Skip to main content

Gujarat’s Muslim rehab sites: The cruelty within

By Rajiv Shah
It was early 1970s, when I was sought to be navigated into Marxism-Leninism by my then “political mentor” and a senior student colleague, Sohail Hashmi. A total novice in politics, I was doing bachelors in English at Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, while he was in human geography.
Impressed by his argumentative power, I would often look upon Hashmi – formerly very active with CPM, but now more into culture, heritage, and things similar – as one of those who would, very soon, trigger a proletarian revolution in India, like Lenin and his colleagues did in Russia! While I don’t care to remember most of what Hashmi had taught me (perhaps he himself would have unlearned some of it), I still recall a seemingly academic argument he had advanced in order to prove how Hindus and Muslims faced similar exploitation.
This is what he told me, roughly: “Make a graph and draw two separate lines of class exploitation – one for Hindus, another for Muslims. You would find that both Hindu and Muslim working classes suffer similarly. There is no point in saying that the Muslim working classes face a higher degree of exploitation than their Hindu counterparts.” Presumably, he was referring to his immediate rivals in the non-CPM Left, particularly CPI and left-wing sections of the Congress, who would look at minorities as a homogenous group needing a higher degree of help than Hindus.
I don’t know if Hashmi sticks to his view now – it was, possibly, born out of the CPM-sponsored study circles for student activists of the Students Federation of India, then very active in Delhi University. Maybe it is for scholars to ascertain whether what Hashmi had told me holds true and how, but I was reminded of he told me while going through a just-released book, “Creating Spaces: Nurturing Leadership”, authored by Dr Uma Ramaswamy, released on January 28 at an Ahmedabad function presided over by well-known left-wing rural journalist P Sainath.
While the book tells the story of 30-year-old journey of Janvikas, an Ahmedabad-based non-government organization, most of which I have known from close quarters, including its work among the rehabilitation colonies set up following the 2002 Gujarat riots, what struck me most was how the poorer sections who live in in these colonies suffer at the hands of the Muslim elite, and also how Muslim women are at the receiving end within the community.
Calling those who were displaced due to riots (claimed to be 2 lakh in 2002, down to 50,000 now) internally-displaced persons (IDPs), a term coined by United Nations to identify those displaced as a result of violent social strife, the book quotes Hofeza Ujjaini, who is coordinating Janvikas’ work among Gujarat’s 69 rehabilitation sites, to say, “Currently, the most pressing issue of IDPs is housing ownership. Even religious trusts who earlier gave lands for housing are now reluctant to give housing rights. What is now being assured are their residential rights and not ownership rights which has brought much insecurity in the communities.”
A revealing statement, it coincides with an unpublished 2016 paper I had read recently. This paper makes an astounding revelation: Even 14 years after the communal flare-up in Gujarat, about 3,000 families living in these rehabilitation colonies, formed mostly by Muslim NGOs, faced eviction. The paper, titled “Failing Act of Benevolence”, alleges, “These organizations have turned their backs on the people, refusing to entertain them”, adding, they are threatening them of eviction “if they raise their voice.” It adds, at certain places, the committees formed to overlook the welfare of the colonies have “turned hostile to the displaced people and have threatened the residents about losing their homes if they protested unnecessarily.”
The paper reports, “Out of the 83 colonies, only in 17 the houses are in the name of the residents. Availing, passport, pan card and aadhaar card becomes difficult for these residents as they do not have any document that certifies them as residents of these areas.” The paper – authored by Johanna Lokhande in association with Ujjaini –the organizations which have “turned their back” on the residents are some well-known all-India Islamic bodies and Muslim trusts operating from Hyderabad, Mumbai and Vadodara. Some of these are supported by builders.
A 2015 Gujarati language research work titled “Muslim Ghettoisation: Ek Karun Dastan” by Gujarat Vidyapeeth scholar Dr Damini Shah made a somewhat similar observation, saying the ghettoisation of Muslims following the 2002 Gujarat riots has led to a “shocking rise in religious obscurantism in the Muslim colonies, most of which were set up by Islamic NGOs in order to provide security to the riot victims.” Shah found that the dozen resettlement colonies she surveyed had “imposing mosques and madrasas attached to them, with all the necessary facilities”, in sharp contrast to the poor housing facilities in which the resettled Muslims live in sub-human conditions. She quotes maulvis of the mosques as saying that “the Muslims had to suffer in the 2002 riots they failed to properly pray to the Allah.”
The rise of obscurantism, obviously, leads to further oppression of women – another issue highlighted by Ramaswamy in the book. Even as claiming that Janvikas, post-Godhra, has helped women come out of their homes, join protests, and capacitated them, leading to a situation where a “critical mass of women leaders” have emerged, the book quotes one Nazima Pathan as saying, “Women who have come from different villages have lost a lot. Families that once lived in comfort are now confined in tiny settlements with no employment opportunities, resulting in domestic conflicts.”
Another woman, Janisar Shaikh, one of the “leaders”, says, while some women have become more vocal, things “should pick up momentum”, noting, “I see many elderly women who are single and deserted coming for help.” Reporting formation of “triple talaq committees” to fight the evil practice, the book says, Mahila Samajik Nyay Manch (MSNM), which works among the rehabilitation colonies in Aravalli and Sabarkantha districts, is faced with “the most important issue” women face – “domestic violence, and most importantly address the complex issue of ‘triple talaq’ that has been besieging women.” In fact, according to MSNM, says the book, “20 percent of women in these districts are made single because of ‘triple talaq’,” adding, “While violence against women has become an integral dimension of women’s lives across India, Muslim women are doubly burdened by the custom of ‘triple talaq’ that their personal law allows.”
Though I am not aware of any in-depth study about on Muslim women in Gujarat, a 2011 study by London-based group, Minority Rights Group International, London, has found similar “double burden” among Gujarat’s Dalit women. It says, the Dalit woman “is at risk of becoming a victim of violence perpetrated by an outsider, but even more frequently by a member of her own community.”, adding, “She is at risk of becoming a victim of an unnatural death due to family discord. And she is at risk of turning to the criminal justice system for protection but finding little support and even less justice.”
The study, carried out with the help of well-known Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust, records a total of 704 crimes against Dalit women by Dalits, of which 416 were cruelty by In-laws and 31 were Dowry Act crimes. Further, it adds, there were 288 crimes on Dalit women by Dalits who are not family members (grievous and non-grievous). The 288 crimes included 4 murders, 4 attempted murders, 12 rapes, 39 acts of outraging modesty and 16 cases of abetment to suicide.
---
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/true-lies/gujarats-muslim-rehab-sites-the-cruelty-within/

