PUCL Bulletin, April 2002

Carnage in Gujarat

-- By Y.P. Chhibbar,

What happened in Gujarat on Friday 27, 2002 at Godhra railway station and at other places of the State during the days that followed is a black patch in the history of our country. It shows the utter failure of our intelligence agencies, our vast and expending apparatus of law and order maintaining forces and is the most blatant political connivance. In its sweep and wide geographical range it surpasses the anti-Sikh carnage of 1984 in Delhi. If the press reports are to be believed, the violence may have been controlled but the anti-muslim poison being injected in the minds and hearts of the majority community by calling upon them to boycott shops, factories, films, and other areas of production and distribute of goods and services owned and controlled by Muslims will continue to sap the health of the society.

What was disturbing was that this time round even the members of the middle and upper-middle sections of the society took part in looting. It is reported that people were seen carrying away designer shirts, shoes, and sunglasses, etc., in their cars.

The damage to the image of the country on the International scene is colossal. The world knows that the Defence Minister was attacked, that some members of Parliament were prevented from going round Ahmedabad, that attempts were made to black out sections of national media, that for some precious time the army was used only for flag marches and not for maintaining law and order and, to top it all, that monetary relief was announced by the State government on communal basis.

The President of the PUCL, Shri K.G. Kannabiran, has sent an open letter to the President of India, Shri K.R. Narayanan, pointing out that, "In Gujarat today we have reached a level of genocide that shocks the whole world even after the attack on the World Trade Centre and the bombing of Afghanistan. This is surely no matter of national pride. The burning ground of Gujarat today is the scene of planned genocide. … As President you have to play a historic role at this juncture. … We urge you to act now and restructure the skewed priorities
of the nation".

(Earlier Statement)

March 1, 2002
Press Statement:

Dr. Y. P. Chhibbar, General Secretary, PUCL has issued the following statement:

"The PUCL strongly condemns the dastardly attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station on Wednesday and its fall out almost all over the State of Gujarat.

"The manner of the attack and the lethal though crude weapons that were used suggested a method behind madness. This calls for a high level judicial inquiry.
"What is happening in Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat, till going to the press is no less reprehensible. According to the information from Gujarat PUCL, though the Army has staged a flag march looting and burning continues as if the State were paralysed. It is reported that even well to do middle class people were indulging in looting.

"The PUCL appeals to the top leadership of all political parties to make personal efforts to stop this carnage. Loss of innocent lives and property and source of livelihood of lakhs of people is not going to solve any problem."

(According to a later message from Gujarat PUCL, the residence of our member, Shri J.S. Bandukwala, from Vadodara was burnt down and other colleagues from PUCL rescued and sheltered the family - General Secretary)

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