THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
October 26, 2007
The Washington Post

Hindus Detail Involvement In Deadly '02 Riots in India On Video, Assailants Tell of State Collusion

by Rama Lakshmi

Five years after one of India's worst episodes of Hindu-Muslim violence, a series of videotaped confessions released Thursday showed Hindu activists acknowledging their roles in the killings and detailing blatant state collusion.

In the video footage, recorded as part of an undercover expose by a New Delhi-based weekly magazine called Tehelka, Hindu activists and politicians bragged about hacking Muslims to death and burning their bodies. One assailant said he slit open a pregnant woman's stomach.

The violence began in February 2002 when a Muslim mob torched a train in India's western Gujarat state, killing 58 Hindu passengers. Angry Hindu groups launched a wave of reprisal killings and set fire to Muslim homes and shops across the region. In all, an estimated 1,000 people died. . . .

At a packed news conference on Thursday, the editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, released the magazine's forthcoming issue, which contains 106 pages of coverage on the killings. . . .

The video footage, by Ashish Khetan, a reporter for the magazine, showed Hindu activists confessing to dousing petrified Muslims in kerosene and burning them alive. The footage also showed a Hindu nationalist politician saying that the chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, had "given us three days time to do whatever we could. After three days, he asked to stop and everything came to a halt." . . .

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Enver Masud, "5, 000 Killed, 50,000 Homeless in India 'Pogrom'," The Wisdom Fund, March 16, 2002

Godhra bogey "Godhra bogie was burnt from inside: Report," Times of India, July 3, 2002

Luke Harding, "Heart of Darkness," Guardian, September 15, 2003

"Fresh probe in India train attack," BBC News, July 14, 2004

VIDEO: "Final Solution - Massacres in India," google.com, July 23, 2006

[An Oct. 26 A-section article about the 2002 riots in India's Gujarat state said the violence began when a Muslim mob torched a train. Although many authorities have alleged arson, the cause of the fire remains in dispute, and one government panel has said an accident caused the blaze.--"CORRECTIONS," Washington Post, October 31, 2007]

GUJARAT 2002: THE TRUTH IN THE WORDS OF THE MEN WHO DID IT, Tehelka, November 3, 2007

Gethin Chamberlain, "Convert or we will kill you, Hindu lynch mobs tell fleeing Christians," Observer, October 19 2008

Cithara Paul, "UN rings Godhra alarm," telegraphindia.com, February 18, 2009

Sanjana, "CENTURIES-OLD GRAVEYARDS DEMOLISHED BY THE STATE," Tehelka, October 27, 2009

[The BJP today welcomed the Gujarat special court verdict convicting 31 accused in the 2002 Godhra train burning case and said it had "exposed the nefarious designs" of the UPA government which "tried to cover up" the entire episode.--"BJP welcomes verdict on Godhra train burning case," thehindu.com, February 22, 2011]

[Senior Gujarat police officer Sanjiv Bhatt has blamed Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the 2002 "communal carnage", saying he wanted Muslims to be taught "a lesson" for the train burning in Godhra that left 59 Hindus dead.--"'Narendra Modi involved in Godhra'," thehindu.com, April 22, 2011]

[After orchestrating modern India's first state sponsored anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat as recently 2002, when several thousand Muslims and Hindus were massacred, today the Hindu right wing waits for another shot at power, as the main Opposition Party in the Indian Parliament.--Frank Raj, "More dangerous than shariah: Hindutva," washingtontimes.com, September 6, 2011]

[This possibility moved forward this week when India's Supreme Court decided not to proceed with a case against Modi that stems from his widely suspected role in encouraging, or at least allowing, Gujarat's Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002. More than 2,000 people are believed to have been killed, with 12,000 Muslims losing their homes.--John Elliott, "Could Hindu hardliner become the leader India needs?," Independent, September 15, 2011]

"31 guilty over Indian Muslim's fire deaths," Associated Press, November 9, 2011

[As you know, one of his ministers (Maya Kodnani) was recently convicted for her role in these events. Given the nature of the way the governments function, it is highly unlikely at the very least that this minister would have been engaged to the degree that she was without the knowledge, without the direction from Mr. Modi. There is of course the very damning sworn notarized affidavit of former deputy commissioner of police Sanjeev Bhatt, which is really an eyewitness account. He is not simply providing sworn testimony as to events that happened on the streets. His testimony is also regarding things that were said by Mr. Modi in his presence. There are very powerful letters that were signed by 65 members of the lower house and upper house and they cite a number of grave concerns.--Maroosha Muzaffar, "A Conversation With Katrina Lantos Swett, on Religious Freedom in India," nytimes.com, August 13, 2013]

[I still remember the cool, measured tone in which he elaborated a theory of cosmic conspiracy against India that painted every Muslim as a suspected traitor and a potential terrorist. I came out of the interview shaken and told Yagnik that, for the first time, I had met a textbook case of a fascist and a prospective killer, perhaps even a future mass murderer.--Jiwan Kshetry, "The implications of Modi's rapid rise," atimes.com, December 13, 2013]

CITIZENS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE, India

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