Never forget Gujarat


by Sunny
28th February, 2007 at 5:44 am    

Five years after unprecedented communal violence swept through Gujarat after arson on a train, the search for the truth behind the gory events and justice to the victims is still on — so are the survivors’ attempts to mend their lives.

At 9 a.m. on Feb 27 in 2002, the S-6 coach of the Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Express was set on fire – or, according to a railway ministry inquiry, caught fire – at Godhra, until then for most a little known town 140 km from here. The blaze killed 59 Hindu passengers, a majority of them members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) returning from the temple town of Ayodhya, sparking off one of the worst cases of sectarian strife in the country.

The violence, according to official estimates, left 1,169 Muslims and Hindus dead across the state over the next few weeks. Several activists belive the toll was higher. The city-based Centre for Social Justice, for example, reckons at least 2,000 people were killed, nearly 400 women raped, 563 places of worship destroyed and about 250,000 people were left homeless. The property damage has been estimated at Rs.38 billion (nearly $860 million).

An estimated 5,000 families continue to languish at some 50 makeshift refugee camps, without civic amenities, without employment for the adults and education for children. Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s government continues to face flak over their plight and the simmering communal divide. [from here]

Justice? Indian government? Hah! Sikhs are still waiting over 20 years later. I wish I could write more on this but I’m seriously strapped for time. Any trolling in the posts will be deleted immediately.


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  1. G. Tingey — on 28th February, 2007 at 9:37 am  

    All religions are a combination of moral and physical blackmail.

    Waht did you expect – peace and love?
    Even the christians have given up on that one, given their track-record of brutality.

    In the case of India, I get the impression that they are still endeavouring to construct a properly secular state, and with people like the Hindutvna on one side, and the islamists on the other, it is an uphill struggle.

    Then there are the Dalits, but that’s another story, isn’t it?

  2. raz — on 28th February, 2007 at 10:13 am  

    An atrocity of unspeakable proportions. My enduring memory of this was a news photo of a line of charred, blackened infant corpses, burnt alive. Despicable.

  3. Rumbold — on 28th February, 2007 at 10:54 am  

    Perhaps some lessons have been learned though. After the Bombay blasts last year there were not any large-scale attacks on Muslims. However, communalist tensions never seem too far from the surface in India.

  4. Random Guy — on 28th February, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

    To the best of my knowledge, an enquiry into this incident proved that it was a fire within the carriages – and not a sectarian attack – that caused the initial deaths. Can anyone verify?

  5. Kulvinder — on 28th February, 2007 at 12:33 pm  

    Justice? Indian government? Hah! Sikhs are still waiting over 20 years later.

    To be fair the fact a sikh is now prime minister of india probably means more in terms of community relations than individual indictments. I don’t justify what happened on either side 20 years ago, but i do recognize a degree of, well, ‘things coming full circle’ when the indian government is rebuked for not bringing justice despite the head of government being a sikh.

    The violence of five years ago is obviously of more concern than the violence of 20 years ago, and everyones efforts should in my opinion be solely focused on it.

  6. justforfun — on 28th February, 2007 at 1:10 pm  

    Kulvinder – you’re a brave man. I must say that. I don’t think you have done yourself any favours by trying to rank atrocities. Someone is bound to condemn you for it. I expect the rants to start soon.

    Not quite sure what the purpose of this article being put here other than it is the anniversary. But what’s new to say. Perhaps people ought to google Parzania – the film that has been released in India – but is not being released in Gujurat. This might be a point of discussion and for people to air their opinions on the matter and if or whether things are better.

    Kismet has said he has lived through a riot. I have. I wonder what people will say once they have seen the film. Does it help in trying to make people see the consequence of their actions, the sheer random nature of human violence when a crowd goes bezerk. I live in hope but I fear not. Perhaps if the scenes are really gory – will people be shocked to their senses. I somehow doubt it. Life is so tough on the pavements of India, that what can shock one when every day is shocking.

    Justdepressed.

