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Special Report:
Minorities panel blasts government and Sangh Parivar

In a marked departure form its old habit of not touching the government, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has severely castigated the central and states governments for attacks and atrocities against minority communities. The commission under the chairmanship of Justice Shamim Ahmad has accused the Gujarat government of perpetrating a sense of insecurity among minorities, especially Muslims, Christians and Parsis.

The NCM, indicting the Gujarat government for attacks on the minority communities has said that its attitude in protecting minorities in the state has been very negative. It has also said that government officials and state police who are meant to protect the citizens not only failed to fulfill their duties, they acted like a party during riots in Ahmadabad and Surat. 

The graph of atrocities against minority communities in this western Indian state has seen a constant rise under the present BJP government.. Initially Christians were targeted. They were not allowed to organize their religious programmes, were attacked by religious fanatics and forced to stop their religious activities in several parts of the state. Cadres of several Hindu extremist organizations including the VHP and Bajrang Dal were in forefront of these attacks.

Of late Muslims had to face the brunt of their ire. There were efforts to drive Muslims out of several villages. In Bardauli, a small town of Surat, a large number of them were driven out. Recently too a number of cases were reported where Muslims were targeted, their business establishments looted and burnt and their dwellings set ablaze. Last month riots broke out in Surat and Ahmadabad following the killings of Amarnath yatris in Pahalgam, though militants are not believed to be responsible for the killings.

The Commission has accused the state administration and the police of a biased and partisan attitude towards minorities. The Commission visited the riot prone areas during 7-12 August. It has recommended that the government must immediately adopt measures to instill a feeling of security among minority communities especially among Muslims and Christians, who are the main targets of Hindu fanatics.

The Commission, which submitted its report to the Central government in early September, has hauled up the police and administration for their partisan attitude during the recent riots in Ahmedabad and Surat during and after Gujrat Bandh on 3 August which was organized by the VHP and Bajrang Dal to protest the killings of the Amarnath yatris.

The report says that during communal riots in Ahmadabad and Surat, the police and the administration did not effectively dealt with rioters and perpetrators of crimes. It further says that police and administration in some cases themselves committed crimes against Muslims in riot-prone areas. The state reserve police is alleged to have been involved in several acts of looting, burning business establishments and killing of members of minorities. It is reported that state reserve police personnel asked Muslims to recite Vande matram and on refusal called them names and told that they are the agents of the ISI and should go to Pakistan.

The NCM in its report says that in the light of available facts, it appeared that the rioters had identified and planned the destruction of business establishments belonging to the Muslim community well in advance and made preparations to prevent the police and fire brigade from reaching the spot. It further says that in case of shops selective targeting was done indicating that the shops were well identified before the riots… rioters had planned the destruction of Muslims business establishments.
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