Muslim victims of the Gujarat massacres continue to face an economic boycott and are deprived of their sources of livelihood. Women from the Muslim community continue to face threats of sexual violence andgirls are being married off in unsuitable alliances for fear of being sexually violated in future pogroms.
(August 12, 2003) -- The Chief Minister of the Indian State of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, will visit the UK for an engagement at London's Wembley Conference Centre on Sunday 17th August, 2003.
Modi is a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) propagator and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing of the Hindu nationalist movement. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi is at the top of the chain of the command of the State legislative, administrative and enforcement institutions and is also a key member of the Hindu right wing network implicated in the Gujarat pogrom in February-March 2002, in which thousands of Muslims throughout the state were brutally murdered, raped or driven out of their homes.
Modi's visit is ostensibly to attract British-based business to invest in Gujarat - there will be a 'global investors meeting' at the end of September in Ahmedabad. But a number of South Asian organisations in Britain point to the earlier massive misappropriation of funds collected for earthquake relief in Gujarat by the network of the Hindu right; they, as well as international human rights organisations, fear that Modi will also be using his current visit to gather support and funds from far-right Hindu organisations in Britain which will be used to promote further communal violence.
These organisations also fear that Modi's visit and the activities of his supporters will increase religious tensions among Britain's South Asian communities. Organisations representing a range of South Asian communities and groups will be demonstrating outside the meeting on 17 August.
Many of the alleged perpetrators of the 2002 Gujarat massacres were acquitted in the State's courts for `lack of evidence', and impunity is still enjoyed by state of Gujarat cabinet ministers and officials who were involved in planning and committing human rights violations. The same impunity also extends to the lower level officials that implemented the plan and to the mob and its leaders that perpetrated the crimes. In Gujarat, the members of the Hindu supremacist groups Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal (Hindu right wing youth group) that formed the mob are still at large and many have not been investigated by the state of Gujarat courts.
Muslim victims of the Gujarat massacres continue to face an economic boycott and are deprived of their sources of livelihood. Women from the Muslim community continue to face threats of sexual violence andgirls are being married off in unsuitable alliances for fear of being sexually violated in future pogroms. The police complicit in the pogrom continue to intimidate Muslims in regular 'combing' operations.
The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party - the political formation of the Hindu right) government in power in the state acquitted alleged perpetrators in serious cases of human rights violations. The Commissioner of the Enquiry Commission exonerated Chief Minister Narendra Modi of any involvement in the pogrom even before completing the hearings. Gujarat state institutions investigate crimes in which they are themselves heavily implicated. Modi's engagement in London is as a guest of the Friends of the BJP Abroad.
Applying international law to India is problematic because of its image as the home of Gandhi and non-violence. Few realize that India has been politically taken over by Hindu right, which uses the respectability gained by post-independence India to successfully disguise its Hindu supremacist agenda and genocidal intent.