Posts Tagged ‘Gujarat massacres’


July 1, 2010

Clinching documentary evidence corroborates serious charges against Narendra Modi and key officials in his administration

BY TEESTA SETALVAD, Combat Communalism, June 2010

Three months ago, our covert story, SIT-ting on the Truth (March 2010) exposed the frivolous and shallow investigations of the Gujarat massacres undertaken by the high-profile Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court and headed by former CBI director RK Raghavan. One of the major issues raised was the deliberate refusal of SIT – influenced as it was by the three officers of the Gujarat police cadre, Shivanand Jha, Geeta Johri and Ashish Bhatia – to examine available documentary evidence to pin responsibility for complicity and gross dereliction of duty by top police officers, civil servants and politicians.

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Gujarat Carnage: The end of impunity

March 5, 2010

By Teestad   Setalvad,  Indian Express, March 3, 2010

The struggle of man (or woman) against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. — Milan Kundera

It was not simply the number of lives lost, though the number — perhaps 2,500 — is not insignificant. It was the cold-blooded manner in which they were taken. It was not simply that 19 of Gujarat’s 25 districts burned while Neros watched, fiddled and smirked but the sinister similarity in the way they were set alight. Militias were armed with deadly training, weapons, technology and equipment; with a lethal brew of deadly intent, inspired by constructed tales of hate, using the February 28, 2002 edition of a leading Gujarati daily that urged revenge; all combined with a deadly white chemical powder that seared to burn and destroy already killed bodies. And, of course, truckloads of gas cylinders, in short supply for cooking, were used instead to blast mosques and homes. Mobile phones and motorcycles made communications easy and movement swift.

Part of the plan was to humiliate, destroy and then kill. Another was to economically cripple. But at heart the desire was to construct a reality whereby a whole ten per cent of the population lives (and a few even prosper) as carefully whipped into shape, second-class citizens. Most incidents that racked the state, except the famed Best Bakery incident, took place in the glare of the day, not the stealth of the night. Critical to the plan to mutilate and humiliate was to subject women and girls to the worst kind of sexual violence. Tehelka’s “Operation Kalank” records victorious testimonies of rapists and murderers who claim to have received personal approbations from the man at the helm. Over 1,200 highway hotels were destroyed, more than 23,000 homes gutted, 350 large businesses seriously damaged (and are still unable to recover) and 12,000 street businesses demolished.

Genocide is about economic crippling as much as death and humiliation. The Concerned Citizens Tribunal — Crimes Against Humanity 2002 called the happenings in Gujarat a genocide, because of the systematic singling out of a group through widely distributed hate writing and demonisation, the economic destruction, the sexual violence and also because over 270 masjids and dargahs were razed to the ground. The bandh calls on February 28 and March 1 by rabid outfits and supported by the party in power enabled mobs free access to the streets while successfully warding off the ordinary citizen.

Eight years on, it is this level and extent of complicity that is under high-level scrutiny. The involvement of high functionaries of the state in Gujarat did not begin, and has not stopped, with the violence. It has extended to destruction of evidence that continues until today, the faulty registration of criminal complaints, the deliberate exclusion of powerful accused and, worst of all, the utter and complete subversion of the criminal justice system by appointment of public prosecutors who were not wedded to fair play, justice and the Constitution — but were and are lapdogs of the ruling party and its raid affiliates. The proceedings in the Best Bakery case in the Supreme Court and the judgment of April 12, 2004 strips our legal system, especially lawyers, of the dignity of their office.

The hasty granting of bail to those involved in the post-Godhra carnage remains a scandal. While over seven dozen of those accused of the Godhra train arson have been in jail, without bail for eight years — and today face trial within the precincts of the Sabarmati jail — powerful men, patronised by the state’s political hierarchy who are accused of multiple rapes and murders roam free in “vibrant Gujarat” even as the trials have resumed. The few that are in jail — ten of the 64 accused in the Gulberg society carnage, eight of the 64 accused in Naroda Patia massacre, two of the 89 in the Naroda Gaam killing, eight of the 73 in the Sardroura massacres (all the 84 accused of the massacre at Deepda Darwaza roam free on bail) are those with no political godfathers. A vast majority have lived in freedom even after committing unspeakable crimes. All this and more is being investigated under the orders of our apex court on a petition filed by Zakia Ahsan Jafri and the Citizens for Justice and Peace. For the first time in our history criminal conspiracy and mass murder are the charges, the chief minister and 61 others the accused. Will the wealth of evidence be matched by the rigour of investigation? Will the will to prosecute surmount political considerations? Will the Indian system throw a spotlight on what surely must be its darkest hour? As we stood, remembered and prayed in painful memorial, with lit candles at the Gulbarg Society this Sunday we did so in both faith and hope.

