SACW | 2 June 02
- South Asia Citizens Wire Dispatch | 1 June 2002
South Asians Against Nukes:
#1. Pakistan: Government must show some spine (Editorial: Daily Times)
#2. Joint Statement by Pakistan India Peoples Forum For Peace and Democracy
#3. International Peace Bureau poster-protest action against the
danger of a nuclear war in
Kashmir (geneva, 5 June)
#4. . . . Revealing a Gap Between The Leaders and the People (Nafisa Hoodbhoy)
#5. Let Sanity prevail over war cries! (Editorial, INSAF Bulletin)
#6. Press Release Censor Board at war with " WAR AND PEACE " (Anand
#7. Citizens Protest Against Police withdrawl of permission
#8. 'Gujarat carnage was planned much before Godhra' (Peoples Union
for Democratic Rights, India)
The Daily Times (Lahore)
June 02, 2002 Main News
Editorial: Government must show some spine
In an attempt to placate the irrational religious right-wing lobby
yet again, the government has agreed to revive the clause in the
voter registration form pertaining to the religious beliefs of the
voter. The clause was inserted into the form following General Ziaul
Haq's decision to introduce the separate electorate system and
required voters to state their religion. If the voter declared
himself/herself a Muslim, he/she was then required to declare that
he/she believed in khatm-e-nabuwwat (Finality of Prophet Muhammad's
(PBUH) prophethood). The idea was to make sure that the Ahmadis or
Qadianis who had been declared non-Muslims in 1974 would not be able
to sneak back into the fold of the true Muslims. And so it had
remained until the universally disclaimed separate electorate system
was reviewed, found to be seriously lacking, and finally scrapped by
the Musharraf government.
Inevitably, therefore, since all Pakistanis irrespective of their
religion were now eligible to vote under one system like equal
citizens, the clause about one's religion became totally redundant
and was deleted. But the religious right wing, which was already
smarting from the government's decision to do away with separate
electorates, began to clamour for a revival of the old form. But,
instead of telling them to go fly a kite as it did immediately
following 9/11, it sent the good-natured and mild-mannered
information minister, Mr Nisar Memon, to powwow with them. Powwow
with them? That was like the Romans throwing Christians to the lions
in the Coliseum. In exchange for a meeting with General Musharraf,
the government has conceded a revival of the clause pertaining to
religion in the voter registration form.
"Its no big deal" says the government. But if that's the case, why
was the clause taken out in the first place? Indeed, if the
government could weather the storm threatened over the abolition of
the separate electorate system, why did it succumb to the storm in a
teacup threatened by the same people? Was the government strong then
and is weak today?
It may be more complicated than that. Clearly, the government has
taken the line of least resistance at this time because it wants to
co-opt the right wing, especially the six party Mutahidda
Majlis-e-Amal. We say this because when the government took the
decision to change tack on Afghanistan, it did so without paying any
heed to this very right wing. Not only did it put down the vociferous
protest demonstrations, it arrested the main leaders of the religious
parties and did not let them go until they agreed not to rock the
boat. This approach was successful beyond the government's hopes and
came as a surprise to it. In fact, the inability of the religious
right wing to foment serious trouble stunned many observers who had
predicted otherwise on the basis of unchallenged or untested
historical assumptions. What went right?
Both the government and the pundits forgot one new fact that impinged
on the situation: despite their much flaunted fire-power and
trouble-making capacity, these groups had rarely, if ever, faced a
state fully resolved to putting religious oppositionists down on any
issue. With a superpower breathing down its neck, Islamabad suddenly
acquired the spine to tell the religious right where to get off. Thus
at the end of the day, what matters is not so much the ability of
troublemakers to stir trouble as it is the willingness of the state
to knock out that capacity.
Traditionally, governments in Pakistan have tried to hide their lack
of political will with the argument, and on the pretext, that the
price for putting an end to the "nuisance value" of the rightwing is
prohibitive. In other words, since their demands are not substantive,
it is better to give in to them rather than stir a hornets' nest.
This mindset and such arguments have never been anything but pure
opportunism. On the basis of such opportunism have the functionaries
of the state deluded themselves and hoodwinked us.
