Gujarat 2007: Amnesty International report
Five years on - the bitter and uphill struggle for justice in Gujarat
Five years since the 2002 communal violence in the Western Indian state of Gujarat in which more than 2,000 people were killed, Amnesty International remains concerned about the ongoing impact of that violence on the Muslim minority in Gujarat.
Amnesty International is particularly concerned that:
1. The direct victims of that violence and their relatives continue to face serious challenges and obstacles in securing justice;
2. An overwhelming number of the criminal cases relating to the Gujarat violence remain un-investigated and unresolved, or closed with the result that the majority of the perpetrators of the violence have gone unpunished and remain at large in the state
â€“ this is despite the reopening of 1,594 cases for reinvestigation after the Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court) order in August 2004;
3. The plight of those internally displaced from their homes as a result of the violence is a continuing one. As many as 5,000 families Gare living in â€œrelief coloniesâ€? without basic amenities or official recognition from the Government of Gujarat. The Government of Gujarat however continues to assert that all those displaced as a result of the violence have been rehabilitated;
4. Human rights defenders, tenaciously engaged in pursuing justice for the victims of the violence, face frequent harassment;
5. There is an ongoing practice of social and economic boycotting of Muslim communities in the state.
Amnesty International believes that, five years on, the Government of Gujarat remains unrepentant for its failings to protect the Muslim minority and to ensure that victims obtain justice, truth and reparations. The organization strongly disagrees with the claim by the Government of Gujarat (under the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who were also in power during the 2002 communal violence) that normalcy has returned to the state.
Human rights activists report that a climate of alienation and fear has been deliberately fostered among the Muslim minority in Gujarat since the violence in 2002. Reports of this alienation have recently been corroborated by the findings of a Central overnment-appointed high level Committee led by a former Supreme Court judge, Rajinder Sacchar (the Sacchar Committee), and mandated to look into the â€œsocial, economic and education status of the Muslim community in the country.â€? Commenting on the committeeâ€™s findings, which had been tabled before the Indian parliament in November 2006, one of the committee members, Prof. T. K. Oommen, stated that Gujarat continues to reel under a state of â€œeconomic apartheid and ghettoizationâ€? of Hindus and Muslims and that â€œever since the 2002 riots, the polarization of communities in Gujarat has acquired a physical dimension.â€?