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Published On:22 February 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

SPECIAL REPORT: Gujarat completes its shameful 10 years, Riots victims continue to live with their tears, sorrow and injustice

[As Gujarat – and the nation – marks ten years of the horrific violence in Godhra and later across the state, and Modi completes his carefully-calibrated Sadbhavna mission in a bid to erase the 2002 blot, he finds the courts closing in on him and his government. Our senior colleague and IMO Gujarat Bureau Chief Abdul Hafiz Lakhani unplugs the episode. -- Danish Ahmad Khan, Founder-Editor, IndianMuslimObserver.com.]


By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani


Ahmedabad: On February 27, 2002, Gujarat changed for the worse. The S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express caught fire at Godhra, killing 59 people, mostly kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya. The communal riots that followed affected at least 16 of the state's 25 districts and claimed over 1,000 lives, mostly Muslims. Many were rendered homeless.


The commissions that probed the Godhra incident have arrived at different conclusions. While the U.C. Banerjee Commission, appointed by the Centre, said the fire in the S6 coach was accidental, the state-appointed Justice (retd) G.T. Nanavati and Justice (retd) Akshay Mehta Commission, in its part I report, said the carnage was pre-planned.


The violence created a gulf between Hindus and Muslims that, even a decade later, is yet to be bridged. Compensations can hardly undo the damage. Even today, families fear to return to their original villages. Widows continue to struggle to earn their livelihood. Rape victims are still counselled for trauma. The families of the convicted cry foul. Businesses struggle to survive.


Gulberg Society


The name is embedded in collective memory as a symbol of the Gujarat riots and, to many, of the administrative complicity behind it. In Gulberg Society, the past is never far even as those looking at the future have learnt to make peace with it.


The empty shells of its 29 bungalows and 10 apartments now serve as godowns for neighbouring Muslim bakers, who supply their wares to Hindu shopkeepers next door.The smell of these bakeries and shahi dawats once filled the society, a Muslim-dominated area that came up in 1965 in the predominantly Hindu Chamanpura.


Targeted during the riots, they had all left. The owners of all eight bakeries are now back with their shops, though they stay 7km away in Muslim-dominated Rakhial.Shamsul Haq Ansari’s Robin Bakery, adjoining Gulberg Society, was looted and torched.


He suffered losses of lakhs and claims not to have received any compensation. He chose to return and rebuild from his savings, and said not only has his business taken off again but that he is doing better than before.Ansari’s customers are all Hindus, including local provision stores, as there is no Muslim habitation around. For him or other bakers in the area, that hasn’t been a problem so far.Mubarak Ansari, owner of Mubarak Bakery, said there was some tension immediately after the riots. “But with time, things have improved. My entire business depends on local Hindus and they support me wholeheartedly.”However, none of them lives in the area. 


Haseemuddin, working with Ashiana Bakery, said the owners as well as the workers live in Rakhial — which has been the case since they migrated from Bijnore. He cited “cultural and social reasons” for this. As such, they did not lose any near ones during the Chamanpura riots.Those who did have chosen not to continue in Gulberg Society, except Kasam Mansuri, 62, who lost 12 members. After his sons relocated, Mansuri stayed back and makes a living selling mattresses outside the society. “This is my society, where will I go?” he said.


Looking at the garbage dumped outside Gulberg Society, the Hindus, on the other hand, feel it is time to break free from the past, if only to bring Gujarat’s famed development to the area. Said Bhavanlal Jain, a moneylender whose customers are mostly Muslims: “The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has been neglecting the locality since they do not want legal complications of property, etc.”The Citizens for Justice and Peace has come up with the idea of turning the society into a “holocaust museum”.


To people like Saed Khan, who moved to the Muslim-dominated Juhapura, that is better than selling the houses to strangers. “It would be like selling the graves of your beloved.”While Mansuri gets angry at times that the survivors of Gulberg moved away and set up a new life, Khan said: “Gas cylinders were busted in homes; when these caught fire, they threw acid bulbs on people hiding. Women were pulled out and raped in public. No one wants to go back there.”


The bakers are the only remnants of a life that was. The mosque that was destroyed now holds five prayers a day for them. On Fridays, it also draws a number of Muslims working in nearby areas.As days such as these become routine, Afroz Ansari, a salesman working with J-K Bakery, is hopeful. “The riots,” he said, “were an aberration.”


Naroda Patiya


A young boy gets down at the last stop of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) on the RTO-Naroda route and says, “Where is this Naroda Patiya, the riot spot, actually located?” Nobody knew Naroda Patiya till 2002.


Muslims who survived the biggest post-Godhra massacre are now called Patiyawala, a term they own up with pride. They lost their loved ones but their lives has since seen a sea of change, with the BRTS running right outside their homes and the surrounding development making their own abodes high on the demand list.