General Musharraf has time and again "resolved" to turn Pakistan into
a progressive, modern state as envisaged by the Quaid-e-Azam. But the
Quaid clearly envisaged a state where every Pakistani, regardless of
his religion, was free to go about his/her business without any
interference from the state. This was confirmed by the findings of
the inquiry committee following the anti-Qadiani riots of 1951. In
fact, the Munir Report explained how the situation was allowed to
deteriorate by the government of the day and argued that if political
expediencies and squabbling had not gotten into the way, the
rampaging politico-religious mobs could have been handled by a
district magistrate and a superintendent of police!
Now, more than ever before for a myriad of reasons, the Musharrafic
state needs to challenge some highly retrogressive laws and mindsets
inherited from the past. The issue is not one trying to ride the
crest of religious extremism and violence. It is one of turning it
back. And this wont happen unless the state shows the spine, at
least, of the District Magistrate and the SP!
[Published in the Pakistani Daily DAWN dated 30th May 2002.]
We, who are committed to help achieve the aspirations of the common peoples of
Pakistan and India, urge our respective governments to exercise
restraint in the
current surcharged atmosphere. The entire world is anxious that there should be
no war between the two countries of Pakistan and India that need, instead, to
work hard on economic development and cultural enrichment with a view to
improving the lot of the majority of their peoples.
As of now, the threat of war from miscalculation or accident is quite serious.
Regrettably there has been a deliberately cultivated war hysteria in both
countries. Should a war break out, for whatever reason, it runs the grave risk
of escalating to the level of nuclear exchanges.
We assert that no cause is worth fighting with nuclear weapons. Though both
governments have painted themselves into a corner through their belligerent
posturing, they must nevertheless beat a political retreat. Justice and sanity
demand nothing less. Neither government should offer gratuitous provocation
or insult to the other. In the face of stark danger of a possible
nuclear war, it is of
utmost importance that the armed forces of both sides simultaneously move
back to their peacetime stations.
Resolving the basic disputes between the two countries is necessary and will
take time. But the immediate prerequisite is the return of normalcy and
resumption of dialogue, not only between politicians or bureaucrats but even
more importantly, between the concerned citizens of the two countries who
must be free to meet and communicate with each other whenever they wish.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that along with the mutual disengagement
of the two armed forces, the recent extraordinary restrictions on means
of communications that prevent people-to-people dialogue and cultural exchanges
from taking place, be removed. Indeed, they should be promoted through easing
of visa regimes.
We urge the two governments to take all necessary steps to achieve this
disengagement of armed forces and restore normal relations
and appeal to the international community to support this process. Politics in
both countries must be de-militarised as much as possible. It must be
first and foremost, towards fulfilling the human needs and aspirations of the
citizens of our two countries. There must be no support to terrorism, direct or
We oppose it in all forms whether cross-border or within our countries, whether
carried out by individuals, groups or governments.
We declare our common commitment to promote secularism, democracy,
justice and peaceful co-existence.
Signatories from India: Tapan Kumar Bose, Admiral R. Ramdas, Achin Vanaik,
Latha Jishnu, K.S. Subramanian, Joseph Gathia, Syeda Hameed, Prakash Louis,
Vijayan M.J. Ranjana Padhi, Vineeta Bal, Jawed Laiq, Suneeta Madhu Prasad,
Gautam Navlakha, Sagri Chhabra
Signatories from Pakistan: I.A. Rehman, M.B. Naqvi, B.M.Kutty, Dr.
Karamat Ali, M. H. Askri, Rahat Saeed, Zaheda Hina, Anis Haroon, Naseem Gandhi,
Shahid Fiaz, Omar Farooq, Saleem Raza, Baseer Naveed, Aqeel
Billgrami, Iqbal Alvi,
Zameer Niazi, Brig. Abid Rao, Dr. Tariq Suhail, Dr. Zaki Hassan,
Tahir Mohammad Khan,
EMERGENCY ACTION! The International Peace Bureau invites all friends of
peace to join us in a poster-protest against the danger of a nuclear war in
WEDNESDAY June 5 at 12h30 - Place des Nations [Geneva, Switzerland]
Please bring a placard or poster with a clear message of protest (English,
French...) against the danger of nuclear war between India and Pakistan.
