Narendra Modi 'allowed' Gujarat anti-Muslim riots - BBC News
In February the western Indian state of Gujarat, governed by the that Muslims had set fire to a train carriage, killing 58 Hindu pilgrims inside, mobs rampaged across the state. The riots flared up again on 15 March – 10 years ago on of time before Tata struck up a beautiful relationship with Modi. Why most people blame Narendra Modi for Gujarat Muslim-Hindu riots and not other . Ever since the SIT filed a closure report in relation to the Zakia Jafri's. Explore Hindu Muslim riots profile at Times of India for photos, videos and Man jailed for asking Hindu girl about marriage with Muslim boy.
It is difficult to analyze all of these possible explanations in this introduction. They will be referred to in the following chronology, which details each of these riots. One thing should be clear: As Michael Mann wrote: India "sees recurrent violence, but most of it takes the less serious form of a riot cycle" Mann Low-intensity cyclic riots, a structural feature of Indian society, are therefore not always extensively covered in official reports and the media.
Some of these incidents, however, have escalated, provoking mass murder as in Gujarat inand again in But it always remains difficult to obtain reliable information: As noted by Steven Wilkinson in a book on elections and violence, " It is nearly impossible to obtain the exact death toll of each riot as statistics are dependent on police records, which are themselves dependent on "…the corruption of the local police; the perceived power of those who initiated the riot; whether policemen were injured or fired their weapons; and the level of financial compensation offered to riot victims by the state or central government" Wilkinson Almost always, the official death-count figures are much lower than the actual figures.
In this article, the reader will find only short references to Kashmir, a problem of a very different nature and rather unrelated to the issue of communal relations. The Kashmir question, debated sincehas been the source of three wars between India and Pakistan. As of today in fact sinceit concerns also the will expressed by a number of Kashmiris to seek autonomy or even independence for their state refer to the biography of Sheikh Abdullah.
Regarding the Hindu - Muslim relationships as such, they have always been rather harmonious. The tragedy today concerns the Kashmiri Brahmins panditsthe only Hindu caste existing in Kashmir, who had to vacate their properties when the present war started Noorani ; Madan ; Puri ; Akbar b; Hurtig ; Racine ; Noorani We have not dealt either with the issue of terrorism throughout India, whether originating with Muslim radical groups or Hindu extremist organizations.
An examination of the topic would entail our having to treat additional issues which involve other repertoires of violence and patterns of explanation - ones often not pertinent to the actual state of communal relations within India. Added to this, for the Muslims, was their perception of a distressing evolutionary process which seemed to be threatening that which they held most dearly: Shastri, who granted personal interviews to Golwalkarthe RSS Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, National Volunteers Association leader; and above all, the constant suspicion which surrounded Muslim civilians and military personnel during the war with Pakistan, despite their remarkable loyalty.
The election of a Muslim, Dr. Zakir Hussainthe former vice - chancellor of Aligarh, as the president of India, did little to dissipate their growing anxiety. Such was the uneasiness that a number of Muslim personalities, from all shades of opinion, for instance Dr Syed Mahmood [a Congressist from Bihar] or Dr. The general elections marked a decisive turning-point in Indian political life.
The Congress Party had, hitherto, been the only All-India organization which could form strong and coherent governments both at the Centre and in the states Kothari Init was short of a real majority, but nevertheless remained the largest party at the Centre.
Still, it was defeated in a number of key states, where the winners had nothing in common except for their unmitigated anti - Congress stance. This situation would mean four difficult years for Indira Gandhi who had taken over in after the sudden death of L.
Shastri in Tashkent before she had the reins of government firmly in hand. The Hindu tint among this opposition was strong, and the administration was wondering, uncertain. The communal atmosphere was definitely vitiated.
It showed in the Ranchi riots in It showed even more in Ahmedabad in where national and international circumstances led to a dramatic pogrom Graff ; G. It was also the case with the Bombay—Bhiwandi riots in Engineer c.
During those years and later on, the Army had to be brought in on numerous occasions. It should be noted that contrary to the Western understanding and to what happens in Pakistan, the Indian military forces are absolutely apolitical and non - communal.
And for Muslims, during a riot when police forces are extremely partial, an Army "flag march" is expected as the only savior. Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh Religious composition of the population as per the census: This riot was linked to the emergence of a small class of successful Muslim entrepreneurs who created a new economic rivalry between the Hindu and Muslim communities.
