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Gujarat pogrom aimed at reducing Muslims to ‘second class citizens’

New Delhi, June 3: People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), one of India's premiere human rights organisations, said in its report on Gujarat carnage that the pogrom was engineered with an aim to reduce Muslims to second class citizens. 

"The whole intent of the pogrom has been to reduce Muslims to second class citizens in their own country" the PUDR said in its report "Maaro, Kaapo, Baaro: State, Society and Communalism in Gujarat."

The PUDR is a well-known independent human rights organization in India monitoring human rights violations against minorities and weaker sections of society. 

PUDR report said that the organisers of the carnage tapped on a seam of hatred, based on anti-Muslim propaganda which had been carefully cultivated over many years.

The report said that the anti-Muslim carnage was plan ned well before the Godhra train tragedy. It says that the hate propaganda increased in the six months prior to February 2002. 

PUDR report says that the VHP (World Hindu Council) and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, organised trishul (tridents) distribution ceremonies in villages with Muslim populations. Speeches were made abusing and threatening Muslims during these ceremonies. 

The report gives the instance of Pandarwada village where one of the worst massacres and sexual abuse cases took place. A meeting was held in this village about a fortnight before the attack. 

The PUDR report provides detailed lists of people named as organisers and attackers. Many of these are functionaries of the ruling party, BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal. 

The report says that the casualties are higher than the government figures and gives a list of victims in some of the mass killings, which establishes that their numbers were higher than the ones the government admits.

PUDR has accused the state government of abetting the anti-Muslim pogrom. "The fact that the Gujarat government supported the bandh (general strike) of February 28 and March 1 despite its experience of large-scale violence against Muslims after a similar bandh in 2000, is evidence of its complicity in the violence right from the start," it said.

The report also accuses the judiciary of not performing its duty. It illustrates as to how the criminal justice system in the state is complicit in the denial of justice to the riot victims. It corroborates the widely-reported fact that the police is making a mockery of the investigative process. And that even courts have shown reluctance to do their duty. The PUDR team visited 21 relief camps and 75 villages and towns where it spoke to government officials, members of traders' associations, the VHP, the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e Hind and NGOs. 

It has demanded the dismissal of the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat and asked for an independent probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into major incidents of communal violence, and expressed doubts over the Modi government’s intentions with regard to taking action against the perpetrators of riots.

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