“The 2002 communal riots not only drove Muslims into new ghettos all over the state, they also reduced them to the status of second-class citizens who do not seem to exist for the government. This is the finding of a city-based NGO, Janvikas, which conducted a survey on the status of the minority community in the state after the riots.
“The survey has revealed that Muslims are the new outcastes who, more often than not, are denied basic facilities which are available to people of other communities. Not only that. It appears that this neglect of the community is officially sanctioned for the riot victims find no mention in government records as people who need help. [...]
“About 16,000 Muslims displaced by the riots are still living in relief colonies that are denied even the most basic amenities.
“The 83 relief colonies that were built after the riots are almost all located in Muslim-majority areas. Fifteen of them are situated in Ahmedabad and the support they receive from the state government is negligible. [...]
“There has also been a sharp decline in the earnings of almost every displaced individual. The survey has revealed that the average annual income of displaced Muslims in Ahmedabad has come down by 31% as compared to their income before the riots.”
“The words ‘communal violence’ are misleading, because they indicate a skirmish between equal communities. Violence by civil society in India is one-sided. The Muslims of Gujarat and the Sikhs of Delhi were recipients. The Hindus dished it out. The second aspect is that the participants are usually known to those they kill, maim and rape. The two most violently communalized cities of India are Ahmedabad and Vadodara. In both, it is neighbourhoods that go to war, with outsiders in supporting roles.
“On a later visit to Ahmedabad (a depressing, segregated and oppressively vegetarian city), I was driven through its upper-class neighbourhoods. Here the homes and offices of Muslims had been neatly picked out and burnt. Muslim colonies, what Gujaratis call societies, still had their entrances barricaded as forts. The compound walls had been raised and the gates were blocked, reinforced with metal, wood, whatever was at hand to protect them from their neighbours.
“The third aspect of the Indian riot is that the state steps aside and lets the aggrieved party avenge itself.
“A few weeks later, at a session hosted by Gujarat’s finest scholar of Islam, Asghar Ali Engineer, we tried to make sense of this. The former IAS officer, Harsh Mander, said the British system of administration and policing was so designed that the state could bring its wild citizenry to heel inside two days. That this had not happened in Ahmedabad and Vadodara showed the intention of the state.
“When vengeance is taken, there is a swift return to neighbourhood normalcy and the hatred vanishes. Where did it go? I found this disturbing because I could not understand it, and still don’t.
“Vadodara’s physics professor J. S. Bandukwala, whose house was vandalized, observed something about the 2002 violence. There is still an absence of remorse and absolutely no regret among Gujaratis.
“No truth and reconciliation commission for Gujaratis, or the barbarians of Delhi who cut down 3,000 Sikhs.
“When confronted with their behaviour against Gujarati Muslims, the snarling response of Gujarati Hindus, and I include my friends and family in this, is, ‘Ae loko-e sharu karyun (They started it).’
“One cannot argue against this because chronologically it is true. The use of ‘they’ convicts all Muslims for an incident in which some individuals participated.
“It is difficult to explain to Indians the wrongness of collective punishment. This is because our identity is collective, and so is our behaviour. The understanding that this is wrong comes mainly to those who speak English. Individuals are more easily produced by English because it opens access to the world outside the tribe. It is able to place us outside the narrow definitions assigned to us by Gujarati and Hindi.
“But for most Indians, if they started it then they must suffer for it.
In a February 16 interview for TwoCircles.net, the director of an Ahmedabad-based NGO called the Islamic Relief Society of Gujarat reports:
"Of 1.5 lakh [150,000] people uprooted during the pogrom, around two-third are still not in position to return to their homes. About 50,000 people are still living in relief camps and there has been no proper arrangement for their rehabilitation. About 650 religious places were destroyed or desecrated but the government has not done anything to restore them. The central government has given its share of the compensation package for the riot victims but the state government is silent about its share."
A February 14 commentary for IANS praising some recent actions by the courts against a deputy police superindendent and a government minister in connection with their roles in the masacre, along with the ordered retrial of a couple of the most notorious atrocities, notes:
"More than 4,000 of cases relating to the outbreak were closed by the police either for lack of evidence or because the culprits could not be traced or because the cases fell through as the witnesses turned hostile, evidently on being threatened by the criminals, while the police failed to provide any protection."
