It’s been a depressing last few days with the election of Modi and the BJP in India. I think it’s significant that he’s got a majority and will have a clear mandate for his anti-Muslim politics. The Congress had at least a veneer of protection for Muslims and Dalits. The atrocities of 1993 and 2003 and Modi’s role in this stand out for me. All the anti-BJP forces will need to come together to challenge him.
‘The body remained in the yard the charred out remains a black memory of the mob. She was now the same colour as the tavvar in the kitchen.’
I wrote this short story a few years ago in 2003 about the massacres in Gujarat in 2002 after I had read a report from Human Rights Watch called ‘We have no orders to save you’ which researched the state participation and complicity in the the communal violence that had taken place. A fire on a train had killed 79 Hindu pilgrims and after Modi had claimed terrorists had committed this crime thousands of Muslims were attacked and killed. The incident haunted me and I even named my first blog after this report. The horrific absurdity of Indian Muslims going to police officers and being told this they had no orders to protect or save them goes to the heart of state sanctioned neglect and violence. More details and report here:
The police were directly implicated in nearly all the attacks against Muslims. In some cases they were merely passive observers. But in many instances, police officials led the charge of murderous mobs, aiming and firing at Muslims who got in the way. Under the guise of offering assistance, some police officers led the victims directly into the hands of their killers. Panicked phone calls made to the police, fire brigades, and even ambulance services generally proved futile. Several witnesses reported being told by police: “We have no orders to save you.”
The full story is in the link above for you to read and download. I’m hoping to put together a collection of the short stories that I’ve written over the past few years.
Stay strong and hold it down people in these merciless times
Saqib, May 2014
PS. Working on novel cover currently and just got the foreword sorted so watch this space