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The ghost of 2002 will continue to haunt India

NEVER FORGET GUJARAT 2002!Former Judges, Lawyers, And Other Eminent Citizens Write To CJI To Suo Moto Clarify That Zakia Jafri Judgment Was Not Intended To Have Any Adverse Consequences Image source: Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP)

Tyranny will never stop until it is stopped. This is a truth that anybody with basic democratic sensibilities can easily embrace. True to form the Modi regime, now armed with the power of the highest levels of government including a pliant judiciary, has shocked the world by arresting Teesta Setalvad, celebrated lawyer and activist who for decades has fought on behalf of Zakia Jafri, whose husband Ehsan Jafri was brutally tortured and murdered by Hindutva mobs encouraged by Mr. Modi during the 2002 Gujarat genocide. Mr. Jafri had responded to pleas by dozens of men, women and children seeking shelter from the murderous mob, and had opened the Jafri home with the hope that it would be considered a safe place since he was after all a popular Indian National Congress parliamentarian.

According to recorded eyewitness testimony Mr. Jafri made frantic calls seeking help as mobs swelled outside, reaching out even to Mr. Modi. An individual who heard the exchange noted that CM Modi taunted Mr. Jafri with the words, “what, you’re still alive?” Shortly thereafter the mobs broke into the house and set upon the terrified men, women and children. As elsewhere in Gujarat that week, the Hindutva mob mutilated, raped, brutalized, tortured and committed unspeakable atrocities on the bodies of men, women and children. Ehsan Jafri was dragged outside, mutilated, then cut to pieces, and his body set on fire. Not less than sixty nine people were massacred in this episode, forever etched in history as the Gulberg Society Massacre. What has become erroneously called “riots” was without any shred of doubt, a pogrom, a planned genocide executed with the full coordination of the state machinery facilitated by Mr. Modi. Dozens of reports attest to this incontrovertible fact. Now the effort is on to criminalize even the acknowledgment of this basic fact.

We in ICWI stand in solidarity with Teesta Setalvad and Zakia Jafri, and salute their indomitable courage and steely determination to obtain justice. Yes, Mr. Modi has gotten away with much much more since spring 2002, and justice for the victims of his tyrannical power over the years may seem distant and inconceivable. Speaking truth to power today might seem futile and dangerous, when even the most prominent public advocates for justice are so casually imprisoned and cases slapped on them, making a mockery of the very idea of law. But we must never give up! Anybody with an ounce of decency in them should not hesitate to stand with Teesta Setalvad, Zakia Jafri, and also Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair – whose incredibly important journalism has exposed so much fake news promoted by the Modi regime and its supporters across the country – and who has now been arrested on trumped up charges of “promoting enmity.” Meanwhile Hindutva leaders continue to call for genocide of Muslims in public meetings, and media lapdogs constantly abuse anybody critical of the regime.

We will not rest until Modi and his entire coterie of men and women (never forget the role played by Maya Kodnani, for example!) are dragged to the hallways of justice, where one day they meet the very justice they mocked and flouted, where they pay the steepest price demanded by the people of India for their unforgivable crimes against humanity. In the meantime please do not ever forget what happened in 2002. Here are some links to relevant reports and news compilations by reputed human rights organizations (including Communalism Combat, published by Teesta Setalvad’s organization Sabrang Communications), as well as reports the Hindutva movement’s activities in the U.S. and more. Do share, and again, NEVER FORGET GUJARAT 2002!

Gujarat Genocide 2002 Reports

  1. Human Rights Watch: “We Have No Orders To Save You” – State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat
  2. PUDR: ‘Maaro! Kaapo! Baalo!’ State, Society, and Communalism in Gujarat People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) May 2002
  3. Sabrang Communications: Gujarat 2002-2007 Genocide’s aftermath
  4. International Initiative for Justice (IIJ): Threatened Existence: A Feminist Analysis of the Genocide in Gujarat – December 2003
  5. Communalism Combat (March-April 2002): GENOCIDE
  6. Communalism Combat (July 2002): Godse’s Gujarat
  7. Campaign to Stop Funding Hate: The Foreign Exchange of Hate: IDRF and the American Funding of Hindutva
  8. Lots of reports archived here: Online Volunteers

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Indian Civil Watch International (ICWI) is a non-sectarian left diasporic membership-based organization that represents the diversity of India’s people and anchors a transnational network to building radical democracy in India.