This is intended as a 'brief photo-opportunity' - we plan to finish by about
All are welcome
Info: 022 731 6429
New India-Pakistan pages on website see www.ipb.org
The Washington Post
Sunday, June 2, 2002; Page B02
. . . Revealing a Gap Between The Leaders and the People
By Nafisa Hoodbhoy
A group of women from India and Pakistan who came here for a peace
conference in April returned home to find their countries on the
brink of a nuclear catastrophe. One of the delegates wrote back to me
about the "horrific atmosphere of war," which can be averted, she
said, only through "sheer good luck."
Luck, of course, plays a magnified role in the lives of many on the
subcontinent who cannot rely on receiving the staples that most
Westerners take for granted. But sheer chance is not what anybody
wants to think is the only thing between rice-for-lunch-as-usual and
a nuclear conflagration that U.S. experts estimate could kill as many
as 12 million people.
Yet that is what the escalating political rhetoric has made women
like these believe -- that the tensions, the saber-rattling, the
missile tests and the brutal deaths on either side of the Line of
Control in predominantly Muslim Kashmir have less to do with the
hopes of the ordinary people than with the self-serving and mercurial
goals of their leaders. With a leader like President Gen. Pervez
Musharraf, who came to power in 1999 in a military coup, Pakistanis
fear all the more that their country's response will be a military
one. How ironic it was, one Indian delegate pointed out during the
conference, that with flights and overland travel between their
countries cut off, these women had to travel to the United States --
more than 7,000 miles away from home -- in order to meet face to face
with their counterparts.
The delegates had gathered at the conference, titled "Women of
Pakistan and India: Rights, Ecology, Economy and Nuclear
Disarmament," at Westfield State College just as the war clouds were
forming over the subcontinent. Tensions had been building since
January, when India accused Pakistan of supporting the Kashmiri
militants' attacks on its parliament in Dehli on Dec. 13 -- and
retaliated by massing its troops on the border. The potential for a
nuclear exchange has since been triggered by the Islamic militants'
attack on an army camp in mid-May. The raid killed more than 30
soldiers and family members. That's when Indian Prime Minister Atal
Bihari Vajpayee rallied troops for an all-out war. In a show of
defiance, Pakistan tested three missiles last week (all of them named
after Muslim conquerors of India) that are capable of launching a
nuclear attack on the Indians. The United States is taking all of
this seriously, urging Americans to get out of India and withdrawing
all but essential embassy personnel.
For the 10 women from India and Pakistan, coming to Westfield was an
occasion to analyze how governments on each side had hijacked
discourse to portray the other as the "enemy." Growing up in
Pakistan, I was a witness to the constant hammering by
state-controlled television about "Indian atrocities in occupied
Kashmir." In fact, the phrase masla-i-Kashmir ("the problem of
Kashmir") has for me become a metaphor for any problem that can never
I heard those thoughts echoed in the views of the Indian women at the
conference. Journalist Kalpana Sharma blamed her nation's worsening
relations with Muslims, and by association with Pakistan, on the rise
of the Hindu fundamentalists in India -- the ruling Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) and its coalition partner, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad
(VHP). India, Sharma said, had buckled under fundamentalist pressure
and escalated its military budget after the disastrous conflict near
the Kargil area of Kashmir that nearly led to war in 1999. And the
costs for ordinary people are clear. India has cut back on the social
sector, she said, and instituted higher taxes on its people.
For Anis Haroon, director of a women's non-governmental organization
in Karachi, the U.S. support for Musharraf after Sept. 11 "had carved
out a permanent role for the army in Pakistan." This, she said, had
come with costs, strengthening the military crackdown on
demonstrations by political parties, civil liberties groups and women
protesting against discriminatory laws. In early May, for example,
Pakistani authorities arrested women gathering to oppose the Hudood
Ordinances, which demonstrators say end up punishing female victims
Civil liberties have taken a beating inside India as well, agreed the
Indian women. Ruchira Gupta, a member of a women's group in Bombay,
pointed to the Indian parliament's passage of the Prevention of
Terrorism Act (POTA) on March 26 as an example. POTA was advocated by
BJP Home Minister L.K. Advani to counter what he called "the
terrorism" launched by Pakistan. But Gupta argued that the act would
cramp the press, militarize the society and lead to injustices for
Both governments, these women believed, were responsible for recent
atrocities. The Indians blamed the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in
February following an attack on Hindus in a train on the "frenzy
whipped up by the BJP" which forms the central government in Gujarat.