    PS and off topic and on a lighter note – my mother has being suing the Indian Government for 40 years after it nationalised some of my grandfather’s businesses after Independance, with little or no compensation. I don’t think he was too bothered and saw it as his gift to the new country. I don’t think my grandmother quite saw it that way , hence this marathon case. Now I think it’s just being maintained so as to get into the Guiness Book of Records perhaps. Perhaps by 2052 it will be settled! Lawyers in India are relatively cheap to employ compared to here and I’ve always wondered when legal work will be outsourced to India, as the legal system is similar. I hope I can then afford to sue my neighbours, friends, family and of course enemies for years and years to come and all for a few rupees. I’ll of course never settle, just keep getting them to write the occasional letter. You have all been warned – this is what the future holds.

  7. Kaalia — on 28th February, 2007 at 1:36 pm  

    Sikhs have embraced the Congress Party in numbers, similarly you are also seeing Minorities also joining and embracing the BJP. Just thought I would say that with regards political parties and communal crimes occuring under their jurisdictions.

    Extreme minded peoples do need to be checked, what occured in Gujarat was a history of bottled up tension between communities released in mindless mayhem.

    The government I can only hope is trying to address the society problem which exists between the polarity ponder of ghettoised and peripheral Muslims tending to be led astray by their leaders and misguiding Mullahs in somes areas together and govt.

    I remember not so long ago Modi tried to meet and consult with Muslim leaders but these Muslim leaders did not want to talk to Modi cos of their views on him. Now, if you do want to improve the lot of your vested interests, represent development and see your people integrate and get on, then the least they can do is sit at the same table, be it Modi or not!! And the way things are going, Modi is here to stay for a long time.

  8. faisfx — on 28th February, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

    Hi,

    We put on an event last Sunday in which some of the issues surrounding the pograms, and below is the excerpt from the main AIM site. There is a link below to the organisations involved should anyone want to know more information.

    There is also a good peice on Cultivasian by Shiv:
    http://www.cultivasian.org

    South Asian Alliance, Cultivasian and Inqalaab are holding an event on 25th February to mark the fifth anniversary of the Gujarat carnage of 2002 where an estimated 2000 people were killed, mostly Muslim.

    The event – Bringing down the Barriers – looks at the Gujarat carnage 2002, the silences around the atrocities that took place and the impact of these events.

    Speakers at the event will include Ram Puniyani (a leading Indian commentator on inter-ethnic violence), Arun Kundnani (editor of the Institute of Race Relations news service) and Parita Mukta from Warwick University.

    More here too: http://www.southasianalliance.org

  9. Vikrant — on 28th February, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

    Over 60 years ago Congress’s minions had over 1200 Maharashtrian Brahmin’s butchered (one of them happened to be related to my gramp) just because Gandhi was assasinated by 4 Maharashtrian Brahmins. Forget justice the incident isnt even mentioned! It has been airbrushed out of history by Congress. This is old news, Indians tend to forget and nove on rather than seek retribution. I doubt whether Congress will ever bring it’s own people to justice over their involvement in anti-Sikh riots.

    I’m not being insensitive or rude, but there have been many incidents that match the anti-Sikh riots in its scale and barbarity if not eclipse them. Bhagalpur riots, Kashmiri Hindu ethnic cleansing, Mumbai riots and the periodic riots that grip Aligarh!

    Just being pragmatic, its time to move on… Justice for 1984 is comoing anytime soon, not with Congress in power.

  10. Vikrant — on 28th February, 2007 at 5:42 pm  

    my mother has being suing the Indian Government for 40 years after it nationalised some of my grandfather’s businesses after Independance, with little or no compensation.

    Lol JFF wasnt it some Anti-Landlordism Atc of 1952?

