REPORTS & ESSAYS
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State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat
In February 2002, Gujarat witnessed the worst incident of communal violence in at least a decade, a majority of whose victims were Muslims. While Indian government officials at the time estimated the loss of over 850 people, unofficial estimates pegged the toll at about 2000. Below is an excerpt and the full report from one of the first fact-finding missions carried out in the area by Human Rights Watch.
"Three weeks after the attacks began, Human Rights Watch visited the city of Ahmedabad, a site of large- scale destruction, murder, and several massacres, and spoke to both Hindu and Muslim survivors of the attacks. The details of the massacres of Muslims in the neighborhoods of Naroda Patia and Gulmarg [sic] Society and of retaliatory attacks against Hindus in Jamalpur are included in this report. Human Rights Watch was able to document patterns in Ahmedabad that echo those of previous episodes of anti-Muslim violence throughout the state and of anti-minority violence over the years in many parts of the country—most notably the Bombay riots in 1992 and 1993, and the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984.2 These include the role of sangh parivar organizations, political parties, and the local media in promoting anti-minority propaganda, the exploitation of communal differences to mask political and economic motives underlying the attacks, local and state government complicity in the attacks, and the failure of the government to meet its constitutional and international obligations to protect minorities."
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