The landslide victory of the BJP in the December 2002 state assembly elections in Gujarat testified to the effective manipulation of communal violence as a political strategy. The party secured the greatest number of seats in areas most affected by the 2002 violence. The election results also helped ensure impunity from prosecution for those who orchestrated the attacks. This chapter explores the relationship between communal violence and electoral politics in Gujarat, and in other states that go to the polls in 2003. It also documents the sangh parivar's targeting of Christians, Dalits, and tribals in Gujarat; attacks that are in part aimed at curbing the conversion of Dalits and tribals to Christianity and weakening the traditional voter base of the opposition Congress party. For years Dalits and tribals have also been recruited by the sangh parivar to act as footsoldiers in anti-Muslim violence. They are now being scapegoated in police arrests and combing operations while those that orchestrated the violence roam free. The end of the chapter revisits the Ram temple campaign, the synthesizing feature of the sangh parivar's anti-Muslim program.
The BJP Victory in Gujarat State Elections
In state by-elections on February 21, 2002 the BJP lost by a large margin in two out of three assembly seats previously held by it. Six days later, the state was engulfed in violence. On April 12, the BJP proposed early elections in Gujarat shortly after rejecting Chief Minister Narendra Modi's offer to resign. National political parties were pressing to remove Modi, leading the BJP to temporarily set aside the early election option. At the end of April, the upper and lower houses of the Indian parliament held parliamentary debates on the violence in Gujarat while opposition parties called for a vote to censure the BJP-led national government for failing to ensure the security of Muslims following the Godhra attack. The motion was defeated by nearly 100 votes.283
On July 19, 2002, in what was seen as a bid to force early elections in the state, Chief Minister Modi resigned from office and recommended dissolution of the state assembly eight months ahead of schedule. During an emergency cabinet meeting held that evening, a resolution to dissolve the assembly was adopted.284 Many believed that a push for early elections was engineered to help sweep the BJP, and by extension Narendra Modi, back into power on a rising sentiment of Hindu nationalism. India's Election Commission, however, prohibited such a move, noting that Gujarat was still devastated by the communal violence, and set December 12, 2002 as the election date.285
In the December election, BJP candidates won 125 out of 182 seats in the state legislature, an increase of eight seats from the 1998 elections in the state. The Congress party came in a distant second with 51 seats.286 The BJP's significant gains in central Gujarat-that is, areas most affected by the violence-helped the party overcome losses in all other regions of the state where soaring unemployment rates, water shortages, and retarded economic growth played a critical role. In violence-hit Ahmedabad district, for example, the party won seventeen out of nineteen seats.287 Overall, the BJP secured fifty-three out of sixty-five seats from the regions most affected.288 One dozen BJP candidates went as far as blaming their losses on lack of violence in their districts.289
The campaign rhetoric of both the BJP and Congress(I) party stood in possible violation of India's Representation of the People Act, 1951 that prohibits the use of religion or religious symbols to promote one's candidacy or to adversely affect the election of another candidate. Throughout the campaign, BJP candidates and their sangh parivar allies invoked the memory of Hindus killed in the Godhra massacre and the attack on Hindus at Akshardham, while positioning themselves as protectors against the threat of Islamic terrorism. 290 Posters and videotapes of the Godhra massacre were disseminated freely. An election poster in Godhra featuring Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf suggested that a vote against Modi was tantamount to a vote for terrorism.291 Immediately after the poll dates were announced the BJP produced a set of four CDs meant to "enlighten people." Among them was a CD titled "Trial by Fire," which evocatively showed images of the Godhra train on fire. Superimposed on these images were slides saying: "Godhra, Feb 27, 7.43 am....an over 1,000-strong mob of rioters with no conscience....men without souls descended upon Sabarmati Express at Godhra station...58 mute bodies...one more eloquent testimony to the evil that resides in man."292
