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SAHMAT indicts government for Gujarat carnage
By MG correspondent

SAHMAT report released to the media on 25 April is by far the most comprehensive account prepared on the anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat so far. Titled ‘Genocide 2002’ and prepared by the Mumbai-based anti-communalism journal Communalism Combat, it offers background to the current situation starting from the Ayodhya buildup besides heart-rending details of the mayhem. 

The Communalism Combat team led by its co-editor Teesta Setalvad has painstakingly collected details of the ongoing Sangh-sponsored riots in Gujarat. It has collected the testimonies of survivors and witnesses and also the FIRs that some victims have managed to file. These FIRs name several BJP ministers in the state government besides VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal activists, and include the names of three state ministers for leading the mobs and attacking Muslim localities. 

The report says that the systematic genocide that followed the Godhra incident would have taken place even if the Godhra incident had not happened. The report says that every wing of the state machinery was used to target the minorities, and question the independence of state judiciary.

Communalism Combat editor, Teesta Setalvad said ‘The government led by Narendra Modi is throwing up a new challenge to secularism every day. The situation is still very bad and fresh incidents are reported daily. She called Godhra incident as unfortunate but added that it should be seen in the backdrop of events in the state. ‘Though no provocation can justify Godhra incident, those involved should be punished for it. However, the incidents should be viewed in the backdrop of the happening in the state since BJP came to power four years back and the row over Ramjanambhoomi issue. 

Setalvad has extensively toured the state for digging facts. She was in the troubled state when the communal fire was on its peak. Describing the Godhra incident her report says, ‘while no provocation whatsoever can justify a heinous crime like burning people to death, but the misconduct of karsevaks is nonetheless important to record for two reasons: one, given the persistent hooliganism, where was the intelligence machinery? And why no preventive measures were taken by police? Two, if the attack on the karsevaks was pre-planned as chief minister Modi and union home minister LK Advani have maintained, was outrageous conduct of karsevaks a part of pre-planning?’

Teesta has alleged that the RSS has infiltrated each and every institution, including the police and administration in Gujarat and has created parallel bodies whose so-called volunteers draw a subsistence allowance from the government. She also said that these RSS people do not give any test or examinations as they are not government employees in the proper sense.

Teesta also explained as to how these people have taught their cadres over the last two years to use LPG cylinders for killing people, how to target Muslim businessmen and prosperous Muslims and how to escape police investigations besides how to lodge false FIRs. 

She also said that the government so far has refused to address the issue of almost 2500 missing Muslims in the state as well as rehabilitation of victims.
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