Hindus dating muslims
Stories vary on what provoked the incident but in the end, 58 Hindus, most of them women and children, were burned alive.
The train was carrying Hindu activists returning from the site of a long-simmering dispute over ground claimed as sacred both by Hindus and Muslims. Today in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat state capital, more than 110,000 of the city’s Muslim minority have fled into makeshift refugee camps.
The train attack sparked some of the worst religious violence seen in India since it was partitioned in 1947 by the departing British. Muslims moving to the newly created Pakistan, Hindus going the other way to a newly independent, officially secular India. They tell stories of rape, murder, and torched homes.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (through translator): Tell us, where can we go?
The BJP — or India People’s Party — allied with nationalist Hindu groups, rode the issue to electoral success. In 1999, the BJP came to power with coalition partners who forced moderation.
Not far from the disputed site, hundreds of pillars and columns have already been carved. PANDE (Police Commissioner): We’ve dealt with several such situations — it’s not the first time.
MUKHTAR NAQVI (National Secretary, BJP): They think if the minorities feel insecure then they can exploit them easily. PRAVEEN TOGADIA (World Hindu Council): Here in Gujarat, Hindus are victims of Islamic terrorism. DE SAM LAZARO: Muslims and Hindus come from the same culture.
DE SAM LAZARO: Praveen Togadia, head of the World Hindu council, says Gujarat fits a global pattern. TOGADIA: Why there is riot in Xijiang province in China? But, like those who wanted Pakistan, he charges, many Indian Muslims today consider themselves Muslims first, not Indians.
Their deaths have sparked retribution against Muslims on a scale Police Commissioner P. The official death toll had exceeded 800 people, most of them Muslims. Many victims, like the relatives of 14 year-old Naved, have never been found. SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN (Editor, THE TIMES OF INDIA): The killings that followed the train massacre were not spontaneous, they were not the result of mass anger on the part of Hindus, but it was an orchestrated, organized, calculated pogrom which took place because the ruling party, the BJP has state power in Gujarat and was able to use the power to essentially give a free hand to its party activists to indulge in this kind of criminal behavior.
NAVED (through translator): My mother, my father, brother, sister, plus an aunty and her family. DE SAM LAZARO: He’s also critical of national BJP leaders.SYED SHAHABUDDIN (Publisher, Muslim India): We cannot control the motivation of individuals.An adolescent who has lost his entire family, who has seen his mother and sisters raped, and who has seen his fathers and brothers butchered. DE SAM LAZARO: Many Indians take heart from the fact that the religious violence hasn’t spread beyond Gujarat–that the BJP in fact lost an election in Delhi soon after the Gujarat riots.He was a martyr for the country–the cause, they say–and that cause will continue.