The writer is the secretary of |Citizens for Justice and Peace

India’s Terror Laws and Indian Muslims

September 18, 2008

Fighting Terror the Terrorist Way

By Badri Raina | ZNet, Sep 18, 2008

Badri Raina’s ZSpace Page


Who doesn’t know how the Capitalist social order has worked from day one?—

By first causing monumental social upheavals in the pursuit of profit maximization, then recommending quick-fixes guaranteed to spawn still worse upheavals so that more profitable quick-fixes are in turn rendered “necessary.” And all these rooted in technologies of the newest kind that tell us what we always needed to solve our problems.

In those processes of declension, is it any wonder that the final quick-fix that we are offered should be the gun? After all, let us please remember that the biggest enterprise worldwide is the arms industry, and the biggest insurance for the continuance of this order of things not the end of warfare but its assured continuance in myriad forms and theatres. The better things get for the Capitalist class, the more they must remain the same for all the rest. And nothing ensures that result as well as warfare in perpetuity.

The coterminous “spiritual” trick that Capitalism of course employs is to ascribe all social upheavals to the “sinful” nature of man—those opposing Capitalism more sinful than others—rather than to its own ascertainable doings. An ancillary part of Capitalist ideology, so to speak, that then finds a central role for church, mosque, and temple, and takes the wretched of the earth away from either addressing rationally the sources of their condition or putting up a fight.


Thus it is that a resurgently Capitalist class in India is today howling for a new, “tough terror law” that would forever make propertied India safe for super-powerdom. Switch to any corporate TV channel, especially the ones in English, or read most corporate print media, or visit any upwardly-mobile urban elite home, and you will find but one strident recipe for fighting terror; namely, be like the terrorist and give them their own medicine. Only the Muslim terrorist of course, needless to say. Are there any others?

This would be fine if only it worked

The minute, however, you pose that question another ready answer follows: look at America—not a single terrorist strike there after “9/11”. Ergo, why can’t we be like America in every conceivable way, down to the colour of the toilet paper?

Not that we are not getting there, with the “strategic partnership” (read military collaboration) now in place, buttressed by junk consumerism, instinctual anti-Islamism/pro-Zionism, contempt for socialist ideas (retaining nonetheless the appellation “socialist” in the preamble of the Constitution, rather like the residual tailbone at the end of the human spine), a mighty embrace of an increasingly lethal majoritarian religiosity, professional therapy for stresses and tensions, the neighbourhood gym or godman as the answer to moral fatigue and vacuity, belief in infinite possibility for the “endowed” and karmic fate for the misery-ridden, waving the flag in the face of the sanest criticism and so forth.

Most of all, avoiding at all cost the reading of needlessly complex or critical materials that do not straightforwardly endorse the American life-style, or that drag us into considerations that have no understandable bearing on our corporate pay packages, or cloistered dens of comfort. Or, that dampen gratification with any insidious invitation to gravitas, or take our plastic smiles and sniggers away even for a bit. To wit, hey, why can’t we be like animals—kill, eat, defecate, copulate, and leave all the rest to god and nature. Gargantua, Gargantua, thou art the best.

It is another matter that, as we write, god and nature (Lehman and Hurricane Ike?) seem yet again confronted with the “spectre of Marx.” Although, be sure, we can well meet all that with a strike on some other part of the disloyal world, which, after all, remains happily full of “enemies” but with assets we can use. Why else are we “strategic partners” I ask you? Lehman may sink, but Pentagon is forever.

Continued . . .

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