The immediate cause of the violence, however, remains unknown. According to the Justice Shiv Dayal Shrivastava Commission of Inquiry report, the suicide of a young Hindu girl after her rape by two Muslims youths on February 3 triggered communal tensions. Trouble started when some of them stopped near the Anjuman Islamia School and forced Muslim students to join the procession.
Stones were thrown and violence erupted. As the procession was mainly Hindu and the students of the school were predominantly Muslim, the incident acquired a communal feeling. Other reports considered that the riot was sparked by the elopement of the daughter of a prominent Hindu businessman of the bidi industry small cigarettes with the son of his Muslim rival. The Hindu press described the elopement as a rape attempt.
The Hindu—Muslim rivalry in the bidi industry polarized the situation even more. The army was called in on February 5 to control the situation. But when it left on February 7, Hindu activists attacked and looted Muslim properties while carefully sparing Hindu houses. Fifty-five people died according to official reports, but unofficial accounts put the death toll at more than Violence propagated to nearby villages causing six deaths in Sagar on February 8 and 9, and two deaths in Narsimhapur on February 8.
The Urdu press reported many stories of police atrocities. Gupta, Congress Party, December —October After the Jabalpur riots, which badly shook the Indian leadership and the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, further violence flared up in Aligarh Uttar Pradeshjust before the general elections.
The Gujarat massacre: New India's blood rite | Pankaj Mishra | Opinion | The Guardian
The city is famous for the Aligarh Muslim University AMUwhose students are predominantly Muslim and which has claimed minority status for years. During the student-union elections of Octobernot a single Hindu student was elected. A clash subsequently broke out between Muslim and Hindu students in a university hostel. A rumor that a Hindu student had been killed on campus sparked off violence in the city on October 3.
The riot claimed 14 lives, mostly Muslim. Back in his hometown and supported by his father, a police officer, he led a procession of supporters who targeted an old Muslim college and some Muslim-owned shops.
Prominent members of the administration were present in the crowd and the police did nothing to intervene.
The following day, an even larger Hindu procession gathered, threatening to enter a Muslim locality. Muslim residents rushed out of their houses, armed with lathis sticks - ready to defend their community.
Instead of dispersing both the crowds, the police charged into the Muslim crowd. As a consequence, rioting broke out in several parts of the city. Violence lasted several days, claiming between 13 and 17 lives. These riots were part of a cross-national affecting India, Pakistan and East Pakistan chain of events: Protest marches and violence against the Hindu minorities took place in the cities of Khulna and Jessore East Pakistan on January 2 and 3, This led to retaliation against Muslims in Calcutta and in West Bengal, which in turn kindled events in Dacca and Naryangunj East Pakistanwhere minority communities of Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists were heavily targeted although, ultimately, the holy relic was returned on January 4.
The Indian government arranged for special trains to deliver them to the states of Bihar, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh where they were to be received. As these trains crossed through Indian towns, the narrative of the atrocities that Hindus had suffered in East Pakistan spread, triggering anti-Muslim riots.
Jamshedpur Bihar and Rourkela Orissa were particularly affected. In Calcutta, troubles started on January The army was called in on January 11 and left on January Other estimates put the death toll at On March 16, a day before the hartal general strike organized by the "Save Pakistan Minorities Committee" was to take place, a group of one-hundred Muslim textile workers was assaulted. Thirteen of them lost their lives.
In Jamshedpur, violence flared up on March The army had to be called in on March The official death toll amounted to 51 dead but the actual figure was much higher. In Rourkela, rioting started on March 16 when inhabitants attempted to feed Hindu refugees travelling in a special train that had stopped in the town.
Riots started when a Hindu refugee vomited after having eaten bread allegedly offered by a Muslim baker. A rumor spread that Muslims were attempting to poison Hindu refugees. Violence propagated from the train station to various slums in the town and to adjacent villages. Hindu mobs mainly Punjabis, Bengalis, and Oriyas joined local adivasis tribes in the killing of Muslims.
The police proved inefficient and the protection they offered, insufficient.
German engineers who had been working in the steel industry of Rourkela were powerless. Other reported figures, probably exaggerated, put the total at five thousand deaths.