In his last campaign speech, Modi reportedly told his audience: "You decide whether there should be a Diwali [Hindu holiday] in Gujarat or whether firecrackers should burst in Pakistan... when you all go vote this time, if you press your finger on the hand symbol [the symbol of the Congress(I) party] you will hear the screams of Godhra!"... I'll teach a lesson to the merchants of death."293 On election day, a BJP advertisement in the Gujarati media read: "Pay your homage to the Godhra martyrs. Cast your vote."294
Meanwhile, the VHP worked behind the scenes to rouse anti-Muslim sentiment and ensure the BJP's electoral success.295 While the BJP's hands were somewhat tied by threat of censure by the Election Commission, VHP members were free to campaign on the BJP's behalf without restraint. On December 9, for example, VHP leader Shivanand Maharaj compared the Muslims killed to "garbage" while campaigning for the BJP's Godhra candidate, former state unit Bajrang Dal president Haresh Bhatt.296 "What if some of them [Muslims] are killed?" Maharaj asked. Rally after rally, VHP leaders proclaimed that, "only those who work for the Hindu faith will be allowed to rule this country."297
For its part, the Congress(I) party campaigned on what has been termed a "soft Hindutva" platform.298 According to a report in Frontline: "In some areas, Congress (I) candidates adopted flagrantly communal positions on Godhra, and the party did not take a firm stand on the riot victims' demand for justice. Little effort was made to purge the party of the many Ahmedabad Congress(I) elements who participated in the post-Godhra pogrom."299 Nonetheless, the party won the Muslim vote.
Two days before the election, the Imam (a Muslim cleric) of the Ahmedabad Jama Masjid (mosque) in Ahmedabad made an appeal in a local newspaper widely circulated among Muslims to vote only for Congress. The appeal was reprinted in leading Gujarati newspapers by the VHP asking Hindus to "retaliate against the fatwa" with 100 percent voting. The Muslim cleric faced angry protests from members of his own community who faulted the VHP's manipulation of his appeal for galvanizing Hindus to come out in droves and cast their vote for the BJP.300
Criminal cases against elected officials
BJP MLA from Naroda, Maya Kodnani, and VHP Gujarat state General Secretary Jaideep Patel are among those accused of leading the mobs in the attack on Naroda Patia, Ahmedabad. Each have numerous FIRs registered against them.303 In the 1998 elections Kodnani secured victory by a margin of 7,000 votes. In 2002, she won by a margin of 60,000.304
Post-election violence in Gujarat
Immediately following the elections, a Muslim was killed and more than thirty-two Muslim shops were burnt in Baroda city. Later in the month thirty-four Muslims in Pavagadh town said they were attacked by mobs. On January 1, 2003, approximately forty Muslim shops were burnt in the predominantly Hindu town of Lunawada, eighty miles south of Ahmedabad in Panchmahals district. According to eyewitnesses, the police looked on as the shops burned down.306 Earlier in the day, a Muslim rickshaw driver was beaten up and his vehicle was torched by Hindus. Aggressive police raids on Muslim neighborhoods often followed these incidents, while complaints registered by Muslims went unheeded. At least forty-five Muslims were arrested during raids in Lunawada, for example. The Hindu perpetrators were left untouched. According to Muslim residents, the police also looted Muslim shops during the raid. Police have denied the charges. In June 2002, the Gujarat High Court passed an order stating that those making complaints had to produce a witness to identify the culprits. Fearing for their own security, and potential criminal charges, witnesses have been hard to come by. Police claim to simply be following the high court order.307
Small incidents are also liable to turn to into large-scale episodes of communal violence. At least fifteen people were wounded in Ahmedabad in sporadic clashes between Hindus and Muslims during a kite flying festival on January 16, 2003.308 On January 30, 2003, in Sevaliya Village, Kheda district, an argument between students at C.P. Patel high school ended in the burning of Muslims shops and stalls.309 On February 1, 2003, three people were injured following a Hindu-Muslim altercation at a barbershop. Eight hawker stalls were torched in the Muslim-dominated Jamalpur area of Ahmedabad.310 On March 20 in Gorakhpur district, three people, including a Muslim cleric, were killed and scores were injured during celebrations for Holi, a Hindu festival.311 And the list goes on.