Comments

TRENDING

Hold your breath! UK ex-Muslims to celebrate Blasphemy Day on September 30

Soheil Arabi The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB), in a suprise move, has decided to observe September 30 as the Blasphemy Day. In an email alert, Maryam Namazie, CEMB spokesperson, has asked anyone interested to join CEMB in celebrating blasphemy by " uploading your photo into our #blasphemyday frame and sharing on social media."

Diaspora protest as Biden failed to publicly address persecution of minorities in India

As Modi addressed UN, human rights groups decried “monstrosity” of persecution of Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and other minorities in India. Demonstrators gathered outside UN to protest fascism, hate campaigns, weaponized rape, apartheid, lynchings, unlawful arrests, attacks on the media, and other abuses in India: A report distributed by the diaspora group Hindus for Human Rights: *** While observers said it was “shameful” that President Biden failed to publicly address widespread persecution of religious minorities in India when he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 24, more than 100 members of interfaith and human rights groups spoke out as Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Speakers condemned the egregious human rights violations and murders of religious minorities in India under a government that openly supports Hindu supremacy. The rally was sponsored by 21 organizations, including Ambedkar International Center, Ambedkar King S

What this veteran Gandhian witnessed at Rajghat is indeed intensely disturbing

Renowned Gandhian, activist and physicist Professor VK Tripathi witnessed an “intensely worrisome” event at the Gandhi Samadhi on his birthday on October 2, 2021. “The children of the Hindutva criminals who assassinated him have captured places which are supposed to keep Gandhiji's heritage alive”, says Deepak Joshi in a Faceook post, insisting, “We should strongly protest against it. It is already too late.”