In all, while official records estimate that the violence claimed lives in the three towns - Calcutta, Rourkela, and Jamshedpur - the actual death toll actually came to several thousands. This tragic chain of events forced the home ministers of India and Pakistan to meet in Delhi on April to restore order. Rioting had already occurred in the district infollowing anti-Hindu violence in East Pakistan.Live Danga Hindu V's Muslim
The Raghubar Dayal Commission of Inquiry established that communal tensions regarding the organization of the Hindu Ram Navami festival had been rising since April The conflict with Pakistan had also reinforced suspicions about Indian Muslims. During the March general elections, the situation further degenerated because of the debate over the Urdu issue the language commonly spoken by Muslims. The school was attacked and one Hindu was killed in retaliation.
Violence spread, leading to arson, looting, stabbings, and large-scale rioting in the city itself as well as in nearby industrial towns, particularly Hatia, where 26 persons died 25 Muslims and one Hindu. Chaliha, Congress Party, December —November Violence flared up in the district of Karimganj Assam after an argument erupted between Hindu and Muslim teenagers, merely over a cow.
An existing local rivalry between Hindu and Muslim smugglers constituted the underlying cause of the riots. Other accounts noted that violence had broken out the very day that the CPI Communist Party of India organized a massive demonstration of tea workers - which included 1, Muslim laborers. The violence claimed 41 Hindu lives and 41 Muslim lives according to some sources but only seven lives according to others. Ahmedabad Gujarat Religious composition of the population as per the census: Anti-Pakistan feelings rapidly transformed into anti-Muslim resentment.
Incidents multiplied from mid onwards. On March 10Muslim protests took place in the city in which several policemen were injured after a Hindu policeman allegedly insulted the Quran during an altercation with a Muslim rickshaw-driver. On September 4, a Muslim policeman was alleged to have kicked the Hindu holy book of Ramayana while searching for a Hindu pandit scholar of Hindu sacred texts during a religious ceremony.
On September 15, a victory procession was organized by the BJS to celebrate the punishment of the Muslim police officer. At the political level, the situation was no less confused. In the elections, for the first time since Independence, the Congress ceased to be the dominant party.
In Gujarat, it had lost the Muslim electorate to the Swatantra Party and was severely weakened in the Assembly.
At the national level, the confrontation between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Old Guard leadership of the Congress further destabilized the party a scission was to occur in November Fearing a complete debacle, Congress Chief Minister Hitendra Desai could not afford to alienate Hindu opinion by clamping down excessively on the anti-Muslim violence that was to later erupt. In this tense atmosphere, violence was sparked by the "Jagannath Temple incident" on September Thousands of Muslims had gathered for a yearly pilgrimage to a shrine adjacent to the Jagannath Hindu temple, in the Old City.
Clashes occurred with sadhus ascetic Hindu men for a minor reason. Thirteen of them were injured and the glass facade of the temple was damaged.
Further troubles erupted in the city after a series of pamphlets and inflammatory speeches spread rumors about the incident. The local media played a despicable role in the events. On the night of September 18, large Hindu crowds looted and set fire to Muslim properties and religious places, with the police refusing to intervene.
The situation worsened on September A Muslim youth was burned to death for refusing to chant "Jai Jagannath! Large numbers of women were raped, and even children were not spared the violence. One hundred Muslims were murdered in Amraiwadi. On the night of September 20, four trains were stopped and 17 Muslim passengers trying to leave the city were killed. On September 23, when the government imprudently lifted the curfew for a few hours, forty persons were murdered. Violence spread to nearby districts as well between September 20 and In the nearby city of Baroda, around ten persons were killed, and six thousand families lost their properties; thus becoming refugees.
The arrival of the army belatedly defused the situation, but incidents of stabbing continued intermittently for almost a month. Jaganmohan Reddy Commission Report published evidence that most of the attacks had been carefully planned. The Reddy Commission blamed the police and the Congress-led state administration for their incompetence and delay in imposing curfews. In all, according to that report, violence claimed lives, including those of Muslims and 24 Hindus.
Other accounts consider that more than one thousand -or even two to three thousand- people lost their lives. The large majority of those killed were Muslim about 80 percent. The Ahmedabad tragedy had international repercussions: Naik, Congress Party, December —February Dreadful communal disturbances occurred in the state of Maharashtra in the towns of Bhiwandi, Jalgaon, and Mahad during this period.
