August 06, 2007

No more excuses

You see, there are no more excuses.

They said, "the blasts caused the riots": well, that's evident nonsense because the riots happened three months before the blasts.

Then they said, "the blasts could not have been a reaction to the riots because they happened three months later and that's too long for a reaction": well, consider this: had there been no riots, there would have been no blasts.

They said, "the riots were triggered by the burning of a family in Radhabai Chawl": well, that horrible atrocity happened on January 8 1993, in the middle of rioting that stretched from early December 1992 to February 1993. It could hardly have "triggered" rioting that started a whole month earlier.

Faced with that, they said, "no, no, we meant the second phase of the riots, that was triggered by the Radhabai Chawl murders": well, the second phase of the riots started in early January 1993, days before Radhabai. Newspapers of the time are clear: even when they first report the Radhabai killings, they refer to several days of violence. Terrible though it was, Radhabai Chawl is just one more entry in a grisly catalogue of blood and shame.

They said, "asking for the Srikrishna Commission report to be implemented will lead to more tension between Hindus and Muslims": well, even assuming some truth in that far-fetched hypothesis, should punishing murderers depend on some future possibility of tension? Some future threat of tension?

They said, "the blasts were an act of terrorism": well, oh yes indeed they were, and so was the slaughter of hundreds of Indians during the riots.

They said, "don't equate riots to terrorism": well, but what did those victims feel as they faced death? Was it not terror? What else were the riots but terrorism? And if you think not, would you care to explain why not? Without equivocation and to yourself first of all?

They said, "the blasts were an attack against the nation": well, true, but what else is the murder of hundreds of Indians, but an attack against the nation too?

They said, "the blasts were inspired and planned in Pakistan": well, sure, but is India's own homegrown terror less worthy of punishment?

They said many more things. But in the end and always, they would say, "yeah, yeah, but what about punishing the bomb blast criminals?"

Well, now even that fig-leaf has dropped off. Fourteen years after the blasts, sentences ranging from years in prison to death have been handed out. The bomb criminals have been punished as they deserved to be.

But the riots that happened three months before the blasts, that brought this city to its knees as surely as the blasts drove a dagger into our hearts, that killed nearly four times as many people as the blasts? For that massacre of hundreds of your fellow Indians, nobody has been punished. There isn't even an investigation going on that might result in a court case. Not one.

So as you go about your business today, whatever it is, stop a moment and ask yourself about this. Do it quietly. Do it face to face with your own conscience, so you don't have to explain or rationalize to anyone else. Ask yourself why it is apparently not in our Indian national interest to punish the killers of a thousand Indians in 1992-93.

If you believe, as I believe, that justice is something worth fighting for, do this much as a start: go sign this petition.

Justice. Not excuses.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

"had there been no riots, there would have been no blasts."

wait a minute! i thought the newton's law could not be applied during riots, remember?

when modi invoked the newton's law to justify the post godhra riots, all of us were aghast in unison. why then are the blasts being justified in the name of riots??

on second thoughts, why am i surprised that actually the blasts ARE being justified as a reaction to the riots?

Anonymous said...

D: I signed it. I hope you get many more signatures. I haven't been in touch with whats happening on the riots/blast (more shame to me!) but I am incensed that one set of citizens gets justice and another, nothing.

n!

Anonymous said...

Have there been any convictions for the Bombay riots at all ?

Sudeep

Anonymous said...

>> well, the second phase of the riots started in early January 1993, days before Radhabai. Newspapers of the time are clear: even when they first report the Radhabai killings, they refer to several days of violence. Terrible though it was, Radhabai Chawl is just one more entry in a grisly catalogue of blood and shame.

AFAIK, there was a difference between the violence before and after the Radhabai Chawl incident, Mumbai was smoldering before that incident, afterwards, it was a full fledged conflagration.

>> They said, "the blasts were an act of terrorism": well, oh yes indeed they were, and so was the slaughter of hundreds of Indians during the riots.

Urban riots have been around for more than a hundred years in India, terrorism is a relatively new phenomenon. Why confuse the two ? While one act, by definition has large numbers of people involved, the other is a tightly controlled, tightly planned, secret low level warfare.

>> But the riots that happened three months before the blasts, that brought this city to its knees as surely as the blasts drove a dagger into our hearts, that killed nearly four times as many people as the blasts? For that massacre of hundreds of your fellow Indians, nobody has been punished. There isn't even an investigation going on that might result in a court case. Not one.