The Targeting of Christians in Gujarat
The Freedom of Religion Bill has come under attack by legal experts in the state who believe that some provisions of the bill are unconstitutional.320 India's National Commission for Minorities has stated that the prior permission requirement stands in direct violation of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees "freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion" to every citizen.321 Supporters of the bill say that it will protect lower-caste Hindu communities, who they see as vulnerable to conversion by Christians,322 adding that Christianity is a "foreign" religion and that Christians are trying to undermine India's Hindu culture. Christians make up 0.5 percent of Gujarat's total population, while Hindus make up 85 percent.323
Government-sponsored surveys of Christians
Renewed attacks against Christians
On April 11, 2003 members of the VHP attacked a healthcare center in Limbdi village, Gujarat. The attack took place on the opening day of the dispensary. VHP members were reportedly upset because the dispensary had been funded by a U.S.-based Christian organization through its India chapter. The attackers ransacked the building, tore down the boards that listed the names of the Christian donors, and wrote pro-Hindu slogans on the doors in red paint.334
The Recruitment and Targeting of Dalits and Tribals
The Sangh Parivar's recruitment of Dalits and tribals
For over a decade, Dalits and tribals in the state have also been mobilized to participate in the Ram temple campaign.339 The mobilization, which included the distribution of weapons, began ahead of the violence that followed the Rath Yatra led by L.K. Advani (now Deputy Prime Minister of India) in 1990.340 An article in the newsmagazine Frontline elaborates on the sangh parivar's recruitment of Dalits:
As explained to Human Rights Watch by P. Parmar, a Dalit social worker, who has worked to promote Dalit human rights in Gujarat for several years:
P. Parmar's own relative was recruited in the attacks. She continued:
For an economically and psychologically decimated population, membership in the sangh parivar offers an opportunity to climb out of impoverishment while finally being "accepted" into the Hindu fold. P. Parmar continued:
Over the past few years, the Bajrang Dal has actively recruited unemployed Dalits in the state, offering them salaries of Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000 (U.S.$64 to $106) per month, and enlisting them in camps that specialize in indoctrination against Muslims and arms training.344 The VHP has distributed weapons to Dalits and tribals throughout the state. Ahead of the violence, Dalits were plied with alcohol and money and insignificant positions within the RSS, VHP, or Bajrang Dal shakhas to become the new "footsoldiers" in anti-Muslim violence. They were then assured full state protection and legal assistance should cases be filed against them.345
Activist Sheba George told Human Rights Watch that alongside Dalits, tribal community members have also been recruited by the sangh parivar. "Dalits and tribals have been used in a Hindu identity," she stated. "Everyone has participated in this anti-Muslim pogrom. Being anti-Muslim is the synthesizing feature for Hindutva."346 Tribals comprise 15 percent of Gujarat's population, far higher than the national average of 8 percent. Like Dalits and Muslims, they are among the poorest in the state. Successive Congress governments did little for the upliftment of Dalits and tribals, leaving them vulnerable to the sangh parivar's influence.347 An article in Frontline characterizes the recruitment of tribals as part of an electoral strategy:
Dalit and tribal participation in the violence, as well as their lack of political power, has helped to ensure that they are over-represented in jail cells that house those arrested for attacks against Muslims in the state. They are becoming the scapegoats for the attacks while the ringleaders escape prosecution altogether. Dalits were also killed in police shootings during the violence and, like others who have tried to register complaints, have had fabricated charges brought against them. Anand Teltumbde, a prominent Dalit activist, writes:
D. B. Parmar, also a Dalit social worker in Gujarat, adds:
P. Parmar added:
Both P. Parmar and D. B. Parmar have conducted extensive survey work for the NGO Navsarjan in Vatva, Kutbihar, Dargyallam, Shahpur, Dargar, Gomtipur, and Berhampura (areas of Ahmedabad) to help collect affidavits and assess the loss of life and damage to properties. Dalit and Muslim victims, they claim, are afraid to approach the police for fear of being arrested, particularly following the BJP electoral win in December 2002:
Dalits also made up a majority of those that resided in Hindu camps in the state following the violence. Several Dalit neighborhoods were also attacked in retaliatory violence by Muslims.355
Attacks against Dalits