Sincethe situation in the Muslim-majority town of Bhiwandi had been tense. In October, Hindu leaders received anonymous letters threatening imminent revenge for the Ahmedabad riots.
Publication of these letters in the press and an ensuing series of provocative speeches by communal organizations contributed to the escalating hate campaign. Adding to the uneasiness, the religious festivals of Muharram Shia and Holi Hindu coincided in March Communal disputes arose over the Shiv Jayanti procession celebrating the anniversary of the Maratha warrior king Shivaji — Shiv Jayanti was first celebrated on a large scale inwhen the Shiv Jayanti Utsav Samiti Committee for the Festival of Shiv Jayanti organized it; lending the celebration an exclusively Hindu character and excluding the Muslim community from the festivities whereas, they had previously participated as musicians.
Despite the protests of Muslim leaders, the local administration allowed the procession to follow the controversial route. On May 7, the procession travelled through the area, shouting anti-Muslim slogans. The RUM campaign had attracted 3, to 4, people from nearby villages; they came armed with lathis sticks. Some Muslims hurled stones at those marching in the procession, triggering a riot.
Exaggerated rumors concerning the Bhiwandi disturbances, in turn, sparked off communal tensions in the town of Jalgaon on May 8. In all, according to the Justice D. Madon Commission of Inquiry Report, the violence resulted in deaths, of whom were Muslims and 20 were Hindus. In Bhiwandi alone and in the adjacent villages of Khoni and Nagaon, the report said that 78 persons died: These were happy years for Indira Gandhi who had managed to tame Banks and Princes Hurtig and who, above all, had won an impressive victory over Pakistan in liberating its eastern wing, the nascent Bangladesh.
This is when she was enthusiastically called "Durga", the warring Hindu Great Goddess. Fresh difficulties appeared in with the first petrol crisis, and a protest movement which developed around an "old-timer", Jayaprakash Narayan JPwith the active participation of the national opposition, namely the Congress Othe BLD Bharatiya Lok Dal of Charan Singhthe Swatantra, the Jan Sangh, and the Socialist parties.
The JP Movement looked threatening. Indira cut it short. A state of Emergency was declared in June L. Rudolph ; Bernard However, especially in UP and Bihar, Emergency had its dark sides.
In Januarymid - term elections were called by Indira Gandhiwho was apparently unaware of the general discontent. It was a disaster for the Congress Party in Northern India. The opposition leaders, who had spent eighteen months in jail, were now free, vocal and victorious at the polls.
They were thus in a position to form a government. A Janata Party was built in a hurry. It was the kind of a heterogeneous combination that we had found previously within the JP Movement and, with some fresh allies, these people were now at the head of the country. There were however major differences between the Janata and the JP Movement: They now "understood" each other better Graff Communal biases would be controlled.
This amicable mood did not last, however. In various cities, local Hindu activists could not accept the conciliatory efforts made at the Centre by their representatives, the two cabinet ministers, A. In - 79, communal violence erupted again. The incidents were triggered by a minor quarrel between two Muslim youths and a Hindu boy. As each of them subsequently called his friends, among whom there were petty criminals, the small dispute rapidly degenerated into a serious Hindu-Muslim confrontation.
Arson, heavy brick-batting, and weapons firing took place. The police were targeted by rioters, and were unable to maintain control of the situation.
The Muslim community suffered particularly. Eleven persons lost their lives in these riots, after which a curfew was imposed on the locality for 45 days.
The first clashes occurred on October 1 after an altercation between Hindu students and a Muslim weaver. On October 22, tensions arose again when a Hindu Durga Puja procession attempted to pass through a Muslim area. This had never happened previously and the Muslims wanted to avoid any precedent being set on that matter which would subsequently permit similar future processions. On October 23, the procession, with much fanfare, tried to enter the Muslim area.
Both sides were armed for battle. Some reports established that the police took an active part in the looting and arson in Muslim localities. Stabbing incidents also took place.
Paradoxically, there were not many casualties around ten.
Hindu Muslim riots: Latest News, Videos and Photos of Hindu Muslim riots | Times of India
A Holi procession led by a local Hindu Congressman and a beauty contest in which two Muslim girls had participated enraged Manzar Shafi, a Muslim League leader.
Tensions increased following a gherao protest demonstrationled by sweepers who had not been paid for three months. Aided by goondas criminals Manzar Shafi took this opportunity to call for a bandh general strike.