Agree about this. But I find it difficult to believe that there hasn't been a single conviction for the Bombay riots..

Sudeep

Bombay Addict said...

Sudeep - allow me to jump the gun here (Dilip - my apologies).

1. Interesting point. I could then posit - if Radhabai Chawl didn't happen, would the riots have stopped and hence the blasts not happened?

Or, would Radhabhai Chawl (8th Jan '93) have had any bearing on this incident referred to in para 2.22 of the Srikrishna report)(full report here) (emphasis mine)

2.22 [...] The Muslim houses were subjected to a selective unauthorized survey by the Hindus on 3rd January 1993. There was a vicious rumour floated around that there was an imminent attack by Muslims on Hindu houses and thereby Hindu communal passions were whipped up. On 9th, 10th and 11th January 1993 the Muslim houses in Pratiksha Nagar were systematically broken open, ransacked, some of the articles looted and some others deliberately set on fire.

2. Urban riots or act of terrorism? You tell me. Or tell me, where would this incident fit? (Srikrishna Report. Para 2.25)

2.25 Between 9th January 1993 to 12th January 1993 a large number of Muslims, numbering about 3,000–5,000, who had left their houses for fear of attack had congregated near Sunder Vihar Hotel. They were surrounded by 40,000–50,000 Hindus and had to spend almost three days under constant fear of attack till they were rescued from there with the help of army column on 12th January 1993. The intensity of communal hatred which had gripped even the ordinary citizens during the riot periods is demonstrated by this incident. Police were unable to help the Muslims because of overwhelmingly large mobs of Hindus which prevented the police from rescuing the Muslims. When an attempt was made to supply food to the marooned Muslims, the vehicles carrying the food were chased away. Finally, when the army column was transporting the marooned Muslim families, it was also attacked by the Hindu mobs which had to be dispersed by firing resorted to by army personnel.

3. Not a single conviction. Sure, loads of "serious lapses" in the implementation of the Srikrishna Report. But no convictions.

Boskoe said...

Sudeep!

Act of terrorism or urban riots - it doesnt make a difference. Both were crimes against humanity and deserve to be punished to the fullest extent.

DDD - signed the petition. I guess there is increasing pressure on the govt to implement the recommendations of the commission.

- Biju

Anonymous said...

@@boskoe

I agree, both are crimes against humanity, but the mechanics of how they happen are quite different, it follows then, that the investigative process in each proceeds in very different ways.

Theres also a difference in how these are perceived by the general public. There are very few acts of communal mob violence that escape retribution by an opposite act, yet, somehow people manage to keep their calm in case of terrorist acts.

I am not trying to say here that people should be punished differently for taking a human life, whether in a terrorism act or an act of mob violence. Merely that these are two different types of incidents, in general perception and their mechanics.

@@bombay addict
>> 1. Interesting point. I could then posit - if Radhabai Chawl didn't happen, would the riots have stopped and hence the blasts not happened?

Who is to say ?

>> 2. Urban riots or act of terrorism? You tell me. Or tell me, where would this incident fit? (Srikrishna Report. Para 2.25)

Urban riots/mob violence.

>> 3. Not a single conviction. Sure, loads of "serious lapses" in the implementation of the Srikrishna Report. But no convictions.

leave alone the Sri Krishna report, you mean to say that there have'nt been *any* convictions in the Bombay riots case at all ? as in '0'.. Is this hearsay or real.. can someone confirm.

Sudeep

Jai_Choorakkot said...

After some dallying over the wordings of the first 2 paras, I had signed the petition back there at the discussion at "Innocent & done no harm".

The pertinent point (really puzzling to non-Mumbaikars) is the lack of any move on these cases, even with non SS/BJP govts in power. Ive been asking this question on this blog and at other places.

IndianMuslims.in unambiguously puts it on Thackeray and his threat to create more violence. Now I find it echoed on this blog. I havent really an appreciation of how powerful this guy is.

Elsewhere I have heard that at the lower level there was significant non-Sena/hindutva involvement in the riots and 'secular' parties would also stand to lose rank & file.

The "X did or did not trigger Y" discussion ongoing here is another reminder to me to get back to my no-linkages mode. Just prosecute and punish everybody flat.

regards,
Jai

Bombay Addict said...