    First Congress kicked out my family out of its home for being from the same community as Gandhi’s killers, then it took away all their land! Socialist India for you…

  11. mirax — on 28th February, 2007 at 7:50 pm  

    A small point about India’s sectarian violence, be it Gujarat, the anti-Sikh massacre in ’84 or the low-intensity caste violence against dalits in certain states, is : a great deal of such violence is instigated and orchestrated by politicians working with criminal gangs (it is also difficult to tell the two apart since a significant portion of India’s parliamentarians have criminal records). The violence is not as spontaneous as some here appear to think. India’s civil rights groups and courts simply cannot even begin to deal with the intransigence of the state and its incompetent and corrupt components like the police. This is not to make excuses for Gujarat but just to point out that nearly everyone, except for the rich and well conected, gets fucked up by Indian ‘justice’. Ask the Bhopal victims what they received and you will begin to understand why the gujarati refugees are still languishing away, all but forgotten. It is only when it suits the political interests of whichever political cabal is in power, that ‘speedy’ action/compensation is announced like that million rupee compensation for the victims of last week’s peace train bombing.

    That said, there were court trials of some of the lesser perpetrators of the Gujarat massacre, thanks mainly to the agitation of several citizen groups and the Indian Supreme Court ordering retrials in more neutral territory than Gujarat itself. Not wholly satisfactory and Congress certainly denounced the limpwristedness of the whole effort from the sidelines as opposition then. Of course ,now that Congress is in power, one would expect them to do something, no?

    No.

  12. mirax — on 28th February, 2007 at 7:57 pm  

    Call me a coldhearted bitch but can’t find much compassion in me for the alleged massacre of Marathi brahmins or JFF’s parsee grand-da losing some properties to the socialist government 50 years ago. Two highly privileged minorities’ unseemly whining, is what I think…;-)

  13. justforfun — on 28th February, 2007 at 9:13 pm  

    Mirax – You cold hearted bitch – there I said it – good to see you back – I know you’re all heart – you’re not fooling anyone. Glad you saw the absurdity of my jest about the time for justice in India. For those who actually thought I was whinning, no whinning was intended, – it made my Grandfather very happy actually and I’m proud of his acheivements; that he built up businesses considered worth nationalising for the good of the country. And further absurdities – if its true – sifting fact from fiction is difficult I know, but I read somewhere recently that the Parsee community is now small enough in India to claim tribal status and all the ‘reservation’ benefits that now brings. Now that is funny! and will piss Vikrant off I’m sure. Bad enough they ride the best bikes … and pull the best girls but now to have jobs reserved . Actually I can’t believe it to be true , but it would not suprise me, if this was the case.

    Justforfun

  14. Sunny — on 28th February, 2007 at 9:54 pm  

    I remember not so long ago Modi tried to meet and consult with Muslim leaders but these Muslim leaders did not want to talk to Modi cos of their views on him.

    I’m not surprised. Why would you want to meet a Modi? He’ll just use it to say he’s been consulting and in dialogue with Muslims to give the impression he cares. It’s a farce and I’m glad they didn’t talk to him. Maybe he should have had that “dialogue” when he was turning a blind eye to the rapes and killings under his nose.

  15. lithcol — on 28th February, 2007 at 11:15 pm  

    I was as a white British teenager in West Bengal living in Durgapur in 1970, My father was there helping commission a new steel plant. I met many fine people when I was there, and fell in love with my first girlfriend, of Indian background. Platonic but unforgettable. She is now a bigwig in government.

    I was aware of the activity of the Naxalites, however I was even more aware of the possibility that East and West Pakistan would be involved in hostilities.
    I returned home and the tragedy evolved. I bought the Harrison “ Concert for Bangladesh” doing my bit for the new state of Bangladesh. So many people murdered, so many women raped. Why?

    This , one of the major atrocities of the 20th century has all been but forgotten. I have not forgotten., nor I daresay the peoples of Bangladesh. The slaughter was aborted by the intervention of India.
    Where was the UN? Where they usually are? Nowhere. Rwanda, Darfur, fine words no action. Business as usual.
    Gujarat, a small but tragic incident. They add up. Who should we blame?