The Hindu delegates said that organizations they belonged to had
visited the area to distribute food and clothing to Muslim victims.
Correspondingly, Pakistani delegates said that the Gujarat violence
had not resulted in reprisals against Hindus in Pakistan -- showing
that such violence is not supported by ordinary people.
Indeed, my experience shows that all too often it is the self-serving
leaderships in the two countries that thwart the people's desire for
peace. I saw this firsthand in 1995. As a journalist, I was invited
to join the official Pakistan delegation to the Fourth World Women
Conference in Beijing. The country was then ruled by Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto, who was keen to portray a liberal image at the
conference. But we were instructed by a male leader of our group to
counter the Indian delegates each time the subject of Kashmir came
up. I watched as the leaders of both the Indian and Pakistani
delegations engaged in allegations and counter-allegations over
Kashmir. Slowly the hall began emptying as U.N. delegates walked out
of a meeting that was supposed to unite the women of the world.
The discussions at Westfield did not fracture along these lines
because the women were not here to promulgate their governments'
policies. Instead, they discussed how Sept. 11 has caused India and
Pakistan to vie for U.S. attention over Kashmir. Even as India
conducts its propaganda war against militants, it stopped Kashmiri
women from attending our conference. The pressure was coming from the
Hindu right wing, who, as Indian delegate Urvashi Batalia noted, had
been cashing in on the "demonizing of Muslims."
U.S. dependence on Pakistan in its fight against terrorism appears to
have given legitimacy to the military government, argued Zubeida
Mustafa, a senior editor from Pakistan's daily Dawn newspaper. In
Pakistan's April referendum, journalists observed few voters at the
polling booths. A colleague wrotethat a polling officer he visited
had recorded only 125 votes by closing time. The officer told him
rather casually that he forged the remaining votes after deadline
because the local police directed him to show a voter turnout of
nearly 900 and to ensure a "yes" vote of around 98 percent, giving
Musharraf five more years in office.
With only the facade of being elected, Pakistan's military government
has not had to answer to its people about the failure to improve law
and order. Earlier this year, targeted killings of Shia doctors by
Sunni extremist groups forced physicians to flee the country.
However, no action was taken until last month, when a suicide bomber
killed 14 people in Karachi, including 11 French men working on a
submarine project. Under severe international pressure, the Musharraf
government cracked down on the Sunni militant groupLashkar-i-Jhangvi
-- which has been linked to the killings of Shia doctors. Later,
three members of this same group were accused in the brutal murder of
American journalist Daniel Pearl.
In December, when I last visited Pakistan, I was curious to see how
the Musharraf government would rein in Kashmiri militants. The
Islamic militants who were brought into the region by the United
States during the Cold War had turned to jihad in Kashmir after the
Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Since then about two dozen
militant Islamic groups fighting for Kashmir under the United Jihad
Council have established headquarters in Pakistan.
It's not as if Kashmiris welcome such support. One Kashmiri from
Srinagar, Farooq Lone, who now lives in Islamabad, told me that
Kashmiris are "fed up" with Pakistan-based militants who attack
Indian forces and leave the Kashmiris to face the vengeance of the
repressive Indian troops. More than 35,000 people have been killed in
Kashmir since the militants entered the fray 13 years ago. Lone's
family supports the All Parties Hurriyet Conference, whose moderate
Kashmiri separatist leader, Abdul Ghani Lone, was recently
assassinated. Although India has never allowed a plebiscite in which
the Kashmiris could decide their own fate, the Indian government had
been wooing moderates such as Lone for elections planned in Kashmir
in September. His murder deals a further blow to any peace prospects.
And it is a further example of the voice of the people being stifled.