Inside the narrow bylanes of Naroda Patiya, life runs at a fast pace, and it’s tough.


As children rush out of a school in the afternoon, a woman walks past tugging at a toddler, his bag dragging on the road. “There is no water at home. The cooking and cleaning is yet to be done. The drainage choked up this morning,” she tells the accompanying woman. Her friend nods in agreement. “Nasirbhai scolded my son for not doing his maths homework. He was busy helping me clear drains since yesterday,” she says.


Nasir Khan Pathan, principal of a small school ‘Ikra’ inside Patiya, has been teaching maths and science to children for the last 20 years. He claims he saw it all, including eight rapes, during the riots.


Most of the Muslims settled in Naroda Gam and Patiya came from poor families in Karnataka and Konkan belt of Maharashtra 40 years ago. The magnet was textile-rich Ahmedabad. When the mills shut down, they joined other factories making tools, auto parts, chemicals, etc.
After the 2002 riots, they lost that too. They say factories dominated by Hindus closed their doors on them.


For the Muslims in Patiya, which housed around 5,000 Muslims in 10 major settlements of Husainnagar, Jawaharnagar, Masjid ki Chali, Kehmchand ki Chali, Panditji ki Chali and others, life was always all about earning their daily bread.


Farooq Qureshi, Nasir’s next door neighbour, says, “If one sees carefully, nothing has really changed. Earlier, we used to toil to earn our daily wages to manage two meals. After the riots, we are toiling much harder to streamline our small businesses that face threat from the majority community.”


After the loss of factory jobs, the men from the Muslim community took to cart pulling, driving autos and cabs and setting up small pan shops, tea stalls and local phone booths. Now, the fight is to keep them humming.


Life is not easy. Though some of the riot victims have got relief in the form of small bright-coloured houses built for them, it’s a daily struggle for two square meals.


Zannatbibi Sheikh, an old and feeble fruit vendor, shows her cash box and says, “I start in the morning and this is all I have earned, Rs 100. It has been the case for 10 years. Our businesses dropped and women were the worst sufferers — empty kitchens, several children to fend for, no money for school uniforms and books.”


Zannatbibi, who lost her young son in the 2002 riots, points to a nearby madrasa and says, “The children who come to study here often come to my shop to eat potato balls. I sell them for only one rupee. I feel as if Mushtaq (her dead son) has come home hungry.”
The madrasa is now closed most of the times. The aged Maulana, Abdul Rauf Khan, comes every day to teach but there are not enough children.


He says, “There was a time when 10-12 batches of children used to come to recite the Quran. I loved reading it out to them. Now, only 10 children come to madrasa, that too after much convincing. Parents fear the madrasa would be the first to be targeted if things go bad again.
Mariambi, who runs a chicken shop near the madrasa, says, “This home is the only piece of property we have. We had requested the relief committee to rebuild our houses at the same place. For us, the struggle for basic needs is more important than the incidents of the past.”


Both Mariambi and Zannatbibi are widows living in Patiya with their children.


Pesh Imam Abdul Salam Shamshuddin Sheikh, the custodian of Noorani Masjid across the road since 1984, says, “The mosque was empty. I had gone to a home for Daur (reading of the holy Quran). This was the best time for the attackers to start. They began with breaking the minaret of the mosque. They blasted gas cylinders inside. Not a single corner was left.”
Noorani Masjid has been since restored and painted and it now bears no mark of the February 28 violence.


Amina Behlim’s sons moved out of Ahmedabad after riots but she still lives there at Masjid ki Chali. She is stronger than the rest. She was a security guard at a printing press in Chiloda, but was sacked for sheltering for five years a girl who was raped during the riots.


She says, “She (the victim) stayed in Jawaharnagar alone after her parents kicked her out for not ‘adjusting’ with her alcoholic husband. I was hiding on a terrace and saw her being raped by 11 men.


Godhra Train Burning


Number of deaths 59; number of accused 94; convicted 31; acquitted 63


Gujarat Riots


Number of deaths: More than 2,000, including killings at Best Bakery, Sardarpura, Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam


More than 4,500 houses destroyed, 18,500 damaged


Loss of property of Muslims pegged at approximately 0600 crore and that of Hindus at approximately 040 crore (based on former IPS officer R.B. Sreekumar's affidavit before the Justice Nanavati inquiry commission)


Special Investigation Team headed by former CBI director R.K. Raghavan re-investigating 10 major cases, including the Godhra carnage


Not a single FIR against Chief Minister Narendra Modi


Best Bakery killings: number of deaths 14; convicted 9; acquitted 8


Sardarpura killings: number of deaths 33; number of accused 73; convicted 31; acquitted 42


Gulberg Society killings: number of deaths 69; number of accused 67; number of accused out on bail 57; case has reached final stage in the trial court


