Sunday, February 27, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011, The Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguard India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, today marked the ninth anniversary of the Gujarat genocide. Nine years ago, a well-planned pogrom was unleashed on the helpless Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat, after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire during a confrontation between Hindu militants traveling in a train and the local Muslims from the town of Godhra, killing fifty nine passengers.
Extremist Hindu parties espousing the supremacist ideology of Hindutva used the incident to incite Hindu passions into a frenzy of religious hatred. Hindu mobs went on a well-planned rampage targeting Muslim homes and businesses. Villages and cities across the state of Gujarat witnessed weeks of arson, killing, rape and ethnic cleansing of its Muslim population.
When the pogrom subsided, human rights groups estimated that over 2000 civilians were killed, hundreds of women raped, over 150,000 displaced, and the socio-economic infrastructure of the Muslim community completely destroyed.
Nine years later, despite Tehelka.com’s ground breaking videos showing the perpetrators confessing their heinous crimes against humanity, in sordid details, on Tehelka’s hidden cameras, and even after SIT’s indictment of Chief Minister Narendra Modi on over a dozen charges, not much has changed for the victims.
The State Home Minister Amit Shah is free on bail; the great work of the Supreme Court’s appointed special Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been unable to proceed beyond paper-indictment of Mr. Modi, as the Government has not granted meaningful powers to the investigating team. The victims are still scared to return to their homes, thus living in slums, awaiting justice. According to human rights activists, hundreds of thousands of Muslims living in the villages of Gujarat are subjected to a brutal economic boycott and low scale sustained violence. The perpetrators of the Gujarat ethnic cleansing had termed it “a successful experiment” and vowed to repeat it all over India. They have spread the climate of fear to other states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh and Karnataka. They have now turned their attention to the Christian community as evidenced by the recent anti-Christian violence in the states of Orissa and Gujarat.
“It is not befitting for the world’s largest democracy to have genocidal murderers, rapists and arsonists strutting around with impunity, and gloating over their horrific deeds. In contrast, Muslim youth are arrested and tortured upon mere suspicion or under false pretexts without even the minimal legal representation or due process of the law. We urge the Government of India to immediately grant CBI’s SIT powers to use its recent multiple indictments in arresting and prosecuting Mr. Modi,” said Shaheen Khateeb, President, IAMC.
Indian American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 10 chapters across the nation.
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