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Compensation to  Gujarat Riot Victims

 

Public Meeting

Fatwa on Terrorism issued by Mufti Fuzail-ur-Rahman Hilal Usmani
(Pronounced in person at a Public Meeting, “Citizens Against Terror”, organized by Citizens for Justice and Peace, Muslims for Secular Democracy and others in Mumbai on July 27, 2006).

Text of Fatwa: Hindi | Urdu | Marathi | Gujarati

Message from Sajjadanashin Of
Hazrat Khwaja Saheb,
Ajmer Shari
f

Press Coverage of Meeting

Statement of Condemnation
(Mumbai Blast)

 

SC judgment
Re-trial of Best Bakery Case
outside Gujarat

(April 12, 2004)

Media Archive

Dateline

Backgrounders

  List of Prosecution,    
  defence witnesses
(pdf)
  Chart for the
  identification of
  the accused
(pdf)
  Chart for the
  identification of
  the weapon
 (pdf)
  List of accused  (pdf)
  Contradictory statements  
  by Zahira and family
(pdf)
  Zahira Speak  (pdf)
  Hostile witnesses:    (pdf)
  Criminal consequences
 
  Modi on NHRC, CJ  (pdf)
  Pending petition for  (pdf)
  re- investigation, transfer
  No appeals  (pdf)
 Partisan prosecutors (pdf)
 Partisan Investigation (pdf)
 Vadodara witnesses (pdf)
  Case History
 Supreme court  
  judgement
(Mar 8, '06)
  Mazgaon (Mumbai)
  session court
 
  judgement
 
(Full Judgement)  
 ( Feb 24, '06)
  Mazgaon (Mumbai)
  session court
 
  judgement
 (Feb 24, '06)
  SC Judgement: transfer
  and  retrial in Mumbai
 
 
(April 12, '04)
  SC order expunging
  remarks against
  Teesta, Mihir
  Gujarat HC order
  Dec. 26, '03/Jan 12, '04
  CJP and Zahira file
  SLP in SC
(Aug. 8, '03)
  Zahira/CJP press  
  conference in Mumbai

  (July 7, '03)
  Sessions Court
  Judgement, Vadodara

  (June 27, '03)


News Letter March 2006

Crime Against
Humanity

Gujarat Riots
 Concerned Citizens Tribunal Report

 

Crime Against
Humanity

( Abridged Version)

 

Genocide:
Gujarat 2002

           

Remembering Kandhamal


Monday, 24th August 2009. 5:07pm

By: Vishal Arora.

New Delhi: It was on this day (August 24) in 2008 that India witnessed its bloodiest spate of violence against the Christian minority since the Independence. At the epicentre was Kandhamal, a forest district of scenic beauties with waterfalls and natural springs around hill tracts, situated in the eastern state of Orissa. That such a district became a scene of bloodbath was ironic and extremely unfortunate but not surprising. The region had been tense since the Christmas season in 2007 thanks to alleged activists of the Rightwing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).                                                                     

 

The Christmas season violence killed at least four Christians, burned as many as 730 houses and 95 churches and rendered thousands homeless. The spark that ignited it was a minor conflict between VHP supporters and Christians over the pitching of a tent for Christmas celebrations. Christians were beaten up and their shops were destroyed as they went ahead with their celebration plans. In the melee, a prominent VHP leader, Laxmanananda Saraswati, who was believed to be behind the clash, was attacked. And a “retributive” action followed.

Eight months later, in August 2008, when hundreds of displaced victims were still living in relief camps set up by the state government, Maoists (extreme Marxists) assassinated VHP leader Saraswati and four of his disciples on the evening of August 23. Although the media promptly reported that Maoists had attacked Saraswati, Christians were blamed for it.

Until the following morning, there were no reports of violence. But there were strong indications, as VHP leaders made public statements blaming the killing of their leader on local Christians, claiming it was to avenge the December 2007 violence. Fearing tensions, the administration of Kandhamal clamped curfew. The VHP, too, imposed a closure across the state to protest Saraswati’s death.

Defying the curfew imposed by the administration, the VHP mobilised hundreds of supporters and took out a public funeral procession carrying Saraswati’s body from his ashram in Jalespata area to another ashram in Chakapada area, taking a detour covering more than 100 kilometres.

The local police was apparently under political pressure not to take action against the organisers of the procession, as the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has close links with the VHP, was still part of the ruling state government, in partnership with a regional party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

It was not that Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not know the consequences of letting the VHP carry out the procession. For, not long ago, a similar sequence of events was witnessed after a train compartment in the western state of Gujarat had caught fire on February 27, 2002. The following day, the VHP imposed a closure throughout Gujarat, and the state government, ruled by the BJP, decided to transfer the charred bodies of the fire victims to Ahmedabad city. At the Ahmedabad station, large crowds were allowed to see the bodies that were later taken in a public funeral procession. The communal frenzy the funeral procession caused resulted in the death of over 2,000 people.

But the Orissa chief minister also knew the possible outcome of taking on its ally, the BJP. For, anticipating a split between the BJD and the BJP, the opposition Congress party in the state seemed ready to exploit the coalition tensions hoping to overturn the Patnaik government. (The Congress passed a no-confidence motion against the ruling party on August 29, requiring it to prove majority in the state assembly.)

As the VHP was allowed to take out the funeral procession on August 24, with police escorts, reports of violence began to flood newsrooms across the country – a déjŕ vu for most journalists who had reported on the 2002 Gujarat violence. The violence in Kandhamal in August-September lasted for around two months, killing more than 100 people and burning more than 4,500 houses, over 250 churches and 13 educational institutions.

The state government excused itself by blaming its inability to prevent arson, rape and murder on the “difficult” hilly terrain of Kandhamal. And the Central government ruled by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) did nothing more than tokenism. The UPA issued an official warning to Orissa under Article 355 of the constitution, which empowers the government at the Centre to proclaim an emergency. But the warning came three weeks too late – by then the worst was over.

The BJD spoke against the BJP only after breaking up its alliance with the Rightwing party in the run up to the April-May 2009 elections, both for parliament and the state assembly.

Today, the BJD is the ruling party in Orissa, and the UPA the incumbent alliance at the Centre.

But the BJP is in shambles. Many believe that the party lost the elections due to its hardcore Hindutva image which made people see it as an irrelevant party in the new, progressive India.

After the BJP’s second consecutive defeat in the 2009 general election – which witnessed a fierce infighting in the party – the unsuccessful prime ministerial candidate LK Advani, seen as the architect of minority persecution in India, reluctantly came back as the Leader of the Opposition. It was actually its reluctance that had qualified him for that post. But, recently, he declared that he wanted to retain his office for the full-term. The BJP’s parent organisation, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is furious. And so are many second rung party leaders who cannot wait any longer to call the shots.

It was Advani’s last chance to become the prime minister, and he didn’t make it. And his party’s hope that it would gain politically from the numerous riots that India witnessed in the recent years, including the one in Kandhamal, turned sour.

However, one cannot yet say that the BJP has finally paid for playing divisive politics. For the BJP’s disappointment cannot be compared to the loss of hundreds of lives and the sorrows of their family members.

A year after the Kandhamal mayhem, one cannot help being at a loss for words on how human lives are sacrificed for shameful political experiments. One can only hope that the BJP and those in authority in the government have learnt their lessons well. For although the wounds of the victims of communal violence cannot be healed even by time, at least we can hope that last year’s Kandhamal violence was a last straw.

 

 

 

 


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