opened fire after a group planning to hold an unauthorized prayer meeting started pelting them with stones. "Given the current situation in the country this unscheduled prayer meeting would have generated unnecessary tension," a district official said. The communal tension has plunged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee into his worst crisis since he took office in 1999. He was already juggling a military stand-off with Pakistan to force it to crack down on Islamic militants and had just seen his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defeated in four state elections. The Hindu nationalist BJP heads the national coalition government and also runs the state government in Gujarat. Now Vajpayee faces the choice of turning against Hindu hard-liners who come from the same ideological family as the BJP or appeasing them and alienating his secular coalition partners.

AP 11 March 2002 . Hindu Groups Clash With Police By Chandra Banerjee CALCUTTA, India -- One person was killed and more than 30 injured Sunday after police clashed with Hindu activists trying to stage a religious ceremony in eastern India in defiance of a ban on large gatherings imposed after recent sectarian violence, officials said. One member of the fundamentalist World Hindu Council, which organized the ceremony, was killed in the shooting and some 32 people including 25 police officers were injured, said local administrator Alapan Bandopadhyay. The incident took place at a train station south of Calcutta after dozens of Hindu hard-liners defied a government ban on congregations of more than four people meant to prevent riots, said Chayan Mukherjee, the state's inspector-general for law and order. The ban was imposed after more than 700 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim clashes earlier this month that erupted when Muslims attacked a train carrying Hindu nationalists. The Hindu-Muslim violence was the worst in a decade. The clash at the train station, about 20 kilometers south of Calcutta, came as members of the Hindu group were preparing to hold a religious ceremony in a show of support for a disputed plan to build a temple at the site of a razed 16th-century mosque in western India. The mosque was destroyed by thousands of Hindu fundamentalists in 1992 and both sides consider the land holy. Most of the injured activists had bullet wounds in their legs. The policemen were injured by rocks and other objects hurled by the mob, Bandopadhyay said. Police and paramilitary forces were attacked and police vans damaged when they tried to prevent members of the group from assembling. They tried to beat the crowd back with wooden truncheons, lobbed tear gas shells and finally opened fire, the administrator said. The ceremony planned by the Hindu hard-liners involved throwing offerings of flowers, wheat, butter and twigs into a fire while chanting Hindu hymns. Separately, Muslim leaders who met Sunday in New Delhi rejected a compromise proposal made by a Hindu cleric to defuse tensions over the disputed holy site in the western town of Ayodhya. The Shankaracharya of Kanchi Jayendra Saraswathi -- one of Hinduism's four most revered pontiffs -- proposed that Hindus be allowed to hold symbolic prayers at an adjacent piece of land on March 15 while awaiting a final verdict by India's Supreme Court. "The proposal is incomplete and inchoate. It has offered nothing to the Muslims except to wait for the Supreme Court's verdict," said Yusuf Muchala, spokesman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, briefing journalists after the daylong meeting. Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee urged Hindu and Muslim leaders to purse dialogue until the dispute is settled amicably. Hindu hard-liners had initially threatened to begin construction of the temple on March 15 but agreed to accept the court's verdict following mediation efforts by the Hindu cleric. Thousands of police and paramilitary troops, guarding Ayodhya, 550 kilometers east of New Delhi, held a flag march through the main streets of the town Sunday to instill confidence among the residents. 12/03/2002 08:38 - (SA) --Tight security at Hindu festivalMissile muscle for World CupSkulls removed from displayEffects of Agent Orange probed Tight security at Hindu festival Related Articles Hindus, Muslims march for peace Ahmedabad, India - Security was beefed up in the western state of Gujarat on Tuesday for a major Hindu festival falling soon after an eruption of sectarian violence claimed 700 lives. Tuesday's holiday was dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. "We have intensified patrolling in several rural areas where we are expecting a large congregation of Hindu worshipers to gather," said Deputy Police Superintendent KLN Rao. "Our forces are on high alert," he said. In Gujarat's commercial capital, Ahmedabad, which bore the brunt of the recent Hindu-Muslim clashes, police said extra security had been deployed around the city's Shiva temples. "But no additional force has been called in from outside. We have an adequate security force in the city," said Joint Police Commissioner MK Tandon. A fearsome wave of communal violence swept over Gujarat following a Muslim attack on a passenger train carrying Hindu activists on February 27. The attack triggered a violent Hindu backlash across the state, with many Muslim families being burned alive in their houses. Police officials said on Tuesday that both Hindu and Muslim "miscreants" were distributing communally inflammatory pamphlets in several cities and villages, exhorting the members of each community to boycott goods produced by the other. - Sapa-AFP

Hindustan Times 11 March 2002 Lawyers want temple, mosque in Ayodhya HT Correspondent (New Delhi, March 11) -- A lawyers' organisation on Monday moved the Supreme Court, seeking judicial intervention in constructing a Ram temple at the disputed site and a mosque elsewhere in Ayodhya to resolve the ongoing controversy. An intervention application filed by the United Lawyers' Front through its president Anis Suhrawardy said the court should constitute a committee comprising former chief justices, eminent jurists, journalists and people from the field of arts and culture to undertake the construction of the temple and the mosque in Ayodhya to uphold the country's secular fabric. It urged the court to hear its plea on March 13 along with another petition which sought army deployment in Ayodhya to foil any attempt of movement of temple construction material to the disputed site. The application said the apex court should restrain the government from succumbing to any pressure of either the VHP or the Babri Masjid Action Committee (BMAC). After filing the petition, Suhrawardy said the application has been listed for hearing on March 13, when the apex court hears the other petition filed by Mohd Aslam. On March 15, the Supreme Court will hear the third petition seeking contempt proceedings against VHP leaders and former UP CM Rajnath Singh for violating the status quo orders. Voicing concern over the prevailing situation in the country, the lawyers' body said Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists have played havoc that has led to the killing of innocents and destruction of property. "It appears that these fundamentalist groups belonging to both the communities have taken the centrestage in national politics and have also succeeded in influencing and pressuring the state machinery as per their dictates, deeds and desires," it said.

Hindustan Times 11 March 2002 HC dismisses plea The Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed a writ petition seeking a direction from the court for removing curbs on the movement of kar sewaks in Ayodhya on the ground that it lacked merit. A division bench comprising Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice U.S. Tripathi also imposed a symbolic cost of rupee one on the petition to be deposited within three days. PTI, Lucknow

PTI 12 March 2002 Misuse of voters list in Gujarat riots alleged AHMEDABAD: Allegations are being levelled in the minority circles here that there was a distinct pattern of "communal cleansing" in the recent riots in Gujarat.Read this story in... Hindi The manner in which the people of minority community, irrespective of their economic status, were attacked first raised suspicion about systematic misuse of voters list to identify and target them. Similarly, according to the victims, the licence and other relavant papers from the civic bodies were used to target the hotels and other business establishments owned by them. "All my five hotels including Renbasera meant for poor people were attacked, while three other hotels still stood," said a hotelier, who claims to have known Chief Minister Narendra Modi since his school days. There have been other such instances. According to some minority community people, during break-out of commual violence in the past also majority community hardliners had tried to get the minority community people ousted from colonies like Meghaninagar. "They succeeded to a large extent in 1985 violence, yet the posh Gulmohor Society was ours. Now, that's also gone," says one of them. Many minority community people alleged that the voters' list was virtually used as a killing tool as the mob, apparently angered over the Godhra massacre, went around different localities including in Ahmedabad, as part of "cleansing operation". "They hardly failed in laying their hands on their target, thanks to the documents like voters' list," said a police official adding "the mission was accomplished with clinical precision." This is for the "first time in the country" violence was carried out using documents like this, said the senior cop on condition of anonymity. "We saw ethnic problems in Assam or in Bhagalpur, but this kind of precision was not known elsewhere," he said. However, others say, "this game of using documents" was "not a Gujarati invention." "In Jammu and Kashmir, it was tried and tested in a more refined manner. Poor pandits just had to quit the state," said a local resident in one of the sensitive colonies apparently showing his approval for the violence. "The voters' list has certainly made their task easier and the motivated mob knew exactly who stayed where," said a woman inmate at Sanklitpur relief camp in Johopura.

India Express 13 Mar 2002 It wasn’t a conventional riot in Gujarat Eye of the media IF the Gujarat riots were the first televised riots, they were also the first when newspapers flouted with impunity the Press Council guideline that communities should not be named while reporting communal incidents. When the television camera focuses on a riotous mob or its victims, it leaves little to the imagination of the viewers. If, under such circumstances, newspapers have disregarded the old guideline, they can hardly be blamed. Now the question is, whether the freedom the Press has exercised in this regard has set a healthy precedent or not. What motivated the Council to impose such restrictions on the Press was the imperative to ensure that newspaper reports did not incite the people. Reasonable restrictions on the coverage of any sensitive issue are welcome but if they serve the purpose of the guilty, rather than the greater common good, they need to be reassessed. The ban on naming the communities was a fit case for review, although with the advent of television it has become redundant. Questions also remain whether the guidelines are applicable to the electronic media. Nonetheless, a debate on the role of the Press in communal riots is in the fitness of things, particularly when even responsible leaders like Law Minister Arun Jaitley have criticised the media for the kind of reporting it did on Gujarat. Of course, the argument that the violence in Gujarat would have been worse if the media, particularly electronic, had not aroused public opinion against the killing spree through focused and sustained reporting cannot be dismissed out of hand. There are, indeed, many people who blame the media for its coverage of the assassination of Indira Gandhi that ‘resulted’ in the killing of Sikhs in the Capital. The government-controlled electronic media with its mass reach not only identified the killers as Sikhs but even telecast scenes outside the prime minister’s residence of crowds shouting slogans like ‘khoon ka badla khoon’. Similarly, the alacrity with which Doordarshan brought visuals of the ‘first-ever’ puja in the disputed structure at Ayodhya into millions of homes was not within the bounds of responsible journalism. In sharp contrast, while reporting the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the second sentence in All India Radio’s news bulletin was that the killer was not a Muslim. Obviously, the editor wanted to nip all chances of rumour in the bud. It’s a different matter that, as per a study, within seven minutes of the gunning down of the Mahatma and even before Akashvani had confirmed the news, the report had by word of mouth reached almost every nook and cranny in the country. It’s said, until then, no news had spread faster than Gandhiji’s assassination in this manner. The ban on naming of communities never worked and, if at all it worked, it worked negatively. This can be illustrated by a report a national daily (not ours) carried a few years ago. That was the time when rumours were spread that Hindu patients in the Aligarh medical college were administered poison. The report said there was violence at a wayside station in Aligarh and a passenger was dragged out of the train and lynched to death. It did not name any of the communities involved. I heard two senior journalists discussing the report and coming to the conclusion that since it occurred at Aligarh, which is Muslim-dominated, it must have been the handiwork of Muslims. We had to wait for the next day’s report to know what had actually happened. The hapless passenger was one Shrivastava and he lost his life because he sported a beard. This is a specific example of strict adherence to the Press Council norm causing confusion and facilitating rumours. Truth becomes a casualty of such restrictions as I learnt when I went to cover the riots in Hazaribagh in April 1989. When asked which community suffered the most, a local reporter who took me round the riot-hit areas instantly said, ‘fifty-fifty’. He meant both the communities suffered in equal measure. The reports from the area had also given such an impression but when I visited the riot-hit areas, the relief camps and the police station where many of the ‘rioters’ were detained, I realised that an overwhelming majority of the victims belonged to a ‘particular community’. What’s worse, a majority of the people arrested by the police also belonged to the same community. The question was, how could someone be both the tormentor and the victim at the same time? Small wonder then that the common refrain among the victims was the highhandedness of the police. It was obvious the Press Council guideline did not serve any purpose. It only helped the police to cover up its nefarious role. I sent a memorandum to the Council suggesting that it review its guidelines. After a few weeks, I got a reply saying the matter was discussed at the Council’s meeting and it was decided that a review was not warranted. But as the Council rulings themselves show, some newspapers have in the past played a sinister role in communal incidents by passing off rumours as genuine news, publishing tendentious reports and exaggerated one-sided versions of incidents. Selectively identifying communities in incidents of violence, which has become routine even in the mainstream media, is equally dangerous. While the inquiry into Godhra will reveal whether it was a premeditated attack at the instance of Pakistan’s ISI or a spontaneous reaction, however heinous it may be, to extreme provocations, the reason why some people have blamed the media, particularly the electronic, is not far to seek. Journalists cannot easily forget the treatment kar sevaks meted out to them when they trained their cameras on the actual demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The purpose in Ayodhya then and Gujarat now was to destroy evidence. With the media documenting evidence, nobody in his senses can say that it was a ‘fifty-fifty’ affair in Gujarat. Even Newton’s third law that Chief Minister Narendra Modi quoted has been proved inappropriate. While Newton spoke only of ‘equal and opposite reaction’ what Gujarat witnessed was an unequal and grossly disproportionate reaction. It was not even an eye for an eye; it was ten eyes for one eye. That it was not a riot in the conventional sense but a pogrom against Muslims cannot be denied. However, it is not my contention that inverting the matrix of victims and perpetrators will serve the purpose. While the innocent Muslims suffered because they were Muslims, it will be highly improper to call the rioters Hindus. They are killers who deserve deterrent punishment. They may have done it in the name of religion but how does that explain the attack on General Motors? There were several instances when the ‘Hindu’ rioters looted ‘Hindu’ shops and establishments. They do not deserve any mercy and anybody speaking on their behalf is doing a great disservice to the country and the religion they claim to profess. .

The Hindu 25 March 2002 Opinion - News Analysis The need for a law against genocide By K.G. Kannabiran We have never given up our adherence to colonial administrative practices and the vocabulary used by them in the administration of the country. A Hindu-Muslim problem is communal and not a problem of religions. It has always been communal violence and not religious violence. Communal violence has always been a law and order problem and not something affecting public order or security of state. After Partition, Muslims were accorded minority status. Every communal riot was a political statement that the majority community is not willing to accede to the minority more than formal equality. The conflict may be triggered on grounds of lack of equal opportunities for livelihood and may also be on account of claiming equal status. At the bottom of all the violence is the claim and denial of equality by the contending groups in our society. Formally, there is no mention of the majority community religion in the Constitution though the name given to the country, i.e., Bharat is decidedly Hindu. We have not elected to name the Hindu religion as the state religion. We have constitutional oath for both believers and non-believers. We have given to ourselves the freedom of conscience and not provided, advisedly, security to religious institutions. We have, along with the freedom of conscience, given to ourselves freedom of speech, assembly and association so that these may be exercised to evolve, in the course of time, a culture of tolerance essential for a pluralistic society as ours. We had a reasonably well-written Constitution having a written agenda for social change but all the political and the constitutional institutions failed and a handful of men of superannuated eminence are now appointed for reviewing the Constitution to find out why it failed us. Over the years we have destroyed the moral and normative contents of the Constitution by interpretation given to it by judges and administrators. We were given the freedom of conscience but a change in religion entails civil consequence. This limitation was not provided for in the Constitution. Personal laws, declared the judges, were not subject to the Constitution. Our courts said we should have a common civil code to prevent Hindu husbands, inclined towards bigamy or polygamy, from opting for Islam! Hitherto, the inarticulate major premise has always been to maintain a low-profile Hindu state and that they managed to maintain despite repeated exposure by Dalits. As politics abandoned the philosophy of social transformation and became a gamble for power, people were categorised into vote-banks and capture of these vote-banks had to be on caste and communal lines. Secularism and democracy became the immediate casualties. With the disappearance of politics of social transformation, religion stepped into the slot. When V.P. Singh's Government was formed, the BJP unleashed its political agenda. The Ayodhya rath yatra and the anti-Mandal stir were the twin unconstitutional issues which brought down attempted democratic forms of Government in the country. The 1990 rath yatra was a galloping incitement to violence, which the Congress Government failed to control. It is ironical that mass support for the rath yatra came from the very classes against whom the anti-reservation stir was carried on. Narasimha Rao said he could fight the BJP but asked how he could fight Ram. This visual confusion denied him the strength to stem the onslaught of the Hindutva forces. They brought down the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Until then, Ayodhya was linked to the Ramayana. It is now known and will always be remembered for the Babri Masjid that stood there. The violence unleashed after the protest and violence by a few Muslims in Mumbai and other places is not rioting but unilateral killing of a few thousand Muslims. Every `maha arthi' held by Shiv Sainiks was a signal for a genocide in the area. It is no longer a communal riot. To call it so is an understatement. It is targeting a religious group. There are no provisions in the old penal code to cope with this kind of largescale violence and killings. Terrorists would not have killed as many people in 10 years as these religious brigands have in a week. Yet, we do not think of a special law to prevent targeting minorities. This has been happening to Muslims. Sikhs were slaughtered in 1984 and Christians are being targeted. The laws are such that they do not instil fear. It is time we stopped the massacres in the name of religion. There has to be a re-definition of religion and, meanwhile, we have to include genocide as an offence in a separate chapter in the POTO. Even if it is not passed, a law on genocide has to be tabled in Parliament. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide came into being on December 9,1948. Genocide is defined as killing members of a targeted group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children from one group to another. The offences indicated are genocide, the conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide; attempt to commit genocide and complicity to genocide. This is the international criminal law on genocide and it has, unfortunately, become necessary to translate this covenant into national law. When religious violence was unleashed in Gujarat, it was not spontaneous. It was not a backlash. The majority community was being prepared for such carnages. There was direct and public incitement to genocide. Shilanyas and the fixation of the date set the stage for this colossal genocide. There is complicity both at the Centre and the State. If we are not to end up in fascism what happened in Gujarat has to be identified as genocide. (The writer is the National President of the People's Union of Civil Liberties.) http://www.pucl.org/