The issue of Kashmir -- left dangling by the British in 1947 when
they divided India and then departed without forcing a plebiscite --
has come to haunt the United States almost 55 years later. It is an
issue that is not going be resolved by luck or through a U.S.
admonition to Pakistan to stop abetting militants. Instead, the
United States will have to throw its weight behind the United Nations
to enable the people of Kashmir to decide their own fate. That
appears to be the only choice if the world is to be successful in
fighting the roots of terrorism.
Nafisa Hoodbhoy, who worked for 16 years for Dawn newspaper in
Karachi, Pakistan, teaches at the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, with a focus on women, politics and the media in Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Iran.
INSAF Bulletin  June 1, 2002
[International South Asia Forum
Secretarial office: 2520 Lionel Groulx #13, Montreal, QC, Canada H3J
1J8 (Tel. 514 939-2522)
e-m insaf@... visit our website http//www.insaf.net)
Edited by Daya Varma [Produced by CERAS, the Montreal Affiliate of INSAF ]
LET SANITY PREVAIL OVER WAR CRIES!
Hardly had people breathed a sigh of relief after the
December-January standoff between India and Pakistan, the two
governments are at it again. Nearly one million troops are facing
each other along the border in the midst of renewed rhetoric,
threats, counter-threats and uncertainty. Thousands have been
displaced from their traditional homes along the border. On May 22,
Vajpayee told soldiers at the front line to prepare for a "decisive
Assuming that General Musharraf is really for the liberation of
Kashmir from Indian control (which is doubtful given the callousness
towards the people he already rules), he is being foolish enough to
think that this can be done by allowing Jihadi infiltrators; all that
such moves can do and have done is to disarm genuine movement of the
Kashmir people. At the same time India can deal with these
infiltrators in the way it had done in the past without mounting a
military threat against Pakistan. Or, may be outdone by Pakistan as
America's favorite pawn in the region, Vajpayee may just be using
threats to get greater acceptance from the US than it has been able
to get so far. US on its part may be encouraging India to keep the
pressure to allow it greater control over Pakistan.
On balance it seems that India needs an excuse and Musharraf is
willing to provide one. General Musharraf once again reiterated "no
organization in Pakistan will be allowed to indulge in terrorism in
the name of Kashmir" and responded positively to the initiative of
Russian President Putin for a peace talk. For India, this is not
enough; it has refused to engage in a dialogue. What will be enough,
no one knows. BJP needs war, or at the very least war jingoism, not
so much to fight infiltrators from Pakistan but to retrieve its
sagging support amongst the people of India.
Unfortunately, the destiny of more than a billion people rests upon
the whims of two reckless heads of the state- neither of whom seem
to care the consequences of a war on their own people much less on
the people of their rival country. They have nuclear arms and each
can be irresponsible enough to use them. Vajpayee once again is
talking of a decisive battle - which simply translated means
inflicting heavy loss to Pakistan. Pakistan seems to believe that it
is OK to use nuclear weapons as a deterrence.
War is the only solution they can think of precisely because they do
not wish to think or care to think. When governments do not care how
many innocent civilians and soldiers will perish in a nuclear war but
rather what will be the percentage of the population that will
perish, they have reached insanity. Yet, they must be stopped from
proceeding with their pursuit of war as a solution of anything. Both
must leave the issue of Kashmir to the people of Kashmir.
Censor Board at war with " WAR AND PEACE "
War and Peace a three hour long documentary by Anand Patwardhan won two
major awards at the recently concluded 7th Mumbai International Film
Festival the Best Film/Video of the Festival, and the International Jury
The video begins and ends with the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi. Focusing on
the danger of nuclear war in the Indian subcontinent it goes on to
describe the problems faced by people living near nuclear testing and
mining sites, the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the culpability of
the USA in using Atom bombs on a nation that was about to surrender, the
globalization of the arms trade, but most of all it derives its power and
emotional appeal from the growing movement for peace both in India and in
We submitted the film to be certified by the Censor Board on April 15.
Following the wide acceptance garnered by the film from the press and
public alike, we felt this would be a mere formality. We were wrong. From
April 15 till April 30 we were twice issued the wrong forms by the Censor
Board, causing long delays. Finally our preview tape was accepted on
Board, causing long delays. Finally our preview tape was accepted on
April 30 but fault was found with the paging of the transcripts, and
later, with the binding of the transcripts. In any case our tape remained
with the Censor Board from April 30 till today (more than a month).