Dalit populations are simultaneously vilified by some of the same groups that are purporting to help them. D. B. Parmar told Human Rights Watch about pamphlets that are in circulation in the state demonizing Dalit community members and calling on VHP members to attack Dalits and incite Dalits and tribals against one another:
Replicating the "Gujarat Experiment" in Other States
On February 26, 2003, state elections were held in the northeastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura, and in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh where the BJP was in power. Contrary to some speculations that the BJP would build on its Gujarat win and secure reelection in Himachal Pradesh, they suffered a decisive defeat to the opposition Congress(I) party.362 The Congress party did not win a clear majority in Meghalaya, but emerged as the single largest party.363 It lost ground to a regional party in the state of Nagaland,364 while leftist parties retained control of Tripura state.365 The BJP defeat in Himachal Pradesh was blamed on organizational flaws within the party.366 According to political analysts, the loss was indicative of the BJP's increasingly declining popularity and the notion that the Hindutva card cannot always be substituted for good governance.367
The Himachal Pradesh defeat was indeed seen as a setback for the BJP, a setback it hopes to make up for with aggressive posturing in ongoing electoral campaigns in other states. Later this year, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, the capital New Delhi, and Mizoram will go to the polls.368 Congress is in power in all states except Mizoram where the BJP is in alliance with a regional party.369 Potentially explosive campaigning efforts are already underway in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, states with populations of 30 million and 40 million, respectively.370 In Rajasthan, members of the VHP have distributed hate pamphlets vilifying Muslims and depicting them as sexual deviants and terrorists. As in Gujarat, hundreds of thousands of trishuls (tridents) have also been distributed by the group as part of a statewide trishul distribution program.371 As noted at the outset of this report, similar weapons were and continue to be distributed throughout Gujarat and were used extensively in the violence against Muslims in 2002.372 On April 13, 2003, VHP International General Secretary Praveen Togadia was arrested in Ajmer, Rajasthan under the Arms Act for defying the ban on the distribution of tridents imposed by the state government on April 8. On April 15, the VHP called for a statewide bandh (shutdown) to protest the arrest.373 Unlike the bandh call in Gujarat following the Godhra attack, the bandh in Rajasthan met with a lukewarm reception with only some businesses and institutions heeding the call.374 On April 16, an Ajmer court rejected Togadia's application for bail, extending his judicial custody to April 30.375 Togadia was charged with sedition for conspiring to dislodge an elected government376 and for disturbing communal harmony in Rajasthan. According to the state government, Togadia's speeches and campaigning tactics incited communal unrest in the state.377
The BJP and the sangh parivar condemned the arrest and warned the Rajasthan government that it would "bear the consequences" for its actions.378 After spending eight days in jail, Togadia was released on bail on the condition that he would not defy the ban. Upon release, he quickly resumed his trident distribution program.379 The BJP was in power in Rajasthan for nine years before Congress came to power four years ago. Under the BJP, the VHP spread its influence throughout the state. According to one estimate, the VHP runs over 1,000 projects in Rajasthan, ranging from village schools to "reconversion" centers.380
In the state of Madhya Pradesh, echoing the early days of the Babri Masjid conflict in Ayodhya (see below), members of the Hindu Jagran Manch (a sangh parivar affiliate) staged violent protests in February 2003 demanding unfettered access to Bhojshala-an eleventh century monument they claim is a temple and that Muslims have been using as a mosque. Three people were killed during the protests. Congress Chief Minister Digvijay Singh has accused the BJP of creating a conflict in order to divide people along communal lines.381
The Ram Temple Campaign in Ayodhya
On March 5, 2003, the Allahabad High Court of Uttar Pradesh ordered the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to excavate the site and determine whether a temple existed at the spot where the Babri Masjid once stood.387 The excavations raised a number of issues, and were the subject of much criticism. The excavators worked under imposed time constraints that inhibited their ability to do the work properly. To complicate matters, other religious groups have laid claims that the site should be opened to them as well-Jains and Buddhists are arguing that there are remnants of Jain temples and Buddhist temples, and that these will be revealed in the excavation.388 At this writing, ASI was due to reveal its findings by early July 2003.