Outlook India 27 Mar 2002 The Survivors Speak SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND THE MEDIA In many ways women have been the central characters in the Gujarat carnage, and their bodies the battleground. The Gujarati vernacular press has been the agent provocateur. The story starts with Godhra, where out of the 58 Hindus burnt, 26 were women and 14 children. But to really arouse the passions of the Hindu mob, death is not enough. Far worse than death is the rape of Hindu women — for it is in and on the bodies of these women that the izzat (honour) of the community is vested. So on February 28th, Sandesh, a leading Gujarati Daily, in addition to reporting the Godhra tragedy in provocative language, also ran a story on Page 1 saying the following: "10-15 Hindu women were dragged away by a fanatic mob from the railway compartment". The same story was repeated on Page 16 with the heading "Mob dragged away 8-10 women into the slums". The story was entirely false. The Police denied the incident, and other newspapers, including the Times of India could not find confirmation of this news. A day later, on March 1, 2002 Sandesh carried a follow-up to this false story on Page 16 with the heading — "Out of kidnapped young ladies from Sabarmati Express, dead bodies of two women recovered — breasts of women were cut off." [8][8] Violation of Hindu honour was now compounded by extreme sexual violence and bestiality. Both the abduction and the cutting of breasts were lies - totally baseless stories, which were denied by the Police. The fact-finding team was told that later Sandesh did publish a small retraction, buried in some corner of its pages. But the damage had been done. The murder and rape of Hindu women, emblazoned in banner headlines across the vernacular press became the excuse, the emotional rallying point, the justification for brutalizing Muslim women and children in ways not ever seen in earlier communal carnages. Unhonne hamari auraton aur bachchon par hamla kiya hai. Badla to lena tha (they have attacked our women and children we had to take revenge) — goes the sentiment of the angry Hindu. The newspaper literally became a weapon of war. According to a series of eyewitness accounts from Naroda Patia, the worst affected area in Ahmedabad, the mobs who attacked Muslim shops, homes, and brutalized Muslim women and children, were brandishing in their hands not only swords and stones, but copies of the Sandesh with the Godhra attack as the banner headline, shouting "khoon ka badla khoon" (blood for blood). This one false story about the rape and brutalizing of Hindu women has spread like wildfire across Gujarat, almost assuming proportions of folklore. It now rests easily in the annals of undisputed common knowledge, and cannot be dislodged. Where ever the fact-finding team went, we heard some version of this story, spreading through word of mouth, through the channels of overworked rumour mills — sometimes it was 10 Hindu women raped, sometimes it was 6 Hindu women — but the essential contours remained the same. In one place we heard details like "The Muslims took the Hindu women to their madrasa and gang-raped them there." Because the madrasa is the site of learning, raping women there projects the perpetrators as truly bestial men to whom nothing is sacred. In another village, "Hindu women" had been replaced by "Adivasi women" and this was given as the justification for Adivasi participation in the attacks on Muslims. When the fact-finding team met Aziz Tankarvi, editor of Gujarat Today, known to represent the Muslim voice’ He said clearly. "Murder ho jata hai, chot lagti hai, to aadmi chup sahan kar leta hai, lekin agar maa, behen, beti ke saath ziyadti hoti hai to voh jawaab dega, badla lega." (When someone is murdered you are hurt. But man can bear it quietly; it is when your mothers and daughters are violated, then he definitely responds, takes revenge). The fact that rape is perceived in this manner (as violating the honour of men, and not the integrity of women) is problematic in and of itself. What is particularly heinous is the fact that the Sandesh newspaper should fabricate stories of sexual violence, and use images of brutalized women’s bodies as a weapon of war; in terrible ways deliberately designed to provoke real violence against women from the Muslim community. What provocative lies a la Sandesh do, is to provide justification for the carnage — both in the minds of the mobs who carry out the violence, and in the minds of the general "Hindu" public which may be far removed from the site of the violence. Ironically while false stories about the rape of Hindu women have done the rounds, there has been virtual silence in the media, including in the English language papers, about the real stories of sexual violence against Muslim women. Barring Gujarat Today, none of the Gujarati vernacular papers has carried stories about the brutal, bestial ways in which Muslim women were raped and burnt. Even Gujarat Today, despite being sympathetic to the Muslim experience, could only supply us with one clipping where the brutal experience of rape has been written about. The Times of India, since the beginning of the carnage, until April 1,2002, carried only one story about rape. The excuse was March 8th, International Women’s Day (TOI, 9/3/02, "Women’s Day Means Nothing for Rape Riot Victims"). When members of the fact-finding team spoke to senior journalists in Ahmedabad, their explanation was that rape stories are provocative, and that in the early days of the violence, they had to play a socially responsible role, and not incite more violence. But in the weeks that followed, the Press has continued to do self-censorship about rape stories. We find that, yet again Muslim women are being victimized twice over. They have suffered the most unimaginable forms of sexual abuse during the Gujarat carnage. And yet, there is no one willing to tell their stories to the world. Women’s bodies have been employed as weapons in this war — either through grotesque image-making or as the site through which to dishonour men, and yet women are being asked to bear all this silently. Women do not want more communal violence. But peace cannot be bought at the expense of the truth, or at the expense of women’s right to tell the world what they have suffered in Gujarat. Scars On The Mind Saira age 12, Afsana, age 11, Naina, age 12, Anju, age 12, Rukhsat, age 9, Nilofer, age 10, Nilofer, age 9, Hena, age 11 They’re all survivors from the horrors of Naroda Patia in Ahmedabad where more than 80 people were burnt alive and many women raped and maimed in what is probably the worst carnage in the current spiral of violence. The girls are young and making sense of what they have seen and heard seems impossible. But they have been scarred for life, their trust in Hindus shattered. They speak of ‘evil Hindus’. The Hindu who burnt our home. The Hindu who didn’t let us escape. Some of them have seen with their eyes things no child should see. Others have only heard things. But they are still things no child should hear. "Hinduon ne bura kaam kiya"(Hindus have done ‘bad things’ — a euphemism for rape), they tell us, as their eyes shift uneasily. They look at each other as if seeking silent affirmation of what none of them really comprehended. Or, did they? "Balatkaar" (Rape) — they know this word. "Mein bataoon Didi" (Shall I tell you?), volunteers a nine year old, "Balatkaar ka matlab jab aurat ko nanga karte hain aur phir use jala deta hain." (Rape is when a woman is stripped naked and then burnt) And then looks fixedly at the floor. Only a child can tell it like it is. For this is what happened again and again in Naroda Patia — women were stripped, raped and burnt. Burning has now become an essential part of the meaning of rape. Hindus hate us, they say. Why? Because we celebrate all their festivals — we play Holi, we love patakas at Diwali, but the Hindus can’t celebrate our festivals. That’s why they’re jealous. So jealous that this year they did not even let us take out Tazia processions (in fact the decision to not allow tazia processions on the 10th of Moharram was taken by the Muslim community itself, for fear of violence). These girls became friends only in the camp, although they all grew up and lived in Naroda Patia. Now they will probably share a life-long unspoken bond of victim-hood. But they are children still. Resilient. Survivors. Their eyes still bright and curious. They even giggle occasionally, as they follow us around Shah-e-Alam, scampering easily over human beings scattered like debris around the relief camp. But will they ever forget? Will Naina, who once had scores of Hindu friends, have them again? Will she trust again? Venue: Shah-e-Alam Relief Camp, Ahmedabad Date: March 27, 2002 Courtesy: OUTLOOKindia.com


BBC 13 April, 2002, Violence returns to Gujarat The Gujarat violence has tarnished the image of the BJP Two people have been killed in renewed violence between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian city of Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat. It comes as partners in India's governing coalition decide whether to withdraw their support from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over its refusal to sack the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. They want to count votes over dead bodies Congress Party member Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi Mr Modi is accused of turning a blind eye when Hindu mobs went on the rampage in Gujarat last month in violence that resulted in the deaths of more than 700 people, most of them Muslims. If a significant number of parties withdraw their support for the BJP, it could lead to the fall of the government. Correspondents say the BJP's allies have also been upset by a speech by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in which he appeared to blame Muslims for provoking the violence. A BBC correspondent in Delhi says it was probably the most partisan speech of any prime minister since independence. A meeting of the BJP leadership on Friday urged Mr Modi to hold early elections in Gujarat, which has a Hindu majority - a move denounced by the opposition. Army called in A curfew has been imposed in the area of Ahmedabad where the two people were killed on Friday night. Vajpayee's speech was more hardline in tone Nearly 30 people were injured in the clashes, Reuters news agency reports, and the army has been called in to maintain order. A key ally of the BJP, the Telugu Desam Party, which holds nearly 30 seats in the lower house of the federal parliament, says it will decide on Sunday whether to withdraw its support for the BJP. It has been adamant that Mr Modi should be dismissed to avoid "eroding public confidence" in the government. Last month's violence in Gujarat started after Muslims attacked a train carrying hardline Hindus from the disputed holy site of Ayodhya in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Nearly 60 Hindu activists died in that attack. Shortly afterwards, a wave of Hindu-led rioting, burning and killing engulfed Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat. Thousands of Muslims are still homeless. Mr Modi's administration in Gujarat was heavily criticised by India's human rights commission for its handling of the riots, in which the police were seen to stand by as Hindu mobs killed Muslims. Muslims criticised The BJP's Hindu nationalist agenda has left many of its avowedly secular allies in the governing coalition uneasy. Mr Modi has become increasingly unpopular Prime Minister Vajpayee did little to dispel those fears in a speech on Friday which analysts say marks a return by him to a more hardline Hindu stance. "Hindus stay in millions but never hurt others' religious feelings," he told a three day summit of the BJP in the western city of Goa. "But where ever Muslims are, they do not want to stay peacefully." Mr Modi has still to decide whether to accept his party's advice to hold elections in Gujarat. Reuters quotes one BJP member as saying it would be a good time to hold elections, as Gujarat is now "burning with strong" Hindu revivalist fever. A senior member of the opposition Congress Party, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, said the timing was wrong. "They want to count votes over dead bodies," he said. The BJP summit, being held in Goa, was called to discuss the party's disastrous performance in a number of state elections in February, as well as widespread criticism in India of its handling of the Gujarat riots. [ Send this story to a friend | Easy-print version | Search archives ] A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL Torturers in America 4/12/2002 OR GOOD REASON, the US government has launched a global campaign against terrorists. President Bush has said the purpose of this struggle against criminals who murder and maim innocent civilians is to bring them to justice or bring justice to them. Viewed against the backdrop of the war on terrorism, a report issued this week by Amnesty International, ''United States of America: A Safe Haven for Torturers,'' suggests a blatant contradiction. The report documents case after case of the vilest killers and torturers living at liberty in this country, at times in proximity to their surviving victims. An awful question hovers over these accounts of torturers who come to America to hide from justice. How can it be that the United States - which proposes to teach the rest of the world lessons about the rule of law, respect for human rights, and protection of the individual against the overweening power of the state - makes so little effort to identify, prosecute, or extradite foreign torturers living here? When court cases are filed against foreign torturers, they are usually brought by immigrants who were victims, not by the US government. The case of Kemal Mehinovic, a Bosnian Muslim civilian who was tortured mercilessly for months in his hometown of Bosanski Samac in Bosnia, is representative. After surviving the brutality, Mehinovic was transferred to a concentration camp and eventually released in a prisoner exchange after 21/2 years of incarceration. He then found his family and emigrated to this country, where he was granted permanent residence. In 1998 Mehinovic learned that a man he remembered as one of his torturers, Nikola Vukovic, was living in a suburb of Atlanta. The same year, Mehinovic filed a lawsuit against Vukovic under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. A final ruling in that trial is pending. Similarly, Haitian refugees living in the United States have made the desolating discovery that torturers and death squad leaders from Haiti's former military dictatorship have found refuge here. Former top officers from El Salvador's military junta, suspects in the torture and murder of many Americans as well as Salvadorans, have also been discovered living in the United States, like those Nazi fugitives who found comfortable havens after World War II in Argentina, Bolivia, or Chile. One of the Guatemalan generals who supervised the genocidal massacres conducted there in the '80s even received a degree in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1991. It makes no sense to be tightening visa requirements and border security in the war on terrorism while such monsters can cross US borders and live here with impunity. This story ran on page A22 of the Boston Globe on 4/12/2002.

PTI 22 Apr 2002 Five killed in Ahmedabad violence; toll 26 PTI Ahmedabad, April 22 At least five persons, including a 30-year-old woman, were on Monday killed in police firing and 15 injured as fresh violence raged through Shahpur and Behrampur localities of Ahmedabad for the second successive day, taking the toll in riots in the city since Sunday to 26. A dozen houses and shops were set on fire in Khanpur and Nagoriward localities under Shahpur police station prompting authorities to impose indefinite curfew from 2 pm, police said. Two persons were stabbed and police opened fire to quell a rioting mob in its aftermath resulting in injuries to four at Gheekanta locality of Mirzapur. The Army was deployed in all sensitive areas of the walled city at 7.30 am. Two more companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were deployed in violence-affected areas of the city. Three persons were killed in police firing and nine others injured in Shahpur and Behrampura areas in fresh eruption of violence in the city on Monday afternoon. Earlier, four more persons succumbed to injuries on Sunday night. The army was deployed at 7.30 am on Monday to keep a check on any untoward incident, police said. Two more companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were also deployed in the affected areas of the city, they said. As many as 125 people received injuries in large-scale violence in Gomtipur, Bapunagar, Rakhiyal areas of the city, Kadi town of Mehsana district and Kapadvanj and Mehmdavad of Kheda district since yesterday, police said adding curfew continued in all the trouble-torn areas. At least 17 people were killed, 13 of them in police firing, yesterday and over 100 injured over last two days here and at Kheda and Mehsana districts in the state. In Ahmedabad, police fired 633 rounds and burst 382 teargas shells to countain the violence in city areas till late last night. Adequate security arrangements have been made to enable school and college students to appear for the on-going examinations, police added. India warns against criticism over Gujarat riots Palash Kumar

AFP 22 Apr 2002 New Delhi, April 22 India on Monday tried to stem growing international criticism of communal violence in riot-torn Gujarat state, saying it did not appreciate "interference" in its affairs. "We would like to make clear that India does not appreciate interference in our internal affairs, including the utilisation of the Indian media by foreign leaders as well as by visiting dignitaries to make public statements in order to pander to their domestic lobbies," foreign ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao told reporters. Rao was reacting specifically to an interview visiting Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomiojaa gave The Indian Express newspaper on Friday, in which he called the Hindu-Muslim violence in Gujarat "a matter of great concern." "The pictures of carnage are very disturbing," the minister said. "We are concerned, as we are when something of that nature happens anywhere in the world." India has lodged a protest with Finland through diplomatic channels, Rao said. A European Union fact-finding team has travelled to Gujarat and is expected to raise concern about the situation, according to Western diplomats in New Delhi. Rao said New Delhi would wait for the EU findings before giving a reaction. Rao said the international community needed to recognise how much India was doing to handle the situation in Gujarat. "We have the wherewithal to deal with the situation," she said. Asked if India would react similarly if the United Nations were to make an adverse comment on the situation, Rao said, "We will make it perfectly clear that the government of India is taking all the necesary steps to deal with the situation. "India is a pluralistic democracy... India has the resilience and capacity to deal with the situation. That must be recognised by the international community," she said.

