Skip to main content

2002 Gujarat riots: Despite many extreme cases of gender violence, so far just one conviction in Naroda Patiya

Survivors pay homage to those killed at Naroda Patiya
By Rajiv Shah
Although 32 accused – including a minister in the Modi government – were in 2012 found guilty of “murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, spreading enmity and communal hatred” during the 2002 Gujarat communal violence in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Patiya area, so far, just in one case there has been conviction for gruesome acts of sexual violence there, regrets a new American study.
The University of California, Berkeley, study, “Conflicted Democracies and Gendered Violence: The Right to Heal”, says, this happened even though “10 of the 62 defendants were charged with crimes of sexual violence, including rape, ‘assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty’, and an ‘act done with intention of preventing child from being born alive’.”
The study, based on interviews with victims and a plethora of documents, says, “The solitary conviction was premised upon the confession of a defendant, who raped a Muslim girl and killed her by throwing her from a roof.”
Pointing towards failure of the Gujarat government to provide any healing touch, especially to the victims of sexual violence during the riots, the study says, just in one case a gang-rape victim-survivor was ordered “compensation of Rs 500,000”.
Even this victim, the study says, “did not receive the compensation until months later, following several visits from the victim’s lawyers to the state Social Welfare Department and an additional court order.”
The study says, “Police merged the 120 reports filed by victim-survivors of sexual violence into 26 official complaints two to three months following the massacre. These ‘omnibus’ FIRs did not identify individual perpetrators but attributed the violence to anonymous ‘mobs’.”
The study approvingly quotes a victim-survivor as saying, “I am not a ‘mob,’ I am a woman who was gang raped by three men. How can I hope for justice when they don’t even register my complaint properly?”
It notes, this shows how “the prosecutor was unable to bring charges of rape without information about the identities of the perpetrators of sexual violence”, and why “the court was unable to determine criminal liability for the crimes.”
Quoting victims, the study says, “Most of the women victims—girls and women— were raped before they were murdered and burned.”
It adds, “Several victims observed an attacker slice open the womb of a pregnant Muslim woman with a sword, extract her fetus, and subsequently throw both the woman and her fetus into a nearby fire; the woman was at or near full term in her pregnancy.”
“Members of fleeing Muslim families were detained, stripped, raped, and then murdered”, the study says, adding, “One woman recalled seeing ‘a naked girl running from twenty-five men’. Another survivor testified that four men cut off the string of her petticoat, sliced her hand with a sword, and gang raped her.”
“There is evidence that, during the investigation, police mistreated and re-traumatized victim-survivors of sexual violence”, the study notes, adding, “In Gujarat, investigators systematically refused to register complaints from Muslim women victims of gender-based violence.”
While many a time women were themselves reluctant to file complaint, according to the study, “Police officers denied women survivors the right to file FIRs or omitted details about rape and murder victims in recording the FIRs.” It quotes the National Commission of Woman to say that the “number of FIRs registered was much less than the incidents of violence against women reported to the NCW.” In all, 96 persons were killed at Narodiya Patiya, of whom 35 were women and 25 were children.
The 402-page study, which is based on gender violence in four Indian states – Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Odisha and Gujarat – and has a foreword by Navyanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-14), is based on contributions by 10 scholars.
Published by the Center for Social Sector Leadership, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, those who have contributed in the research are Angana P Chatterji, Mallika Kaur, Roxanna Altholz, Paola Bacchetta, Rajvinder Singh Bains, Mihir Desai, Laurel E Fletcher, Parvez Imroz, Jeremy J Sarkin and Pei Wu.
---
Download the study HERE

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Atrocities against Dalits: Why don't MPs, MLAs from the community ever speak up?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
In Gujarat, a young Dalit activist lawyer Devji Maheshwari, belonging to the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMSCEF) was killed in Surat, allegedly by a goon who was warning him against his Facebook posts not to speak up against Brahmanism. Facts have come to light suggesting there are other issues also which led to the murder, mostly related to land disputes, many a time ignored by activists.

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai*
After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”

Human rights 'abuses': Funding to India should be vetted, Greens tell Australian govt

Counterview Desk
A roundtable organised by Australian Greens, which is the third biggest political group in the country, held to discuss human rights situation in India at the New South Wales Parliament in Sydney has insisted that parliamentarians, human rights activists and lawyers should play a more active role “standing up for human rights not just in their own places but also in India.”