No justice for Muslims in Gujarat: Anti-Muslim arrests under India’s draconian anti-terrorism legislation


Islamic Human Rights Commission

PRESS RELEASE No justice for Muslims in Gujarat: Anti-Muslim arrests under India’s draconian anti- terrorism legislation.

21 February 2003

IHRC expresses its dismay and concern at the latest wave of mass arrests targetted against Gujarat’s already victimised and marginalised Muslim minority.

On Wednesday, Gujarat’s police conducted paramilitary-style arrests of 131 Muslim civilians, including eight boys and eight people previously released owing to lack of evidence, in connection with the Godhra train incident which sparked off the Gujarat-wide anti-Muslim pogroms and riots.

However, IHRC notes that no Hindus have been arrested over the anti-Muslim pogroms. It would seem that the latest arrests, emboldened by the electoral success of the far-right Hindu fascist party, the BJP, the main proponents of the Gujarat pogroms and the India-wide anti-Muslim riots of the early 1990s, are part of a concerted sectarian campaign to, in effect, cleanse India of its Muslim populous in the quest for Hindutva, an all-Hindu India.

Last March Gujarat witnessed the worst violence since the partition of India. Over 2000 were killed, 150,000 displaced and over 800 women and girls raped. Over 130 mosques were destroyed. Nearly all of the victims of the well organised pogrom were Muslim, with the disturbing involvement of the state government and police authorities. Wednesday’s arrests seem to confirm this.

IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh stated:

“We are greatly concerned about the misuse of India’s anti terror legislation. These latest arrests seem to point to a prevailing atmosphere of intolerance against Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities in India. We resolutely condemn the latest round of sectarian motivated arrests and draw attention to the BJP’s track record of anti-Muslim bigotry and xenophobia”.

For further information, please call the press office on ++ 44 (208) 902 0888 or (+44) 7958 522 196.

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