Indian Express 25 Apr 2002 Grand conspiracy behind riots in Gujarat, says Sahmat report Express News Service New Delhi, April 25: SAHMAT released a comprehensive and updated report on the recent Gujarat carnage - Genocide 2002, in the city today. The report prepared by a Mumbai-based Communalism Combat, gives a background to the current situation starting with the Ayodhya buildup, the Godhra incident and the subsequent genocide across Gujarat. Holding the BJP-led government responsible for the situation in the state, Communalism Combat editor Teesta Seetalvad said the situation was still not under control and steps need to be taken to ensure minorities’ safety. ‘‘The government led by Narendra Modi is throwing up a new challenge to secularism everyday. The situation is still very bad and fresh incidents are reported daily,’’ said Seetalvad. Calling the Godhra carnage an unfortunate incident which needs to be condemned, she insisted that it should be viewed in the backdrop of events in the state over the last four years. ‘‘Though no provocation can justify the Godhra incident, those involved should be punished for it. However, the incidents should be viewed in the backdrop of the happening in the state since BJP came to power four years back and the row over the Ram Janmabhoomi issue.’’ The report released today starts with the recent quotes of the leaders of BJP, RSS and VHP with messages of communal hatred and moves to the event of February 27. The excerpts from a chapter on the Godhra carnage and the reasons for the same — ‘‘While no provocation whatsoever can justify a heinous crime like burning people to death. But the misconduct of kar sevaks is nonetheless important to record for two reasons: One, given the persistent hooliganism, where was the intelligence machinery? And why no preventive measures were taken by the police? Two, if the attack on the kar sevaks was pre-planned, as Chief Minister Modi and Union Home Minister L.K. Advani have maintained, was outrageous conduct of kar sevaks a part of the pre-planning?’’ In a chapter entitled ‘‘Mapping the Violence’’, the report says ‘‘Sixteen of Gujarat’s 24 districts were engulfed in one of the most organised armed mob attacks in February 2002. In some parts of Ahmedabad and Mehsana districts, they are still on the loose. Nowhere were the mobs less than two to three thousand, more often five to 10,000. This and the fact that they were armed with swords, trishuls and agricultural implements that could kill, the fact that the matter of arson, hacking and killings were chillingly similar, all suggested a carefully laid out plan behind the attacks.’’ She also spoke of the ‘‘vicious climate’’ that had been gradually building up through the publication of provocative pamphlets. And this did not happen overnight. The campaign with the help of pamphlets had been going on for nearly four years, the time the BJP government has been in power in the state. She flayed the regional media. The language press had behaved, she said, in an extremely partisan manner and had even egged on citizens of the majority community to take up arms.

Financial Times (UK) 26 Apr 2002 West labels 900 deaths in Indian riots genocide By Edna Fernandes in New Delhi India's worst race riots in a decade, in which nearly 900 people, mostly Muslims, have died, were on Friday described by western diplomats as genocide. It is the first time foreign observers have issued such a damning verdict on the recent communal violence in the western state of Gujurat, in which there have been mass killings of the minority Muslim community by Hindu mobs. The criticism came at the end of a week of tense relations between India and the diplomatic community in Delhi. On Friday new curfews were imposed on parts of Ahmedabad, Gujurat's largest city, after fresh Hindu-Muslim clashes. Many of the latest casualties were caused by police firing as the authorities struggled to break up gangs of Hindus and Muslims hurling stones and acid at each other. A spokesman for a group of senior western diplomats told the Financial Times the Gujurat killings were not just an internal matter for India but also a human rights issue of international concern. He rejected comments by Atal Behari Vajpayee, the prime minister, that foreigners should not interfere in the Gujarat troubles, which have damaged his Hindu-nationalist BJP-led government. Findings of several reports from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, leaked to the media, said there was evidence of pre-planned killings of Muslims, that the BJP state government was complicit in the killings and that the death toll might be more than 2,000. The leaked findings echo investigations by non-governmental organisations and human rights groups that have accused the state government of complicity in the killings of Muslims. Relations between India and the diplomatic community hit a low last week when three ambassadors were rebuffed in an attempt to present concerns to Jaswant Singh, India's foreign minister. One western diplomat involved said: "We see this as stonewalling and a sign of bad conscience. "As for India's insistance that Gujarat is an internal matter, that's a specious argument. It's not an internal matter. It's genocide."

Milli Gazette (Indian Muslims' Leading English Newspaper -bimonthly) 27 April 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 India’s 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 Hindustan 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 don’t 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. Don’t 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.

Milli Gazette 27 Apr 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 India’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 India’s 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 Minister’s 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 PM’s 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 Clinton’s 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. www.milligazette.com


PTI (Press Trust of India) May 2, 2002 India has not signed statutes of new world criminal court New Delhi - India has not signed the statutes of the proposed International Criminal Court, which is expected to come into existence by next year, due to certain reservations, Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) was informed on Thursday. "India has not signed the statutes of the Court because of certain reservations on principles," Federal Law Minister Arun Jaitley said in reply to a question. As many as 66 countries have ratified the Treaty for setting up of the new permanent Court which will have jurisdiction over crimes like those against humanity, genocide and war crimes, he said. The United States has not ratified the statutes of the Court, Jaitley said, adding Britain and Northern Ireland had ratified the Treaty on October four last year.

BBC 14 May 2002, Seven killed in Kashmir attack At least seven people are reported killed after Muslim militants fired on a bus near Jammu, in Indian-administered Kashmir, and attacked a nearby Indian army camp. The attack coincided with the visit to Delhi of US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca which is aimed at cooling tensions between India and Pakistan. "Seven bodies have been brought out so far. The encounter is still on," a police official told Reuters news agency. The Press Trust of India (PTI) said a group of three or four militants had fired on a bus and then stormed the army camp at Kaluchak, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Jammu. The report said explosions could be heard from inside the camp and police and commandos were helping to track down the militants it described as a "suicide squad". The bus had been travelling from the northern state of Himachal Pradesh to Jammu, the report said.


 PTI 11 June 2002 US panel slams Gujarat govt over riots PTI WASHINGTON: The Indian government came under attack for its alleged "incompetence and indifference" to the Gujarat riots, by a statutory body advising the US administration, which also condemned the Gujarat government for its alleged complicity in "genocide, ethnic cleansing and pogrom" directed at Muslims. A hearing of United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, chaired by Commissioner Felice Gaer, said that the accounts of a thousand people being killed in clashes because of their religious identity is cause enough for the commission to be concerned. "In addition, however, we are also concerned about several recent reports which suggest that the government of Gujarat and some members of the police force may have been implicated in the violence in that state. The commission is very concerned that the US has not spoken out forcefully against the attacks on Muslims in Gujarat", she said. Najid Hussain of the University of Delaware, the first witness, said "the violence in Gujarat was not because of Hinduism. It was the result of extremism, which is a religion in itself". He said, that "the government of Gujarat did not just give a tacit approval to the perpetrators of the violence against muslims but connived in the pogrom". Another witness, Fr. Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit priest of Gujarat, said the volence in Gujarat was in fact the highlight of several months and years of attacks on minorities and other vulnerable communities. Robert Hathaway, executive director at the Wilson Centre, said there are credible reports that "local officials in Gujarat failed to act to protect victims of communal violence--indeed that the authorities deliberately encourged such violence by looking the other way". Hathaway and Sumit Ganguly of the university of Texas, another major witness, suggested that in view of the growing importance of US-India relations, the US will be more effective in quiet deplomacy than in publicly "hectoring and lecturing" to India on communal harmony. Hathaway said Ambassador Robert Blackwill, should "demonstrate our concern for the Hindu victims of intolerance as well. But since the vast majority of the Gujarat victims have been Muslim, it is especially important that America's senior diplomat in India be seen as demonstrating a particular concern about the fate and future of this community". Members also expressed concern that extremist organizations in India were geting funding from Indian communities in the US and UK.

Guardian UK Comment -- Have we learnt nothing from Rwanda? If the UN doesn't act over India and Pakistan, it will have another genocide on its hands Observer Worldview Charles Glass Sunday June 9, 2002 The Observer India and Pakistan are at war. A million troops stand mobilised on either side of the 1972 line of control that separates the two countries in Kashmir. Civilians on both sides are dying in artillery exchanges. Pakistani-armed militants have attacked Indian troops and civilians in India. Pakistan and India have, by international consensus, at least 200 nuclear warheads between them. If ever the United Nations Security Council had the obligation to invoke Article 34, calling for investigation of disputes 'likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security', this must be it. So what is happening at the UN? An emergency session, urgent discussions, formation of a peacekeeping force, proposed sanctions for the two parties if they escalate the conflict? Not exactly. A Reuters report conveys the urgency: 'Security Council members agree India and Pakistan's dispute over Kashmir should be left to bilateral diplomatic efforts outside of the UN, Syrian Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe said on Tuesday.' The UN is abdicating its legal role. In its place, bilateral diplomacy permits the threat of nuclear war to grow. The UN Charter allows any state (Article 35) or the Secretary General (Article 99) to place any threat to international peace before the Security Council. No one has done so. Instead, the United States has sent a Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, and is sending Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss the conflict with the leaders of Pakistan and India. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has invited Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Moscow. Britain has sent emissaries. But there has been no concerted international effort to end the latest small-scale war or to prevent a nuclear exchange that would kill millions in both countries. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Britain among them, are not invoking international law to protect civilians from what will be a genocide. American diplomacy is having as much effect on India as President George Bush's admonition to Ariel Sharon earlier this year to withdraw his forces from Palestinian territory 'immediately', 'at once' and 'without delay'. If Bush cannot influence a country that the US subsidises with more than $3 billion a year, why should the Indians and Pakistanis listen to him? If the US has no influence, what can little Britain or emasculated Russia do? At the UN, the US, Russia, China and the rest of the world could work together to force an agreement on two leaders who fear losing face more than than they fear the destruction of their countries. Security Council resolutions of 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1972 established a framework for resolving the dispute over Kashmir. The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, first deployed in 1949, remains in position to become a larger, stronger force that could help both sides to police the border. Pakistan must prevent infiltration of India and close its insurgent bases. India should be made to respect UN resolutions calling for a referendum in Kashmir. Britain's India Act of 1947 gave the Kashmiris the right to choose to be part of India or part of Pakistan. Evolution of Kashmiri opinion since means that any referendum must allow for a third option: independence. The only international forum that could force a referendum is the UN. It can impose an arms embargo and other sanctions on India and Pakistan if they ignore UN resolutions. The UN is missed a similar opportunity to prevent the planet's last act of genocide in Rwanda in 1994. President Clinton did not want the UN to intervene. He feared that invoking the UN's Genocide Convention would mean sending American troops again to Africa in the aftermath of the Somalia débcle. The UN commander in Rwanda, Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, had 2,500 troops. He pleaded with the chief of peacekeeping in New York for another 3,000, plus armoured cars and other protective equipment, to prevent the genocide that his informants assured him was on the way. His UN force was so ill-prepared that General Dallaire cabled to the UN: 'They [UN troops] will hand over these local people for inevitable killing rather than use their weapons to save local people.' The local UN commander in Kigali, Belgian Colonel Luc Marchal, told me later: 'I still have the feeling that we were in a desert... during weeks and weeks, we were crying and nobody answered us.' More than 800,000 Rwandans were butchered by Hutu extremists using rifles, machetes and knives. The US, Belgium and France were informed about conditions in Rwanda. So was the head of UN peacekeeping, Kofi Annan. Neither Annan nor the US ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, informed the UN or called for an emergency session. Annan became UN Secretary General. Albright was appointed Secretary of State by Bill Clinton, who went on to win a second term of office. The lesson was: keep quiet, ignore genocide and win promotion. Rwandans killed nearly a million of their own with primitive weapons. How many more can Vajpayee and Musharraf kill with their armouries of mass destruction? What precedent will UN inaction now set for other countries - Russia, China or Israel - considering the quick fix of an atomic bomb or two? Perhaps times have not changed all that much. On Armistice Day in 1948, American General Omar Bradley lamented: 'Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.'

BBC 21 June, 2002, Gujarat refugees told camps will close Many Muslims have no homes to go back to By Jill McGivering BBC correspondent in Delhi In the city of Ahmedabad in the Indian state of Gujarat, there is growing concern for thousands of Muslims still sheltering in makeshift camps almost four months after fleeing from their homes. Ahmedabad saw much violence during the riots The government says it will close the relief camps by the end of June but many of the people there either have nowhere to go or are too frightened to leave. About 150,000 Muslims took refuge in compounds attached to schools and mosques after religious violence broke out in late February. Most have left, but the fate of those still seeking shelter has become uncertain. The government says the camps must close when it stops supplies of water and food. Nowhere to go As another incentive, some food rations will be continued to help people who go back home. Many people are still homeless Many camp organisers are also trying to persuade people to leave. Some are said to be overwhelmed by how long this crisis has lasted. What was envisaged as a short-term need for shelter and sanctuary has become a long-term commitment, made all the more difficult by the onset of the monsoon rains. But some non-government groups working with the displaced people say they simply do not have homes left to return to and need more support. Many Muslim homes and businesses were burned down and possessions looted. Financial help The government is giving compensation to victims of the riots, but some Muslims complain it is too little. One man said it was not even enough to buy plastic sheeting to protect a family from the rain. As well as practical difficulties, those working with the displaced people say there is still a mood of fear and insecurity despite assurances from the government that they are safe. There is also disagreement about how many people are still in the camps. Government officials say there are fewer than 19,000, but many local journalists put the figure at almost 50,000.


BBC 16 July, 2002 Kashmir massacre suspects 'innocent' The killings of the men led to massive protests Five men killed by the Indian security forces in Kashmir two years ago were innocent civilians and not foreign militants, the state authorities say. The security forces said after killing the men that they were foreign militants from a Pakistani-backed group who had carried out a massacre of 35 Sikhs. But Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah told the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly that DNA tests on the remains of the men proved that they were local residents of Anantnag district in Indian-administered Kashmir as claimed by their relatives. Their families had insisted all along that they had been killed in a fake encounter after being arrested by the security forces. Probe ordered Farooq Abdullah said he would be asking India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into the killing of the men. He said he also wanted them to conduct a probe into local officials responsible for DNA samples that were sent for analysis to laboratories elsewhere in India. The samples were only taken after huge protest demonstrations in Kashmir forced the authorities to exhume the bodies of the men in order to establish their identity. It subsequently turned out that the samples had been tampered with and fresh DNA had to be collected in April this year. The massacre of the 35 Sikhs was one of the worst acts of violence against civilians in Kashmir during the history of the insurgency against Indian rule. It occurred on the eve of a high-profile visit to India by the then US president, Bill Clinton. The security forces blamed it on the Pakistan-backed Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group. Human rights activists and Kashmiri groups have long accused the security forces of staging fake encounters, in which innocent civilians are killed. The army always says it looks into such allegations. Militant groups in Kashmir are fighting to end Indian rule in the territory.


PTI 18 Aug 2002 Alert along Indo-Bhutan border Kolkata, Aug 18. (PTI): An alert has been sounded along the Indo- Bhutan border in North Bengal after yesterday's KLO attack on CPI(M) activists at Dhupguri which claimed five lives. "An alert has been sounded along the Indo-Bhutan border in Jalpaiguri district and along the West Bengal-Assam border. CRPF personnel, with nearly 100 commandos, are patrolling the border areas," the sources said. Four persons were detained for interrogation after some cartridges were recovered from them, the police said adding their possible connection with the incident is being investigated. The Chief Minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, has asked the DGP to make an on-the-spot study of the situation in Dhupguri, they said. Earlier in the day, senior police officials held a meeting at the State secretariat to take stock of the situation following the massacre and to work out the next course of action. Asked whether the CID would investigate the incident, they evaded a direct reply, saying, "agencies of the police are at it".

