200 victims of the 2002 massacre participate in convention

“It has been 10 years but I do not see any justice for these people. It is a matter of shame for the Gujarat police and the administration. The State is rushing towards fascism and any form of dissent is being crushed…the people in Gujarat have built a wall of silence where nobody speaks because they are too scared of the consequences,” suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt told a convention held here on Sunday to mark the 10 anniversary of the Gujarat riots.

The convention, “10 Years of Resistance,” saw the participation of 200 victims of the 2002 carnage along with political leaders, social activists, academics and other people who sympathised with their plight.

Lest we forget, a comprehensive book on the riots by P.G.J. Nampoothiri and Gagan Sethi was released along with And miles to go, an account of what the carnage, 10 years on, means to five Muslim Gujarati working women, followed by a panel discussion. The writers had an uphill task as they wrote the books based only on memories as they had no access to any records or notes.

Mr. Sanjiv Bhatt, who testified against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, said: “The development of the State after Mr. Modi took over is talked about,” pointing out that Germany was the most industrialised and developed under Hitler. “But nobody talks about the development when they talk about Nazi Germany now. Ravana's Lanka was made of gold but nobody talks about the gold in his kingdom when they talk about Ravana,” he argued.

He said justice was an uphill task especially when there was a tyrant who ruled over the people.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said he was concerned about the infiltration of the RSS into the judiciary, civil services and likened their ideology to Nazi Germany. “Gujarat was a laboratory for their ideology and they were successful. Karnataka is next. In fact they would have been a success there too if the corruption issue had not thrown them in the limelight. When I first started talking about the Sangh outfits having bomb training, everybody called me a mad man but they have accepted that now. They have filed some defamation cases against me. I will give answers in court, not to those useless people,” he said.

Many speakers spoke about their experiences and their fears for Gujarat after all these years. “When there is a death or some other tragedy in the family, there is no cure for the hurt that follows. But, the incident in Gujarat is more than just the hurt, there was a certain politics that was involved that is dangerous as it is slowly overtaking the nation. It has invaded the judiciary, bureaucracy, the army and police,” said CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat.

Film-maker Mahesh Bhatt said people had to get rid of their apathy if communal hatred and violence was ever to be stopped. “We should get rid of the attitude that even if the neighbours are dead, our shops should be safe,” he reasoned.

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