Forthcoming book explodes Western myth: Personal qualities are biologically inherited

Jonathan Latham, PhD, Executive Director, The Bioscience Resource Project, New York, has said in an email alert via JanVikalp that his forthcoming book about genetics and genetic determinism, provisionally titled "The Myth of The Master Molecule: DNA and the Social Order" criticises the notion that personal qualities are biologically inherited: *** The contention of the book is that the key organising principle of Western thought is the seemingly innocuous and seemingly simple idea that our personal qualities are biologically inherited. That is, our character derives from our ancestors rather than being an always-adapting product of our own experiences, decisions, and education. The book makes the case, first, that genetic determinism is a scientific fallacy. Organisms are self-organised systems and therefore are not genetically determined. Second, the explanation for the myth, which predates Mesopotamian cities of 6,000 years ago, is its utility. Genetic determinism rationa

International Energy Agency floats new plan to end oil, gas, and coal expansion

In major shift, International Energy Agency (IEA)’s World Energy Outlook has mainstreamed 1.5°C pathway, showing need to end oil, gas, and coal expansion, insisting on new fossil fuel phase-out benchmarks in order to test government ambition ahead of COP26. A report by Oil Change International, distributed by BankTrack: *** For the first time, the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s flagship annual report on global energy pathways, used worldwide to influence trillions of dollars in investment, details an achievable roadmap to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C). By making a 1.5°C scenario the benchmark of this year’s World Energy Outlook (WEO), the IEA challenges governments and companies to back up lagging Paris pledges with immediate action to shift the energy system away from fossil fuels. Notably, this year’s WEO solidifies the policy conclusion, first presented by the IEA in May , that no new oil, gas, and coal extraction projects should be approved under a 1.5°C-

UN Food Systems Summit paved the way for greater control of big corporations

In a sharp critique of the  UN Food Systems Summit, a statement released by the People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty, a global network of NGOs, has accused UN meet of being steered by big corporations, even as the Global South was pushed back. *** The Global People’s Summit (GPS) on Food Systems slammed the recently concluded UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) for paving the way for greater control of big corporations over global food systems and misleading the people through corporate-led false solutions to hunger and climate change. “It was just as we expected. While branding itself as the ‘People’s Summit’ and even the ‘Solutions Summit,’ the UN FSS did not listen to the voices of marginalized rural peoples, nor forward real solutions to the food, biodiversity and climate crises. Instead, it let powerful nations and big corporations play an even bigger role in determining food and agricultural policies. The UN has finally made it clear what ‘multilateralism’ is all about—paying l

Ex-official: Why not offer Vaishnaw loss making BSNL, Air India to prove his worth?

By Rajiv Shah A senior chartered accountant, whom I have known intimately (I am not naming him, as I don’t have his permission), has forwarded me an Indian Express (IE) story (July 18), “Ashwini Vaishnaw: The man in the chair”, which, he says, “contradicts” the blog (July 17), "Will Vaishnaw, close to Modi since Vajpayee days, ever be turnaround man for Railways?" I had written a day earlier and forwarded it to many of my friends.

Gujarat cadre woman IAS official who objected to Modi remark on sleeveless blouse

By Rajiv Shah Two days back, a veteran journalist based in Patna, previously with the Times of India, Ahmedabad, phoned me up to inform me that he had a sad news: Swarnakanta Varma, a retired Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat, who was acting chief secretary on the dastardly Godhra train burning day, February 27, 2002, which triggered one of the worst ever communal riots in Gujarat, has passed away due to Covid. “I have been informed about this from a friend in Jaipur, where she breathed her last”, Law Kumar Mishra said.

Known to have assissinated O'Dwyer, Udham Singh chose not to apologise to the British

Udham Singh (26 December 1899 – 31 July 1940), best known for assassinating Michael O'Dwyer , the former lieutenant governor of the Punjab in India , on 13 March 1940, done in revenge for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919, for which O'Dwyer was responsible, was subsequently tried and convicted of murder and hanged in July 1940. While in custody, he used the name Ram Mohammad Singh Azad, which represents the three major religions of India and his anti-colonial sentiment. Writes a well-known analyst, "He too could have apologised. He chose the noose instead!" Udham Singh's speech prior to sentencing in UK: *** “I say down with British Imperialism. You say India do not have peace. We have only slavery Generations of so called civilisation has brought us everything filthy and degenerating. known to the human race. All you have to do is read your own history. If you have any human decency about you, you should die with shame. The brutality and blood

Indian Doctors for Truth want Modi to stop overzealous universal vaccination drive

At a time when there is a huge demand to ensure that vaccination should be universal in order to gain immunity against the pandemic, an organisation called Indian Doctors for Truth, have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “urgent need to stop the overzealous universal vaccination drive against Covid-19.  Read the letter, signed by 18 doctors and a health expert: ***