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Genocide in Rural Gujarat: The Experience of Dahod District
A report prepared by
Forum Against oppression of Women and Aawaaz-E-Niswaan
Bombay, June 2002
Compensation to the heirs of the `missing'
The brutal manner in which the people were attacked, killed and burnt, across the length and breadth of the state, including in far-flung hitherto `unaffected' rural areas, meant that several people who were killed could not be identified. These may be termed `missing' persons, though they have all been killed.
When the DSP, in front of us asked the police personnel in his office how many `missing' persons have been recorded, there were 3 answers from the 3 police personnel. `3'. `7'. `4'. People who were working in the camps and the villagers themselves have made a list of 36 `missing' persons as yet.
According to the GR, the heir of a person killed in the carnage would be given 40,000 cash and 60,000 in Fixed Deposits (And another 50,000 from another fund). According to the Collector of Dahod the heirs of the persons who were killed need the post mortem report for being able to collect the compensation. In most of the above `missing' cases, the circumstances in which the murders occurred were such that there was no chance of any `formalities' being done.
On the 2nd of March 2002, over 2000 people from Sanjeli were in a state of panic, with several thousand mobsters after their blood and life. After several desperate phone calls and the intervention of the DSP, these large number of people were packed in 18 vehicles. Among those so packed, were Almas (2 years), Nadim (4 years), Faisal (3 years), Talhan (6 years) and Nazrana (3 years). The vehicles were crammed in this manner, because just outside were the mobsters trying to get at the Muslim people, shouting threats of violence and abuse. Even when the vehicles set out, the mob continued to follow the vehicles and throw stones at the vehicles and threaten the people inside. In the entire process, the 5 children listed above lost their lives. The parents realized this only when they reached Dahod, some after 9 hours (when the actual distance is such that it should not have taken them more than 2 hours). Each of them had almost seen their individual and collective death at the hands of the bloodthirsty mobs. The parents, in their grief, tearfully buried the little dead children.
There was no post-mortem report and that is what is held against several of the heirs of the people who died in the carnage. A similar incident also occurred in Fatehpura, where 3 - year old Shabnam died.
In Randhikpur, 18 people were killed, 11 of who were beaten up brutally and then were burnt, with almost no traces left. In Limkheda too, an entire family of 10 people, including 4 children, were beaten up, women brutalized and raped, and then all were killed and burnt.
When the murderers have the power and the backing to see to it that almost all traces of the murder are wiped out, including getting rid of the victims' bodies, is it not a mockery to insist on a piece of paper called the post mortem report?
In almost all these cases, the relatives have some witnesses to the heinous act - a relative who was able to hide himself / herself or some one who was at a considerable distance from the scene when the murders were taking place, but could go to the scene immediately after. But the administration seems, as in most of the instances in this case, hell-bent on seeing that not even a ray of justice or hope reaches the Muslim community.