Naroda Patiya massacre: number of deaths 95; number of accused 60; number of accused out on bail 49; case is in the trial court


Naroda Gam killings: number of deaths 11; number of accused 83; majority out on bail, case in trial court


[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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47 comments for "SPECIAL REPORT: Gujarat completes its shameful 10 years, Riots victims continue to live with their tears, sorrow and injustice"

  1. Don't even compare that train killing to gujarat. That TRAIN attack was a totally unprovoked mass murder. The gujarat rioting was a direct response and retaliation, not only to that train burning, but to decades of anti-hindu violence. I read! Religious festivals attacked, All the suicide attacks, market explosions, and do muslims not kidnap hindu girls for forced conversion and marriage? YES. The carnage has been UNBELIEVABLE enough to support an entire GORE site.

    Honestly, yes, what happened in gujarat was a horrible atrocity - but don't come out here all dew eyed and innocent as if muslims haven't done a thing to deserve retribution. To hindus and everybody else.

    How many Hindus were killed by the paki muslims in the 1970's genocide in Bangladesh. 100,000 - 250,000? Any man or boy who wasn't circumcised was killed, the women viciously gang raped and murdered.
    Go on and wail over your 2,000 - but it was the HINDUS who helped the muslims of Bangladesh; the paki's had no problems killing them and raping them as well. As man muslims were killed as hindu's. BY your alleged NEIGHBORS and BROTHERS. Oh no they don't give a shit about you, they'll kill you if you disobey them. But still you blame the hindu's for everything.

    Is it that muslims are so arrogant and unapologetic that they believe their atrocities should be forgotten or that they did not happen, while anything that happens to them deserves international
    attention? Because I don't understand it.

    I have read the history and plainly admit any past deeds my people have done. Also that I had nothing to do with it because it was before I was born. But this crap just goes on and on and on.

    If YOU want it to stop, then stop blaming and start accepting personal responsibility - leave them alone, and they would have no reason to attack you. As it stands right now, they hate muslims with the burning hatred straight from the depths of hell, and you deserve it !

  2. Things started to build up back in 2000 when Modi came in power. It could have been avoided. The culprits should be brought to justice.........................

  3. some men use relision in politics and this is very bad.

  4. extremist muslims treat hindus as kafirs right from moghal era, they have been raping ,force converting hindus,killing, converting temples into mosques, destroying hindu/buddha diety, the world remains quiet.
    killings cannot be justified whether regardless of religion.
    we are all humans before being hindus or muslims or anyone else. humanity shud be our first religion.
    god is watching , culprits will pay the price if not on earth somewhere else..

  5. Good all muslims should be burnt alive

  6. History repeat himself to day Muslim victim tom more u as soon as possible

  7. Can u give examples for supporting forcefully conversion or kidnapping girls.
    This mentality and thoughts are made by extrimist hindus who want to rule india.
    Only those mandirs were demolished whose management was corrupt or were planning against emperor.For these reasons mosques were also demolished why cant u see that.
    If any muslim emperor would have done forceful conversion then today not a single hindu could b found in India.
    Muslims ruled India for about 1000 yrs, and the rule was peaceful.

  8. Whatever you do Muslims you can never finish all muslims.
    If u kill 1 muslim you will find 1 non muslim converted to Islam.

  9. yeah baby try killing us. Coz you got nothing left to do. You cant win with reason, logic or intelligence. Stick to your out dated partially deleted religion that you yourself do not understand. Kill us all and watch the muslims of the whole world peeing on your temples... You cant do nothing stupid kafir... Your gonna burn in hell forever

  10. "Muslims ruled India for about 1000 yrs, and the rule was peaceful." what a joke...

  11. Muslims were slaughtering Hindus like animals from last so many years. Over half a million Kashmiri Pandits were being killed, where were you then?? Pakis were bombing our cities, killing our people and converting hindus in Pak.. where were you then ?? Gujarat was not even 1% of what muslims have done to Hindus. What you thought ?? You'll keep killing them and they'll never respond ?? And now this anti-hindu anti-national corrupt Congress is fueling hatred in Hindus everyday like volcano and when this volcano will erupt... ?? It will erupt if Congress comes back.

  12. you people are relay over burden of earth only one hope AMERICA to get rid of overload

  13. wherever m factor is there you can never find peace

  14. It is the Sangh parivar, RSS, VHP and the Bajrang Dal who are creating and spreading communal hatred. These are the Terrorist Groups in our country who are spitting venom. One Day the people of our country will know it and they them self’s will put an end to these groups and their era. You people talk about history, when history itself has been changed. How shameful!!!!!!. If Muslim emperors forcefully converted Hindus to Muslims then today India would be a Muslim country.