  16. justforfun — on 28th February, 2007 at 11:16 pm  

    Some links

    http://www.pucl.org/Topics/Religion-communalism/2007/review.html

    I’ve just been looking at a few articles by Ashgar Ali Engineer and I think they are worth reading. My brief interpritation – When we allow our religions to effect our politics, we give a weapon to politians to use against us, control us and benefit themselves. Their exploitation of our basest inhuman nature.

    http://www.pucl.org/from-archives/Religion-communalism/perspective.htm

    Two articles seperated by 20 years but saying the same thing. If anybody in Britain who is involved in politics, let them read these and be very very wary of letting any form of religion into their politics.

    Justforfun

  17. Sid — on 28th February, 2007 at 11:25 pm  

    Where was the UN? Where they usually are?

    Stripped of it’s fur, lubed-up and stuffed into a condom, and up the nearest Neocon’s (in this case Henry Kissinger’s) jacksie, struggling and writhing, and providing no joy to anyone except, perhaps, the Neocon.

  18. lithcol — on 28th February, 2007 at 11:41 pm  

    Dear Sid,
    Clearly, The UN is a busted flush. So full of corruption that the smell permeates parts of the universe we have yet to explore. It is full of fine words and piss. Neocons, they are the least of our problems. The ones you should worry about are the ones who screw and murder their own. Does the American government, indeed any government “freely elected” murder it’s own. I do not think so, they would not last very long.
    Get a life Sid. There are worse places in the world than the one you are coming from. Try blogging from Egypt or perhaps Iran, not forgetting China, and participate in the free exchange of ideas and the shortcomings of your government, see how long you would last. Actually, would you have the balls.

  19. Sid — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:14 am  

    Dear lithcol

    As a Bangladeshi, I agree with your comment #15 up to a point. I posted my comment about the role the US played in the bloodbath of 1971, in East Pakistan. Then the UN played a huge role in the isolation of Pakistan. But it’s attempts at ending the genocide of 2 million+ Bangladeshis was thwarted by arch neocon, Henry Kissinger.

    See here

    Perhaps the UN was a busted flush in 1971. But its role as an international arbiter has always been maligned by the US, in 1971 and many, many times since.

  20. lithcol — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:42 am  

    Dear Sid.
    My understanding is that most of the slaughter was of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, educated secular Muslims and politicians free of interference , and minority Muslim sects. Mass rape occurs in all wars, is only now considered a war crime and Pakistan stands condemned
    Kissinger and the USA were not responsible for the war, slaughter and mass rapes, although they were complicit in not condemning the atrocities . Given the cold war this is understandable but not forgivable. The country now known as Pakistan was the culprit and you can blame no one else.
    I will state again, the UN is compromised, corrupt and not fit for purpose. Your contention that the USA alone maligns the effectiveness of this international organization is pitiable.
    Sometimes I wish the USA would become more isolationist. It could exist and prosper without the rest of the world bitching about it. Lets face it , it is currently the most successful nation in the world. Everybody wants to go there. My son is marrying an American, and can’t wait to leave the UK. He sees the future in America, as do many others from many different ethnic and racial groups.

  21. Sunny — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:59 am  

    In the War of 1971, the United States warned India not to intervene. Indira Gandhi basically stuck up two fingers at Kissinger et al and intervened. So I think Sid’s annoyance at US interference then is well placed.

  22. lithcol — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:26 am  

    Indeed Sunny you are correct. India had a problem and acted. Well done India. America was wooing China at the time and wasn’t particularly interested in the Indian subcontinent, unlike now. But that’s geopolitics for you.
    The blame lies entirely with Pakistan, who proceeded with their slaughter irrespective of the condemnation of others. You cannot blame the US for what happened..
    I seem to recall that the US warned us off the Falklands. Well tough, a country will act in it’s own interests.

  23. Rowshan — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:26 am  

    I don’t see the future to be America. This is so last century. All the young people who can afford to chase job opportunities I know are planning to work in ShangHai or something. China rising.

