This is taken from a FB friend's update.Its interesting
"Ten years on, India owes it to the victims of the Gujarat riots to end the culture of impunity and prosecute those responsible for this open wound on the country's reputation," South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly said. I completely agree with Ms. Ganguly. But I wouldn’t have done so had she said, “India owes it to the muslims of Gujarat riots to……” She, in fact, did not.
Indians have died in the riots and not just Hindus & Muslims. Who can deny that these riots are a blot on the reputation of our country? There can be no justification for Godhra or post-Godhra riots but I think the truth of Gujarat is not yet known to all. Let the truth be known to all irrespective of who it benefits or indicts. It certainly cannot acquit Modi or BJP because the riots took place under their guard. But are there lies & propaganda being spread? Who gains by these lies? Ideally, it should not have been important to know how many died, who killed, etc since none of these Indians should have been killed by their own, but it is better if people base their decisions based on truth and not lies & half-truths. The information collated in this note has been in the public domain since more than a decade but I believe not all people are aware of these events. This attempt need not be seen as defense of the guilty or the Government at that time unless it suits your agenda and requirement. I don’t think they can be defended. But there are questions, and the devil should be given his due.
Were post-Godhra riots a ‘pogrom’, ‘genocide’, ‘massacre’ or the ‘worst-ever massacre in India.’? You may be reminded of similar characterizations by others in another context, which have rightly been dismissed as fantastic on this page.
Ranganath Mishra Commission gave the number of 1984 Sikh-riot victims as 3874 of which 2307 were in delhi.
Is 1984 forgotten or forgiven, since the learned men and media are not talking about bringing justice to its victims any longer?
Who apologized for those riots? Who showed remorse?
Which political leader or how many rioters were convicted for those riots? And who killed these 3874 innocent citizens of India within 3 days? How come not even a single rioter was killed during the 5 days of rioting during 1984? Was not imposing curfew in Delhi a sinister plot of the then Government?
No, this is not what aboutery but a reminder to those who need to ask these questions as well while demanding answers for the Gujarat riots. It is also important to know the reaction of both governments in 1984 & 2002 during the riots.
Was it really a one-sided massacre?
1. If 790 muslims & 254 hindus were killed during post-Godhra riots, why are killings of muslims exaggerated to the levels of thousands?
2. Why isn’t the killing of 254 hindus in the same riots ever mentioned either by BJP baiters or the media? Isn’t it strange?
Who killed these 254 hindus? The poltergeist in S-4 coach? Does this mean that Muslims were offensive as well?
3. The Times of India reported on 17th March that more than 10,000 Hindus were living in refugee camps in Ahmedabad. Again on 25 April 2002, out of the 1, 40, 000 people living in various refugee camps, more than 42,000 of them were Hindus. This despite of Muslim population being 10% and the state governed by a Hindu nationalist party. What does this indicate?
4. Large scale retaliation from the Hindus started on the 27th night and went on through the day on 28th February. . On 28 February there was large-scale retaliation from the Hindus. But on 1st March, the second day of the riots, the Muslim counterattack began. It was a one-sided affair only for 24-hours. Muslims retaliated from 28th February onwards.
India Today in the weekly’s issue dated 15 April 2002:
“On 13/3/2002, the Supreme Court’s ruling banning any religious activity in Ayodhya proved a psychological setback to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its affiliates. It was also the day when some people in the walled city of Ahmedabad burst crackers in celebration and unfurled banners saying-“You darkened our skies. We will spill your blood on the streets.”
5. The Hindu on 2/2/2002
“But unlike Thursday (i.e. Feb 28) when one community was entirely at the receiving end, the minority backlash (on 1st March, Friday) caused further worsening of the situation. Police presence had little impact on the two communities pelting stones at each other in Bapunagar, Gomtipur, Dariapur, Shahpur, Naroda and other areas from where incidents of firing had been reported. But there were no reports of casualty. Pitched battle was continuing between the two communities late in the evening. The official sources said timely arrival of the police foiled a retaliatory attempt to break into a prominent temple in Jamalpur locality in the walled city.”
