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While Patriotic India is Busy in Its Jingoism, the Victims of the Continuing Genocide in Gujarat Are Rotting
By Shabnam Hasmi (in New Delhi) (* )

Source: South Asia Citizens Web, June 21, 2002

    The villagers are being threatened all over to withdraw their complaints naming any one from VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal or BJP. They can buy peace for the time being if they are ready to live as second- class citizens and forget everything that happened.

    Vatva, Ahmedabad, March 20,2002, 5.15pm- 18 year old Mumtaz bano Darbar, one leg affected by Polio, sat on a charpai, outside her house in Vatva. Shot and wounded in the other leg by police from arms length.

    Mr Modi has waited too long for the Muslims to retaliate. The Sangh Parivar's rumours all over Gujarat proved to be false. So what is the best way out?

    Modi administration is busy right now engineering the 'Muslim backlash'.

    While no attempts are being made to answer very important questions surrounding Godhra, the nation is very cleverly being fooled again and again. Are we to forget that the Reichstag was burnt to the ground in 'mysterious circumstances'´ 27th February, 1933 by Hitler's orders and executed by Hitler's followers, which gave Hitler the perfect excuse to declare marshal law, and tighten his grip on power. At the same time the event was used to create paranoia among the government, the media and the populace.

    Didn´t the Sangh Parivar made everyone believe that SAHMAT denigrated Ram by publishing some posters in 1993. The whole Parliament, the media was up in arms. It took SAHMAT eight years to fight and win the case.

    How many years will it take us to answer: why all the 57 bodies were in the middle of the bogey S 6? Why does the S 6 reservation chart shows 21 women and 5 children and the women and children charred to death are 25 and 14 respectively. Where did they appear from? If the argument is that there were more people who were in the bogey than the chart shows then there should have been more men too. Where are they?

    Why did the Kar Sevaks collect stones in the bogey much before it reached Godhra? Why did a large number of them got down a few stations before Godhra? Why is the floor of S 6 totally gutted and why the fans at the top intact? Is this Petrol burning?

    Why did the children and women not shout for help? Were they drugged or killed before being charred? Is it not true that on 27th late afternoon printed leaflets were distributed around Godhra asking the Hindus to rise as their Hindu sisters were raped and killed by Muslim men? When were these leaflets printed? Is it not true that cars full of swords arrived in many areas 10-15 days before Godhra?

    These are questions, which even a dumb person can raise after visiting Godhra and making very preliminary investigations and having a look at the bogey. Do we not have any investigation agencies in the country to answer these questions?

    Is there no logic in the fact that the Sangh Parivar despite trying their best to rouse people's passions on Ayodhya lost four states, that they couldn't mobilize a 'decent' crowd in Ayodhya for the shiladan, that the Sangh Parivar badly needed a Godhra.

    The purpose of my three-day visit which turned into a ten day tour of more than 25 villages and districts was not to document this. I was about to leave for a village near Godhra when someone casually mentioned to me about the cold- blooded murder of a 63 year old man by the police in Makan Kuan, Godhra. I decided to immediately go and meet the family, which could not even file an FIR as Godhra was under curfew.

    Sitting in front of the six year old Wasim Akram and looking into his beautiful, deep and very sad eyes, his innocent face and bruises on his legs and back I wondered again at Gandhi´s Gujarat.

    While Modi's administration makes the whole nation believe that they very successfully controlled the situation in Godhra on May 24th night by firing at the Muslim mob and killing two people and injuring many more, the story is very different. The RSS, the VHP and the whole gang are past masters in fooling the people.

    Wasim's grand father Rashid Khan Amir Khan Pathan, 63 yrs old, a retired patwari was not a part of any mob, but was forcibly taken away from his house at 3 in the morning on 25th May, 2002 in a so-called ' combing operation'. He lived in Makan Kuan about a km away from Jahoopura, where the trouble had taken place at 11pm the previous night.