    UN is not fit for purpose, true, but that’s because we don’t quite let it do the job it’s supposed to. If we didn’t interfer bilaterally in different parts of the world, we might see the UN playing a more meaningul role. The UN is as it is because its members, i.e. us, don’t want it to do well.

  24. Kulvinder — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:28 am  

    Dear Sid,
    Clearly, The UN is a busted flush. So full of corruption that the smell permeates parts of the universe we have yet to explore.

    The failures of the UN rest with the security council, nations who are quick to blame others, who observe the laws as and when it suits them, and who seem laughably reluctant to give up any power in this institution that they hate. I’d take the people who disagree with the UN far more seriously if they’d campaign with as much vigour for Britain to leave the security council.

    There are worse places in the world than the one you are coming from. Try blogging from Egypt or perhaps Iran, not forgetting China, and participate in the free exchange of ideas and the shortcomings of your government, see how long you would last. Actually, would you have the balls.

    Other than a conspiracy theory, one of the most irritating things anyone can post in reply to an argument is anything along the lines of ‘Well if you don’t like it here try living there’

  25. Rowshan — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:30 am  

    Britain might be losing its seat in the security council soonish anyway which is one big reason why its building Trident. No Nukes No seat with the big five. One good reason why we should all oppose Trident – just to get Britain off the security council.

  26. Kulvinder — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:33 am  

    Anything that threatens the seat shall be vetoed. And Iran is criticised for having a closed system…

  27. lithcol — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:38 am  

    Rowshan

    If you believe that anyone can go to Shangai and get a job, I think you are living in cloud cuckoo land. Worse than Japan for encouraging immigration of talent. Big science is the USA. Big ideas, go to the USA. Freedom to express yourself, go to the USA. China is used by the developed West to produce cheap goods for the West. Most of the critical industries in China are owned and run by the West. Most off the profits go to the West.
    India, now that is a different country, but then many of their best brains want to go to the West. Perhaps not permanently, but for the opportunity of gaining education and experience.

  28. Rowshan — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:43 am  

    Kulvinder – you are right, absolutely and this is the reason why we are muscling ( can’t spell) in on iran and others that might want to challenge the statos quo.

    Lithcol my friend you need to have longer term vision than today. The future is China, India, yes and a few others, but not the USA. This is why USA is wrecking havoc in the world today – to maintain competitive edge which it’s in danger of losing in 30 yrs time.

    You are right – not everyone can get a job in China – only the best. The Chinese are too clever – they will only allow clever clogs to immigrate and then will encourage all the plebs from China to migrate to UK, US and Europe. Something like playing games with the idea of a brain drain – sending the drain into UK etc and bringing brains into China.

    Isn’t there a clever phrase about the Chinese art of war – some blogger might know it.

  29. Sid — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:48 am  

    lithcol, let’s understand one thing and that is the US is neither moral nor immoral, but simply amoral and driven by it’s own self-intrest.

    Right now, there is very little bad blood between the US and Bangladesh, if any at all, now that Bangladesh has discovered vast natural gas and oil reserves. Witness the flirtatious mutual-backscratching going on with it and the US. Even as we speak, the US is pulling a superb behind-the-scenes interventionist role in in Bangladesh’s adventures in democracy with the aid of the army!

    I reasd that as two fingers up at both the Neo-Liberal ghouls like Nick Cohen and Lefty blowhards like Galloway. Symbiosis is good.

    The problem is that when we talk about the US’s crimes in South Asia in 1971, I speak explicitly about individuals; Kissinger, of course, and Nixon, and not in terms of a politically homogeneous monoculture.

  30. Rowshan — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:53 am  

    well said sid. and to think the bastard got a nobel peace prize or someit for ending the war in Vietnam. That man is responsible for more genocide than anyone else i can think of. Sorry couldn’t resist swearing – save it for the most hated figures in contemporary history.