Dawn (Pakistan) 19 August 2002 Arundhati blames bigots for tension in S. Asia By Bahzad Alam Khan KARACHI, Aug 18: Award-winning author and social activist Arundhati Roy criticized on Sunday the Indian government for using the Kashmir issue as a device to divert the people's attention from more pressing issues, such as the state-sponsored pogrom in Gujarat. Speaking at a seminar which was held to mark the formal launch of a newspaper, Daily Times, Ms Roy also took the Pakistan government to task. "What right does the government of Pakistan have to say that it wants freedom for Kashmir when it cannot give freedom to its own people?" Ms Roy, whose novel The God of Small Things catapulted her to stardom when it received the Booker Prize in 1997, said: "Successive governments in India have not sought to resolve the Kashmir issue at all. It is their perennial solution. It is a rabbit they pull out of their hats whenever they want to distract attention of the people from major issues." As thousands of people hung on Ms Roy's every word, she said that following a military standoff between India and Pakistan some months back, when foreigners had flown out and war correspondents had flown in, a lot of people had asked her whether or not she would leave the country. She said: "I used to wonder where I would go. I used to think where I could buy a new life. I am certain that the reason why war talk started in India was that the government wanted to take world attention away from Gujarat." She observed that the Indian government shamelessly supported Narendra Modi "who oversaw the genocide in Gujarat." She said: "In India very, very often I am denounced by religious extremists who, I have to say, bear a strong affinity with the ideals held by religious bigots here in Pakistan. Religious bigots are more interested in bigotry than their religion." She said: "As I watch the bigots increase their religious rhetoric against women, I just want to tell them, 'You don't know what you are missing, boys." As the crowd broke into peals of laughter, she added that "they do not know what joy there is in equal companionship." Ms Roy noted that all those who spoke against social justice and displacement of 33 million people by dams were labelled as anti-national in India. In a voice cracking with emotion, she said that if she received prior information that India was going to fire a nuclear missile at Pakistan, she would come here to receive it. Ms Roy underlined the need for scaling up interaction between the peoples of India and Pakistan. She also read out excerpts from her essay The End of Imagination. Earlier, the editor of The Hindu, N. Ram, deplored the rise of the Hindu right in India. "The first act of the BJP-led coalition after coming to power was to hijack India's nuclear policy, obliging Pakistan to follow suit." The editor of The Indian Express, Shekhar Gupta, regaled the audience with his lighthearted comments. He said: "While India is an imperfect democracy, Pakistan is an imperfect dictatorship. India has not been able to achieve the level of prosperity a genuine democracy would have acquired. Similarly, Pakistan has not sunk into the depth of chaos a genuine dictatorship would have got a country into." He said: "After the Kargil episode, the Bhartiya Janata Party leaders looked like fools. They were rescued by Sonia Gandhi." Shahrayar M. Khan, Pakistan's former foreign secretary, enumerated the factors "which have restricted freedom in Pakistan and India." He said: "First, extreme poverty. We have 50 million people living below the poverty line. Second, the legacy of history. Third, the exploitation of religion for political and other narrow purposes." He said that both Pakistan and India could resolve these issue only if there was peace on their borders. The president of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, Hameed Haroon, said that the club of South Asian activists was not as large as it should be. He said: "We should enlarge this club - not necessarily into a movement because most of us are too refined to join a movement." He stressed the need for taking into account the aspirations of the Kashmiri people while formulating policies which governed relations between India and Pakistan. The editor of the Daily Times, Najam Sethi, read out the mission statement of the newspaper. Former politician Salman Taseer also spoke on the occasion.


PTI 9 Sept 2002 Five Hindus massacred in Rajouri Press Trust of India Jammu, September 9: Continuing their attacks on civilians in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, militants killed five Hindus, and injured another in a village in this district on Sunday night, official sources said in Jammu on Monday. The sources said a group of unidentified militants came to Dodasan-pain village in Thanamandi Tehsil between 2000 hours-2100 hours on Sunday night.

Times of India 17 Sept 2002 Communal violence flares in Borsad, 1 killed BORSAD, Anand: Curfew was clamped in Borsad in Anand district on Tuesday after one person was killed in police firing as communal violence, triggered by an accident, flared up late on Monday. While the police fired 22 rounds on Tuesday morning in the Chokshi Bazaar and Rabadi Chakla areas, 11 rounds were fired at Kasipura, where the trouble began, late on Monday. Indefinite curfew was clamped on Tuesday morning and Ahmedabad range IG Kuldip Sharma toured the troubled areas. Thirty-five-year-old Shiraz Vohra was killed in police firing on Tuesday, while another person, Mukesh Shah, sustained serious stab injuries. Seventeen police personnel were injured, including Borsad inspector G I Goswami. Two shops and a house were also set on fire. The state administration may have made claims about normalcy, but it took a minor accident - a scooterist hitting a boy - to start a riot. The scooter was being driven by a member of the minority community, while the boy belonged to the majority community. The incident took place at Kasipura, an area bordering Hindu-dominated Ram Padpadi and Syed Tekra, an area with a strong Muslim population. "As soon as the boy was hit, stones began raining from Ram Padpadi area," said social worker Manabhai Malek of nearby Rabadi Chakla. Eyewitnesses said that the area was soon transformed into a battlefield with members of both the communities pelting stones till police intervened and fired in the air. The scooter was set ablaze. The area continued to simmer through the night and resulted in another outburst around 9 am on Tuesday when Mukesh Shah was stabbed while performing 'aarti' at a temple in Chokshi Bazaar. The stabbing led to yet another round of stone-pelting and a mob set a shop and a house on fire before police resorted to firing. "While Monday's incident was triggered by an accident, it was a stabbing incident that brought about renewed tension in Borsad on Tuesday. We clamped curfew as soon as clashes began and the situation is under control. A strong bandobast has been made as the immersion of Ganpati idols is slated for Friday. We are trying our best to ensure that the immersion goes off peacefully," Anand SP B D Vaghela told Times News Network. Borsad, which had witnessed communal violence during the peak of the post-Godhra riots, turned into a ghost town once again on Tuesday with desolate streets, lined with empty Ganpati pandals, being manned by police personnel as people peeked out of their houses.

Dawn (Pakistan) 19 Sept 2002 Scholars blame upper caste for Gujarat massacre By Our Correspondent TORONTO, Sept 18: A gathering of prominent university professors and intellectuals has called upon international organizations dealing with human rights to explore all avenues to bring the perpetrators of Gujarat genocide to justice. The Canada-based South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) arranged a day-long forum on 'Genocide in Gujarat' in Vancouver with speakers, mostly Indian Canadians, regretting that the Gujarat tragedy has created a negative impact on peace prospects in the subcontinent. Nishrin Jafri, daughter of a Congress leader from Ahmedabad, Ehsan Jafri, who was murdered in the clashes, also spoke on the occasion. She gave a moving account of what happened to her father and other members of her family. Other speakers pointed out that the Bharatya Janata Party (BJP), along with other Sangh Parivaar organizations like RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), had succeeded in winning over upper caste Hindus during the eighties. They said the upper caste was particularly strong in Gujarat, which has become a BJP stronghold. Prof Radhika Desai of University of Victoria, Canada, gave an incisive perspective of the rise of Hindu extremism in India, in general, and in Gujarat, in particular. She said there was nothing surprising about this: rather, it was the coming together of BJP's ideology and strategy, on the one hand, and the political inclination of India's predominantly Hindu elite. Radhika drew the participants' attention towards the fact that there has been a regular pattern to the communal riots in Gujarat, where the properties and businesses of the minorities are destroyed systematically. She said this socio-economic factor had provided a very fertile ground for the massive ideological and political growth of Hidutva. Professor Mordecai Briemberg of Canada Palestine Network provided a global perspective of genocides and crimes against humanity. He said these crimes were committed because the other side was deemed to be less than human. He analysed the happenings in Gujarat in the perspective of the ongoing violence in Palestine. Dr Sharma, Professor Emeritus at the Simon FraserUniversity, held the government responsible for not intervening immediately to stop the massacre in Gujarat. Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed of Stockholm University spoke about the negative impact of the Gujarat massacres on peace in the Sub-continent and also on the entire world. Dr Laurie King-Irani of University of Victoria discussed the many avenues that could be explored to bring to trial the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Gujarat. Earlier, the President of SANSAD, Dr Hari Sharma, said the aims and objectives of his organization were to draw the world's attention to crimes against humanity. The delegates passed a resolution which said those responsible for the genocide in Gujarat must be brought to justice within the legal framework of India.

PTI 19 Sept 2002 GUJARAT-CPM Centre shamelessly justifying violence agst minorities: CPI(M) NEW DELHI, SEP 19 (PTI) CPI(M) today said the "arbitrary" transfer of top Gujarat intelligence officials showed the "scant respect" with which BJP holds the constitutional authority and rule of law and accused the Centre of "shamelessly justifying" violence against minorities in the state. "The Vajpayee government, instead of intervening in the situation to protect communal harmony in the state, is shamelessy justifying the state-sponsored genocide of Muslims in Gujarat," the party Polit Bureau said in a statement. Expressing surprise that NDA partners were "keeping mum even while BJP is seeking to disrupt the unity of the country", it said "if these parties do not rise to the occasion and come forward to check the rising tide of communalism and fundamentalism, their secular credentials will be in doubt". The CPI(M) said the "objective reports" of these officials had helped Election Commission understand the ground realities in the state. It asked all secular and patriotic forces to realise the gravity of the situation "created by highly anti-Muslim provocative statements made by Narendra Modi, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders" and come out resolutely against the threat to India's secular traditions and national integrity.

PTI 21 Sept 2002 MCC kills six persons in Jharkhand Press Trust of India Ranchi, September 21 The ultras of the Maoists Communist Centre (MCC) killed six persons and injured a few others while they were cutting firewood in a forest in Jharkhand's Hazaribagh district on Friday. While the Chauparan police station sources, under which the incident occurred, today said the victims were beaten to death, the DGP control room sources here said four persons were fired upon by the ultras. The incident, which happened in a forest between Asnachua and Bokhra villages, came to light when one of the injured, Prabhu Singh, managed to escape from the clutches of the extremists and reported to villagers about the massacre. The victims were identified as Matki Bhuyan of Banno village, Mandev Bhuian of Pathalgarh, Sushil Singh, Kripal Singh, Khadagdhari Sav and Doblu Singh all of Igunia village. The police have launched a massive hunt to apprehend the ultras.

PTI 22 Sept 2002 Curfew continues in riot-hit Gujarat town Ahmedabad, The curfew imposed in Borsad town of Anand district in central Gujarat on Tuesday last following group clashes and subsequent police firing in which one person was killed, continued for the sixth day on Sunday even though the situation in the troubled-torn town remained peaceful and under control, police said. The town on Monday last witnessed a clash between members of two communities, who hurled crude bombs at each other, prompting the police to open fire. Indefinite curfew was imposed in the town since Tuesday morning. However, in a fresh bout of violence on Tuesday, some shops were set ablaze by frenzied mobs in the town, forcing police to lob teargas shells and fire 22 rounds, in which one person was killed and three others sustained injuries. Twenty-six policemen and fire brigade personnel were also injured in stone-pelting by the rampaging mobs.

PTI 23 Sept 2002 Stop Modi's minority-bashing, Muslim league leader tells PM Thiruvananthapuram, September 23: Indian Union Muslim League General Secretary E. Ahmed, MP, asked the Prime Minister on Monday to restrain Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from "creating communal hatred" through "anti-minority speeches" during his Gaurav Yatra, if necessary by invoking penal provisions. "Modi should be stopped from indulging in anti-minority campaign. If necessary, the provisions in the Indian Penal Code meant to check spread of communal hatred should be invoked," Ahmed told reporters here.

PTI 24 Sept 2002 VHP dares Maharashtra govt to ban Bajrang Dal VHP on Monday said it would oppose 'tooth and nail' any move by the Maharashtra Government to ban it and its youth wing Bajrang Dal. "We are only engaged in creating awareness among Hindus in a constitutional and democratic way. We are neither violent nor anti-national", VHP Central Secretary and spokesman Veereshwar Dwivedi said. Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Kripashanker Singh had said on Monday that the state government was likely to initiate moves to ban Bajrang Dal and VHP in the state in the wake of the violence in Gujarat. Dwivedi said the Sangh Parivar outfit would oppose tooth and nail any move to ban the two organisations.

Reuters 24 Sept 2002 Kashmir election violence toll rises to 527 SRINAGAR: More than 520 people, mostly separatist rebels, have been killed since Kashmir's state election was announced at the beginning of August, according to official figures. Police said a militant was killed on Tuesday after an overnight siege, taking the death toll to 527. Before Tuesday's casualty, officials had broken the toll down into 262 guerrillas, 147 civilians, 86 security personnel and 31 political activists, including the state law minister. Jammu and Kashmir's main cities of Srinagar and Jammu, as well as the adjacent district of Budgam, voted on Tuesday in the second of four rounds of voting for a new assembly in the Himalayan state at the centre of a tense confrontation between India and Pakistan. Muslim rebels have vowed to kill anyone involved in the elections that separatist political groups say are no substitute for a U.N.-mandated plebiscite to decide whether Kashmir should stay with India or be merged with Pakistan. An extra 40,000 security personnel have been brought in to secure the state for the election. More than 35,000 people have died in the 13-year rebellion against Indian rule -- more than 2,000 this year alone.

Times of India 24 Sept 2002 10 die as terrorists attack Gujarat temple, siege on BHARAT DESAI GANDHINAGAR: About 10 persons were killed and another 50 injured in a deadly attack by terrorists on the Akshardham temple complex on the outskirts of the state capital of Gujarat on Tuesday evening. Most of the victims were believed to be children. Two armed terrorists entered the sprawling Akshardham temple complex at around 4.45 pm and started shooting indiscriminately at the visitors. The exact count of the casualties was not known but eye-witnesses reported several bodies of those dead and injured being taken out of the temple complex. The injured were rushed to the Gandhinagar civil hospital. A contingent of the Rapid Action Force entered the temple complex about 45 minutes after the attack and gunshots could be heard by those who gathered at the site on hearing the news. The entire temples complex was barricaded and cordoned off even as a ‘Red Alert’ was sounded all over Gujarat. Securitymen also took positions in and around the VVIP enclave, located just a couple of kilometres from the temple , which houses the residences of the state ministers and top officials. Police sources said the attack was in all probability a retaliation to the communal riots which took place in Gujarat earlier this year. The Home Secretary S Nityanandam said "we do not have the details yet, but we believe there are two terrorists inside the temple complex". State health minister Ashok Bhatt said that 15 of the injured persons had been brought to the hospital. Hirabhai Solanki, who is the brother of Gujarat minister Purushottam Solanki, and was present at the spot when the attack took place, said he fired at the terrorists with his private weapon when the shoot-out started. Solanki’s clothes were soaked in blood as he tried to move the injured persons to safety. "I believe there are at least 3 or 4 terrorists inside", he said. The temple belongs to one of the Swaminarayan sects and had been visited, among others, by the former American president Bill Clinton after the earthquake last year. Akshardham was set up by followers of Lord Swaminarayan, who lived from AD 1781-1830. The Akshardham temple: http://www.akshardham.com/