In March 2003, the VHP demanded an amendment to the constitution to declare India a Hindu nation.389 In April 2003 Togadia admitted to the VHP's participation in the Gujarat violence and the destruction of the Babri Masjid. Commenting on the VHP's Ram temple campaign he said, "There are two courses left for us-getting a temple through an act of parliament or the anarchist mode of repeating December 6, 1992. We are ready for both. We demolished the Babri Masjid. We were the ones who came out on the road in Gujarat (post-Godhra)."390
281 Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Crime Against Humanity, vol. I, p. 17
282 Kuldip Nayar, "Dilli's Gang of Four," Indian Express, October 23, 2001 [online], http://www.indian-express.com/columnists/kuld/20011023.html (retrieved April 17, 2002).
284 "Modi dissolves Assembly, seeks early polls," Press Trust of India, July 19, 2002.
285 Hemendra Singh Bartwal , Syed Liaquat Ali, "Gujarat polls on Dec 12," Hindustan Times, October 29, 2002. The Election Commission of India delegated a team to visit Gujarat between July 31 and August 4, 2002, to assess the possibility of a "free and fair election in the State of Gujarat in the context of large scale movement and migration of electors due to communal riots and violence, particularly those belonging to the minority community...." Election Commission of India, "Press Note." The team found that widespread insecurity, coupled with defective electoral rolls would deprive the electors concerned of exercising their franchise. Ibid., p.16. Based on the team's report the full Commission visited Ahmedabad and Vadodara between August 9 and 11, 2002 and found that conditions were "not conducive at all for holding any free and fair election for the present." Ibid., p.14.
287 Yogendra Yadav, "The patterns and lessons," Frontline, December 21, 2002 - January 3, 2003 [online], http://www.flonnet.com/fl1926/stories/20030103007901000.htm (retrieved May 15, 2003).
288 "The Gujarat Story," Economic and Political Weekly, December 21, 2002, p. 5059.
289 Praveena Sharma, "Ministers who lost out in Gujarat blame lack of riots in their areas," Agence France-Presse, December 17, 2002.
290 The BJP state election manifesto, as printed on their website, makes clear that the fight against terrorism is a central plank of the party's agenda. The manifesto declares: "We want to throw the terrorists out from this border state. Anti-national elements shall be over powered and antisocial elements shall be dealt through PASA and POTA. It is needless to state that after achieving this basic objectives, peace and prosperity is certain to follow." See http://www.bjpguj.org/manifestro/m2.htm (retrieved June 5, 2003). Like POTA, PASA (the Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 1985) is a draconian law that allows for preventive detention without charge.
291 Praveen Swami, "A challenging phase," Frontline, January 3, 2003.
292 Raveen Thukral, "Godhra CD hits Gujarat," Hindustan Times, November 30, 2002.
293 Dionne Bunsha, "Riding the hate wave," Frontline, January 3, 2003.
295 Shekhar Iyer, "Two-day BJP enclava to chalk out poll strategy," Hindustan Times, December 23, 2002.
296 At the height of the violence in March 2002, Bhatt justified the killing of Muslims as a means to teach them a lesson. Celia Dugger, "Hindu right wing defends riots," New York Times, March 5, 2002.
297 Swami, "A challenging phase."
298 "`Soft Hindutva' failed to work for Cong," Times of India, December 16, 2002.
299 Swami, "A challenging phase."
300 "`Fatwa gave Gujarat to BJP,'" Times of India, December 16, 2002.
301 Sourav Mukherjee, "Police closing filed on Ahmedabad riots," Times of India, January 10, 2003.
302 "Criminal cases against Gujarat MLAs," Asian Age, December 20, 2002.