  31. lithcol — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:08 am  

    Kulvider,
    You mistakenly attribute quotes to Sid that should really be attributed to me, Lithcol. But who cares?
    Sid has a belief that counties that have a relatively small industrious rich elite will survive and prosper in the future. I think not.
    China will eventually implode, the poor who are the vast majority will not submit to the degradations they are now experiencing. China is at root an autocracy, riding over the wishes of the majority (where has the communist ideal gone, perhaps it was never there). You want to live in China? Get real, their best are leaving, and guess where, the West. Freedom is a sweet fruit.
    India. So chaotic. The bubble will burst. When I was there in 1970, I was appalled at the poverty and the arrogance of those who had. I have never seen anything like it in any other country. My understanding is that things are far worse now. The Naxalites of West Bengal and growing in other areas, are in the ascendency. The downtrodden of the caste system and the Dalits are not going to stand by and watch rich higher caste Indians swan around like some later day Raj potentates.
    Countries need stability. Stability does not come if the majority of your population are piss poor. Slag off America if you want, and blame it for all your woes. It is the most diverse country on earth and it works. I am sure my son along with the sons and daughters of many others will still be around when you are wallowing in the depths of poverty, whimpering where did we go wrong.

  32. Sid — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:16 am  

    The Naxalites of West Bengal and growing in other areas, are in the ascendency. The downtrodden of the caste system and the Dalits are not going to stand by and watch rich higher caste Indians swan around like some later

    I think you’re still stuck in 1970, Humbert.

  33. lithcol — on 1st March, 2007 at 2:33 am  

    Dear Sid,

    Wishful thinking on your behalf. The Naxalites are few in number but growing. They are a symptom of the greater disease in India, extreme poverty. You just cannot ignore the desperately poor.
    The greatest danger is of course from intercommunal violence. I can see no solution to this. Gugarat was but one appalling exemplar. I am afraid there is a rocky road ahead. There are no easy solutions.

  34. Kulvinder — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:25 am  

    Kulvider,
    You mistakenly attribute quotes to Sid that should really be attributed to me, Lithcol. But who cares?

    What?

    Slag off America if you want, and blame it for all your woes. It is the most diverse country on earth and it works. I am sure my son along with the sons and daughters of many others will still be around when you are wallowing in the depths of poverty, whimpering where did we go wrong.

    Make an argument; have a point. Please? Your post was about the United Nations, my reply was about the United Nations. Had you been my child in Bangladesh in 1970 i’d have sent you to bed without pudding for responding like that.

  35. Vikrant — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:49 am  

    @mirax: I’m not whining or anything. I just dont care! It happened quite a long time ago. Justifying violence against somebody coz they’ve been privileged minorities is jost plain wrong! My point was, dont expect justice from Indian state.

    @JFF bawa: will piss Vikrant off I’m sure.

    No my friend… Just discovered that I can get into any college on NRI quota! Yes even the IITs…. Ahh… thank god i retained my Indian passport for all these years. :)

  36. Vikrant — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:55 am  

    @Sunny and Sid: Dont link to Wikipedia’s articles on South Asia! Call it ex-employee grouch or whatever… A huge internal arbitration is going on and it appears that over half the Pakistani contributors to Wikipedia are going to be banned!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/India-Pakistan/Proposed_decision

  37. Vikrant — on 1st March, 2007 at 7:51 am  

    Of course ,now that Congress is in power, one would expect them to do something, no?

    Actually Congress & BJP seem to agree upon ‘People living in glass houses not throwing stones at others!’. You’d expected BJP to go after Congressmen indicted in anti-Sikh riots, but they didnt! Neo-facist Shiv Sena likes to call itself the most patriotic party in India, but Bal Thackeray is one of the reasons why convicted terrorist Sanjay Dutt is not in Jail. Similarly I doubt whether Congress would go after Gujarat rioteers.

    Its the basic courtesy the bastards extend to each other dispite their ‘ideological’ differences.

