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Published in the 16-31 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

'Hum Gujarat Nahin Bhoole': human rights group to PM
India can't unless Muslims too shine: Mahesh Bhutt
By Andalib Akhter 

New Delhi: Human Rights activists and NGOs in the country are all set to frustrate the Bhartiya Janata Party's efforts to divert the attention of the people from the Gujarat genocide.
It may be recalled that the BJP with the aim of luring Muslim and secular votes, is trying its best to divert the attention of the people from the Gujarat incidents through conferences and seminars. In spite of not removing Modi people are asked to forget what happened in Gujarat two years back and which is still going on. In fact the groups who are engaged in the fight for justice for the victims of the catastrophe are all set to expose what had really happened in Modi's Gujarat just two years back.
gujarat riot

Holding Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and chief minister Narendra Modi directly responsible for what happened in Gujarat noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhutt in his address to the gathering said history will not forgive these leaders. He said terror still looms large in the minds of the people in Gujarat.

The group of social activists and Non Governmental Organisations brought to light the plight of the victim and the official efforts to hush up the cases against the culprits at a conference and rally in the national capital.

Social and human rights bodies such as Anhad, Savra, Aman Ekta Manch, Peace, Sanjhi Virasat, Humdum India, Nehru Discussion Forum, Youth For Peace, Secular Morcha, Guild Of Service Trust and others organized a massive conference, 'Hum Gujarat Nahin Bhole Hain' here on the occasion of 2nd anniversary of the Gujarat Massacre. The conference was attended and addressed by several prominent politicians, film personalities, lawyers, social activists, student leaders and those who see Gujarat as a blot on India's secular tradition.

The conference venue the JNU city center was full of placards and banners with slogan such as 'No Mass Graves; No Rapes', 'There is Blood on the Hands of Modi', Gujarat seeks Justice, 'There Is No Peace Without Justice, 'Defeat fascism Save India', Hum Gajarat Nahin Bhole Hain' and others. Heart-rending photos of Gujarat riots were also exhibited at the venue.

Holding Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and chief minister Narendra Modi directly responsible for what happened in Gujarat noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhutt in his address to the gathering said history will not forgive these leaders. He said terror still looms large in the minds of the people in Gujarat. "There is peace of the graveyard in the state," he said.

"Unless the murderers are brought to justice there would be no real peace in Gujarat", Bhutt contented. He said it was a matter of shame at what happened to Bilqis Bano and Zahira Sheikh and what was even more shameful was that they are not even ready to apologise for what happened in Gujarat. 

"India can't shine unless Muslims too shine in the country" he thundered. The general secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), A B Bardhan said the incidents of Gujarat have put a black spot on the face of India's democracy and secularism. He said the NDA government was misleading the entire nation for mere two percent of people. "People have to accept greater challenge to defeat the fascist forces", he appealed.

Attacking the prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Lok Janashakti leader Ram Vilas Paswan said their hands were soiled with the blood of democracy, communalism and humanism. He said for the first time in the history of India a Prime Minister was so weak. He said for the restoration of peace in the country it was essential to ban fascist organisations like RSS and VHP. "It is high time to strengthen the hands of the secular front" he stressed. 

Senior congress leader Ahmad Patel accused the Bhartiya Janta Party of rubbing salt on the wounds of victims of Gujarat. "Now they are holding meeting for Muslims but where were they when Muslim were killed mercilessly", he asked. India can't shine with all this gimmicks he added. Noted social activist and former Miss India Nafisa Ali asked the people to strengthen the hands of secular forces so that Gujarat-like incidents never take place in future. She said even after two years of the Gujarat incident the government and judiciary are not serious. "These elections are the best opportunity for the secular forces to come together to defeat the communal and fascists forces. 

The former Indian Administrative Service Officer Harsh Mander said that terror still exists in Gujarat. "Culprits of massacre in Gujarat are moving openly while the victims are apprehensive and moving from pillar to post for justice" he informed.

Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jai Singh informed that there were 4000 cases of Gujarat riots out of which 2000 cases were stopped before it could take off, as police could not provide any clue about the culprits. And the remaining 2000 cases are moving slowly and no big fish has been arrested. She also asked for legal action against Narendra Modi. Later the participants took out a big procession to Mandi House Square where the candles were lighted in memory of those killed in Gujarat.

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