Al-Ahram (Egypt) 3 - 9 October 2002 Issue No. 606 Gandhi's legacy betrayed India was thrown into chaos last week as another spate of communal violence gripped Gujarat. Murad Bukhari wonders if this is just the tip of the iceberg. Gujarat Special Police stand guard on the lawn of Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar where 31 people were killed and 70 injured in a terrorist attack on 25 September Gujarat was the homeland of Mohandas Gandhi, a man of supreme religious tolerance and possibly the greatest pacifist of the 20th century. Yet, in recent times, it has seen some of the worst communal and inter-religious violence in India's post- Independence history. On the evening of Tuesday, 24 September, the flames of communal violence erupted once more. This time at the 23 acre Akshardham Swaminarayan Temple Complex in Gandhinagar, the state's capital. According to one eyewitness, two armed Muslims walked into the complex, spraying bullets indiscriminately. Thirty- one were killed and scores more injured in the ensuing melee. Shots, screams and explosions pierced the usually calm and serene evening air. After a siege lasting 12 hours, the two were finally shot dead by government commandos. The following morning the site of the massacre was littered with the human debris of the dead and wounded. Blood stained the walls of the temple and its, normally pristine, sandstone walls were riddled with bullets. In a temple that normally bustled with the faithful, the silence was deafening. Although the Indian government was quick to suggest a Pakistani hand in the killings, the rhetoric was soon replaced by calls for calm and national unity. Fearing yet more communal violence in the aftermath of the massacre, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, stressed "the trend of killings and counter-killings in Gujarat must stop and the people of Gujarat should fight terrorism by peace and harmony." However, the reaction of Hindu nationalist leaders and groups, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has sought to divide, rather than unify, India's diverse polity. In the past, Modi has been accused of manipulating communal tension between Muslims and Hindus to bolster his own hard-line position on Gujarat's Muslim minority. Indeed, many blame him, albeit indirectly, for inciting the anti-Muslim riots that took place in the aftermath of February's Godhra train massacre. Some say that Modi, a member of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been playing the hard-line Hindu card for the upcoming Gujarat state elections. However, Outlook India magazine has quoted one BJP leader as saying that before the temple massacre Modi's political position was looking tenuous, but now "Narendrabhai [Modi] need only sit back and relax. The elections are already won." Other Hindu nationalists have also been engaged in inflammatory rhetoric since last Tuesday. Despite mounting evidence that the temple massacre was carried out in revenge for the treatment of Muslims in the aftermath of Godhra, the World Hindu Council has steadfastly demanded that action be taken against Pakistan. BL Sharma, of the Council said, "there can be no peace in India as long as Pakistan exists. We demand that the government end its inaction." Even when evidence that the massacre was an act of revenge seems compelling, the Hindu nationalists are intransigent. When confronted with notes carried by the two perpetrators of the massacre stating that they were seeking revenge for the post-Godhra massacres of Muslims, Chief Minister Modi stated "they carried the notes knowing well that there are people willing to buy this story. They know what sells." The two identical notes, written in Urdu, identify the two as members of the Tehreek-e-Kasas (Movement for Revenge) and categorically state, "we will never rest in peace if we do not take revenge for the killings of our people." It seems that, if this was a revenge attack, Gujarat's BJP government might be implicated for its inaction, amounting to tacit approval of anti-Muslim riots in the aftermath of Godhra. It would also have to shoulder the responsibility for not ensuring adequate security at Hindu temples. Far simpler to blame Pakistan. But how has communal violence in Gujarat affected relations between Hindus and Muslims in the rest of India? Aakif Merchant, a Muslim student in India's cosmopolitan financial hub, Bombay, feels that Muslims reap what they sow. He believes that India's under-educated and economically unsuccessful Muslim community has been increasingly radicalised and infiltrated by pro-Pakistani propaganda. This has coloured the way Hindus view Muslims. "Hindus do look at Muslims with great suspicion and link them to Pakistan, now more so than ever before." He believes that the only way forward is through the education and economic development of India's Muslim minority. "At the grassroots level the educational process of the Muslims must change. We have to make ourselves economically more viable, only then will we be able to walk with our heads held high." Nishita Mehta, a Gujarati businesswoman based out of Bombay, is pessimistic about the future. "I feel that [Hindu-Muslim enmity] is deeply rooted in the hearts and psyche of many Indians -- Hindu and Muslim alike." Mehta also feels that the combination of increased communal violence and government complacency only exacerbates an already dangerous situation. "There are many like myself who don't have any ill feeling or hatred for Muslims. However, there are many more, Hindus and Muslims alike, whose hatred for each other is only growing exponentially. And events like that of last week only act as a catalyst for more animosity. Any such act of terrorism is promptly blamed on Pakistan! It has become so convenient. It's like India doesn't need to introspect anymore!" Gandhi, or the Mahatma (Great Soul), as he was commonly called, was a deeply religious Hindu. Yet he was once quoted as saying "I am a Hindu. I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am a Christian. I am, after all, a human being, and I am connected to all my fellow human beings!" India, with Gandhi at the helm, was founded as a secular state. A state where people of all religions could co-exist peacefully. Today, one must posit the question: Is Gandhi's legacy being drowned in the blood of Gujarati communal violence?

Times of India 8 Oct 2002 Prime suspect in Godhra case arrested TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, OCTOBER 08, 2002 02:40:12 PM ] VADODARA: The Gujarat police achieved a major breakthrough in the Godhra train massacre case when a key suspect Abdul Razzak Mohammed 'Kurkur' was arrested late on Monday by the team investigating the Sabarmati Express incident of February 27. Though police refused to give further details, it is believed that Kurkur surrendered himself after being on the run for over seven months. Kurkur, a prominent hotelier of Singal Falia, is believed to be one of the prime conspirators of the massacre that left 59 people dead and police had been on the look-out for him ever since. Police officials said they had evidence from various witnesses which corroborates the fact that the fuel used for burning the S-6 compartment was obtained from a building owned by Kurkur. Though several politicians, including the former municipality chief Mohammed Kalota and corporator Haji Bilal, had also been arrested immediately after the incident, police believes that it was Kurkur who had played a key role in hatching the conspiracy to attack the train. Kurkur runs the Aman Guest House in Singal Falia and also has a network of vendors at the railway station for supply of food-stuff. Police officials said he was engaged in faking popular soft-drink brands and was also a supplier of building material. One of the more affluent inhabitants of Singal Falia, Kurkur, who is in his mid-forties, had a stranglehold over the area in and around the railway station because of his clout. "He was the missing link so far, he is the person who can throw light on the entire episode. Kurkur had played a key role in the conspiracy and will help us piece together the entire sequence of events. He was also the person who instigated the mob that burnt the coach," an official said. Government Railway Police superintendent J K Bhatt confirmed that Kurkur had been arrested. He, however, said that further details regarding his arrest would be disclosed at a later stage.

BBC 11 Oct 2002 Five killed in Indian sectarian violence India has already seen sectarian violence in Gujarat By Charles Haviland BBC correspondent in Delhi Five people have been killed in India during a protest against remarks made by US preacher Jerry Falwell about the Prophet Mohammed. Two of those killed died in police gunfire during the violence in the western town of Solapur which degenerated into sectarian clashes between Muslims and Hindus. Falwell called the prophet a terrorist It has become clear that the protests in Solapur were much more violent than earlier police reports suggested. Two people died when police opened fire on crowds of angry demonstrators - three more were killed in stabbing incidents. The crowds had gathered in this textile town 450 kilometres (280 miles) south-east of Bombay to protest at last weekend's remarks by Reverend Falwell. In a television interview he described the Prophet Mohammed as a "terrorist" and a "man of war". Police sources said the crowd in Solapur suddenly started throwing stones and setting vehicles and shops on fire, then the security forces had started firing. Other protests The violence took on a sectarian nature, setting Muslims against Hindus. The police sources said there were incidents of sectarian violence in the town since the morning but these are now said to have stopped. A curfew has now been imposed in some neighbourhoods. In Bombay several hundred people staged another demonstration against the comments by the controversial Baptist preacher, but it went off peacefully. The sectarian nature of the violence in Solapur will create considerable unease given this year's widespread Hindu-Muslim clashes in another part of western India Gujarat.

BBC 12 October, 2002, More deaths in Indian religious strife India has already seen communal rioting in Gujarat By Charles Haviland BBC correspondent in Delhi Two more people have been killed in religious violence in the western Indian town of Solapur. One of the people who died on Saturday was fatally stabbed in clashes between Hindus and Muslims. The other was killed by police firing, the home minister of Maharashtra state told the BBC. The clashes began on Friday when crowds gathered to protest at remarks against the prophet Mohammed by right-wing American evangelist, the Reverend Jerry Falwell. The demonstrations gave way to communal violence in which five people were killed on Friday. Controversial comments The whole of Solapur has now been placed under curfew until early on Sunday. Mr Falwell's comments angered many Muslims This textile town, 450 km southeast of Bombay, has no reputation for sectarian violence. A neighbouring part of western India, Gujarat state, has witnessed extensive clashes between Hindus and Muslims since February. Tensions there are still very high. A week ago Mr Falwell, who has long been controversial, sparked outrage among many Muslims by describing the prophet Mohammed as a terrorist.

Times of India 13 Oct 2002 Trouble erupts in Modasa over remarks on Prophet by Falwell AHMEDABAD: Trouble broke out in Modasa town of Sabarkantha district on Sunday morning after members of the minority community tried to close down shops to protest the remarks Christian preacher Jerry Falwell made about Prophet Mohammad. A section of the community has declared a bandh on Monday, putting the state police on tenterhooks for the umpteenth time since the communal riots subsided. Rival communities clashed and resorted to stone-throwing even as six shops were stoned and burnt around 11.30 am. There were no reports of casualties, although tension prevailed in this communally sensitive district. Superintendent of police Nitiraj Solanki told TNN that trouble broke out after the hand-outs declaring the bandh were distributed in Modasa on Saturday. "Some boys tried closing down shops which led to stone-throwing, although the attempts at arson were aborted by the police," Solanki said. A complaint was registered by the local police inspector stating that some 60 unidentified people from both communities clashed near the bus stand area in Modasa, leading to the tension. Meanwhile, several Muslim leaders have decided not to extend support to the state-wide bandh called by a section of the Muslim community on Monday in connection with the remarks made on their prophet. Security has been tightened in all the communally-sensitive areas including Ahmedabad. A platoon of the BSF and the SRP were rushed to Sabarkantha to take care of Himmatnagar and Modasa. In separate press releases, the Gujarat Chand Committee and the Jamat-e-Islami-Hind made it clear that they had not given any bandh calls and would not support any call either. The JIH voiced its protests against Falwell’s remarks, but refused to support the bandh saying, "it was against the principles of Islam". President of the JIH Mohammad Shafi Madni stated that "it was not in the teachings of the Prophet to stop all work and participate in bandhs". Advocate Hashim Qureshi condemned the derogatory remarks by Falwell but did not support the bandh. According to sources, the bandh call was declared by a lesser-known Muslim organisation called Mustafa Raza Academy, based in Gomtipur which is one of the communally sensitive areas of the city. Hand-outs were printed and distributed all over the state in support of the bandh, which further charged the sensitive atmosphere in the state. Security has been tightened in these areas of the city for Monday, police sources added.

PTI 15 oct 2002 23 charged for Ahmedabad riots Ahmedabad, October 15 Charges have been framed against the 23 accused in Ahmedabad's Gulbarg Society massacre of February 28 in which 35 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey, were killed, police said today. Additional sessions judge B N Jani yesterday framed charges against the accused for the attack in Chamanpura area. The accused have been charged with murder, rape, unlawful assembly, arson and inciting communal tension in the city, a day after the Godhra railway station mayhem.


PTI 29 Oct 2002 BJP trying to incite communal hatred: Sonia PTI VARANASI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said that the BJP, worried over by "rising" popularity of her party, was trying to incite communal hatred in the country in the pattern of what was witnessed in Gujarat. Addressing party workers as part of her campaign to revive the party in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said that developmental activities across the country had taken a back seat and unemployment risen during the reign of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. Launching a scathing attack on BJP, she said that it was "perturbed" over the "rising popularity" of Congress and "is now trying to incite communal hatred in the country as was witnessed in Gujarat recently." Admitting that there was groupism in Congress, especially in its Uttar Pradesh unit, the AICC president said that this had not only damaged the party but also provided a chance to fundamentalist forces to raise their head. She appealed to party workers to shun differences and work for enhancing the support base of Congress. Commending the performance of Congress governments in several states, Gandhi said "the people's faith in the party has grown over the years." Senior Congress leaders, including AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, former chief minister Ram Naresh Yadav and UPCC president Arun Kumar Singh Munna were present on the occasion.

PTI 31 Oct 2002 BJP urges action on 1984 genocide perpetrators New Delhi, Oct 31. (PTI): Terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as a "state-sponsored genocide", the Delhi unit of the BJP Sikh cell today organised a protest day and urged the government to bring to book the perpetrators of the massacre. "It was not a riot, it was a genocide sponsored by the state, in which more than 3000 innocent people lost their lives," Delhi BJP President Madan Lal Khurana alleged while addressing a gathering. He said a delegation of the BJP Sikh cell would soon meet the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani and would urge them to honour the suggestions of the Nanavati Commission which is likely to submit its report. The meeting was attended among others by S S Ahluwalia, MP, State BJP Vice President Harsharan Singh Balli and City Sikh Cell president, Harbans Singh Chawla.

PTI 31 Oct 2002 Indira's assassin honoured LUDHIANA, OCT 31 (PTI) Akal Takht jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti today honoured family members of Beant Singh, the assassin of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at a function here. The Dal Khalsa organised a panthic convention in Beant Singh's memory who was shot dead by security forces minutes after he assassinated Gandhi on October 31, 1984. Bestowing the status of great martyr on Beant Singh, the jathedar said his act was in accordance with sikh traditions. Akali Dal leader Simranjit Singh Mann was among others who addressed the gathering.

PTI 31 Oct ,2002 BJP kickstarts poll campaign in Gujurat The BJP today took the campaign for the crucial December 12 assembly elections on a higher gear launching a broadside against Congress President Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin and playing the "nationalist" card to the hilt. Kickstarting the eighth leg of the Gaurav Yatra from the birth place of Sardar Patel on his 127th Birth Anniversary, Chief Minister Narendra Modi claimed a "divine will" behind the Election Commission's announcement of poll date, sought to appropriate the legacy of the iron man and charged Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf with attempts to defeat him. In a veiled message to his rivals within the party, including former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, who were conspicuous by their absence, Modi recalled that despite enjoying popular support, Sardar Patel agreed to Mahatma Gandhi's choice of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the country's first Prime Minister. Keshubhai Patel today organised a parallel function at Lodhika in Saurashtra where he was weighed in blood - a programme described by Modi as "coincidental". Senior Minister Haren Pandya, who had given his resignation following differences with Modi and later withdrawn it, was also absent. Union Minister Kanshiram Rana was also missing from the function. Without naming Sonia Gandhi, BJP General Secretary in charge of Gujarat Arun Jaitley, in his address, said had Sardar Patel been alive, he would have been in the opposite camp of those favouring persons of foreign origin for the posts of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Army Chief. Criticising the Common Minimum Programme of the PDP-Cong coalition in Jammu and Kashmir which supports disbanding of Special Operations Group, non-impelementation of POTA and review of cases of detained terrorists, he said "the Sardar would not have condoned this". Attacking Congress for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Modi said Congress had no moral right to criticise BJP for Gujarat violence and added "Gujarat should show the political direction to the rest of the country". Alleging that Pakistan was attempting to foist a Government in Gujarat which suited it, he warned Musharraf of a befitting reply to the "merchants of death". Modi also sarcastically thanked Chief Election Commissioner M Lyngdoh for announcing the date which enabled him to turn the planned Gaurav Yatra into poll campaign launch and attributed the same to "divine will". Assailing Congress for ignoring the contribution of Sardar Patel, Modi, in a symbolic gesture, touched the feet and sought blessings of Patel's grand daughter-in-law Shantaben Patel. During the youth rally, the Chief Minister also promised "modernisation without westernisation", setting up of a global education employment board to enable Gujarati students admissions in the best educational institutions in the world. He also announced increase in the number of seats in technical institutes in the state to 25,000 in the next two years.

UNI 31 Oct 2002 '1984 riots political meat for leaders' New Delhi, Oct 31 Eighteen years on and each year leaders of different parties condemn the bloodshed of Sikhs in the wake of the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, shooting memoranda to Government and squatting on the streets as a mark of ''protest''. The saga of commissions and committees set up to determine the causes, consequences, deaths, prosecutions, compensation and disciplinary action relating to the 1984 carnage began that year itself and continues to this day. According to official figures, 2,733 Sikhs were brutally killed, burnt or slaughtered in the capital within 72 hours. Countless others were injured, women raped and hundreds of homes and shops looted and destroyed. The massacre sparked widespread protests for years -- and ironically many small-time politicians swept to public prominence by holding annual sit-ins for ''speedy justice to the survivors''. Today also, the BJP held a Protest Day, coinciding with the death anniversary of the slain Prime Minister, to ''highlight the Sikh community's sufferings during the 1984 riots''. Delhi BJP chief Madan Lal Khurana met Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani to demand that the report of the Justice Nanavati Commission -- the latest in the series of enquiries into the anti-Sikh carnage -- be submitted at the earliest. ''I do not believe in protests... they have become a racket in India,'' remarked columnist and author Patwant Singh. He disapproved of such acts as ''ridiculous'' and alien to ''civilised conduct''. At the same time, Patwant Singh blamed what he called ''absence of integrity of intention'' in delivering justice to the survivors of the pogrom. ''Not a single man has been hanged 18 years after Sikhs were burnt alive on streets of Delhi. Howsoever critical of the United States we may be, we should appreciate its justice-delivery system, an example of which is the death sentence to a man who killed a Sikh Arizona gas station owner, Balbir Singh Sodhi, in reprisal to 9/11,'' said Patwant Singh while speaking to UNI. The author, however, expressed optimism that the Nanavati Commission would provide valuable insights into the anatomy of the 1984 tragedy. ''I was the first witness to depose before the Nanavati Commission which has since examined a number of witnesses, including former Prime Ministers, politicians, police and administrative officials.'' UNI

PTI 31 Oct 2002 Riot victims postpone agitation KANPUR OCT 31 (PTI) The victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots have decided to postpone their agitation in Lucknow as the Allahabad High Court summoned the U P chief secretary and demanded a report over the distribution of compensation. The riot victims association has decided to cancel its dharna and procession at Lucknow tomorrow following legal advice as the chief secretary was asked to submit a report, the association president Manjeet Singh said in a release here today. Expressing concern over the delay in disbursement of claims even after 18 years, the association said "strong actions" would be taken if the claims were not settled by November 14.

