February 28, 2004 is the second anniversary of the Gujarat genocide. On this day two years ago, following the train burning in which 58 people were killed in a confrontation between Hindu militants among the passengers and Muslims of Godhra town, a well-planned pogrom was unleashed that soon turned into a genocide.
In villages and cities across the state of Gujarat, Hindu mobs, incited into a frenzy of religious hatred by extremist Hindu parties espousing the supremacist ideology of Hindutva and armed to the teeth with weapons including chemical ones, embarked upon weeks of killing, rape, arson, plunder, pillage and ethnic cleansing.
When the pogrom subsided, human rights groups estimated that over 2000 civilians were killed, hundreds of women were gang-raped, over 150,000 were displaced and the socio-economic infrastructure of the Muslim community was completely destroyed.
The Central coalition-government in Delhi, dominated by the Hindutva Bharatya Janata Party (BJP), refused to step in after it became evident that the BJP State government was aiding and abetting the violence in Gujarat. Prime Minister Vajpayee, his hard-line deputy, Lal K. Advani, and other ministers continued to express their support for the local political leaders involved in the pogrom and continued to blame the victims.
It is only of late, after the Supreme Court of India intervened and, declaring the state police agencies and prosecutors to be complicit, asked the Central law enforcement agencies to get involved, that the process of prosecution of some perpetrators has begun.
The Gujarat genocide is still continuing. According to human rights activists, hundreds of thousands of Muslims living in the villages of Gujarat are subjected to a brutal economic boycott and low scale sustained violence. The perpetrators of the Gujarat genocide have termed it “a successful experiment” and vowed to repeat it all over India. They have now turned their genocidal attention on the Christian community of Gujarat.
The Hindutva-fascist movement believes in Hindu supremacy and was launched in the 1920s on the model of Mussolini’s Fascist Party. These groups admire Hitler and his genocidal policies. They hate the glorious rainbow of the pluralist Indian society and have vowed to submerge it into a sea of red blood as the first step towards giving it a monotonous saffron hue, the religious color of Hinduism that the Hindutva-fascists have usurped. Openly in the states that they rule and surreptitiously in the states that they do not, they have embarked on teaching a history based on hate and mythology to brainwash young minds to turn them into vicious killers and rapists.
The groups perpetrating the genocide not only brought immense shame to India and did great harm to the country’s name, but also caused extensive damage to the economy of the state and the nation.
These same groups are now clamoring to win a mandate to rule India. The Hindutva groups are using the state machinery to propagandize their claim that India’s economic growth, which was in actuality a result of good monsoons, was due to their leader Prime Minister Atal B. Vajpayee, a hard-liner with a moderate mask. Mr. Vajpayee, with his moderate mask on, is even trying to reach out to Muslims and Christians to win their votes in the upcoming national elections. The BJP is hoping to come to power as a majority party and accelerate its bloody “saffronization” program.
In his address to IMC San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, Dr. Shaik Ubaid, the President of IMC-USA declared, “So, on this second anniversary of the dark genocide, much is at stake. The Hindutva-fascists threaten not just the minorities of the nation, but the very character of the secular democracy and the pluralist society that India is.
Therefore, Indian Muslim Council-USA urges all peace loving people to join in the pledge to work hard to bring the perpetrators of the genocide to justice as a deterrent for future genocides and to join the struggle to save India from becoming a Hindutva-fascist country. India is too big a country with too huge a market and too important a geo-strategic location for the international community and the US to turn a blind eye to the dangers of Hindutva take over of India.
IMC-USA calls the Indians engaged in exposing the horrible crimes of Hindutva-fascists and the great dangers that the Hindutva-fascism poses to India as true patriots . We also wish to thank decent men and women of other faiths and also those who do not follow any particular faith, who stood shoulder to shoulder with us. And on this anniversary, let we, the members and volunteers of IMC-USA, renew our pledge that we made to the victims of Gujarat genocide – “Never Again!”
M.K.Rahman, Secretary General
Indian Muslim Council-USA
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