Follow us on
Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » National
'Can denial of justice for genocide be substituted with good roads?'
Asks Anahita Mukherji, says the targeted violence against Muslims in 2002 and Sikhs in 1984 was as symbolic as it was grotesque
Friday September 20, 2013 12:31 PM, News Network

Stating that no country has successfully moved on from genocide without dealing with the ghosts of the past, noted columnist Anahita Mukherji in a recent published article observed that both Gujarat 2002 and Delhi 1984 were neither spontaneous, nor riots, but systematic acts of ethnic cleansing targeting two of India's minority communities.

She also rubbished the suggestions to 'forget' and 'move on' and to focus on development. Instead, she suggested using the 2014 elections to demand justice for both the genocides.

"Why should we pit Gujarat 2002 against Delhi 1984? Can we not, as a nation, use the 2014 elections to demand justice for both genocides?", she wrote in her article published in The Times of India while drawing a parallel between 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat and 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

"Much has been said on the need to move over the massacres, and focus, instead on "the development plank" which refers, among other things, to building roads, highways and efficient transport. But can the denial of justice for genocide be substituted with good roads? Is that the price of human life? If so, how many dead bodies are equal to one good road?", she wrote.

"No country that I am aware of has successfully moved on from genocide without dealing with the ghosts of the past. Germany did not overcome its Nazi legacy by forgetting the pogrom against Jews. Instead, it witnessed the Nuremberg Trials, where some of the most prominent members of Hitler's Third Reich were brought to book. There is a Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, and Nazi concentration camps such as Auschwitz in Poland have been turned into museums. The streets of Germany are strews with Stolperstein (German for stumbling block), cobblestone sized memorials for Holocaust victims", she wrote.

"Post-apartheid South Africa set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with the aim of promoting "reconciliation and forgiveness among the perpetrators and victims of apartheid by the full disclosure of the truth"", she added

"Neither country moved over community violence by forgetting about it and building roads instead. Its time India, too, remembered its dead and looked both massacres straight in the eye", she added.

Recalling what happened to Kausar Bano, a pregnant young woman in Gujarat, whose stomach was slashed open, foetus torn out and burnt alive, she wrote, "Women in Gujarat weren't simply raped, they were also mutilated, burnt, chopped into pieces and had hard objects inserted inside them. While analysing the "special savagery" with which wombs and vaginas were attacked in Gujarat, Tanika Sarkar writes in the Economic and Political Weekly of how rape is seen as a sign of collective dishonouring in community violence. Mobs in Gujarat were dressed in khakhi shorts and saffron underwear, with rape viewed as a religious duty."

Recalling the ghastly scenes during the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots, she wrote, "Many Sikhs removed their turbans and cut their hair to survive the pogrom. Gurmej Singh was not one of them. His turban marked him out on a train from Punjab to Bombay, which stopped at a station near Delhi the day Indira Gandhi was assassinated. His widow, Mohinder Kaur, fights back tears on a BBC documentary as she recalls the armed men who jumped onto the train, beat her husband with iron rods, dragged him out and set him on fire."

"Both massacres involved the cynical use of religion. Both used similar rhetoric. The butchering of Muslims in Gujarat was seen as a way to teach a community a lesson for the burning of a train in Godhra, while the killing of Sikhs was viewed as punishment for the assassination of a Prime Minister by her Sikh bodyguards", she observed.

Stating that both the BJP and Congress have been accused of crimes of omission and commission, she wrote, "In both instances, the entire state machinery worked against the victims of violence, while shielding the perpetrators. Many have spoken of the military precision with which the violence took place."

Share this page
Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of
comments powered by Disqus
| Quick links
Contact us
Subscribe to: RSS » Facebook » Twitter » Newsletter Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.
© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.