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The 2002 Gujarat riots were a three-day period of communal violence in the Indian state of Gujarat by extremist Hindus under the guidance and command of the Indian Prime Minister Narinder Modi who was chief minister of Gujarat and mastermind the massacre of the Muslims.
Besides the previous massacre of Muslims, more than 2500 Muslims were killed in the BJP-ruled Indian state of Gujarat where horrible scenes of arson, mutation, and rape were perpetrated by the Hindu extremists against the unarmed Muslims.
Regarding that massive genocide, both Human Rights Watch in 2002 and Amnesty International in 2003 charged the “Gujarat state administration” for involvement in “a massive cover-up of the state’s role in that massacres” and pointed out numerous police officials—specifically ministers, high officials and leaders of the fundamentalist outfits such as VHP, BJP and Bajrang Dal as participants.
While Modi’s involvement in Gujarat riots is without any doubt. In this regard, Rana Ayub in his book, “Gujarat files- Anatomy of A Cover-up” and Manoj Mitha in his book, “The Fiction of Fact Finding”, and Sreekumar in his Book “Gujarat behind the Curtain” have proved Modi’s involvement in the genocide of the Muslims in Gujarat.
In this context, in an open letter published in “the Guardian” on April 10, 2014, even most well-respected international intellectuals of India held Modi as the main culprit behind the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat.
According to Ashish Nandy, “The Gujarat pogroms were not just about the number of helpless victims killed (over 3000) and rendered homeless (several hundred thousand). It was about the sheer planning, the brutality, the maniacal genocide that was perpetrated against a population for days on end…Narendra Modi did not only shamelessly preside over the riots and act as the chief patron of rioting gangs, the vulgarities of his utterances have been a slur on civilized public life. His justifications of the riots, too, sound uncannily like that of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian president, and mass murderer…facing trial for his crimes against humanity. I often wonder these days why those active in human rights groups in India and abroad have not yet tried to get international summons issued against Modi for colluding with the murder of hundreds and for attempted ethnic cleansing. If Modi’s behavior till now is not a crime against humanity, what is?”
In this connection, following Gujarat riots in 2002 and State collusion, a US Commission for international religious freedom (USCIRF) established that the then Gujarat Chief Minister Modi was linked to communal riots in a significant way. It also pointed that Modi’s ministerial colleague Maya Kodnani was fully involved in the massacre of Muslims. Following its findings, the Commission recommended a US visa ban for Modi.
And the Chairperson of the Commission Katrina Lantos Swett went further to recommend India to be placed in Tier 2 countries on religious freedom. Tier 2 countries are those countries where religious persecution and other violations of religious freedom are either promoted with State connivance or tolerated by the government-in-charge.
Notably, a report of the British High Commission in India said that the pogroms in Gujarat in 2002 “had all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing and reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims is impossible, while the Chief Minister Modi remains in power.” The report also said, “Far from being spontaneous…this massacre was planned, possibly months in advance, carried out by extremist Hindu organizations with the support of the state government headed by Modi.”
Meanwhile, various investigations failed in indicating the real culprits of Hindu terrorism in Gujarat as they were high officials or police officers of the Indian government. Therefore, the Supreme Court of India had ordered a fresh probe on March 25, 2008, but the same also remains inconclusive due to concealment of evidence against the culprits who are members of the dominating political parties of the country. Since the BJP-led Mod became Indian prime minister, covert interference of his government and those of the fundamentalist parties—BJP and RSS in the investigations of Gujarat riots have kept the case under the carpet.
Despite eyewitness testimony, implicating the highest elected political officials, justice continues to evade the victims. In a recent development, 70 accused persons of Gujrat pogrom were set free by the court.
It is mentionable that the US government had denied a visa to Modi on the basis of his involvement in Gujarat pogroms, however, after his election as Indian prime minister, the stance of American government changed to his favor. It shows double standard of America. Washington which also prefers India over Pakistan is providing New Delhi with latest arms and equipment at the cost of Pakistan.
The US has set aside the facts that India has broken all the records of violence, genocide, and massacre perpetrated on various ethnic and religious groups entailing the community of its own lower castes. Apparently, India claims to be the largest democracy, acting upon the principles of liberalism and secularism, yet in practice, all political, economic and social fields of the country are controlled by the BJP government which itself is under the influence of the RSS, and is fulfilling extremist agenda of the later.
It is surprising that theoretically, Indian Constitution safeguards the rights of minorities, but in practice, the ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) prevails. Hindu majority led by the BJP has shown complete disregard for it, and commit excesses and cruelties against Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Dalits with impunity.
