This guest post by former Gujarat DGP RB SREEKUMAR is a letter to the Union Minister of Home Affairs.
Dear Shri P. Chidambaram,
I belonged to Gujarat cadre of Indian Police service (IPS)-1971 batch-and retired from service on 27.2.2007 in the rank of Director General of Police (DGP), Gujarat state.
2. As a senior citizen (age-65 years) staying in Gujarat since 1970s, I am constrained to write the following for your kind consideration and urgent remedial action.
3. The morale, self esteem and image of the Gujarat Police in general and of IPS officers giving leadership to police force in the state in particular, have been in steady decline since 2002 anti-minority genocide. The media, reputed human rights activists and national bodies like the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Minorities and the National Commission for Women have thrown light on serious intentional acts of commission and omission by Gujarat government functionaries (except in cities like Surat, Bhavnagar and a few districts in South Gujarat and Saurashtra), that facilitated extensive and gruesome mass violence against minorities.
This guest post byURVISH KOTHARIwas originally written in Gujarati and has been translated byVISTASP HODIWALA
Some facts are so simple and self-evident that they elude you completely at the time they happen. Digesting them takes time – 2, 3,7, maybe even 10 years. By that time, the passion and the anger has abated a bit and there is a sense of composure that pervades our beings.
Like the fact about the communal violence that gripped the State of Gujarat in 2002.
Of course, a mere mention of this is enough to get the chief minister’s fanboys roll up their sleeves, even as their opponents ready themselves to launch a counter onslaught. But with the passage of ten long years, the first question should not be about whether the Chief Minister was complicit in the crime or not. No, it cannot be.
To mine the detritus of the Gujarat pogrom for positive stories may seem like sacrilege. But when memories are dredged up to mark a decade of the horrors of 2002, a little blasphemy could help balance the account books.
Mostly what we recount of Gujarat 2002 is deaths. Yet, more than the murder and mayhem, the pogrom stood out for an unprecedented scale of sexual violence that Muslim women were subjected to. George Fernandese in his capacity as the Union defence minister had explained to the Parliament after a quick tour of Gujarat that women raped or molested during riots was not surprising or exceptional. I will not go here into the polemics of why violating women’s sexuality is considered a means of dishonouring a community,
There’s an untold story about how the community handled sexual violence. If the dominant community legitimised rape driven by its insecurities and politics that stemmed from history and identity issues, it was perhaps for the first time that the persecuted community reacted to rape in a progressive way.
Rape is double-edged sword, first leading to physical violation and second to social ostracisation in most societies. Which is common to mask the identity of rape victims for fear of social stigma. Strangely, during the 2002 riots, Muslim women, some of them burqa clad and most of them from tightly-knit rural communities never betrayed the kind of shame or guilt that rape victims are expected to show. What was their fault? Why should the victim feel shame and guilt? And so it was that many of them did not cloak their identities, and instead chose to come out publicly to demand justice. Continue reading Three Stories of Resilience from Gujarat: Ayesha Khan→
In Outlook magazine last week, its web editor Sundeep Dougal asked 25 questions of Narendra Modi about the 2002 Gujarat pogrom and the subversion of justice since then. Predictably, the army of Narendra Modi Defenders began to spill outrage at such blatant compilation of true charges against Mr Modi. Doing the rounds of the internet is a point by point rebuttal to Dougal’s questions by a blogger, Shashi Shekhar, who goes by the name Offstumped, and is a known online Modi defender. Offstumped’s answers have been responded to by Dougal, and yet Offstumped’s rejoinder is being circulated all over the internet by Modi defenders in the hope of persuading public opinion that Mr Modi is a spotlessly clean man whose actions and inactions did not result in any loss of life, property or dignity of anyone in 2002 and later. The rather large army of Narendra Modi Fans on the internet hopes that by repeating their standard lies again and again, they will one day become accepted truth. Continue reading Defending Narendra Modi: An Exercise in Obfuscation→
The photograph above is that of a small protest by People’s Watch yesterday, in Madurai, for justice and reparations in Gujarat. Such demonstrations were held across India. Nothing irks the Narendra Modi Fan Brigade than remembering. Move on, they say, move on, forget it. It happened. The struggle of man against power, said Milan Kundera, is the struggle of memory against forgetting.
The short film below, about making a memorial at Gulberg Society in Ahemdabad, was put out by the Teesta Setalvad-led Sabrang Trust in 2008. Yesterday, tenth anniversary of the day Gujarat began to burn for a few weeks in 2002, Sabrang Trust held a meeting at what is now the Gulberge Memorial. Given below the film is the text read out by Justice Hosbet Suresh read out at the Memorial meeting, which was webcast live by Sabrang Trust.
Guest post by R B SREEKUMAR, former Director General of Police, Gujarat, who deposed before the Nanavati Commission.
The Gujarat genocide in 2002, resulting in killing of nearly 1,500 innocent citizens, mostly from India’s major minority community and subsequent pervasive subversion of governmental machinery to sabotage justice delivery to riot victims, has to be understood as a man-made disaster. A disaster broughtabout by lack of professionalism and lack of integrity and commitment to the letter, spirit and ethos of the Constitution of India, on the part of all officials of the state, from the Chief Minister Narendra Modi to the police constables.
An analysis of the sequence of events from the time of the gruesome killing of 59 Hindu passengers in the train burning incident on 27 February, 2002 to this day, will bring up many unambiguous facts and data on deliberate acts of omission and commission by political leaders, bureaucrats and policemen, aiming at the actualization of the anti-Muslim carnage in Gujarat in 2002, and since then, the lopsided justice delivery to riot victims.
This release was put out on 24 February 2012 byHUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
(New York) – Authorities in India’s Gujarat state are subverting justice, protecting perpetrators, and intimidating those promoting accountability 10 years after the anti-Muslim riots that killed nearly 2,000 people, Human Rights Watch said today. The state government has resisted Supreme Court orders to prosecute those responsible for the carnage and has failed to provide most survivors with compensation.
The violence in Gujarat started on February 27, 2002, when a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was attacked by a Muslim mob and caught fire, killing 59 people. In a retaliatory spree by Hindu mobs, hundreds of Muslims were slaughtered, tens of thousands were displaced, and countless Muslim homes were destroyed. Continue reading A decade on, Gujarat justice incomplete: Human Rights Watch→