  38. Vikrant — on 1st March, 2007 at 7:58 am  

    Just to illustrate my point about Wikipedia articles on subcontinent. Just see the revisions the article has undergone in past 72 hours.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Operation_Blue_Star&diff=111658579&oldid=110710314

    The article on left is the most stable version. The one on the right is the latest version, with words “militants” replaced by “Sikh forces”.

  39. William — on 1st March, 2007 at 8:05 am  

    The communal violence that happens in India is extremely sad and makes things that happen here look miniscule by comparision. In the Gujarat riots it was the Muslims who got dealt the heaviest hand over all, some estimate 3000 killed.

    Many times it has been reported that there was complicity even collusion for the Sikh pogroms in the 80′s by some Indian politicians. Many talk of constant failure to get justice. It is scary how things flare up and how retaliation is way out of proportion to the events that spark them. Three thousand dead is way off the wall compared to 59 dead on a train. It is way out of sense to embark on pogroms because a couple of body guards execute the prime minister. Things can affect people in this country as well obviously as some people may have relatives who are affected. As well some local people in the UK went missing while visiting India during the anti Sikh riots.

  40. William — on 1st March, 2007 at 8:24 am  

    Just remembered, and since people have mentioned the poor, Dalits etc.

    Wolverhampton has a significant Ambedkar Buddhist community. Recently exhibition boards have been erected with newspaper clippings talking of atrocities on Buddhists, fear of communal strife because six states in India have past anti conversion laws preventing people from converting from Hinduism to Islam, Christianity or Buddhism. Dalits sometimes convert to escape the caste system. On the face of it it would seem like a shocking attack on freedom. Have tried to investigate on the internet and some arguments are that at least some of the laws are against allurement or coercion in conversion although what is meant by allurement one wonders. Other arguments are that there is a plot by the Hindu far right simply to prevent people leaving Hinduism.

    There is however concern for what could happen in the future with for example demonstrations by Dalits against the anti conversion laws.

  41. Kaalia — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:15 pm  

    Sunny, how unfortunate you fail to recognise the need for reconciliation, for futures sake and for society’s sake!!
    Special attention is required to take this bit on board which you failed to probe for everyones sake –
    “Now, if you do want to improve the lot of your vested interests, represent development and see your people integrate and get on, then the least they can do is sit at the same table, be it Modi or not!! And the way things are going, Modi is here to stay for a long time. “

  42. Sahil — on 1st March, 2007 at 12:59 pm  

    #41 maybe Modi should take some accountability for the events that occurred on his watch (if not instigated by him), then people might be able to take his gestures seriously.

  43. Jagdeep — on 1st March, 2007 at 1:09 pm  

    Excellent article in the Guardian by Mike Marqusee on this too.

  44. Barbara Meinhoff — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:45 pm  

    “But it’s attempts at ending the genocide of 2 million+ Bangladeshis was thwarted by arch neocon, Henry Kissinger. ”

    Arch-Neocon?

    Kissinger the great diplomat who counselled against the war in Iraq? The man hailed as the old-school republican realist in contrast to those pesky neocons?

  45. Sid — on 1st March, 2007 at 5:55 pm  

    You’re right to make the distinction Barbara. Those “pesky neocons” are yet to be collectively guilty of being complicit in a genocide, whereas Kissinger is. So, in that case, what would the correct descriptor be for your “great diplomat”?

  46. Peter Nolan — on 5th March, 2007 at 2:13 am  

    Perhaps somebody can satisfy my idle curiousity. What were the leaders of the British Muslim community (Peace Be Upon Them) saying and doing around the time of the massacres of Muslims in Gujarat? My impression was that this was pretty limited, given the number of Gujaratis in the UK.

  47. Ramu — on 6th March, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

    STOP all this BAKWAS. Go back in 1969, think what happened…this is the same story repeated in 2002.Different is only that sufferers changed in 1969 Hindu and in 2002 muslims. Ask the Hindus about scattered communal violance in Ahmedabad, they lost every thing and cultvate FEAR from muslims, now things different.
    I think you can’t chew it, you must have Hindu teeth for the same.. so stop all this anti-Hindu propaganda.

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