6. The Indian Express 2/3/2002: “Tension escalated in the walled city areas just before the Friday prayers. There were violent clashes between mobs in Jamalpur, Bapunagar, and Rakhial.” Clearly Muslims were on the offensive. And The
7. Times of India also reported the same day: “There were signs of retaliation in areas like Juhapura, Kalupur, Dariapur and Shahpur…”
8. The Times of India’s on 18/3/2002:
“Mobs attack police post, combing operations on
Ahmedabad: Police have carried out massive combing operations in the city following attacks by violent mobs on the security personnel on Friday night. During the combing operations, a 65-year-old man died of shock after he was arrested by an army contingent from Dariapur for possessing a revolver. A youth was killed in police firing when a 5,000-strong mob tried to attack Dudheshwar police chowky in Madhavpura area. According to police sources, an army contingent, which was confronted by a 700-strong mob, identified the accused, a resident of Char Musa Ni Pole in Dariapur, who was brandishing a revolver and a big knife. The mob was dispersed by the army. In the combing operation that followed, the army men traced the accused at Char Musa Ni pole in Dariapur. He was arrested and taken to Dariapur police station where he complained of uneasiness. The accused was taken to the civil hospital where he was declared brought dead. A few hours later, a 23-year-old fell victim to police firing while eight persons were injured in Dudheshwar area when police tried to disperse a violent mob. “Our men braved heavy stone-pelting and petrol bombs but the mob swelled beyond 5,000 around 3 am, forcing us to open fire in self-defence,” says G C Ravat, senior Police Inspector at Madhavpura police station. The police and State Reserve Police personnel fired 21 rounds to disperse the mob and prevent it from advancing to the majority community-dominated areas. Madhavpura police has registered a case against 38 persons for murderous assault on police chowky and clamped curfew in its police station area. Police recovered crude bombs, sharp-edged weapons, slings and crates of petrol bombs. “We have recovered a lot of substances which could be possibly used for fuelling violence,” says M T Mehta, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad. Madhavpura police also opened fire in Idgah area to control violence unleashed by a 500-strong mob. Three people were injured. Police fired three rounds and lobbed three tear gas cells to disperse a mob at Rakhial cross-roads. Meanwhile, indefinite curfew continued in the areas of Kalupur, Shahpur and Karanj. Madhavpura and Dariapur were put under curfew since 3 am on Saturday. Police arrested 112 persons from six police commissionerate zones. Reports of crowds assembling at various places in Amraiwadi, Rakhial, Khadia, Karanj and Kalupur areas kept pouring in at the police control room.”
9. India Today written by Uday Mahurkar in the weekly’s issue dated 20 May 2002:
“On the morning of May 7, Amrit Chagganlal, a camel cart owner, was passing by the Sarkhej area on Ahmedabad’s outskirts. It was the 70th day since communal riots had engulfed Gujarat following the killing of 57 Ramsevaks at Godhra on February 27. It was difficult and dangerous times but Chagganlal ventured out in a bid to eke out a living. A mob suddenly appeared as if out of nowhere, surrounded him and hacked him to death before throwing his body into a well. Chagganlal was the 933rd victim of the continuing communal violence in Gujarat that shows no signs of ebbing…
By nightfall, the death toll had crossed the 940 mark when a group of Muslims in Ahmedabad’s Shah Alam area drew Hindus out by throwing bombs at their homes in the Maninagar area and then launched a fierce attack with country-made weapons and crude bombs. BSF jawans who intervened were fired upon before they killed five of the attackers and arrested several others with a huge quantity of weapons including a country made cannon. True, since the last round of violence began on Ramnavmi day on April 21, violence has been restricted to Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Lunawada, a small town in Panchmahal distric. The repeated recovery of huge catches from Muslim pockets forced some of the ministers to ask BJP about the steps the police was taking to flush out the armouries…
Says Dharmesh Vyas, 26, a employee of a private company who is recovering from bullet wounds sustained in firing by Muslim mobs: “If Modi is removed, the violence will increase because there is a feeling among the Hindus that the riots are now engineered by BJP’s rivals to get rid of him. It is BJP’s presence that is keeping Hindus in check. Once he is gone, things will become uncontrollable”…
In Ahmedabad, riots continue despite the two peace meetings between religious leaders of both Muslims and the RSS-VHP combine and joint statements calling for peace. It took the VHP less than two days to consider backtracking from peace initiatives following attacks on Hindu locality.