303 See section on Naroda Patia in Chapter IV.
304 "Riot accused, now MLAs," Hindustan Times, December 16, 2002.
305 For a detailed list of incidents between March and November 2002, see "Continuing Violence," in Crime Against Humanity, vol. I, pp. 193 - 205. Between mid-March and mid-May several incidents of indiscriminate police shootings were also reported. The victims were predominantly Muslims. For more on police shootings, see Chapter V.
306 Praveena Sharma, "Muslims fearful in India's Gujarat after Hindu poll win," Agence France-Presse, January 4, 2003; Rathin Das, "Curfew still on in Gujarat town," Hindustan Times, January 6, 2003.
307 Praveena Sharma, "Gujarat Muslims cower in fear, claim Indian police against them," Agence France-Presse, January 13, 2003. For more on the intimidation of witnesses, see Chapter IV.
308 "Hindu-Muslim clashes in India's Gujarat, 15 hurt," Reuters, January 16, 2003.
309 "Fresh riots in parts of Gujarat," Agence France-Presse, January 30, 2003.
310 "Three injured in fresh communal clashes in India's Gujarat," Agence France-Presse, February 1, 2003.
311 Amit Sharma, "Riots mar Gorakhpur Holi," Indian Express, March 21, 2003.
312 Most of the attacks took place in the country's "tribal belt," which runs from the Pakistani border in the west to Burma and Bangladesh in the east. The belt is home to eighty-one million indigenous people, whose ancestors inhabited India before the Aryan invasions of about 2,000 B.C. brought the country its dominant ethnic group. Animists or spirit worshippers by nature, many tribals do not practice Hinduism. Much like Dalits ("untouchables"), they traditionally fall outside the Hindu fold.
313 See Human Rights Watch, "Politics By Other Means: Attacks Against Christians in India," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 11, no. 6, September 1999. More incidents of violence against India's Christian community were recorded in 1998 and 1999 than in all the years since independence. Attacks occurred primarily in the tribal regions of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa, as well as the state of Maharashtra. Activists belonging to militant Hindu extremist groups, including the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were often blamed for the violence. While the central government officially condemned the attacks, spokespersons for the BJP characterized the surge in violence as a reaction to a conversion campaign by Christian missionaries in the country. Sporadic violence continues to this day.
314 See Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Crime Against Humanity, vol. I, p. 191.
315 "Anti-conversion Bill Passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly," rediff.com, October 31, 2002.
316 "Anti-conversion Bill Unjustified: AIDWA" The Hindu, November 11, 2002. Attracted by the church's emphasis on social service and equality, many tribals and Dalits ("untouchables") in India have converted to Christianity in part to escape their impoverished state and abusive treatment under India's caste system. For centuries, and throughout the country, Dalits have been treated as outcastes or "untouchables" at the bottom of India's caste system. Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in degrading conditions, and routinely abused, even killed, at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups that enjoy the state's protection. Dalit women are frequent victims of sexual abuse. In what has been called India's "hidden apartheid," entire villages in many Indian states remain completely segregated by caste. National legislation and constitutional protections serve only to mask the social realities of discrimination and violence. Dalits have also been relegated to the most menial of society's tasks-occupations that are deemed ritually polluting for other caste communities. They comprise the majority of agricultural laborers and bonded in the country, often making less than U.S.$1 a day. According to government statistics, an estimated one million Dalits are manual scavengers who clean public latrines and dispose of dead animals; unofficial estimates are much higher. See generally Human Rights Watch, Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's "Untouchables,"; Human Rights Watch, Small Change: Bonded Child Labor in India's Silk Industry (New York; Human Rights Watch, 2003).
317 "Gujarat Religion Bill gets Governor's Nod," The Hindu, April 4, 2003
319 Ibid. This stipulation is unique to the anti-conversion bill of Gujarat, as permission from the district magistrate is not needed in other states where similar restrictions are enforced, "Gujarat Religion Bill gets Governor's Nod," The Hindu.
