Friday, April 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Curfew in Baroda, Army out in Ahmedabad

A student walks past a jawan
A student walks past a jawan in the Sahapur area of Ahmedabad on Thursday. — PTI photo

Ahmedabad, April 25
Communal violence erupted afresh tonight in several localities of Ahmedabad and Baroda cities leaving five persons injured as the police opened fire to disperse mobs hurling stones and indulging in arson in the city, forcing deployment of the Army.

One person was stabbed and injured and several huts on the bank of the Sabarmati river were set on fire by the mob at Khanjadarwaja in the curfew-bound Jamapur, police sources said, adding that heavy stone-throwing was reported from the locality dominated by minorities. A vehcile was also set ablaze.

A large number of people came out in the streets of some other minority-dominated localities of Ahmedabad—Khanjadarwaja, Jamalpurdarwaja and Vashiya Sabha and hurled stones leaving three persons injured. The police lobbed several rounds of teargas shells before opening fire which left one person wounded.

The army was called out to help the BSF and the police to contain the rising tide of violence at Jamalpur and the other localities. In curfew-bound Fatehpura locality of Baroda city, one person received stab wounds in renewed violence.

However, no fresh untoward incident was reported from other violence-affected areas of Ahmedabad city even as indefinite curfew continued in Shahpur, Gomtipur, Vejalpur, Rakhial and Bapunagar localities of the walled city. PTI 


NCM rejects Gujarat report
Directs state to follow its recommendations
Tripti Nath and S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 25
The BJP-led NDA government’s crisis management on the recent carnage in Gujarat has failed to yield the desired results. Public outcry apart, the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat has faced indictment from various quarters. The unabated violence in the state has also provoked international criticism, much to the displeasure of the Ministry of External Affairs.

There seems to be no respite for Mr Modi since the National Human Rights Commission questioned his claim on the restoration of normalcy. And now it is the turn of the National Commission for Women and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM).

Rejecting the action taken report (ATR) sent by the Gujarat Government, the NCM has directed the respondent government to follow its recommendations in the interest of the state. The Gujarat Government had rejected suggestions of the NCM, including a probe by a Supreme Court Judge into the incidents of communal violence and the cancellation of transfers of police officers who performed their duties.

The National Commission for Women has reluctantly agreed to the complicity of Gujarat Government in the communal violence in the state.

An eight-member committee of women activists, lawyers, commission members and experts headed by the NCW Chairperson, Dr Poornima Advani, visited Himmatnagar, Ahmedabad, Godhra, Kalol and Vadodara between April 10 and 12. The committee was set up to assess the status and condition of women and girls who suffered atrocities in the wake of communal disturbances in Gujarat after February 27.

Asked why the report did not directly indict the Gujarat Government, a visibly hassled Advani said: “We have mentioned abdication of responsibility. What is the terminology you are looking for?”

The lenient approach of the committee is reflected in tone of the report. For instance, its observations and findings are reported in a passive voice as “The committee received complaints of abdication of responsibility by the police.” There is also a dismissive mention of heinous offences like sexual assault and rape.

The report reads: “Women have complained of extreme violence, including some cases of sexual assault and rape. It is observed that many women have lost their family members, their homes, their household goods, their means of livelihood and their dignity.” The report further makes a passing mention of erosion of confidence of women in the police.

The committee has recommended that the government should perform its constitutional duty to ensure that women get justice. It has reiterated its previous recommendation of setting up a state women’s commission in Gujarat.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, however, seems to have shut its eyes to the pain and suffering of the people of Gujarat. Its annual report, released yesterday has instead given itself and the state government a pat on the back for preventing the spread of communal violence to other parts of the country. The report has said that the government immediately deployed 66 companies of the state reserve police force, 18 columns of the Army and 28 companies of Central paramilitary forces.

The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr I.D. Swami, informed the Rajya Sabha yesterday that the commission appointed by the Gujarat Government to probe communal riots would “ascertain whether the incident of Godhra was pre-planned and whether information was available with the agencies which could have been used to prevent the incident”. Back

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