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|India: After Rape & Death, Now it is Religion|
|05/23/02 at 09:08:46|
NEWS: India: After Rape & Death, Now it is Religion
Muslims Of Gujarat
After Rape And Death,
Now It Is Religion
FIRST they saw their family members being raped, hacked and burnt to death.
Now they are being asked to change their religion. Muslims who fled their
villages to escape India's worst religious violence in a decade say the
majority Hindus are setting near-impossible conditions for them to return.
"They told us we can go back to the village only if we change our religion
and become Hindus," said Noor Mohammed, a farmer from the village of Raichha
in western Gujarat state. "We will give up our lives but we will never give
up our religion."
And with sporadic violence continuing, it looks increasingly hard for Hindus
and Muslims to go back to living side-by-side -- and nowhere more so than in
Gujarat's remote villages. In Randhikpur village, 160 km (100 miles) north
of Gujarat's main city Ahmedabad, the fate of more than 500 Muslims depends
on a 19-year-old rape victim withdrawing her police complaint.
"The three Hindu men who raped me are important people of our village. I
named them in my police complaint," said the victim who did not wish to be
named. Fourteen members of her family, including her three-year-old
daughter, mother and two-day-old niece, were slaughtered in a forest by
Hindus from her village, she said. The Hindus of Kadwal, a village 250 km
north of Ahmedabad, have found their own way of keeping Muslims in check --
by asking them to sign up to a list of pre-conditions.
"We (Hindus) have collectively drawn up a list of conditions which the
Muslims have to sign if they want to return here," said Bharat Singh, a
village leader. "In other villages they are not even allowing the Muslims to
return but we are not doing that," said Singh, showing a three-page document
handwritten in Gujarati.
Signatures at the end of the document show 11 Muslim families have accepted
the terms. "Do not kill cows (considered sacred by Hindus) or eat beef; do
not tease Hindu women; do not participate in Hindu festivals if you cannot
maintain their sanctity; do not get involved in quarrels among Hindus," the
terms read. "Do not raise anti-India and anti-Hindu slogans. Do not allow
new Muslims to settle in the village," it says. The Muslims, who formed six
percent of Kadwal's population of 5,000, fled on March 3 when their houses
were burned down. And even signing up to the terms does not end their
"We have no shelter and sleep out in the open," said Mohammed Nikker who
came back two weeks ago after 45 days in a camp. "We have nothing to eat and
depend on relatives from other villages to bring us food," he says, sitting
despondently with his family in the midday sun in front of the ruins of his
house. Both the returning Muslims and Kadwal's Hindus are in constant fear
of each other in a village where until recently, they lived as friends.
"The Hindus are scared the Muslims will take revenge," said Singh, while the
Muslims said they were certain the Hindus would attack again once all the
Muslims came back from refugee camps. For the 19-year-old rape victim, going
home would mean dropping her complaint and facing daily the men who attacked
her. "I was five months' pregnant. One of the men put his foot on my neck
and another held my hands," she said, speaking by phone from a refugee camp
120 km from Ahmedabad. In between long pauses and shaky breaths she
recounted how her sisters and aunts were first raped and then hacked to
She had fled Randhikpur with a group of relatives, when a mob burnt Muslim
houses on February 28, but on the third day they were attacked in a forest
by 30 men from their own village. "They stabbed me and then left me thinking
I was dead," she said, adding she was unconscious for a whole night. Naked
and bleeding from knife wounds, she staggered out of the forest to the
nearest road in the morning where police picked her up and took her to the
camp where she found her husband. Now she sits listlessly all day long,
keeping to herself. Rasool Ibrahim, 55, was one of the 15 Muslims called for
a meeting two weeks ago by some of Randhikpur's Hindus, including one of the
accused named by the rape victim.
"The Hindus told us to bring her to work out a compromise. They told us they
will allow us to return and help rebuild our burnt houses if the rape
complaint is withdrawn," said Ibrahim. The Muslims decided unanimously not
to do so. Muslims in Raichha village, who comprise three percent of the
population of 3,000 and are holed up in a camp in the closest city,
Chhota-Udepur, are also rejecting the pre-conditions for their return home.
"Two weeks back the Hindus told us to convert, shave off our beards, wear
dhotis (sarongs) instead of pants and eat meat of animal carcasses which is
not permitted in Islam," said farmer Noor Mohammed.
Other villagers report being attacked on their return home. Hassan Suleiman
showed stitches on the back of his head where he says he was struck by a
stone 10 days ago when he went to his village, Panvad, to withdraw money
from the bank. He said the Hindus of Panvad, north of Ahmedabad, had driven
away every Muslim who dared to re-enter the village after they escaped
rioters on March 10. "It is the decision of all the neighbouring villagers
also. They don't want the Muslims back," said a Hindu trader of Panvad. The
senior administrative official of Baroda district, where the villages are
located, said he was holding joint meetings with Hindu and Muslim leaders to
try to restore normalcy.
Source: The Bangladesh Observer, 21 May 2002
|Re: India: After Rape & Death, Now it is Religion|
|05/23/02 at 10:14:33|
The only way forward for the Gujarat muslims is an armed struggle. In the end they should look for independance, and join with Pakistan.
Or make Hijra.
But until then, for them to survive, Jihad is the only way forward. Send money to the Gujarat, for aid, food, and weapons.
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