Hindu and Muslims in Gujrat
Serving IAS officer, working on deputation with a development organisation
Unbelievable Indian Cruelty!
Here is a piece of onhand information collected by one
IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer who visited riot hit areas and refugee camps.
Please take some time to read.....and let others know about it.
Some one has taken hours to compile this information.
Numbed with disgust and horror, I return from Gujrat (India)
ten days after the terror and massacre that convulsed the
state. My heart is sickened, my soul wearied, my shoulders
aching with the burdens of guilt and shame.
As you walk through the camps of riot survivors in Ahmadabad (India),
in which an estimated 53,000 women, men, and children are
huddled in 29 temporary settlements, there is display
of overt grief. People clutch small bundles of relief
materials, all that they now own in the world, with
dry and glassy eyes. Some talk in low voices, others busy themselves with
the tasks of everyday living in these most basic of
shelters, looking for food and milk for children,
tending the wounds of the injured.
But once you sit anywhere in these camps, people
begin to speak and their words are like masses of
pus released by slitting large festering wounds.
The horrors that they speak of are so macabre,
that my pen falters in the writing. The pitiless
brutality against women and children by organised
bands of armed young men is more savage than anything
witnessed in the riots that have shamed this nation
from time to time during the past century.
I force myself to write a small fraction of
all that I heard and saw, because it is important
that we all know. Or maybe also because I need to
share my own burdens.
What can you say about a woman eight months pregnant
who begged to be spared. Her assailants instead
slit open her stomach, pulled out her foetus
and slaughtered it before her eyes. What can you say
about a family of nineteen being killed by flooding
their house with water and then electrocuting them
with high-tension electricity. What can you say?
A small boy of six in Juhapara camp described how
his mother and six brothers and sisters were battered
to death before his eyes. He survived only because he
fell unconscious, and was taken for dead. A family
escaping from Naroda-Patiya, one of the worst-hit
settlements in Ahmadabad, spoke of losing a young
woman and her three month old son, because a police
constable directed her to 'safety' and she found
herself instead surrounded by a mob which doused
her with kerosene and set her and her baby on fire.
I have never known a riot which has used the sexual
subjugation of women so widely as an instrument of
violence in the recent mass barbarity in Gujrat.
There are reports every where of gang-rape, of young
girls and women, often in the presence of members of
their families, followed by their murder by burning alive (see pictures), or by bludgeoning with a hammer and in one
case with a screw driver. Women in the Aman Chowk
shelter told appalling stories about how armed men
disrobed themselves in front of a group of terrified
women to cower them down further.
In Ahmadabad, most people I met... social workers,
journalists and survivors....they all agree
that what Gujrat witnessed was not a riot, but
a terrorist attack followed by a systematic, planned
massacre, a pogrom. Everyone spoke of the pillage
and plunder, being organised like a military operation
against an external armed enemy. An initial truck
would arrive broadcasting inflammatory slogans, soon
followed by more trucks which disgorged young men,
mostly in khaki shorts and saffron sashes. They were
armed with sophisticated explosive materials, country
weapons, daggers and trishuls. They also carried
water bottles, to sustain them in their exertions.
The leaders were seen communicating on mobile
telephones from the riot venues, receiving instructions
from and reporting back to a co-ordinating centre.
Some were seen with documents and computer sheets
listing Muslim families and their properties. They had
detailed precise knowledge about buildings and
businesses held by members of the minority community,
such as who were partners say in a restaurant business,
or which Muslim homes had Hindu spouses married,
who should be spared in the violence. This was not
a spontaneous upsurge of mass anger. It was carefully
The trucks carried quantities of gas cylinders. Rich
Muslim homes and business establishments were first
systematically looted, stripped down of all their
valuables, then cooking gas was released from cylinders
into the buildings for several minutes. A trained member
of the group then lit the flame which efficiently
engulfed the building. In some cases, acetylene gas
which is used for welding steel, was employed to
explode large concrete buildings. Mosques
were razed, and were replaced by statues of Hanuman and
The unconscionable failures and active connivance of
the state police and administrative machinery is also
now widely acknowledged. The police is known to have
misguided people straight into the hands of the rioting
mobs. They provided protective shields to crowds bent on
pillage, arson, rape and murder, and were deaf to the
pleas of the desperate Muslim victims, many of them
women and children. There have been many reports of
police firing directly mostly at the minority community,
which was the target of most of the mob violence. The
large majority of arrests are also from the same
community which was the main victim of the pogrom.