UNI 4 Nov 2002 Paswan for probe into Dalit massacre Patna, Nov 4 Lok Janshakti Party supremo Ram Vilas Paswan has demanded a high-level probe into the killing of six Dalits at Budhganjoyee and Dighi Tola villages in Gaya district on Friday. Paswan visited Anugrah Narain Medical College and Hospital in Gaya on Sunday and consoled the bereaved. Criminals had kidnapped LJP block president of Tankuppa Deven Paswan's father, mother, wife and sister-in-law and subsequently killed them. The LJP president paid an ex gratia of Rs 25,000 to dependents of the bereaved family. He also paid an ex gratia of Rs 5,000 each to the dependents of two victims, Karu Paswan and Munna Kahar who were killed by criminals at Dighi Tola under Konch police station area in Gaya district on Sunday. The bodies were brought to Anugrah Narain Medical College and Hospital for post mortem. Later, talking to newsmen, Paswan demanded the dismissal of the Rabri Devi government for its 'failure' to protect the Dalits. He said he would also apprise President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam of the rising attacks on the weaker sections. UNI

Mumbai Newsline 5 Nov 2002 Page One NEWS Zakaria book delves into communalism Mohammed Wajihuddin Mumbai, October 30: RAFIQ Zakaria’s writes his books with a mission. His books are aimed at provoking intelligent debates to close the growing chasm between Hindus and Muslims. His latest book Communal Rage in Secular India, to be released by the Attorney-General of India, Soli Sorabjee, at Taj Mahal Hotel on Friday, is a sort of a requiem of his idea of India. Anguished at the diabolical dance of death that was witnessed in Gandhi’s land (Gujarat), Zakaria has devoted the opening chapters of this book to Godhra and its aftermath. ‘‘I couldn’t help it. The genocide raised doubts in my mind about the survival of India as a secular country. Is this the India our freedom fighters fought for?,’’ he asks. ‘‘ Through this book I wanted to register my protest and express my feelings (on this issue). What worries me more is the communal hatred that a large number of Hindus harbour for the Muslims of this country today.’’ Communalism is ademon eating into the very vitals of our society. However, it is the distortion of history by the divisive forces that is the grater cause for distress for me. As Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in the foreword for this book says: ‘‘The process has been fed by communal Hindu politics, fostering divisiveness (‘‘indirectly aping Jinnah,’’ as Zakaria sees it), combined with plentiful use of religious misinterpretations and historical distortions to alienate Hindus from their Muslim fellow citizens...” The Sanghparivar sees Chhatrapati Shivaji, Swami Vivekananda and Sardar Patel (Narendra Modi styles himself as Chhote Sardar) as its ideals. Referring to authentic documents, Zakaria shows how the three rose above communal politics and worked for peaceful co-existence.

Reuters 7 Nov 2002 Seven injured in Gujarat violence AHMEDABAD: After a relative calm for the past few weeks here, violence broke out in the communally sensitive area of Jamalpur following Diwali revelry on Wednesday night in which seven persons were injured, some shops and houses gutted and vehicles damaged in arson. Police had to open fire and lob teargas shells to bring the situation under control after two groups clashed and indulged in stone throwing and arson after midnight, police said. The injured included a woman. Tension prevailed in the area, which had borne the maximum brunt of post-Godhra violence, but the situation was under control, a top police official said here on Thursday. "The situation is under control but still under tense," DCP Vikas Sahay said here. Trouble broke out when a group of Diwali revellers arrived near Gaekwad haveli and burst crackers provoking protest from another groups. There were reports of some shops being set on fire. Initial reports said that three shops and a few houses were damaged. Gujarat has been relatively quiet for some weeks after the state was under the grip of communal violence for a few months since the Godhra train carnage on February 28.

Times of India 12 Nov 2002 Gujarat may have more 'nasty' surprises AHMEDABAD: It was said that Gujarat just needs a road accident involving persons of different communities to spark off a riot. Well, its turning worse now. It could even be a small-time cricket match in the alleys of a village or a rabid dog scurrying through a crowded place which could do the trick. With the assembly elections exactly a month away, and the Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh describing the situation as 'nasty', bottled-up emotions are exploding at the slightest provocation across Gujarat's countryside. Obviously, the communal riots earlier this year haven't released all the steam from a divided society having pent-up prejudices which do not augur well for the safe conduct of elections. Says a police official "if you see the pattern of violence since February, it is that of a series of over-reactions. The Ram Sevaks did not deserve the deadly end for whatever they did at the railway station. And 1,000 people did not have to die for whatever happened at Godhra. Unfortunately, the same trend of over-reaction is continuing till today." As Monday's riots in Mahudha town of Kheda district and Dasaj village of Mehsana district have shown, these two places which are located nearly 200 km apart, have one thing in common. People are on a short fuse and provocateurs on both sides are waiting to pounce on any opportunity to re-ignite the flames. Two persons, one from each community, were killed and several 22 injured in Dasaj. The incident followed some panic after a rabid dog ran around Gogha Maharaj temple where revellers were attending the concluding session of a three-day festival. A police official said "while a group of boys from the minority community started chasing the dog away, the rumour went around that the group was coming to attack the devotees." Earlier in the day, two persons who had a scuffle with a rival cricket team at Mahudha, were stabbed to death sparking off violence. Even as the funeral procession of the two victims, both brothers from a Patel family, was taken out under tight security, there were elements in the procession who were baying for blood. Those returning after the last rites lynched a bus passenger after dragging him out of the vehicle. There have been a string of communal incidents over the last three weeks, seemingly without adequate provocation, reflecting the undercurrent of tension prevailing in the same areas of central and north Gujarat which were up in flames earlier this year. Police officials are in fact asking the question whether these stray cases were spontaneous or engineered from within. "Both sides have elements with vested interests in stoking the communal fires till the elections," says a senior official. On November 8, eight persons were injured in clashes in Gomtipur area after two scooter riders crashed into each other. On November 7, group clashes took place late in the night in Raikhad and Jamalpur after a road accident involving a drunkard and an argument at a roadside tea-stall. On November 5, clashes took place in Gomtipur over rental of a bicycle. On October 26, violence broke out in Juhapura area of Ahmedabad as mobs started attacking each other with stones and crude bombs after a road accident in Vasna. Early on October 22, violence erupted at Dindhrol village of Patan district after a noisy procession, while passing a mosque, was asked to stop beating drums. Recovery of the body of a 22-year-old youth a day later only worsened matters. On the same day, tension gripped the Nadiad town when stone- throwing erupted after a youth travelling on a scooter was hit by a stone in a minority-dominated area. On October 14, in Jhalod town, two persons had fought over purchase of mutton which had snowballed into a communal conflict.

Times of India 12 Nov 2002 Japanese team in Nagaland to apologise for war crimes P P SINGH TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2002 09:29:58 PM ] GUWAHATI: A group of Japanese church leaders have apologised to the Nagas for atrocities committed by their soldiers during World War II in Battle of Kohima. The church leaders are in Kohima leading the delegation of Agape, the charity supported by the Japanese government and business houses, to promote reconciliation between the Japanese people and those who bore the brunt of Japanese army atrocities. "The Nagas suffered because they sided with the Allied forces. So we apologise to them," Keiko Holmes said on phone from Kohima. She said that some Naga church leaders had organised the visit by getting in touch with Agape when they found that the charity was organising "reconciliation trips" to countries whose people suffered Japanese atrocities during the War. On Tuesday, the visiting Agape delegation held a special service at the Commonwealth War Memorial in Kohima. "We prayed for those who suffered and died at the hands of the Japanese," Holmes said. An eighty-year old war veteran, Dovi Khate, formally accepted the apology on the behalf of the Nagas and granted pardon. "My friends were tortured by the Japanese and I was very bitter but now that they have apologised, it is all over," Khate said at the end of the special service at the War Memorial, where nearly 2,000 Allied troops, mostly British, lay buried. Agape has held similar "reconciliation meets" in Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, the US, Canada and Great Britain. This is their first visit to India. Holmes, who is founder director of Agape and wife of a businessman who had died in a plane crash nearly 20 years ago in Bangladesh, said that she felt the people who suffered atrocities had to be reached out to. She further said that some Japanese War veterans had also accompanied her during her visits to the UK and apologised to the people who were their prisoners of war. She said that they also planned to visit China in April 2002 and South Korea in May on a similar mission. Rev Luoliehu Yimsung, who is leading the four-member delegation said that Holmes was awarded Order of British Empire by the Queen two years ago for bringing people closer and removing the bitterness some still had over the atrocities committed on them.

Milli Gazette 13 Nov 2002 Hate speech against Indian Muslims goes unpunished New Delhi: President of Congress Party Intellectuals Cell Syed Shamim Hashmi demanded “immediate arrest” of International President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Ashok Singhal on September 5, for inciting “genocidal violence” against Muslims. In a statement issued in the wake of Singhal’s anti-Muslim hate speech former Member of Parliament and Congress leader Hashmi said that by now Singhal should have been in jail for saying publicly “we will repeat the Gujarat experiment against Muslims all over India.” Singhal, whose VHP is part of the “Sangh family” of myriad organisations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules Gujarat and heads the ruling coalition at Centre, had also said in his speech earlier this week in Punjab state that Muslims deserved the genocidal attack in Gujarat. “People say I praise Gujarat. Yes I do.” He gloated over how "whole villages had been emptied of Islam" within days and how refugee camps swelled with Muslims. Singhal has gone scot free despite repeated hate speech as do most of his colleagues of VHP, BJP and allied organisations. Of late their impunity has grown because their people have been in power at Centre and in some states, which is detrimental to secular democracy and security of Muslims and Christians. The Congress Party has launched a campaign to halt hate speech against fellow citizens. Congress spokesman Anand Sharma has demanded Singhal’s arrest along with that of other leaders. Senior Congress leader Balram Jhakar said this fascist maniac must be put behind bars for his speech which could potentially create nationwide strife. Jhakar said VHP leaders must be put in jail for their anti-national acts. The influential Hindustan Times in one of its edits Saturday, September 5, wondered how come men like Singhal roam free while others are jailed under harsh anti-terrorist laws for far lighter offences, “Ashok Singhal has ceased to be a mere nuisance factor. He is a threat to any democratic, secular, modern society". The leader writer wondered” …what stops the NDA government from booking this man who is openly inciting mob violence against Indian citizens?” Though the Hindustan Times has "wondered" over the ruling coalition at Centre, National Democratic Alliance (NDA), allowing Hindu nationalists like Singhal to do as they please, there is nothing much to wonder about here. These people are allowed free-play because the ruling BJP shares its ideology with them and is a self-proclaimed part of Sangh family of VHP-RSS-BJP-Bajrang Dal etc. A prominent Urdu daily published from Delhi and Lucknow, Qaumi Awaz, in its editorial on September 5, said that Singhal was a self-proclaimed follower of Hitler. (The entire Sangh family, including BJP lionises Hitler.) “This man must be crushed like Hitler to prevent the rise of Nazism,” the strongly-worded editorial said. By now Singhal should have been jailed, but we know the present government would not do that. “Now is the time for civil society to rise against this menace”, the Qaumi Awaz wrote. Supported by its Parivar (family) organisation BJP, which holds power at Centre and in some states, VHP remains unrepentant, despite widespread condemnation. Central Secretary of VHP Mohan Joshi said at a press conference in Delhi on September 4, that the special protection provided in the Indian Constitution to minorities should be done away with. This is an idea which the BJP too believes in, although it is a bit hesitant in saying it publicly. Last month India’s Solicitor General Harish Salve, on BJP leaders’ orders told the Supreme Court of India that the minorities constitutional rights to establish their own educational institutions should be subjected to curbs. This move of the Centre was very much in line with the anti-minority ideas of VHP. Hindu nationalist organisations like VHP and BJP are against India’s secular Constitution also. They want a new Constitution, shorn of all guarantees to minorities, but cannot muster enough support in Parliament for this venture. Failing that, they formed a Constitution Review Commission 2000, which has not supported their ideas. The secular ethos of the country and independence of press, judiciary and other constitutional entities thwarts Hindu fascist plans for the country. Despite a thriving democracy, the justice dispensing system, however, has not always been successful in stopping fascist thuggery. There is no proper law against genocide or genocide-like crimes. Hence it is very difficult to book criminals against humanity, though there are certain other laws under which such people can be prosecuted. Fascists like Singhal are able to hoodwink the Indian state taking advantage of its weaknesses. The fact that like-minded people are in power at Centre also makes things easier for them.

American Muslim Council (AMC) 13 Nov 2002 Gujarat Genocide Awareness Week Starts Today WASHINGTON, DC, Nov 13, 2002: Major American Muslim organizations--AMC, CAIR, ICNA and ISNA--have endorsed Indian Muslim Council's call asking people to observe the second week of the Islamic month of Ramadan as the Gujarat Genocide Remembrance Week and the Friday, November 15 as the Gujarat Genocide Rembrance Day. The second week of Ramadan starts today. In a media release, the Indian Muslim Council (IMC) said: In the wake of recent brutal attacks, and serious threats raised against Indian Muslims by the Hindutva-fascists in India, it is incumbant upon all the peace-loving people of the world to understand the threat and educate themselves about one of the most racist idealogies whose followers have killed thousands of people in India. Actions Requested: Hold special prayer services, especially, after the nightly taraweeh prayers for the thousands of innocent victims who were brutally killed, maimed, and gang-raped, and also for hundreds of thousands who were displaced from their homes in the state of Gujrat, India. * Arrange Jumah khutba (Friday sermon) on the Gujarat genocide, and the impending threat of more ethnic-cleansing attacks on Indian Muslims by the Hindutva-fascist groups. Helpful educational material can be obtained from www.imc-usa.org or www.imannet.com * Distribute IMC brochures on the threat to Indian minorities by the Hindutva-fascists * Get petitions signed demanding that the Hindutva-terrorist organizations be banned (send a copy to IMC.) Petitions can be downloaded from www.imc-usa.org or www.imannet.com * Write to the media, your senator, and congressperson asking to send a fact-finding mission to Gujarat, India. The contact addresses of your representatives can be obtained from Congress.org or from www.imacweb.org or by calling 202-224-3121 * Collect donations to help the educational and advocacy work of IMC-USA to prevent future genocides of Indian Muslims. Send donations to IMC-USA, 265 Sunrise Highway, Suite1-355, Rockville Centre, NY 11570 American Muslim Council 1212 New York Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005 Phone: 202-789-2262 - Fax: 202-789-2550 Email: media@amconline.org,

BBC 17 Nov 2002 Hindu march halted in Gujarat Authorities want to prevent a resurgence of violence Seventy-five Hindu activists have been arrested for defying a ban on a march in the Indian state of Gujarat. Two senior leaders of the World Hindu Council (VHP), Pravin Togadia and Acharya Dharmenda, were among those detained outside a temple in the city of Ahmedabad. Hundreds of their supporters had gathered there for a procession to the town of Godhra, where 58 Hindu activists were burnt to death on a train last February. The VHP hopes to mobilise Hindu support The attack was blamed on a Muslim mob and sparked a wave of religious clashes in Gujarat in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. Ahead of the planned march, the VHP leaders had called for the establishment of a Hindu state. Gujarat goes to the polls next month and the Election Commission said it had decided to ban the VHP procession for fear it could increase religious tensions. Crucial polls The commission said the VHP march should not be allowed to go ahead because there was a likelihood of "provocative and intemperate" speeches being made during the procession. But the VHP called the ruling "an infringement of our fundamental right" and rejected an appeal by the prime minister to abide by the ruling. The state polls are crucial for the Congress Party too The proposed march was expected to feature replicas of the burnt train coach. Gujarat's elections are being seen as a crucial test for the main party in India's governing coalition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is also in power in Gujarat. The BJP lost a humiliating string of state elections earlier this year and faces another round next spring, ahead of general elections due by 2004. The party has dismissed allegations that it is trying to cash in on religious sentiment in Gujarat, which has a long history of religious violence. But opposition parties accuse it of using political gimmicks to mobilise Hindu voters. Correspondents say the main opposition Congress party is hoping to capitalise on voters who want an end to the violence and the economic disruption it has caused.

