Skip to main content


The recent verdict by the Gujrat court on the case of Naroda Patia is, to say the least, revolutionary, in its content. This verdict has brought a new confidence in the minds of victims and activists about judiciary in secular India. The Judge Jyotsna Yagnik has enhanced the prestige of judiciary especially through her observation that communal riots are like poison in secular India. One rarely hears such a remark in written judgements these days.

It must be admitted that it is after a long time and almost for the first time in independent India that such severe punishments have been meted out to the perpetrators of the communal violence. Both Dr. Kodnani who subsequently went on to become minister of women and child development ironically after killing 35 women and 30 children brutally and Babu Bajrangi –both were confident that they would be fully protected by their boss and that no one will touch them.  Babu Bajrangi had boasted of this in a sting operation carried out by Tehelka on the eve of last Assembly elections.

But howsoever powerful a person he/she cannot control everything and despite such assurances these perpetrators of brutal violence could not escape the long hands of law.  In most of the riots before the perpetrators could escape for various reasons like partial and incomplete or careless investigations by the police under pressure from political bosses and their own communal biases that these perpetrators of violence easily escaped.

Not that Narnedra Modi allowed honest and careful investigations for catching up with the criminals but because communal violence in Gujrat had reached such tremendous proportions that whole world was watching what was going on in Gujrat and activists like Teesta Setalvad, Advocate Sinha and several other human rights activists that it became very difficult for these accused to escape the stranglehold of the law of land Actually the Gujrat police had closed more than 300 cases saying no evidence was available. It was Supreme Court that ordered these cases to be re-opened. And the Best Bakery case and Bilqis Bano case had to be tried outside Gujrat to get justice to these victims.

Also we must salute, as Teesta  Setalvad said, the women from Naroda Paria who had seen all the killings who showed rare courage and stood form to give evidence despite threats to their lives and also allurement of money as reporte4dly Rs. Two crores were offered to them to change their statement. We must inde3ed salute these brave women.

Again recently what happened in Assam between bodos and Muslims and the terror it spread in the country shows how vulnerable is our country to communal violence. The communal forces can set this country on fire any time they like. Also the way these forces set rumors afloat against innocent people of North East working in different parts of India was very scary. These north easterners were so scary that they took the first train available to go home. Assam violence was like Gujrat violence. Only difference was of scale. In brutalities it was like another Gujrat.

It was after Gujrat riots that Congress had promised people of India in its manifesto for 2004 election to bring a law on communal and targeted violence. It also drafted one but it was so weak that it was worse than the remedy. We protested against it, held many consultations and forced the Government to redraft it. Sonia Gandhi took up the matter and set up a sub-committee to her advisory committee to suggest a new draft. Thus a new draft which was much more effective was prepared and given to the government. However, the BJP and some of its allied attacked it so severely that Government simply abandoned it.

Had that Bill been adopted I am sure Assam would not have repeated. Many more riots would take place if an effective laws is not made and implemented. The provisions of the Bill are such that it would be difficult for perpetrators of violence to escape the law. Also it holds those who fail to maintain law and order responsible and in case, they cannot maintain peace will be punished. And above all there is fair provision for reparations and relief. Today in Assams more than 4 lakh refugees are rotting in relief camps and do not know what will happen to them and their families.

The communal and targeted violence Bill provides for all that. Government has totally neglected this Bill. Well, it can be slightly amended to make it acceptable by all though there is nothing that really makes this Bill objectionable. However, the word community could be replaced by group to take care of sensibilities of parties like BJP. This Bill is highly needed to prevent future Gujrats and Assams.

By Asghar Ali Engineer, CSSS
More >>>>>>

Praful Bidwai
A court in Gujarat has struck a blow for the victims of the terrible communal violence of 2002. Judge Jyotsna Yagnik has convicted 32 people for the Naroda-Patiya massacre of 97 Muslims. Prominent among them are lawmaker and former minister Maya ...

Popular posts from this blog

A historic moment in the Arab world

لحظة تاريخية في العالم العربي
As a democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world, Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera's director-general, shares a profoundly optimistic view of what's happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond. In the first talk posted online from the TED 2011 conference in California, Khanfar describes the powerful moment when people realised they could step out of their homes and ask for change. "كما ثورة ديمقراطية بقيادة الشباب التكنولوجيا ذات صلاحيات تجتاح العالم العربي ، وضاح خنفر ، الجزيرة المدير العام والأسهم وجهة نظر متفائلة بشكل كبير ما يحدث في مصر وتونس وليبيا وخارجها. وفي اول حديث له نشر على الانترنت من مؤتمر تيد 2011 في ولاية كاليفورنيا ، خنفر يصف لحظة قوية عند الناس أدركت أنها لا يمكن الخروج من منازلهم ونطلب من أجل التغيير." This talk was given on March 1, 2011 in Long Beach, California. TED 2011 is taking place between March 1 and Mar…

Our Captured, Wounded Hearts: Arundhati Roy On Balakot, Kashmir And India

With his reckless “pre-emptive” airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inadvertently undone what previous Indian governments almost miraculously, succeeded in doing for decades. Since 1947 the Indian Government has bristled at any suggestion that the conflict in Kashmir could be resolved by international arbitration, insisting that it is an “internal matter.” By goading Pakistan into a counter-strike, and so making India and Pakistan the only two nuclear powers in history to have bombed each other, Modi has internationalised the Kashmir dispute. He has demonstrated to the world that Kashmir is potentially the most dangerous place on earth, the flash-point for nuclear war. Every person, country, and organisation that worries about the prospect of nuclear war has the right to intervene and do everything in its power to prevent it.  Keep reading  >>>>

India has built around itself an aura of a global power whose time has come. For at least the last t…

Kashmir Jihad - Analysis & Options


Kashmir is an incomplete agenda of partition of India. Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars on this issue. According to UN resolutions, Kashmiris have to decide their accession to Pakistan or India through impartial plebiscite, which could not take place due to Indian reluctance. Recently, India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special autonomous status to Kashmir, it was done to unilaterally integrate occupied Kashmir. This is a violation of the UN resolutions and the Simla bilateral agreement, which demands to maintain status quo until the final settlement. The US and world powers are emphasizing that Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally, though India has refused to hold talks with Pakistan. In the present scenario, while India has turned Kashmir into the largest prison of 9 million people, denying basic human rights and oppressing the Kashmiris' who want freedom from India, Pakistan cannot watch as a silent spec…