    IN FACT EVEN ALL YOU HINDUS ARE NOT INDIANS!!!!! ONLY THE PEOPLE IN SOUTH INDIA (TAMIL NADU, KERALA AND KARNATAKA) ARE PURE INDIANS FROM ORIGIN AND BLOOD. (DRAVADIANS) REST OF YOU ALL ARE FROM THE RUSSIAN REGION (ARYANA) WHO MOVED OUT FROM THAT REGION AND OCCUPIED THE INDUS VALLY AND MASACARED THE DRAVEDIANS.

    NO RELIGION TEACHES VIOLENCE ESPECIALLY ISLAM!!!!

  15. Muslims are minority in India.still you can see it inall government and armed posts civil sectors ...this is after 60 years of indipence independence of India .now what you want from Muslims live like slaves in our land only because of another religion.if this is the theory how will justify different casts among hindus ..many are already in slavery state ..Islam itself tells killing anylife in earth without a reason( means innocence )is challenging god for taking his supremacy as a creator and will be punished before him.and give permissions defined and stand up with your dignity and die for others protection when invaders attacking you....where is inhumanity in this

  16. See how bad it was, when 2000 people were killed after godhra train were burned by muslims, and how bad it would were when lakhs of innocent hindus were killed during muslim inavtions in india

  17. This is brutality at its worst. Even animals are much better off than this. So much hatred! Gandhiji said you can't quench fire with fire. So true! My heart goes out to all our Muslim brethren. I always hailed Modi for prime ministership but after seeing this.... NEVER! Congress is much better at least they do not KILL!

  18. watever hppnd in gujrat is nthing infront of watever hppnd vth hindus in pakistan..........ask frm indian muslims they safe.........bt in pak hindu's r living lyk hell

  19. enough is enough religion is good at home we should have to spent this beautiful life in secular spirit !!!!!!!!!

  20. enough is enough religion is good at home be secular when come outside

  21. religion word.....it sucks!!!be a good human... i think its more than enough

  22. as per the history muslim emperors ruled india for alomost 1000 years.If they are converting forcefully.How come only 12% muslims in india.

  23. Modi is making fool to all d hindus for his votebank,,,wakeuppp india

  24. give a single proof?

  25. again writing simply because you know english!! Give some proofs. India was safest when Muslims ruled. give evidence against it!!

  26. give proof that it was not peaceful, if do not want to be laughed at!!

  27. 12% as per the census... Most of them stay in slums.. So the population is more...

  28. r u pakistani asking for proof?

  29. yes congree don't kill but congress is like a sweet poison. what happened in sabarmati express is can not bear by secular country like riot

  30. killing children (any life)....

  31. yes what about SIMI, IM killing anbody like children of any religion.

  32. there is a peace in gujrat since 11 years. take the example of japan. after atomic bomb there is a peace in all world. no world war since that atomic bomb.

  33. pak is example where muslims rules since 50 years and sooooooooooo peace that they transfer their peace to india. hahahaha. pakis are hinjde. saale saamne se war nahi karte, proxy war karte hai

  34. but akabarudin owaisi to 25% bolta hai. but 25 carore log minority kaise ho sakte hai. i can't understand.

  35. ask sikhs, what happend to them in 1984. then you'll realise what congress is

  36. Sick and stupid indians still using religion to do bad things

  37. If Islam does not teaches violence, how come all terrorists are Muslims ?

  38. WHY THEY FORGET THE THE RIVOT HAPPENS AGAINST HINDUS IN KERALA 1921.MASS COVERSION AND KILLING THOUSANS OF HINDUS.NO ANSWER

  39. first check the history of riots in India and then u'll get what a congress is

  40. We know y u r saying like this because this is all u hv been read and filling all these wrong and country against things. If u really know Aryans belongs to not only BHARAT but also the parts which r far away from the present. As u might be knowing or not pakistan and bangladesh were separated few years ago only but before this there was 'AKHAND BHARAT' which is no longer present now and aryans were the one who were protecting and fighting against all these nonsense...

  41. very well said

  42. i dnt knw very much abt al ths ,bt just want to ask wat u have to say abt the hindu killings in bangladfesh?? do u knw anythng about noakhali massacre???google it,google knws evrythng

  43. who told to come to india. Just leave india n go back to pakistan ur shit land or some countries whr u can able to shit. Fuck off u mullas.

  44. leave india n stay safe in ur pakistan or afganistan. U pussies u only no how to used women n childrens as suside bomber. Not even a single women in hindus are doing this cheap thing. I ur religion mother is not treated as god but we respect our mother as god. U dont no whr ur god or religon come from but we know our religon orgin n have lots of historical proof.

  45. then leave india n go back to ur pakistan. And ask for ur rights. First of fall u all r beggers here n u beggers dont hv this rights in india

  46. others are died because of aid as u all muslim are having more than 1 wifes and some moved to afgan, pakistan, iraq n other places.

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