India: Gujarat Officials Took Part in Anti-Muslim Violence

New Report Documents Complicity of the State Government

Human Rights Watch, May 1, 2002
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(New York) – State officials of Gujarat, India were directly involved in the killings of hundreds of Muslims since February 27 and are now engineering a massive cover-up of the state’s role in the violence, Human Rights Watch charged in a new report released today

The Indian parliament is scheduled today to debate the situation in Gujarat, and may vote to censure the Indian government for its handling of the violence.

“What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims,” said Smita Narula, senior South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “The attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials.”

The police were directly implicated in nearly all the attacks against Muslims that are documented in the 75-page report, ‘We Have No Orders to Save You’: State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat. In some cases they were merely passive observers. But in many instances, police officials led the charge of murderous mobs, aiming and firing at Muslims who got in the way.

Under the guise of offering assistance, some police officers led the victims directly into the hands of their killers. Panicked phone calls made to the police, fire brigades, and even ambulance services generally proved futile. Several witnesses reported being told by police: “We have no orders to save you.”

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