Among the factors which kept the communal pot boiling in Ahmedabad are the 40-odd relief camps in the city in which over 50,000 Muslims are lodged…There is pressure on the government to close down some of these relief camps amid unconfirmed reports that at least some of these camps have become sanctuaries for Muslim trouble-makers…”
10. The Tribune on 30/4/2002
“Ahmedabad, April 29
The death toll in Gujarat since the February 27 Sabarmati Express carnage reached 900 today, with the fragile peace being shattered repeatedly in Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
The police said of the seven persons seriously injured when the crude bombs they were making exploded in their house in Kalupur this morning, two had died in hospital. One person was stabbed to death in Gomtipur within hours of the conclusion of the peace rally led by Defence Minister George Fernandes and Chief Minister Narendra BJP. Prior to the rally, three persons had died in Chandola Talao area under the Maninagar police station.In Kalupur, two persons died in police firing late last night as sporadic violence, arson and group clashes continued.
A report from Anand said that two scooter-borne men tried to shoot a man on his morning walk, but he ducked in time. The police later recovered the revolver and cartridge shell from the spot.
11. Another story of same day:
VADODARA: Despite imposition of indefinite curfew and heavy security bandobast, sporadic incidents of violence and arson continued unabated in Vadodara city for the fourth consecutive day.
At least three persons were injured in private firing and another in stone throwing following group clashes at Navidharti in the curfew-bound Karelibaug area, where a rocket launcher was also recovered by the police early today.
Reports said at least 15 persons were injured, including five in private firing and as many in acid bomb attacks, during the past 24 hours in the city as mobs engaged in intense fighting. Miscreants also reportedly set ablaze more than 36 shops, houses, kiosks, restaurants and godowns in the riot-hit city in the past 24 hours.
Reports said several families belonging to the majority (Hindu) community had fled from Tandalja following mounting communal tension in the area, where the authorities had provided shelter to nearly 2000 members of the minority community. Meanwhile, the police registered a case of attempt to murder against Congress councillor Manzoorkhan Pathan and arrested his brother on the same charge for their alleged murderous attack on a family at Junigadi Harijan Basti on Saturday.
According to the police, violence also erupted in Savli past night, forcing the police to open two rounds of fire to disperse the warring mobs. UNI”
12. The Times of India on 18/3/2002 written by Leena Misra:
“Ahmedabad: When Union Home Minister L K Advani answered Rajya Sabha MP Shabana Azmi’s query in the parliament on Monday saying that more from the majority community fell to police bullets than the minorities in the recent riots, he was referring to the whole of Gujarat. Sixty per cent of the people who died due to police firing were from the majority community, the state-wide figures show. But the scene in Ahmedabad is quite the reverse. In the city that is considered communally and politically most volatile, more members of the minority community died in the police firing. According to figures available, 57 per cent (23 out of 40) of the people killed in the police firing belong to the minority community. This figure should be seen with the toll of rioting in Ahmedabad which shows that out of the 286 people killed, some 41 were Hindus killed in about 5,500 rounds of firing by the police. Similarly in the state, of the 571 people who died in other violence, 494 people from the minority community were killed in the riots that followed the Godhra carnage as compared to 77 from the majority community. But the state figures, as against Ahmedabad, show that of the 100 that succumbed to the police firing, 60 were Hindus.”
13. Times of India, Ahmedabad Edition on 28/2/2002: Police officials said that the backlash could be especially seen in Ahmedabad, where out of the total number of persons injured in stabbings, 62 are Hindus and 30 Muslims. The overall figures for Gujarat of those injured in stabbings tell a different story, with 131 Hindus and 179 Muslims.
14. 18th march 2002:: Leena Misra :::: …..by 17th March,137 Hindus had been killed in the riots,77 in riots and 60 in police firing. That is a total of 137 Hindus.
Did the State connive with the rioters?
15. 100% of 6000-strong police force was on the streets of Ahmedabad but just not enough to contain such wide-spread violence, 1500 of them armed. SRF too was pushed into service. 1000-strong army contingent arrived on 28th February itself with more to follow the following days.
16. The Times of India: “The sparse police presence looked like a drop in the ocean of violence.” This despite the deployment of the entire police force.” The Hindu: “Mob fury reached its crescendo and “Police were outnumbered by the rioters”. The Telegraph & The Tribune reported the same. The Times of India reported on 2nd March 2002 on events on 1st March (Friday)- “Neither the Army nor the shoot-at-sight orders given to Gujarat Police could stop riots on Friday 1st March…” And this was on 1st March 2002 when the violence was much less than 28 Feb (Thursday).
17. Shoot-at-sight orders given to police on the night of 28th Februray itself. The police shot 98 rioters between February 27th & 2nd March, majority of the hindus.?
