CPI (M) and AIDWA
on Violence in Gujarat
A central delegation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and leaders
of the All India Democratic Women's Association have been in Gujarat for
the last three days from March 10 to 12 to express solidarity with the
victims and to get first hand reports of the situation.
The delegation included
Member of Parliament and Central Committee member Subodh Roy, Central
Committee member Brinda Karat, Subhashini Ali, Kiran Moghe, Mariam Dhawale
accompanied by Arun Mehta State Committee Secretary and other members
from the State. The delegation was in Ahmedabad and Godhra. One member
had earlier visited Sardarpur, Mehsana. We met and spoke to over a thousand
people from the affected areas, senior officials of the Government, relief
workers, heads of different institutions, NGOs, intellectuals. The delegation
has recorded the statements of numerous people who it met. The delegation
also met the Governor Shri S.S. Bhandari this morning and gave him a memorandum,
a copy of which is enclosed. A few specific cases of atrocities recorded
by the delegation have also been enclosed.
"The delegation strongly condemns the inhuman and savage attack on
the Sabarmati Express on February 27 in which fifty eight people were
killed, the majority being women and children. It was a black day for
India. The delegation visited the site. It was absolutely horrified to
see the terrible way that flames had engulfed the bogey. Inside the bogey
even today there is important evidence. The delegation saw bags of food
grains. kerosene stoves, jerry cans, indicating the possibility of the
presence of material which could have been inflammable. However it is
shocking that the bogey has not yet been cordoned off by the investigating
agencies including the central investigating anti-terrorist squad. This
could lead to tampering with evidence or placing new material in the carriage.
The urgency with which the investigation into the terrible atrocity should
be conducted seems to be absent in the State Government's approach. The
so-called commission of enquiry has not even started its work. It appears
that the Government is more interested in public posturing than in proper
investigation. The delegation found widespread disquiet among citizens
about the nature of the enquiry as also the credentials of the individual
heading it. This should be reconsidered
The delegation strongly condemns the Chief Minister's justification of
the violence in the name of "reaction" to the February 27 atrocity.
lf this was true the first place to have been affected would have been
Godhra where the atrocity actually occurred. But in the town the situation
was well under control. The sequence of events in Godhra in comparison
with what happened elsewhere makes it clear that swift and firm administrative
action makes the crucial difference. The reality is that there was a wave
of outrage throughout the country, legitimate anger and horror against
those criminals who had perpetrated this inhuman crime. However, this
anger was deliberately diverted to a communal carnage in which the Muslim
community was the target, by an organized force in Gujarat. It was an
example of State sponsored communal carnage which was organized by the
Vishwa Hindu Parishad and leaders of the ruling party with many directly
named by the victims including a brother of the State Home Minister who
was apparently leading a mob in the Bapunagar area. In almost all areas
there was police connivance. It is totally unacceptable that the fact
that the killing, looting and burning went on unstopped for full 72 hours
should now be claimed as a an indication of the efficiency of the administration.
In any case, contrary to the claims of the Chief Minister the delegation
met numerous delegations who were victimized on the 3rd, 4th and even
the 5th of March.
One of the worst rural
attacks took place in Pandarvada village in Panchmahal district and surrounding
areas from the March 2 to 5. As has been reported even yesterday there
were attacks in Chota Udaipur.
The delegation learned with concern of reports to withdraw the army from
where it has been posted to show that the situation has become "normal.
This is far from the truth. There is an acute sense of insecurity among
the minority community not least because of the continuing incidents of
attack as also the total lack of action against those guilty. With the
coincidence of important religious observances of both communities at
the end of the month, it is absolutely essential that the army be deployed
and regularly in not only the cities but all affected rural areas. On
no account should the army be withdrawn.
The delegation is
also shocked that even though the UP Government has placed restrictions
on movements in Ayodhya the Gujarat Government has placed no such restrictions
on the movements of so-called karsevaks on trains running from Gujarat.
This is an indication of the commitment of the Gujarat Government to its
own dangerously communal agenda. The delegation therefore believes that
it is absolutely essential that the present Chief Minister be removed
forthwith. This is a minimum step to ensure that the rule of the constitution
returns to Gujarat