Finally on May 27 our application was deemed correct and complete. Now a
new saga began. We were asked to stay in touch with an officer of the
Censor Board who would set up the Censor screening after the examining
committee had been named. We called this officer everyday for four days
only to be told that there was a delay because the Censor Board needed to
locate a Japanese translator who could verify that our Japanese
translations were correct. This seemed to be a strange problem as the
only Japanese in our video is the testimony of Atom bomb survivors and
this is hardly controversial enough to warrant such scrutiny of the
What we had first thought to be mere bureaucratic delay and incompetence
turned out to be something much more deliberate. The Sudhir Yardi
Memorial trust had obtained special permission from the Police and
Entertainment Tax Departments to screen " War and Peace " at the YB
Chavan Centre in Mumbai on the 1st of June as it was an award winning
film and it was a non-commercial screening. On May 30, Mr. Vijay Desai of
the Chavan Centre received an angry call from Mr. Singhla, Regional
Officer of the Censor Board, Mumbai threatening dire consequences if the
screening went ahead.
I phoned Mr. Singhla to find out whether in view of the impending
screening, the Censor viewing could be expedited or if special permission
could be granted for the screening. He was brusque and arrogant while
denying the permission and stated that the Censor viewing would take its
own time. He also added that our video would run into trouble because it
had references to the Tehelka arms scandal which was sub-judice. I was
shocked. Not only is he wrong in that the Tehelka issue is up before a
fact finding commission of enquiry and not in a court of law and
therefore cannot be sub-judice, but how did he know that our video had
referenced Tehelka? This is a tiny fraction of our 3 hour video and
occurs toward the end. Dd the Regional Officer watch our video himself
before constituting an examining committee? Is that the act of an
impartial officer or of an interested party?
I went on to point out that the Films Division of India which comes under
the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting had not only awarded our
video but was about to screen all award winning films and videos of MIFF
2002 in Kolkata regardless of whether they had censor
certificates. " War and Peace " was to be the inaugural film on 31st
May. At this Mr. Singhla laughed and said " Let us see how they show the
film " .
He was right. This Regional Officer has powers that go beyond his region.
I learnt on May 31 that our video had been withdrawn at the last minute
from the Kolkata festival. The Films Division could not use the argument
about the censor certificate as many films they were showing had no
certificate. So they told the press that our video " had not arrived " .
When the press contacted us we had documentary proof that the Films
Division had signed a receipt for the film two weeks ago! Then they said
that the film had arrived but the quality was bad. But I had a letter
from them only three days ago inviting me to come to Kolkata for the
inauguration. The letter does not mention either the non-arrival or the
bad quality of our video.
I do not blame officials of the Films Division of anything more than
wanting to protect their jobs. They were going to show " War and
Peace " in all sincerity until rudely stopped by some invisible force.
This invisible force has in the last 15 years taken our country to the
abyss. I want this invisible force to come clean and reveal itself to the
public gaze. Let it openly declare that it does not believe in democracy
or in the values propagated by Mahatma Gandhi. These values of
non-violence and religious tolerance are what " War and Peace "
celebrates and hopes to rekindle in our psychologically and physically
scarred region of the globe.
Anand Patwardhan 1st June 2002 [Mumbai]
01 Jun 2002
Dr. Ram Puniyani
EKTA(Committee for Communal Amity
Mumbai 400076, (5723522,5725045)
The decision of Mumbai police to withdraw permission for holding the
National Convention for Peace Secularism and Democracy, to be held in
Mumbai (June 1,2) is most condemnable. Large number of delegates committed
to Peace and Secularism were to assemble to chalk out a plan to strengthen
the democratic and secular values, to dispel the myths about the 'other'
communities, to ensure communal amity from local to national level. Also
prominent peace activists and intellectuals were to participate in this.