The Gujarat High Court ruled on February 12 that the 80 or so Muslims still imprisoned in connection with the alleged burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra under the now-abandoned Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which provided for the indefinite detention of suspects charged with terrorist conspiracy, were eligible for bail because POTA does not apply to their case. According to this report posted on TwoCircles.net, the court said, "POTA is being lifted from the accused because no concrete proof could be found against them showing that train incineration was a part of any planned terrorism."
"If India Inc had its way, Narendra Modi might well be the country's next prime minister. A day after Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata hugged the Gujarat chief minister and showered praise on his leadership, holding Modi and his state up as an example for the rest of the country, corporate bigwigs Anil Ambani and Sunil Bharti Mittal added their voice to the growing chorus."
"By the time Tata was through, the industrialist found himself locked in a hug with Modi who strode across the podium with open arms.
"'I have to say that today there is no state like Gujarat. Under Modi’s leadership, Gujarat is head and shoulders above any state,' Tata, who last year moved his small-car project from Bengal to Gujarat, told the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit in Ahmedabad."
As Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat and a leader of the fascistic Hindu-right BJP party, Modi presided over the 2002 Gujarat massacre, a state-sponsored paramilitary assault on the Muslim population of Ahmedabad led by Hindu-right organizations. Two thousand were killed, tens of thousands maimed, hundreds raped or sexually tortured, and as many as 100,000 made homeless.
"The Congress didn't mount a half-way credible challenge to Modi. It did its utmost to duck issues pertaining to the violence of 2002, whose victims continue to be excluded, discriminated against and re-victimised. It carefully avoided any reference to the pogrom, to the state's culpability in planning and executing it, and to the BJP's failure to deliver justice to the victims.
"Right since it came into power nationally, the Congress hasn't lifted its little finger to secure justice for the victims. In Gujarat too, it refused to take a clear stand against Modi's brazenly communal political mobilisation strategy. It adopted a 'soft Hindutva' posture, and competed with Modi on his own terrain. Each time Modi cited Godhra, the Congress would talk about the Akshardham temple attack.
"Even worse, the Congress recruited anti-Modi BJP rebels, many of whom deeply implicated in the 2002 carnage, such as former junior home minister Goverdhan Zadaphia. It gave tickets to many, thus damaging its own credibility and undermining the possibility of projecting itself as secular."
"In a recent trend, Ahmedabad is witnessing 'only-Dalit' residential societies—around 300 of which have come up in the last few years. However, for most Dalits, it is not a matter of choice, but of compulsion.
"'Even if a Dalit can afford a flat in areas dominated by the upper castes, they are often denied by the builders or the seller,' retired IAS officer P K Valera, who lives in one such Dalit society in Ramdevnagar, says.
"Some social scientists say the alienation started in 1982, after the anti-reservation agitation, but agree that the caste and class distinctions have become more serious in recent years. This trend can be seen not only in the walled city but also in the posh areas of west Ahmedabad like Satellite, Vastrapur, Bodakdev, Ambavadi."
"There are still 81 relief camps with around 30,000 refugees across Gujarat. The campsites do not have basic amenities like water or electricity, even though its residents are paying municipal taxes. In Modasa, refugees pay Rs.30 a month for water from a local contractor. 'There are no gutters, no place to wash clothes, so fights break out often. But at least we are safe,' Mumtazben Sheikh, a widow, told me.
"Muslims have been pushed into ghettos. Juhapura, Ahmedabad's biggest ghetto, has a population of over 300,000 people but no civic amenities. Only recently, it was made part of the city's municipal area. Many elite Muslims — judges, doctors, lawyers, businessmen — have been forced to move to Juhapura. No one in a `Hindu area' will sell a flat to a Muslim, even if he or she is willing to pay a premium. There is not a single bank in Juhapura, not a single State transport bus passes through here.
"After the 2002 violence, many other mini-ghettos emerged in cities and even small towns like Modasa. Places where refugees have been settled are now growing into Muslim colonies. In Ahmedabad, some survivors of the worst massacres of 2002 live on the edge of the city's dumping ground. They are living on the margins amid the smoke from smouldering garbage, crows circling above, and fumes from the small workshops nearby."
No bail for Godhra accused by Teesta Setalvad: "Eighty-four Muslims Denied Personal Liberty in the Godhra Case for Nearly Six Years"
"A court in India has sentenced nine people to life imprisonment in a high-profile case related to the 2002 riots in the western state of Gujarat. Twelve Muslims and two others were burned to death when the Best Bakery was attacked by a Hindu mob."