NYT 18 Nov 2002 India Blocks Hindu Rally by Arresting Militant Chief By KEITH BRADSHER, GODHRA, India, Nov. 17 — India took a small step forward today toward taming violence between Hindus and Muslims, as the Hindu nationalist government arrested the leader of a militant Hindu group, preventing a provocative rally here that could have led to bloodshed. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee led his Bharatiya Janata Party to national power by extolling and catering to the country's Hindu majority. But today, the state government of Gujarat, also controlled by Mr. Vajpayee's party, sent thousands of constables and paramilitary riot policemen to crack down on militant Hindus. Advertisement A large force of constables in olive-green uniforms and riot policemen in bright blue arrested Pravin Togadia, the international general secretary of the militant World Hindu Council, shortly before noon today. The police bundled Mr. Togadia and his top aides into a police wagon when he left a Hindu temple to Shiva in the city of Ahmedabad, 100 miles west of here, as a throng of people in the streets and on rooftops jeered and chanted prayers to Hindu deities. More than 1,100 additional police officers sealed off this town, where Mr. Togadia had planned to hold a mid-afternoon rally. The government acted after businesses demanded a crackdown. Fifty-eight Hindus died here in February when a train carrying members of a Hindu group caught fire during an attack by a Muslim mob. That set off widespread rioting that killed 1,000 people in western India, most of them Muslims. Defying a government ban on religious rallies here in Gujarat ahead of statewide elections on Dec. 12 and a personal appeal on Friday by Mr. Vajpayee, Mr. Togadia urged his supporters on Saturday to converge here for a demonstration today. But few people were able to evade the police checkpoints and to reach a dusty field, where they unfurled saffron flags and marched a short distance. Battalions of police officers arrested and briefly detained 52 people. Mr. Togadia and the 44 aides and supporters who were arrested in Ahmedabad this morning were released by sunset on nominal bail, a sign that the authorities probably will not press charges. Mr. Togadia's arrest is nonetheless a potential watershed for the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has benefited politically from his appeals to Hindu pride even while trying to distance itself from his more extreme positions. Mr. Togadia was arrested many years ago, when the secular Congress Party ran India. Before his arrest today, Mr. Togadia and priests wearing garlands of yellow and orange marigolds had finished a religious ceremony on an outdoor dais on the temple grounds. They prayed before a pair of wooden sandals said to have belonged to a 17th-century holy man who advised the Majarajah Shivaji, a ruler legendary for killing Muslim invaders. In a speech to worshipers on the temple grounds and crowding nearby rooftops, Mr. Togadia, shaking his fist, contended that the Indian government too often sided with the Muslim minority, and should be replaced by a Hindu state. "Hindus have become second-class citizens in India itself," he shouted. During his speech, he told his supporters that he was about to be arrested. He urged his followers to stay calm and not attack the police. Then he and his top aides climbed into a bright orange jeep adorned on the back with a pair of eight-foot-tall plywood images of Maharajah Shivaji on horseback with a drawn sword. When the jeep edged out of the temple gate, the police surrounded it and detained Mr. Togadia. Half an hour later in a heavily Muslim slum in Ahmedabad, several dozen people gathered along a dirt alley that was the scene of Gujarat's worst violence last spring. Men and women in the crowd were unanimous in their view that the government had done the right thing in detaining Mr. Togadia, but worried that Hindus might retaliate against them. Aju Mohammed, a 47-year-old tailor whose business burned and whose wife and two children were injured in the rioting last spring, had loaded a motorized cart with his belongings and was preparing to drive with his family to a better-defended Muslim neighborhood elsewhere in the city. Nisarahmed Shaikh, 38, who worked as a painter until bones in his lower back were broken in the rioting last spring, said he had no money and no friends elsewhere to visit. "Now where do we go?" he said. "We're afraid." Throughout the night, the city remained surprisingly quiet, except for a stone-throwing incident in Ahmedabad's old walled city, to which the police responded with tear gas. K. Nityanandam, the home secretary for the state of Gujarat, said in an interview tonight that the demonstrators' defiance of a government ban had forced the authorities to act. "Whether there would have been a blood bath or not," he said, "we were enforcing the rule of law."

AP 25 Nov 2002 Siege at Indian Temples Ends; 12 Dead JAMMU, India -- Security forces used rocket launchers today to end the siege of two Hindu temples by Islamic militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said. Twelve people, including two rebels, were killed. At least 50 others, mostly Hindu devotees visiting this city of temples, were injured, a police official said. Police and paramilitary troops killed two militants, one at each temple in Jammu, after a six-hour offensive. Five civilians and two policemen were also killed, authorities said. The identities of the other three dead were not immediately known.

BBC 25 Nov 2002 Eyewitness: Anger in Jammu At least 50 people were injured in the siege By Binoo Joshi BBC reporter in Jammu There is tension and confusion in the city of Jammu where a raid by suspected militants left 14 people dead. An indefinite curfew is still in force, searches are continuing and life is still far from normal as local residents come to terms with the shock and horror of the bloody battle between the militants and the security forces. At this rate I think we have to brace ourselves for much worse Jammu resident "The terrorist was hurling grenades from a black bag as he forced his way inside", said Sanjay Sharma, a junior priest in the Raghunath Temple in the Kashmir winter capital. "He was hiding behind a pillar of the temple as he fired from his gun," Mr Sharma said. There was a fierce gunbattle for more than two hours before security forces finally killed the militant. Two others were also killed. Demonstration "We were lying injured on the floor of the temple praying to God as the gunbattle went on," Sheela Devi, who suffered gunshot wounds, told the BBC. Nearly 50 people were injured in the shoot-out. The chief minister is under pressure There was no electricity in the area at the time of the incident, and people say the darkness seemed to help the militants carry out the attack. Angry crowds held demonstrations outside the temple and the Medical College Hospital, where many of the injured were treated. Protesters blamed the new government of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for encouraging militancy with its "soft policy" under which 26 militants were released earlier this month. "For the last three days we have had three major incidents in the state. What is the government doing about it?" asked Sunil Sharma, a local businessman. Under fire The temple area has been sealed off "This government lacks a concrete action plan. At this rate I think we have to brace ourselves for much worse," said another man. Mr Sayeed's political rivals, too, launched attacks on his government. The leader of the opposition National Conference, Omar Abdullah, said: "The so-called healing touch policy of the mufti government has boosted the confidence of the militants." He accused Mr Sayeed of having "no clear policy on fighting terrorism", but stressed he did not think the temple attack was the work of militants released under the government's initiative.

BBC 1 Dec 2002 India warns of more temple raids - Last week's raid at a Jammu temple killed 14 The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, says his government has information that militants are planning more attacks on Indian temples. "More temples can be targeted. We have information in this regard. But we will not be frightened and will fight terrorism and win the war against it," Mr Vajpayee said on a visit to Solan district in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. Mr Vajpayee vowed to fight terrorism Mr Vajpayee said militants were "targeting places of worship to foment religious sentiments and communal violence". He said the militants would not succeed in their aim of creating fear among the people by attacking places of worship. Mr Vajpayee referred to attacks on Hindu temples in Jammu and on pilgrims heading for the Hindu shrine of Amarnath in Indian-administered Kashmir. In a raid on Jammu's Reghunath temple by militants last week 14 people including two militants were killed. In September, two militants attacked a temple in the western state of Gujarat, killing 30 civilians. Pakistan summit Mr Vajpayee accused Pakistan of trying to disrupt India's progress but said "We know how to deal with it". There is no point in discussing Kashmir at the summit Atal Bihari Vajpayee He warned that he would not attend a regional South Asian summit in Pakistan next month unless cross-border incursions by militants in Kashmir were stopped. "I can consider going to the SAARC summit early next year provided infiltration and cross-border terrorism stops completely in Kashmir," he said. But he added that Kashmir "is not a SAARC issue and so there is no point in discussing Kashmir at the summit". The seven-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is due to meet in Islamabad. The BBC's Asit Jolly in Chandigarh says while at one level Mr Vajpayee's comments reaffirm India's position on international terrorism, they are also significant in the light of state assembly elections in the western state of Gujarat due later this month. The polls in Gujarat are critical to the political future prospects of Mr Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Gujarat has been hit by a spate of communal rioting in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. Unofficial reports put the death toll at 2,000. Criticism The state government headed by the BJP was strongly criticised for not doing enough to control the rioting. Opposition parties have frequently accused the BJP of trying to return to power on a Hindu wave. But Mr Vajpayee said he had advised his party not to make the train attack in Godhra an issue in the state polls. In its election manifesto released in Ahmedabad on Sunday the BJP made no mention of any efforts to control communal violence in the state. It did however, promise to throw out militants from the border state and conduct a study on the system of education in Muslim religious schools, or madrassas.

Times of India 30 Nov 2002 Godhra train burning was spontaneous: Report MUMBAI: The burning of the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express on February 27 was a spontaneous act, says the report of the eight-member Concerned Citizens Tribunal that was released here on Friday. Headed by retired supreme court judge V R Krishna Iyer, the tribunal spent a fortnight in Gujarat in May recording 2,094 statements from 16 districts. The report says that the coach was set on fire from inside but the origin of the fire remains mysterious. According to retired high court judge Hosbet Suresh, who released the report along with retired supreme court judge P B Sawant, the forensic reports later corroborated the tribunal's conclusion on the fire beginning from inside the compartment. "The forensic report says that around 60 litres of inflammable liquid had to be poured into the coach," says the tribunal report. The report says that coach S-6 was targeted because some kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya misbehaved with tea vendors and local women. Later, answering questions, Justice Sawant reiterated that the post-Godhra incidents in Gujarat were not riots but genocide. Asked whether the term genocide could be used for the deaths of 1,000-odd persons,Mr Sawant said, "The numbers do not matter in a genocide. What matters is that the killings were state sponsored, state facilitated and state assisted." Asked whether it would be possible to prosecute caretaker Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in an international court, Justice Sawant replied in the negative. "That's because India has no law against genocide," he said. The former SC judge said the panel which looked in the Gujarat violence had recommended the setting up of a National Crimes Tribunal to deal with such instances as the existing judicial system was incapable of dealing with them. Answering another question, Justice Hosbet Suresh said reports such as this were the response of civil society to an occurrence and that it was for the citizens and government to take the issue to its logical end. Justice Hosbet Suresh said that he along with some concerned citizens had brought out a similar report, 'People's Verdict', after the post-Babri riots in Mumbai in 1992-'93. The Justice Srikrishna commission set up by the state government to inquire into the riots arrived at the same conclusions, he said. The former judge cited several instances where governments or courts had taken cognizance of inquiry reports prepared by citizens' organisations. The report of the tribunal was released in Ahmedabad on November 21 and in Delhi on the next day. The Citizens for Peace and Justice hopes to release the report in the other metros and cities shortly.


Times of India 1 Dec 2002 Gujarat carnage a genocide, says NCP PATNA: The NCP national general secretary, Jagannath Mishra, charged here on Saturday that the Gujarat carnage was a systematically-planned genocide, executed by the state, and not a communal riot. He said that the Citizen’s Tribunal has — in its two-volume report — based this finding on evidence and not just on the basis of statements of the survivors and their kin. The tribunal has concluded that there is enough evidence to establish that a decision was taken at the highest level in the state government in Gujarat "to use the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra for a 72-hour massacre of Muslims", he said. The tribunal has recommended enactment of a law for prevention and punishment for genocide-like crimes in compliance with the International Genocide Convention, to which India is also a signatory, Mishra added. He alleged that as per the tribunal report, "the genocide was planned with military precision at a meeting held in Lunawada, in which two ministers were present". Later, the plan was disseminated to 50 leaders of BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal. Meanwhile, a left coordination committee meeting held at the office of CPM here opined that in Gujarat, VHP and BJP had sponsored the carnage, stigmatising the secular image of the country. The leaders of the CPI, the CPM, SUCI and the Forward Bloc attended the meeting. They included Jalaluddin Ansari, Sarvoday Sharma, Vijaykant Thakur, Sarangdhar Paswan, Arun Kumar Singh and Ram Prasad. Amriteshwar Chakravarti presided over meeting.

Asian Age 6 Dec 2002 Hate-mongers take religion hostage in India By Angana Chatterji The contradictions between Hinduism and Hindutva must be emphasized. Hinduism is an ancient religion. Hindutva is the utilization of Hinduism to foment a supremacist movement. Hindutva, like other extremist movements, uses terror to dominate Majoritarian communalism and religious intolerance holds captive human rights in South Asia. Shared commitments to democracy and civil liberties do not yet connect us as nations. It is, instead, repressive forces of religious nationalism and cultural intolerance that incapacitate nation building in the region. In Pakistan, draconian blasphemy laws persecute minorities and appease Islamic fundamentalists. In Sri Lanka, inequities of religion and ethnicity haunt Sinhalese, Tamil Hindus and Muslims. In Bangladesh, enduring conflicts brutalize minority Hindus and Christians. In India, the fascistic ascent of Hindutva ravages society. Tolerance and inclusion is the sine qua non of Indian democracy. Hindu extremists contend that national commitments to secular religious tolerance have been a tactic for undermining the truth of India as a pure, glorious and exclusively Hindu tradition and culture. This truth demands an unquestioning commitment to India as a Hindu nation. The Hindutva, Hindu supremacist, movement uses the vehicle of the state to cement Hindu religious majoritarianism into the foundation of a national culture. Such enterprise rewards the dominant community and is intolerant of minority groups and faiths. Hindutva understands itself as secular, in that it is not based on faith, but the conversion of faith into culture. It declares tolerance for minority faiths to be pseudo-secularism. It undermines the cultural and religious profusion that is central to conceiving the nation, and asserting the separation of religion and state. The contradictions between Hinduism and Hindutva must be emphasized. Hinduism is an ancient religion. Hindutva is the utilization of Hinduism to foment a supremacist movement. Hindutva, like other extremist movements, uses terror to dominate. Dissenting Hindus are perceived as threats to the unity of the nation. Hindutva is supported by organizations that fund raise abroad. The India Development Relief Fund (IDRF) is one such registered charity in the Untied States that sustains the Sangh Parivar, the network of Hindutva organizations. IDRF was established in 1989, ostensibly to fundraise for organizations in India that assist in development and tribal well-being. IDRF has emphatically maintained that it has no connections with the Sangh Parivar. A scrutiny of financial records, and the profile, actions and associations of the organization disclose instead IDRF’s intimate connections to the Parivar. The Parivar uses religion as a nationalistic weapon to empower the Hindutva movement. IDRF, through its relationship with the Sangh, fortifies the hatred and violence that divides India. The use of force is not restricted to Hindu extremists. The Indian State is vigilant in policing and repressing oppositional activities, especially those of minority communities. The Government of India introduced the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance, a security law that empowers the state to torture and detain political opponents, revoke civil liberties, and suppress actions it deems threatening to the nation. Yet the national government tolerated the Sangh Parivar’s crimes in Gujarat this year. The Citizens Tribunal on Gujarat has held the Sangh Parivar co-responsible for the orchestrated post-Godhra massacre of Muslims. It must be incumbent on IDRF to prove that it is not in support of such depravity. In a climate where Hindutva is sanctioned and vindicated by an increasing army of henchmen and the state, it is imperative that citizens speak out against the collaboration between government and Parivar organizations in the promulgation of terror. Citizens initiatives must demand accountability of international groups that finance the apparatus of Hindutva. It is deceptive for IDRF to claim on its website that it raises money to “serve economically and socially disadvantaged people irrespective of caste, sect, region or religion,” and utilize such funds in a sectarian manner. IDRF has raised about 5.5 million dollars during the past decade. Nearly 69 percent of IDRF’s funds go to organizations in adivasi (tribal) and rural areas. A large segment is allocated for educational projects of Hinduization, the disintegration of adivasi (and other non Hindu) cultures through their incorporation into Hindutva. Sewa Bharti, an associate of the Sangh, funded by IDRF, organized a Hindu Sangam in Madhya Pradesh in January 2002. The Citizens Tribunal has charged that such efforts facilitated the mobilization of adivasis against other minorities in Gujarat. Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad and Vivekananda Kendra, funded by IDRF, were both held complicit in the communalization of adivasis. The sporadic participation of Hinduized adivasi and Dalit communities in the brutalization of Muslims was a sad and unexpected distinction of the recent violence in Gujarat. Divide and conquer, effectively realized. IDRF has been conspicuously silent about Gujarat, Godhra and after, and did not raise funds in support of the victims. Development is critical to India’s empowerment. It cannot be undertaken by organizations that promote hate. IDRF allocates 80 percent of its funds to Sangh Parivar organizations and those affiliated or controlled by them. Of the 67 IDRF affiliate organizations, 52 are associated with the Sangh. Secular freedoms confirm the right to proselytize, but do not permit the use of religion or culture to cultivate hate. IDRF does not directly orchestrate campaigns of violence. IDRF’s funding to Sangh organizations aids the spread of the ideology and practice of Hindutva. Such activity produces the very conditions for social violence that are detrimental to India’s national interest. The practice of conscience, not of genocide, must determine who belongs to a nation. India is made most vulnerable by the Hindutva movement’s xenophobic commitments to tear apart the promises of history. In Gujarat, a fetus of an unborn Muslim, carved from a pregnant woman’s stomach, was tossed in the air. Triumphant annihilation, reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Tomorrow as a day of justice and peace is made impossible. The state of the nation demands sustained interventions in dissent of religious extremism. It is irrelevant to claim innocence. Until we prevent rape, horror, and unnecessary death in the name of nation building, history will find us complicit. Amidst the complex desires that fuel India’s becoming, habitual contempt for minorities must not power our future. Nor must we allow religion to be held captive to violent nationalist agendas.