321 "NCM asks Gujarat Govt. to delete controversial clause," The Hindu, April 5, 2003.
322 "Gujarat to Restrict Religious Conversions," BBC News.
324 "A discriminatory exercise," The Hindu, March 14, 2003.
326 "Govt. puts Christians under survey for third time," Times of India, March 14, 2003
327 In the attacks in Ahmedabad, for example, the mobs were guided by computer printouts listing the addresses of Muslim families and their properties, information obtained from the Ahmedabad municipal corporation among other sources. A selective census of Muslims and Christians in the state is one of several unconstitutional administrative directives undertaken by the government of Gujarat. Others include a selective census of Dalits and tribals to ascertain "when they converted to Islam or Christianity"; a directive to the state police asking them to investigate every case of inter-religious marriage; and the setting up of a special cell in 1998 to investigate inter-community marriages. Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Crime Against Humanity, vol. II, pp. 150 - 151.
328 "`Survey' a routine police inquiry: Govt.," Times of India, March 12, 2003
329 "Gujarat survey on Christian community," The Hindu, March 11, 2002.
330 "A discriminatory exercise," The Hindu.
331 "Gujarat Survey on Christian community," The Hindu.
332 "A discriminatory exercise," The Hindu.
333 "Gujarat mantri threatens Dangs Christians," Asian Age, October 21, 2002
334 "Christian built dispensary ransacked," Times of India, April 12, 2003; Rupal Sanyal, "Hindu hard-liners stop Christians from opening hospital in western India," Associated Press, April 11, 2003.
335 Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Crime Against Humanity, vol. I, p. 212.
336 For more on the involvement of women and the middle class see Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Crime Against Humanity, vol. II, p. 35.
337 Davinder Kumar, "Poisoned Edge," Outlook, July 2, 2002.
338 Rathin Das, "Dalits, upper castes join hands in Gujarat mayhem," Hindustan Times, April 10, 2002.
339 R. Ilangovan, "`Sangh parivar using Dalits as cannon fodder for Hindutva agenda'," The Hindu, December 12, 2002; Bunsha, "The Hindutva experiment."
340 Ibid. A Rath Yatra is a Hindu ritual involving the drawing of a chariot through the streets.
341 Bunsha, "Riding the hate wave."
342 Human Rights Watch interview with P. Parmar, Ahmedabad, January 4, 2003.
344 Concerned Citizens Tribunal, Crime Against Humanity, vol. II, p. 35.
345 Kumar, "Poisoned Edge."
346 Human Rights Watch interview with Sheba George, Ahmedabad, January 3, 2003.
347 Kumar, "Poisoned Edge."
348 Bunsha, "Riding the hate wave." Encouraged by its success in the tribal belts during the Gujarat polls, the VHP has declared that it would step up its "welfare work among backwards and tribals" in other parts of the country. The main agenda behind the move is reportedly to "transfer the votes of at least 75 million tribals from the Congress, Left and ultra-Left to the BJP." Sanjay Basak, "VHP targets tribals all over country," Asian Age, December 20, 2002.
349 Those whose ritual rank and occupational status are above "untouchables" but who themselves remain socially and economically depressed.
351 Human Rights Watch interview with D. B. Parmar, Ahmedabad, January 4, 2003.
352 A hospital in Ahmedabad owned by VHP International General Secretary Praveen Togadia.
353 Human Rights Watch interview with P. Parmar, Ahmedabad, January 4, 2003.
354 Human Rights Watch interviews with P. Parmar and D.B. Parmar, Ahmedabad, January 4, 2003.
355 Teltumbde, "Damning the Dalits."
356 Kumar, "Poisoned Edge."
357 See footnote 349.
358 Dionne Bunsha, "The Hindutva experiment," Frontline, May 11-24, 2002.
360 Human Rights Watch interview with D. B. Parmar, Ahmedabad, January 4, 2003. A letter from the VHP to Banaskantha Dalit Sangathan (BDS)-an NGO that has been working on human rights violations against Dalits and other marginalized communities for the last three years-reads in part (translated from Gujarati):
The letter was sent to Human Rights Watch via email by BDS on March 4, 2003. Both the Gujarati version and English translations were sent. The letter has also been authenticated and published by the periodical Communalism Combat.