It is not only a infringement on democratic rights of the citizen's to
assemble and exercise their democratic right but also the signs of times
where talking about peace and secularism is looked at with suspicion. In
the present atmosphere where the police itself are communalized to a great
extent, as obvious from its role in current Gujarat carnage and the not so
long ago Mambai riots, it should alarm the citizens at large about the
direction in which we are heading. It is time that police authorities are
trained in the democratic values, communal harmony and concept of civic
peace cutting across different communities. There is a need to nurture the
values of Communal Harmony inherent in our constitution; there is a need
to promote the values of pluralism, which can act as the only guaranty
against the repeatedly occurring communal violence. We urge upon the state
authorities to snub the highhanded attitude of the police authorities and
ensure that all necessary permission be granted to this convention.
Dr. Ram Puniyani(EKTA)
Anand Patwardhan(Film maker)
Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer(CSSS)
Dilip Simeon (Researcher)
Dolphy D'Souza (VOTE)
Flavia Agnes (Majlis)
Nasreen Fazalbhoy(Sociologist Mumbai University)
Dr. Sanjay Nagaral (Consultant,Jaslok Hospital)
Shaina Anand (Chitrakarkhana)
Prof. Sudhir Paranjape(Indian Institute of Social Sciences)
Suma Josson (Filmaker)
June 2, 2002
'Gujarat carnage was planned much before Godhra'
By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI JUNE 1. The groundwork for the Gujarat carnage was
put in place long before the Godhra carnage on February 27,
according to a fact-finding report by a Delhi-based rights
organisation, People's Union For Democratic Rights. In its report
"Maaro, Kaapo, Baaro: State, Society and Communalism in
Gujarat,'' PUDR has said that the organisers of the carnage tapped
on a seam of hatred, based on anti-Muslim propaganda, which had
been carefully cultivated over many years.
The hate propaganda increased in the six months prior to February,
the report claims. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal
organised "trishul" distribution ceremonies in villages with a Muslim
population, and speeches were made abusing and threatening
Muslims. In Pandarwada, where one of the worst massacres took
place, such a meeting was held about a fortnight before the attack,
the report says. And "organisational meetings'' were held in many
villages, affected by the Godhra incident, on the evening of
February 27 and 28.
In many cases, those who attended the meetings participated in the
attacks that followed.
The PUDR team spoke to officials, members of traders'
associations, the VHP, the Jamait-e-Ulema Hind and NGOs, visited
21 relief camps and 75 villages and towns.
The report focuses on the rural areas and small towns of the six
worst-affected districts. It provides detailed lists of people
several of them functionaries of the BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang
Dal named as organisers and attackers. It also gives a list of
victims in some of the mass killings, which establish that their
numbers were higher than the ones the Government will admit to.
The report illustrates how the criminal justice system in the State is
complicit in the denial of justice to the riot victims. It corroborates
the widely-reported fact that police is making a mockery of the
investigative process. And that even the courts have shown a
reluctance to do their job.
It cites the instance of 137 victims from Himmatnagar who moved
the High Court, pleading registration of FIRs relating to the burning
of their shops and businesses establishments. Despite an
assurance from the State, the High Court failed to pass an order or
chastise the administration for failing in its duty. No FIR has been
lodged so far.
Another instance it has cited is with respect to 22 persons arrested
for the massacre of over 24 persons on March 3 from Ode village
in Anand. The court granted interim bail to them for "celebrating
The report also says that the Gujarat Government is not serious
about providing relief to the affected. While the focus has been on
the abysmal conditions in the Ahmedabad relief camps, with 22
toilets for 12,000 people at the Shah Alam camp, the situation in
the rural areas is far worse. Most have no sanitation or medical
The district authorities do not have a complete list of camps in their
jurisdiction and the official figures underestimate the numbers in
camps. They claimed, for instance, that the population in the relief
camps of Anand district was 1254. The PUDR team found that the
Kohinoor Rahat camp in Anand town alone had 1155 persons and
that there are 17 camps in the district.
While Gujarat had not set up any camps, it had issued guidelines
on the basis of which it `recognised' only a small number of them.
Most camps in the rural areas were not recognised and, therefore,
did not even receive the insufficient, and irregularly provided, food
rations that the Government was doling out as relief.
Most of the NGOs running the camps "are really religious
organisations or trusts,'' according to the report. The Government's
failure to provide relief is pushing people into the folds of religious
organisations, "which would further communalise society.''
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South Asia Citizens Web (http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex) since 1996.
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