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India: victims of Gujarat pogrom found, mass grave

India: victims of Gujarat pogrom found in mass grave

By Jake Skeers - World Socialist Web Site
24 January 2006

Some of the many missing victims of the anti-Muslim pogrom in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 were uncovered in a mass grave late last month in the village of Pandharwada. Relatives of the victims dug up the remains of about 20 bodies that had been dumped and buried in an unmarked pit.

Nearly four years after the communal violence, the villagers are still seeking to expose what happened. No one has been convicted for any of the killings that took place. The relatives of the dead are accusing the police of hiding evidence and protecting the perpetrators.

The riot in Pandharwada was part of orchestrated communal violence against Muslims across the state in March 2002, following the death of 58 Hindu extremists in a train fire at Godhra in late February. Egged on by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state government, gangs of Hindu fanatics attacked innocent Muslims. Local police stood by as homes and businesses were burnt down and their occupants beaten and killed. At least 2,000 people died in the riots.

In the case of Pandharwada, the Hindu extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) held a series of meetings in the area. A coordinated attack was made by mobs from several nearby villages who descended on Pandharwada to attack the 70 Muslims who lived in the town and loot their businesses and homes. At least 34 people were killed in the violence.

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