361 "`Hindu Rashtra' in Two Years: Togadia," rediff.com, December 15, 2002 [online], http://www.rediff.com/election/2002/dec/15guj13.htm (retrieved June 5, 2003).
362 Rup Lal Sharma, "Lessons for BJP from HP debacle," The Hindu, March 22, 2003.
363 "Congress single largest party in Meghalaya," rediff.com, March 1, 2003.
364 "DAN to stake claim in Nagaland," rediff.com, March 1, 2003.
365 "Tripura: Left takes over next week," rediff.com, March 1, 2003.
366 "BJP setback in HP due to organizational flaws," Indiainfo.com, March 1, 2003.
367 Sharma, "Lessons for BJP from HP debacle."
368 "Religious and communal issues top agenda in Indian polls," The Straits Times, February 27, 2003.
369 "India elections dominated by cow, trident, temple, mosque... and sleaze," Agence France-Presse, February 26, 2003.
370 Yoga Rangatia, "The battle for India's voters," Guardian, January 21, 2003.
371 "Hindu radicals focus on a new target," South China Morning Post, January 31, 2003.
372 For more on the distribution of weapons in Gujarat, see Chapter III.
373 "VHP calls for Rajasthan bandh on Tuesday," Times of India, April 14, 2003.
374 "Togadia bandh goes unnoticed," Indian Express, April 16, 2003; "Poor response to VHP's Rajasthan bandh: Police," Times of India, April 15, 2003.
375 "Togadia arrested after defying ban on distribution of tridents," Press Trust of India, April 13, 2003; "Togadia remanded to judicial custody," The Hindu, April 14, 2003.
376 "Togadia charged with sedition," Statesman, April 16, 2003.
377 "Will sedition charge stick on Togadia?" Times of India, April 18, 2003.
378 "Sangh Parivar, BJP flay Togadia's arrest," Hindustan Times, April 17, 2003.
379 "Togadia defiant," Press Trust of India, April 23, 2003; "Uproar in Indian parliament over Hindu hardliner's weapons distribution," Agence France-Presse, May 5, 2003.
380 Amrit Dhillon, "Hindu radicals focus on a new target," South China Morning Post, January 31, 2003.
381 "Only ASI order can open Bhojshala: Digvijay," Hindustan Times, April 6, 2003.
382 Shekhar Iyer, "Job done, BJP plays down Hindutva: But VHP claims credit," Hindustan Times, December 16, 2002.
384 "India braces for fresh Hindu-Muslim showdown over Babri mosque site," Agence France-Presse, February 21, 2003.
385 "Declare India Hindu nation: VHP tells Govt," Press Trust of India, March 3, 2003. During a VHP meet in Pune in December 2002 plans were drawn up to set up a separate cell within the VHP to combat "Islamic terrorism" and to "enlighten" people about terrorism in its various forms. Shashank Mhasawade, "VHP meet in Pune: No. 1 agenda is Hindu nation," Hindustan Times, December 27, 2003.
386 "Indian Sectarian Tensions Resurface Ahead of State Polls," Dow Jones International News, February 20, 2003.
387 "Ayodhya-Excavation," Press Trust of India, March 13, 2003.
389 "Declare India Hindu nation: VHP tells Govt," Press Trust of India, March 3, 2003. During a VHP meet in Pune in December 2002 plans were drawn up to set up a separate cell within the VHP to combat "Islamic terrorism" and to "enlighten" people about terrorism in its various forms. Shashank Mhasawade, "VHP meet in Pune: No. 1 agenda is Hindu nation," Hindustan Times, December 27, 2003.
390 "Defiant Togadia admits to hand in Gujarat riots, Babri demolition," Indian Express, April 3, 2003.