Hindu politics and culture, dominated by the fundamentalist parties such as BJP, VHP, Shiv Sena and RSS including other extremist outfits have been propagating Hindutva.
Nonetheless, Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat who masterminded and led the Muslim massacre has, reportedly, destroyed all the documents related to the 2002 genocide of the Muslims. Keeping his past record, it can be forecasted easily that minorities in India will face further persecution and barbarity at the hands of Hindu extremists and more incident of Gujarat-like riots will take place as Modi is in power saddles.
India’s Unrealistic Counterinsurgency Strategy By Sajjad Shaukat Learning no lesson from the past, and depending upon state terrorism, Indian Central Government has finalized the raising of Indian Reserve Police Battalions (IRBPs) in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Naxal/Maoist hit states or Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Out of the total 25 IRBPs proposed, five will be for IOK and 12 for LWE affected states whereas rest of 8, IRBPs for other states. These battalions will be raised by recruiting local youths. In case of Naxal hit states, 75 per cent vacancies will be filled up by youths from the 27 worst-affected districts. In IOK, the recruitment process will concentrate on insurgency prone areas. At present, there are 144 IRPBs in various states. In addition, Central Government has recently approved raising of eight additional IRBPs, four each of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The cost of raising each of the battalion will be around Indian Rupee, 61 crore and 75 per cent of it will be provided by the Central Government. This cost is much lower than raising of a paramilitary battalion which costs around Rs. 160 crore. Personnel of IRBPs are normally deployed in their respective states, but they can be deployed in other states too, if there is a requirement. The current raising is outcome of demand by respective states government in wake of the ever growing/persistence insurgency and freedom struggle. Within a span of approximately six months, Central Government of India has approved the demand which reflects the surge of militants/insurgent activities in the LWE hit states/ IOK. It also highlights the manifestation of focus to curb militancy and raise the force level to meet the challenges, which have been repeatedly expressed by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh has also repeatedly highlighted his focus to build the capacity of security forces engaged in fighting insurgency. The mentioned increase is a part of overall drive against Naxal/Maoist hit states and IOK. Off late the insurgent/militant activities in LWE and IOK regions have seen a significant surge whereby Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have suffered causalities. Therefore, immediate attention has been paid towards the new strategy. While, despite concerted efforts—capacity, capability, weapons, equipments and training, the Indian security forces could not effectively counter/reduce the insurgent activities in these states. The recent surge of insurgents/militant activities in the Nexal affected states of India has compelled the Central Government to enhance counter insurgency efforts in other parts as well. Therefore, the Home Ministry has given a go ahead for not only raising the additional battalions, but also pursuing the support of helicopters/UAVs to cover/ assist the security forces engaged in anti-Naxal/Maoist activities in the affected states. It is mentionable that under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva (Hindu nationalism), used brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of liberation continue in one or the other form. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. While, even under the rule of Congress which claims to be secular party, Indian extremist parties like BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sina and Bajrang Dal have missed no opportunity to communalize national politics of India. They also intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed. After serving the BJP for 30 years, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.” While pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.” Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighbouring states. Similarly, civil war and unrest either in Somalia or Sudan have affected all the states of Darfur region, while violent uprising in Egypt, Syria etc. has radicalized a number of the Middle East countries. Indian state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir will further radicalize India, giving a impetus to separatist movements in other regions of India. It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and defence purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence, various injustices have further accelerated regional and ethnic disparities in India, particularly, under the Modi government. It is worth-mentioning that the one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union was that its greater defence expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” However, militarization of the Soviet Union failed in controlling the movements of liberation, launched by various ethnic nationalities. On the other hand, while learning no lesson from India’s previous close friend, Indian fundamentalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP extremist party is acting upon the similar policies. At present, undoubtedly, India is witnessing increased incidents of violence and killings related to communal violence and insurgencies. Nevertheless, such incidents project security weaknesses and failures of the Indian government in curbing insurgent tendencies and problems of the public. While, Indian government is raising Reserve Police Battalions to continue state terrorism, and on the parallel axes, announcement of rehabilitation schemes, development projects and incentives for surrender have been implemented to cope with the insurgency and uprising. It shows contradictory policy of New Delhi. Instead of redressing the grievances of the Maoists by eliminating injustices against them and the Kashmiris by granting them their legitimate right of liberation, Indian government is again acting upon brutal force to suppress these movements through force. Therefore, India’s unrealistic counterinsurgency Strategy will badly fail, culminating into political suicide of the India union.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations Email: email@example.com