Times of India 6 Dec 2002 Godhra can't be forgotten: Togadia GODHRA: While VHP leader Pravin Togadia reiterates that Godhra cannot be forgotten, the saffron brigade here has ensured that the Sabarmati carnage does not blot out of public memory. A week before the state goes to the polls, posters, depicting the burning coach and Ram Sevaks who died in the incident, have surfaced here. The posters have appeared almost overnight in both Hindu and Muslimdominated areas on both sides of the Mesri river. Besides prominent landmarks, they have been pasted on autorickshaws and buses, staircases of shopping complexes and in one instance on a wall bang outside a police station! The posters show the burning S-6 coach surrounded by passport-size photos of the victims of the carnage. A line at the bottom reads, "Ram sevako ne shradhanjali, etle sau taka matdan (Pay your tribute to these Ram Sevaks by ensuring 100 per cent voting)"— Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The attacks on religious places find prominence with one poster showing the Akshardham and Raghunath temples along with the burnt train. The slogans read, "Har yuvak bane Shivaji, jehad no javab -- Hindu Rashtra, Mara gam ne Godhra nahi banwa dou, mara Gujarat ne Kashmir nahi banwa dau. (Every youth should aspire to be like Shivaji, the answer to jehad is Hindu Rashtra, don't turn my village into another Godhra, don't turn my Gujarat into another Kashmir)." These posters have put the BJP candidate from Godhra, Haresh Bhatt, in a tricky situation as some of them have appeared right below his own posters in the city. Bhatt vehemently denies a hand in the incident. "I'm with the BJP now and fighting on its ticket. I'm in no way associated with all this. There has been an attempt to malign my image by pasting these posters next to mine," he told TNN. Meanwhile, the posters have left Godhra's residents rattled. Shafiq Ahmed, who owns a cycle repair shop on Civil Road that virtually demarcates Hindu and Muslimdominated areas, is apprehensive about both December 6 and 12. "Though my shop is near a Muslim-dominated area, I feel unsafe. I decided to send my family to Surat as I smelt trouble as soon as these posters came up on my wall. They may have done it intentionally as they know the shop is owned by a Muslim," he said. "The posters could not have come up at a more inappropriate time as Friday will mark the 10th anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition," said Jagnesh Bhatt, an autorickshaw driver, who found a poster pasted on his vehicle. "I wonder why they are doing this. I've already lost two rickshaws during the riots," he added. Panchmahals collector Manoj Aggarwal said punitive measures would be taken against those responsible. "The posters have appeared overnight. Earlier, we had pulled down posters showing the same images. The nodal officer has already been notified," said Aggarwal. "We are trying our best to identify the culprits," said Panchmahals SP Narsimha Komar.

India Express 6 Dec 2002 Protests mark Dec 6 anniversary in Capital Express News Service New Delhi, December 6: THERE were angry outbursts against the Babri Masjid demolition on its 10th anniversary today. While Leftist organisations were protesting against the event, the Shiv Sena went about sloganeering for a temple. The CPI (ML)-New Democracy today raised slogans across the road of Jantar Mantar protesting the Babri demolition. ‘‘Let’s not be bothered by them, they are trying to distract us. Comrades, don’t stop,’’ said Aparna, general secretary of the Delhi Committee. While she said this, a line of trucks with Shiv Sainiks passed by, shouting and passing comments. And amid the rhetoric, there was a suggestion from one of the Leftist speakers too. ‘‘Let us ask the BJP to demolish all the desired structures in winters. It is so pleasant to sit on dharnas in the sun,’’ said N.K. Bhattacharya, retired Delhi University professor and member of Janhastakshep. ‘‘The same political forces which destroyed the Babri Masjid have now torn apart the communal fabric of Gujarat by communal violence and genocide,’’ said Poonam, general secretary of an organisation called Pragatisheel. She added that the way women are treated today needs to be checked immediately. ‘‘Even the violence in Gujarat was largely sexual attacks and the murders of women,’’ she said. Others present in the rally were Pankaj Singh, poet and member of Janhastakshep, Aminesh, secretary, IFTU and the president of Naujawan Bharat Sabha Mrignak. The participants demanded that the Uttar Pradesh government should issue a ‘‘corrected notification for the Lucknow special court for the urgent action against the guilty in the Ayodhya case’’. Also, various other NGOs and individuals today organised a number of cultural programmes. Like members of Aman Ekta Manch, an NGO which marched in a candlelight procession to Feroz Shah Kotla maidan. The programme included music by Vidya Rao, Kajal Ghosh, Dhruv Sarangi, students of Lady Shri Ram College, Kirori Mal College and Jawaharlal Nehru University. There were painting competition and kite-flying for children that went throughout the day and the kites were specially brought in from Kasai Ki Chalil in Ahmedabad.

TIME December 9, 2002/ Vol. 160 No. 22 Modi's Law For India, Narendra Modi's election bid is a referendum on the politics of hate BY ALEX PERRY/GODHRA To twist his nation's soul, Narendra Modi is first conquering its heart. He's halfway through another 20-hour day on his "Journey of Pride" across the western state of Gujarat, India's industrial powerhouse, and as everywhere, Modi is being mobbed. After a brief speech, he flops, sweating and exhausted, back into the passenger seat of his election campaign bus. The crowd won't leave him alone, however. They reach in through the windows of the bus, heaping armfuls of orange marigold garlands and heady rose petals onto his legs. But his supporters—fervent Hindus all—aren't taken with Modi because he is promising them lower taxes or better schools or more hospitals. Instead, Modi is appealing to a deeper core, calling on his supporters to ignite a fanatical faith in themselves and in the man they believe can lead them to national nirvana. As he surveys the hundreds jostling for one glimpse of him, one brush of his neat beard, even Modi is impressed. "Look at these people," he remarks to a reporter. "They all want to touch me, hold me. It's more than anything I could have dreamed of." And more than anything India's founding fathers could have imagined. To understand India's politics today, and the highly combustible relationship between its Hindu majority and Muslim minority, you need to study, above all, the one man currently dominating one state. It was here, in the small Gujarati town of Godhra on Feb. 27 this year, that Chief Minister Modi was handed his mission statement when a mob set fire to a train, which resulted in 58 Hindu pilgrims being burned to death, sparking the worst religious riots the nation had seen for a decade. In the days and weeks that followed, Hindus armed with swords and barbed tridents rampaged through Gujarat. As Modi's police force stood by, they torched Muslim shops, raped Muslim women, beheaded and disemboweled Muslim men, even cut an unborn child from the womb of one Muslim mother. According to human-rights groups, Hindus killed more than 2,000 Muslims and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes. Now, back in Godhra where it all began almost 10 months ago, the 52-year-old Modi is well aware that his enraptured audience of thousands, packing markets and hanging from lampposts and rooftops, is sprinkled with these same looters, rapists and murderers. "Why are so many of you here?" he bellows. "Because the fire that burns in my heart is the same as the fire in yours." For anyone missing Modi's meaning, an overcome teenager in the front spells it out. "Kill the Muslim motherf_____s," she screams. Even the proudest patriot will admit that India's boast of being a bastion of live-and-let-live harmony has always been something of a lie. Muslim frustration at discrimination and Hindu resentment of governmental assistance to minorities explode every few years in violence. But as the March riots raged on for weeks in Gujarat, they provoked particular alarm. While human-rights groups demanded Modi be tried for genocide, Hindu political parties, cultural groups and hordes of street demonstrators celebrated him as India's great defender. From a political nobody, Modi was catapulted into the international limelight as the white-haired, bespectacled figurehead of Indian intolerance, a national Hindu hero. In headlines and debate, he instantly eclipsed all other leaders, even the Prime Minister from his own Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party, or BJP), the moderate but aging Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Faltering from a lackluster record as head of the national coalition government in New Delhi, and from a series of local poll defeats that has left it ruling just three of India's 28 states, the BJP rejected calls for the Chief Minister's dismissal and instead announced snap state elections to capitalize on his winning notoriety. "He speaks directly to the people," glows BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley. "He has become a folk hero." Now the Dec. 12 ballot in Gujarat pits Modi against Shankersinh Vaghela, the candidate of the avowedly secular Congress Party. But the true choice is between two visions of India: imperfect but inclusive harmony, or strident, angry segregation. Both the BJP and Congress say their strategies for the 2004 general elections will be based on what some 50 million Gujaratis decide. For the BJP, it is a test of whether hate politics work and, as hard-liners see it, whether the party is being extreme enough. And for Congress, the result will determine if its platform of tolerance still has electoral merit. But with opinion polls hinting at a narrow Modi victory, supporters and detractors alike predict the Gujarati Chief Minister can only rise further within the BJP, perhaps to national government. On the campaign trail, Modi's message is that India, Hindus and Gujarat are all under attack. The persecutors? Terrorists, criminals, all Pakistanis (and President Pervez Musharraf in particular, whom Modi declares to be his true electoral opponent), Osama bin Laden, intellectuals, the media, "pseudo secularists," communists and cow killers. He reserves particular venom for Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of assassinated Premier Rajiv Gandhi. Her entire party sees the world through "Italian glasses," he declares to loud laughs. But it's an odd slight for a man who himself looks out from behind a pair of frameless Bulgaris from Milan. As the bus bounces over potholes into Gujarat's flat, dusty plains, you begin to wonder how much of his own rhetoric Modi truly believes. All talk of Pakistan, terrorism and Hindus under threat vanishes in private. He sidesteps questions about official favoritism toward Muslims, a leading right-wing complaint. After vilifying madrasahs, Muslim lowlifes and the "Muslim-loving" Congress in his speeches, he even insists religion is not an electoral issue and plays down the violence that fueled his rise, declaring 98% of Gujarat unaffected. Perhaps most tellingly, though he speaks directly to the mob from the bus roof, he tries to shrink away from it, almost embarrassed, once he's back in the bus. "It's true, they are there, the Muslim haters," he says, "but I welcome anyone who votes for the BJP. You can't blame me for that." Even if Modi is just acting the part of a Hindu fanatic, there's no doubt he is riding—and stoking—Hindu nationalism for political gain. The danger is that once Modi and the BJP hard-liners mount the tiger of hate politics, they cannot get off or, worse, cannot control it. BJP insiders admit that without any significant achievements for Modi to point to, either in Gujarat or across the country, his one hope lies in terrifying and cajoling Hindus into voting for the party that vows to jealously protect them, and them alone. Says childhood friend Jasud Pathan, a Muslim and a BJP organizer: "His job is to save the BJP, to save the government. And the only way to do that is to say these things about Muslims." Modi grew up in Vadnagar, a small town of 40,000 in the semiarid scrub about 200 kilometers from the Pakistani border. In many ways Vadnagar, like much of the rest of Gujarat, encapsulates the best of India. It is prosperous and progressive, a place where parents bring up their children as vegetarians and teetotalers and dreaming of being managers in the state's western industrial belt. In its bazaar, Hindus and Muslims mix freely as neighbors and friends. There is little here to nurture hate in a young Hindu. But the people of Vadnagar remember two things about their most famous son. His startling abilities as an actor, taking lead roles in school plays and once writing and performing a one-man show. And his almost fanatical devotion, from the age of five, to the BJP's parent organization, the secretive Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteers Party, or RSS). Modi's 86-year-old mother Hiraben recalls that her son couldn't wait for the moment each day when he could change into his RSS cadet uniform of khaki shorts, white shirt and black cap and snap out smart salutes to a saffron flag. "He'd get up at 4 a.m., say his prayers and do the exercises the RSS had shown him," she says. It was this same focus that would see him leave Vadnagar at 17 to study politics in Gujarat's main city, Ahmadabad, returning only once—just for a day—30 years later. Embracing the spartan life of the devotee, he left his family and took nothing with him, not even his wife, Jashodaben, to whom he had been married as a child. At university, Modi quickly joined the RSS's student wing. At the time, the RSS and its fledgling political wing the BJP were on the fringe of India's political scene. By 1984, the BJP had only two seats in Parliament. All that changed in the late 1980s with the advent of Indian TV's first big hit show, Ramayana. The serialization of the legend of the god-king Rama set new lows for wooden acting and dismal special effects—and surprised everyone when it became a smash. Modi, by then a BJP press officer, wasn't the only one who noticed. Party leaders Vajpayee and his hard-line No. 2 Lal Krishna Advani (now Deputy Prime Minister) saw an opportunity to put on a show of their own. They took one myth, that Rama had been born on the site of a once glorious temple at Ayodhya in northern India, and turned it into a rallying cry for all Hindu patriots. One of the cornerstones of the Hindu nation, read the press releases Modi distributed, had been lost when 16th century Islamic Mughal conquerors built a mosque over the temple's ruins. The demolition of the mosque and the restoration of the temple was henceforth the core concern of virtually every Indian. A nationalist tide of wounded pride swept India. Tension between Hindus and Muslims soared. RSS membership hit 4.5 million, and the BJP burst onto center stage. In December 1992, in a spectacular demonstration of religious fervor, a crowd of Hindu demonstrators broke down fences protecting the mosque, climbed onto its three domes and, within hours, tore it apart brick by brick. It was a lasting lesson in the power of political theater. In the event the BJP loses in Gujarat, many observers reckon that the national government will suffer a heavy and perhaps fatal blow. ("I give them only three months," says a prominent Gujarati industrialist.) Advani in particular, as Modi's champion, is expected to stand or fall with his protEgE. And for Vajpayee, a loss, for which he would be blamed by hard-liners irked by his moderating restraints, would be as bad as a win, for which these same hard-liners would take the credit. But for the country, the consequences of an upset could be little short of disastrous. With obvious mischief, Pravin Togadia, the firebrand international head of the s's religious arm, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, or VHP), warns that what little control the BJP, or even he, exercises over the Hindu mob would evaporate if Modi were to lose on Dec. 12. "It will mean people are no longer prepared to defend themselves against Islam democratically," he states. "The masses will take the law into their own hands; there will be civil war." As the mascot of the far right, Modi benefits greatly from such political blackmail. "This is the start of something," he says, gazing out at the crowds swarming around his campaign bus. "You can't ignore this. It's beyond a dream. This will sweep all India." But as he speaks, you can't tell if Narendra Modi really believes this. It could be just another act. With reporting by Sankarshan Thakur/New Delhi


news source abbreviations

AFP - Agence France-Presse
All-Africa - All-Africa Global Media
AI - Amnesty International
Al Jezeera - Arabic Satellite TV news from Qatar (since Nov. 1996, English since 2003)
Anadolu - Anadolu Agency, Turkey
ANSA - Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata - Italy
Antara Antara National New Agency, Indonesia
AP - Associated Press
BBC - British Broadcasting Network
DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
EFE - Agencia EFE (Spanish), www.EFEnews.com (English)
HRW - Human Rights Watch
ICG - International Crisis Group
ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross
Interfax - Interfax News Agency, Russia
IPS - Inter Press Service (an int'l, nonprofit assoc. of prof. journalists since 1964)
IRIN - Integrated Regional Information Networks (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Africa and Central Asia)
IRNA -Islamic Republic News Agency
IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting (the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia, with a special project on the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal)

JTA - Global News Service of the Jewish People
Kyodo - Kyodo News Agency, Japan
LUSA - Agência de Notícias de Portugal
National Native News
NYT - New York Times
UN-OCHA - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (ReliefWeb)
OANA - Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
Pacific Islands Report - University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Pacific News Service nonprofit alternative source of news and analysis since 1969
PANA - Panafrican News Agency
Peace Negotiations Watch
 (PILPG) Weekly News monitor since Sept. 2002
PTI - Press Trust of India
RFE/RL - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ( private news service to Central and Eastern Europe, the former USSR and the Middle East funded by the United States Congress)
Reuters - Reuters Group PLC
SAPA - South African Press Association
UPI - United Press International
WPR - World Press Review,
a program of the Stanley Foundation.
WP - Washington Post
Xinhua - Xinhua News Agency, China

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