Ten years ago, muslim extremists attacked civilians on the Sabarnati Express train at Godhra. The attackers were brought to justice later, but the attack spurred large-scale communal violence, murder and rape against muslims in Gujrat that was horrific and savage beyond anything that had been seen previously. An explicit pogrom against muslims, especially women and children was initiated, with state government blessing and support. One phrase in particular stands out in memory: “Let the people vent their anger.”
Ten years later, the victims of the original attack on the train have had justice – 31 people were convicted, of which 11 were sentenced to death and the remainder imprisoned for life. But the thousands of victims of the Gujrat riots have had no justice. It’s important to reflect on this anniversary and to never forget. We have seen the same mentality behind Gujrat before: Nanking, Armenia, Germany. It was genocide in intent, nothing less.
Blogger Indscribe has a pair pf fantastic posts about the Gujrat riots that are a must-read: the first details 15 reasons that the riots should never be forgotten, and the second highlights Hindu heroes who have fought and still fight for justice for the muslim victims.
It is also important to note that Indian muslims are a great inspiration for American muslims, in that their patriotism and love of their homeland remains unshakeable in the main. The work of Indian muslims like Indscribe and the rest of the crew at AnIndianMuslim.com in documenting the failure of India to live up to its secular democracy potential is a labor of love, one with which I can wholeheartedly sympathize and relate to. One example:
I think extremism can’t come to Indian Muslims because of our democracy that may not be perfect but is still the best in the world in many respects. Our Supreme Court is a great institution and we ought to be proud of it. Yes, Gujarat became a fasicst state but hopefully it would prove to be the last such pogrom. New laws against communal violence and riots are on the cards. Compensation for riot victims and justice will also come steadily.
[..] If people in failed Muslim countries where even organising demonstrations and rallies is banned or even writing a blog can be dangerous, get extremist I understand but not in India.
Related reading: Indscribe’s post about the completely fake controversy over Salman Rushdie‘s visit to India late last year.