18. More than 600 rounds of fire were fired in Ahmedabad on 27th February.
19. The police fired more than 3900 rounds & about 6500 tear gas shells between 27th February & 1st March – 3 days.
20. Shoot-at-sight order issued in Godhra on the night of 27th February itself.
21. Despite the presence of the Army for 73 out of 74 days, the police fired as many 15000 tear gas shells, and a total of 10500 rounds. Out of the total people killed in the riots, about 20 % have been shot dead by the police.
22. “On 1st March, the police shot dead 17 people in Ahmedabad alone-as reported by The Hindu dated 2nd March 2002.
23. “On 2nd March 2002-police firing resulted in 47 deaths” The Hindu, 3/3/2002.
24. Indian Express on 3/3/2002 said that 77 people were killed in Police/Army firing on 2nd March 2002. Majority of those killed were hindus.
25. Indefinite curfew was clamped in 26 cities/towns including ahmedabad, surat, baroda, rajkot, nadiad, anand and kaira by Feb 28th in addition to the indefinite curfew in force in Godhra since February 27 : The Hindu dated 1st March 2002
26. 827 preventive arrests were made on 27th February itself.
27. On 28 April 2002 The Times of India reported that 9954 Hindus and 4035 Muslims were arrested by police as substantive arrests and 17947 Hindus and 3616 Muslims were arrested as a preventive measure.
28. Of 25486 accused the Guj police arrested 25,204 people
29. Indian Express, ToI, Telegraph, Hindu and other newspapers reported that army units had arrived in Ahmedabad and other cities. This means that army started arriving on 28th itself. State Government had requested for the army presence in cities/towns on 27th itself and the then Defense Minister, George Fernandes, reached Ahmedabad on 28th morning along with senior army officers.
30. Army staged its first flag march on 1st March at 11:30am with shoot-at-sight orders in hand.
31. The Indian Express dated 3rd March reported that 77 people were killed in Police firing on 2nd March 2002, majority of them Hindus. Also The Times of India in a report titled “More fall prey to police firings in Gujarat” dated 28 April 2002 says that a total of 35,552 people were arrested for rioting in Gujarat- out of whom 27,901 were Hindus.
32. Of the first 285 convictions for post-godhra riots, 251 were hindus. Gujarat police has had a strong role in the courts being able to convict them.
33. The Adivasi Outrage & How police played a vital role in saving muslims losing more than 30 personnel.
35. The India Today 20/5/2002: ”A series of attacks on policemen by Muslims has further added to the lack of faith. Now, strapped with the anti-Muslim label, the police has been slow in acting against Muslim fanatics”.
36. Anti-BJP camp claims he is not sorry about 2002. In the State Assembly after the riots NM made a statement that said, “Are we not supposed to soul-search ourselves? Whether it is Godhra incident or post-Godhra it does not enhance the prestige of any decent society. The riots are a stigma on humanity and do not help anyone to hold his head high. Then why is there a difference of opinion”.
I also came across quite a few comments since 2002 from senior leaders of BJP condemning the riots and expressing sadness. Honestly, I did believe (as I was fed this by the media) that except for Atal Bihari Vajpayee & LK Advani, no other senior BJP leader showed any remorse. These comments came as a pleasant surprise, particularly Narendra Modi’s comments.
1. After the 2002 Gujarat riots Narendra Modi made a statement in the State Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) in March 2002. One paragraph from that statement is: “Are we not supposed to soul-search ourselves? Whether it is Godhra incident or post-Godhra it does not enhance the prestige of any decent society. The riots are a stigma on humanity and do not help anyone to hold his head high. Then why is there a difference of opinion”.
2. On Aaj Tak‘s Prabhu Chawla on its program Seedhi Baat, the excerpts of which were published in India Today weekly dated 4 Nov 2002, Narendra Modi was asked “Prime Minister Vajpayee and Home Minister Advani have said that whatever happened in Gujarat was wrong” to which he said, “I say the same thing. The communal riots in Gujarat were unfortunate and we are sad they took place.”
3. ”Constitution of India is supreme for us. As a Chief Minister of the state, pain of anybody in the state is my pain. (Delivering) Justice to everyone is the duty of the state,” BJP said
There has been no apology from either Narendra Modi or any other senior BJP leader. Maybe he is waiting to be elected as the Prime Minister like Manmohan Singh, post which – like him – he will do so.