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Gujarat Update

11 Mar 2002

Gujarat Update March 10, 2002

Visits to the rural areas, just outside Ahmedabad in Ahmedabad and Kheda districts, show how barbarous the attacks on the Muslims have been. Mobs from outside, sometimes over 1000-strong led by leaders armed with rioting equipment and mobile telephones attacked isolated homes, homes and properties of Muslims from pre-identified lists.

The highway hotels of the Chiliyas (enterprising Muslim community) have been plundered looted and then burnt down completely. Chemical explosive kits attached to electrical wiring have been used all over Ahmedabad and Gujarat to blow up hotels and houses of Muslims. According to reliable sources around 1000 hotels out of 1100 have been totally destroyed.

Over 300 dargahs and Masjids have been razed to the ground by the fascist mobs of the Sangh Parivar during Feb.28 to Mar.3. In most of the demolished sites, a small statue of a Hindu god and saffron flags has been placed to complete the desecration of the shrine. The tomb of the famous Urdu poet Vali Gujarati in Ahmedabad was razed to the ground on Feb. 28, the demolished site completely cleared and road re-tarred next day by PWD workers.

All organisations working with the victims in Ahmedabad and in the rural areas have started filling out a detailed information sheet. The filled form will serve multiple purposes: to be used as an FIR to lodge police complaints, additional FIR in case the police has filed an incomplete, claims for compensations and testimonies to the governments judicial probe and the citizens independent public hearing jury.

The city of Ahmedabad (this side”) wears an apparent normal though tense look.  However, the other side mainly in the Muslim areas is still like a concentration camp with people holed up in relief camps.  Numbers in these relief camps keep swelling.  Conservative estimates put the approximate number of refugees at 50,000 with several thousands in various camps all over Gujarat. 

Schools which have reopened this side have better attendance yesterday, however, no Muslim student has started attending school.  Several citizens and organisations have petitioned the Government to postpone the SSC  and Higher Secondary exams, since many of the Muslim students are still in the relief camps.

In all this the media, specially the national and english dailies have been taking a very definite stand, in fact very directly condemning what has been happening in Gujarat. Deepal Trevedi in the ASIAN AGE (March 9) calls the Chief Minister of Gujarat (Narendra Modi) Narendra the Nazi” and in todays SUNDAY TIMES OF INDIA (March 10) Anil Dharker calls him the Chief Monster of Gujarat.” In other analyses, he has been likened to Yugoslavs Milosevic. Today practically no one is using the words communal riots or communal violence. Most call this genocide, carnage and ethnic cleansing.

The Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia was formed in 1993 to combat rising religious intolerance in South Asia and to campaign for peace and justice in the region. We are committed to working towards a just, non-violent resolution of the crisis we are currently living through. If you are interested in joining us in this work, please call 617-983-3934 or e-mail

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