As one who has served in the Indian Administrative
Service for over two decades, I feel great shame
at the abdication of duty of my peers in the civil
and police administration. The law did not require
any of them to await orders from their political
supervisors before they organised the decisive use
of force to prevent the brutal escalation of violence,
and to protect vulnerable women and children from the
organised, murderous mobs. The law instead required them
to act independently, fearlessly, impartially, decisively,
with courage and compassion. If even one official had
so acted in Ahmadabad, she or he could have deployed
the police forces and called in the army to halt the
violence and protect the people in a matter of hours.
No riot can continue beyond a few hours without the
active connivance of the local police and magistracy.
The blood of hundreds of innocents are on the hands of
the police and civil authorities of Gujrat, and by
sharing in a conspiracy of silence, on the entire
higher bureaucracy of the country.
I have heard senior officials blame also the
communalism of the police constabulary for their
connivance in the violence. This too is a thin and
disgraceful alibi. The same forces have been known
to act with impartiality and courage when led by
officers of professionalism and integrity. The failure
is clearly of the leadership of the police and civil
services, not of the subordinate men and women in khaki
who are trained to obey their orders.
Where also, amidst this savagery, injustice, and human
suffering is the 'civil society', the Gandhians, the
development workers, the NGOs, the fabled spontaneous
Gujrati philanthropy which was so much in evidence
in the earthquake in Kutch and Ahmadabad? The newspapers
reported that at the peak of the pogrom, the gates of
Sabarmati Asram were closed to protect its properties,
it should instead have been the city's major sanctuary.
Which Gandhian leaders, or NGO managers, staked their
lives to halt the death - dealing throngs?
one more shame that we as citizens of this country
must carry on our already burdened backs, that the
camps for the Muslim riot victims in Ahmadabad
are being run almost exclusively by Muslim organisations.
It is as though the monumental pain, loss, betrayal and
injustice suffered by the Muslim people is the concern
only of other Muslim people, and the rest of us have
no share in the responsibility to assuage, to heal and
rebuild. The state, which bears the primary responsibility
to extend both protection and relief to its vulnerable
citizens, was nowhere in evidence in any of the camps,
to manage, organise the security, or even to provide
the resources that are required to feed the tens of
thousands of defenceless women, men and children huddled
in these camps for safety.
The only passing moments of pride and hope
that I experienced in Gujrat, were when I saw
men like Mujid Ahmed and women like Roshan Bahen
who served in these camps with tireless, dogged
humanism amidst the ruins around them. In the Aman Chowk
camp, women blessed the young band of volunteers who
worked from four in the morning until after midnight
to ensure that none of their children went without food
or milk, or that their wounds remained unattended. Their
leader Mujid Ahmed is a graduate, his small chemical
dyes factory has been burnt down, but he has had
no time to worry about his own loss. Each day he has to
find 1600 kilograms of foodgrain to feed some 5000 people
who have taken shelter in the camp.
The challenge is
even greater for Roshan Bahen, almost 60, who wipes
her eyes each time she hears the stories of horror
by the residents in Juapara camp. But she too has
no time for the luxuries of grief or anger. She barely
sleeps, as her volunteers, mainly working class
Muslim women and men from the humble tenements around
the camp, provide temporary toilets, food and solace
to the hundreds who have gathered in the grounds of
a primary school to escape the ferocity of merciless mobs.
As I walked through the camps, I wondered what Gandhiji
would have done in these dark hours. I recall the story
of the Calcutta riots, when Gandhi was fasting for peace.
A Hindu man came to him, to speak of his young boy who
had been killed by Muslim mobs, and of the depth of his
anger and longing for revenge. And Gandhi is said to
have replied: If you really wish to overcome your pain,
find a young boy, just as young as your son, a Muslim
boy whose parents have been killed by Hindu mobs.
Bring up that boy like you would your own son,
but bring him up with the Muslim faith to which he was
born. Only then will you find that you can heal your
pain, your anger, and your longing for retribution.
There are no voices like Gandhi's that we hear today.
Only discourses on Newtonian physics, to justify
vengeance on innocents. We need to find these voices
within our own hearts, we need to believe enough
in justice, love, tolerance.
There is much that the murdering mobs in Gujrat have
robbed from me. One of them is a song I often sang
with pride and conviction. The words of the song are
Sare Jahan se Achha hay Hindustan Hamara