Sunday, Dec 14, 2003
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By Hasan Suroor
The report, produced by the International Initiative for Justice and released here today, described the events in Gujarat as part of a "genocidal project'' and urged the international community to "pressure the (State) Government to protect human rights and democratic principles.''
It said that 18 months after the "massacres'' of February/March 2002. The "genocidal project continues in different and frightening forms with long-term consequences on the lives of all members of the Muslim community, particularly women.'' Apart from physical intimidation and harassment by the police, Muslims faced "destitution as a result of displacement, non-rehabilitation and .... economic boycott of Muslims.''
The report, entitled "Threatened existence: a feminist analysis of the genocide in Gujarat,'' is the first to approach the communal violence from a feminist perspective and based "on hundreds of testimonies and eyewitness accounts of women victims.'' The 243-page document catalogues instances of rape and sexual violence against Muslim women and alleges that this was done with the "knowledge of highly-placed state actors and in many instances carried out with the full participation and support of the police.''
The women suffered "verbal abuse,'' "molestation'' and other forms of "humiliation'' with sexual overtones, it says.
Indian academic Tanika Sarkar is quoted as saying that the violence inflicted on women suggested a "pattern of cruelty'' which included killing their children before their eyes.
The report argues that under the international law, events such as those happened in Gujarat are recognised as "genocide'' and "crimes against humanity.'' "Further, these crimes are subject to international jurisdiction which triggers the authority and obligation of the international community as a whole, and every nation individually, to extradite and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes in Gujarat,'' it says, alleging that there is enough evidence to show that the state was "complicit in crimes against humanity.''
It recommends that the charitable and tax exempt status of organisations that directly or indirectly support the "Hindutva agenda of hatred and violence'' should be revoked and their sources of funding investigated. "We are aware of the anti-Muslim bias of the British Government but we feel it is their duty to make sure that funding for such organisations is stopped,'' said a spokesperson for the South Asia Solidarity Group which has been campaigning on this issue.
She also said that a copy of the report would be sent to the British Government. The panel which produced the report include Anissa Helie (Algeria/France), Gabriela Mischkowski (Germany), Nira Yuval-Davis (the U.K.), Rhonda Copelon (the U.S.), Sunila Abeysekara (Sri Lanka), and Farah Naqvi , Meera Velayudan, Uma Chakravarti and Vahida Nainar, all from India.
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