Violence flared up when a Hindu panwallah betel seller refused to follow the strike. Twenty-five persons were killed in these riots, among them 22 Hindu victims. A Muslim crowd gathered around the police station to express its anger. On March 31, a rumor circulated that Rameeza Bee had eventually been killed by the police. Although the rumor proved to be false, it was enough to spark off violence. Fifteen persons were killed, some of them after being shot by police.
Hindu wrestlers close to Bhure Lal organized a procession to protest his death: On October 5, a riot erupted in which 12 people died. The report criticized local Hindu nationalist leader K.
Gujarat riots: As death toll rises, CM Narendra Modi's image hits a new low
Navman for his involvement in the violence. In addition, the local administration had demonstrated little urgency in controlling the situation. Large-scale rioting erupted again in the city one month later, on November 6. Fifteen to twenty persons were killed.
Tensions had increased over the construction of a new cinema hall in the area of Manik Chowk. Muslim residents of that neighborhood opposed the project.
On November 5, a speech by the BJS leader, Balraj Madhok further inflamed the situation and a quarrel between two Muslim youths triggered a new riot. The riots spread to localities which had been spared in October. The Muslims suffered heavily and retaliation against low-caste Hindus was also carried out.
Karpoori Thakur, Janata Party, June - 21 April A riot rampaged in Jamshedpur Bihar and it is worth recalling the chain of events that led to the violence.
After the troubles ofMuslims had been relocated to specific areas, such as the Sabirnagar neighborhood. Since then Indian activists have doggedly pursued Modi through the courts and in the media. In a sting carried out in by the weekly magazine Tehelka, politicians, businessmen, officials and policemen were caught on tapedelightedly recalling how they murdered and raped Muslims with the full imprimatur of their superiors.
Modi walks out of hostile interviews and ignores rulings from the country's courts: He can describe the relief camps that house thousands of dispossessed Muslims as "child-breeding centres". The impunity derives from the fact that Modi, though still denied a visa to the US, remains the unchallenged leader of a big-business-friendly state which his American PR firm, Apco — that also represents brutal dictators such as Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev — has successfully rebranded as " Vibrant Gujarat ".
Hailed by India's leading industrialists, including Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani, as "dynamic" and "visionary", and buoyed by landslide victories in state elections, Modi now projects himself as the face of a democratic, economically vigorous and pro-west New India.
He has been able to persuade many of his Gujarati compatriots of a liberal-leftist conspiracy against their plucky, entrepreneurial selves. And there are many in the Indian media — bigger, more affluent and more gung-ho since — ready to complement Apco's exertions by making the pogrom seem part of a happily superseded history.
One recent commentator even tried to dismiss it as an anachronism from India's apparently dark pre "socialist" past, claiming that it "represented an autarkic economy riot in the era of globalisation". Apparently, the beneficiaries of Brave New India, educated by an alert media and motivated by economic gain, have a "declining tolerance for violence" — and even someone as fanatical as Modi realises that news of wholesale murder of Muslims, quickly disseminated in the age of globalisation, is bad for business.
A recent profile of Modi in Caravan, India's best English-language magazineeviscerates this self-flattering image of a democratic and enlightened entrepreneurial class — one that has no time for the Muslim-scalping that people in benightedly socialist India used to get up to. Wholly untouched by remorse, Modi comes across in a carefully researched article by the journalist Vinod Jose as a classic authoritarian populist, bending others to his will rather than bowing to progressive opinion.
Jose describes how Modi demanded an abject apology from the Confederation of Indian Industry CII CIIIndia's most prestigious and important business association, which had criticised the Gujarat chief minister over the killings in his state. Faced with a revolt from businessmen from wealthy Gujarat, the CII buckled; it was soon helping to arrange Modi's first meeting with foreign investors.
It was only a matter of time before Tata struck up a beautiful relationship with Modi. In any case, the non-recurrence of style killings in India provides little reason to credit its elites with heightened tolerance and compassion. Left behind by economic growth, Muslims are more demoralised and depressed than ever; and the country's extreme inequalities, often enforced with violence, express themselves in new forms, ranging from suicides by tens of thousands of farmers, to militant insurgencies.
Old-style rioting has been replaced by state terrorism, often cheer-led by the elites.