    The police which started hammering the door around 3 am, abused and beat up the whole family including 24yr old Arifa, they scratched her hands with nails, beat her up with batons and rifle butts, pulled her by the hair and dragged her on the floor. Jahanara's (27 yrs) two-year old daughter was snatched away from her and thrown in a corner and then the police tore all her clothes and beat her up with rifle butts. Naznin 11 years and Javed 14 yrs were also woken up from their sleep and severely beaten up by the police. Khursheed Bibi the 73 year old sister of the deceased was also not spared, barely able to speak to me when I met her, she kept asking for justice.

    After the police performed their sacred duty of beating up the whole family and they pushed them in and closed the latch from outside, they pulled 63 year old Rashid Khan Amir Khan Pathan by his collar and took him with them.

    Jahanara clearly heard three rounds of firing after sometime. She even saw some blood in the morning near the house but it was only around 5.30 pm when the police asked them to go and identify a body that they realized that the old gentleman was killed in cold blood just a few hundred yards away from their own house.

    The police threatened to declare the body as 'lawaris' and burn it if they did not take immediately. The post mortem report was not given. A bullet mark in the forehead and the neck was clearly visible when the family buried the old man.

    Very senior people in administration feeling helpless at what had happened actually requested me to talk to the press and ask them to raise it. According to them the whole trouble as started by the son of a BJP corporater in Jahoopura.

    When you have successfully convinced your self that you have heard the worst and also you are in no condition mentally and emotionally to hear anything more, you are made to sit up again. This is today´s Gujarat. I had planned a quick visit to the Vatva relief camp as I was to catch the evening train back to Delhi but the Vatva story forced me again to spend the whole evening in the area.

    Around 5.15 pm on 20 March 2002 smokes were found curling up in the Navapura locality of Vatva ( Ahmedabad suburb). The Navapura Muslims had to run for their lives on 28 /2 /2002 and March 1, 2002 and take refuge in the Vatva Durgah Relief camp. They suffered loss of lives and property. The Muslims of Vatva continued to be intimidated .

    Seeing the smoke in the Navapura locality, a km away from the camp and the houses just outside the camp many Muslims came out and were standing inside or just outside their houses and looking the smoke which was visible from there. Suddenly armed police personnel appeared and started firing indiscriminately on them.

    Farzanabanu Munaver Ali Bukhari was standing inside her house, behind a small iron grill gate, when the police came and fired at her. Then they tried to drag her dead body out of the compound. The women of the surrounded the body and prevented them from taking the body away. The bullet marks on the walls of the house are still visible. Farzana's father preys daily at her grave, which is near the house.

    20- year old Sikander Pathan, was shot twice in the chest and according to eye witnesses the policemen kicked him on the face and abdomen even after he was dead. Then the dragged the body by the legs and dumped him in the police jeep.

    In the mad rush the polio affected Mumtaz , shot by the police in the second leg kept lying in a corner for a long time, till someone noticed her bleeding leg and took her to the nearby Sonia clinic where the bullet was removed.

    While the residents have filed a case in the High Court, still no FIR has been lodged.

    While patriotic India is busy in its jingoism, the victims of the continuing genocide are rotting. While Fernandes and Ms. Bharti takes pain to explain to the nation that their are no rape cases, 38 gang raped women in a small village wait for justice. Their complaints not heard, their FIR not lodged. They are constantly jeered at by the rapists who are roaming around freely. A victim of gang rape, now eight months pregnant waits for her FIR to be lodged. The pattern of looting, burning, killing and brutalisation is the same in every district. Can an ordinary villager rape a woman, cut off her breasts, cut off her nose, or cut open her stomach and kill the unborn baby and then burn the woman. Can an ordinary villager strip naked three young girls and force them to run in front of a crowd?

    These were trained murderers unleashed on the streets of Gujarat by the Sangh Parivar. While the Gujarat civil society keeps mum, the mayhem continues. In a village in Godhra district 188 houses were looted, burn and raised to the ground. While Advani is busy telling the European Union then the victims have been compensated and nothing more needs to be done, the compensation for rebuilding the houses varies from as low as Rs 71 to the average of 3,000-4,000. The villagers are being threatened all over to withdraw their complaints naming any one from VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal or BJP. They can buy peace for the time being if they are ready to live as second- class citizens and forget everything that happened.