@ Sudeep
>> Who is to say ?
So, we'll never know if Radhabai Chawl really was any tipping point, which kinda makes it irrelevant here.

>> Urban riots/mob violence
Interesting you added the second phrase. Anyways, we can go on and on on definitions of terrorism, riots, etc. if numbers and planning of an attack are the only things that matter.

>> can someone confirm
The truth is out there.

Dilip D'Souza said...

AFAIK, there was a difference between the violence before and after the Radhabai Chawl incident [etc]

I was in Bombay throughout those few months, on most days wandering about this city. It never struck me that there was any "difference" between the violence before and after Radhabai: it was all just gruesome and terrifying for weeks in a row.

If you don't want to call it terrorism, fine. As another comment here indicates, just pursue and punish the guilty as severely, that's all. Why is that so hard?

wise donkey said...

agree. signed.
but it really seems incredible that none have been punished.

Any idea where one can get the info on how many were punished for the Delhi riots and other riots in India.

Anonymous said...

@@dsouza
>> I was in Bombay throughout those few months, on most days wandering about this city. It never struck me that there was any "difference" between the violence before and after Radhabai: it was all just gruesome and terrifying for weeks in a row.

I agree it would have been terrifying to someone present in the city at the time, but the sheer number of people killed in the period Jan 1 - Jan 7 in Bombay was different, almost an order of magnitude different, than the numbers after wards, after the Radhabai Chawl incident. There was violence before and after, but there was a difference in the scale, the number of victims etc.

>> If you don't want to call it terrorism, fine. As another comment here indicates, just pursue and punish the guilty as severely, that's all. Why is that so hard?

I am not advocating a clemency for those who participated in the riots, only drawing a distinction in the very different nature of the two crimes - mob violence/terrorist attacks.

1) mob violence => large groups of people participating in the violence, as many as 50,000.
2) Terrorist acts usually involve less than a few dozens of people.
3) At least in the Indian context, many terrorist acts involve foreign nationals, while mob violence is largely home grown.
4) Participants in terrorist acts are usually the dregs of our society, while mob violence participants involve people at many different levels of our society.

Its absurd of you to ask me why punishing mob violence participants is so hard. Its not me who is doing the punishing and the pursuing.

btw.. someone claimed that there wasnt even a single conviction for the riots, were there any cases filed/investigated atleast ? Even outside of what Sri Krishna said, the police did not get any convictions ? Where can I find this information ?

Anonymous said...

@@addict

>>>> Who is to say ?
>> So, we'll never know if Radhabai Chawl really was any tipping point, which kinda makes it irrelevant here.

What you asked me was whether it can be said that the 2nd phase of the riots triggered the blasts, I dont know, some role may be ? until we get the kingpins and give them the danda, we wont know.

Even so, the number of people dead before and after Radhabai chawl incident was different, and that was what I was trying to point out.

Anonymous said...

Why does the petition say "Punish the Guilty of the Anti Muslim Pogrom of 1992-1993"?

I think hindus too got killed. Cannot clap with one hand.

When some islamic org does some blasts in mumbai, u guys say it was an attack on mumbaikars (e.g. recent train blasts).

So why not use the term "mumbaikars" here as the title, why are you guys singling out one community when it was clear that there were 2 rioting parties. Human life was lost, and that should be the point.

I cannot understand the logic.

If you look at the past history of Kutubh Minar (27 hindu/jain temples), Taj Mahal, you will find destruction of hindu temples everywhere. Wasn't that wrong?

Why can't people look back in history and see what their ancestors have done. There is a price for every action.

Not that riots are any answers, but fixing the wrong, cannot be termed as wrong.

I shameful to use one community name when human life irrespective of religion was lost.

Anonymous said...

continuing:

Everyone involved should be punished, irrespective of religion.

Make the petion more broarder termed and more people will sign it.

Anonymous said...

"Make the petion more broarder termed and more people will sign it."

good point. that is the thing: there is an agenda here.

riots were "anti-muslim"
blasts were aimed at "mumbaikars".

Goebbels must be smiling in his grave. Someone learnt from him :)

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous: The title of the petition says 'Justice for all". The line you are talking about I think is perfectly valid in this specific context because the petition refers to punishing the guilty of the Anti-Muslim Pogrom. I have no doubt that a similar petition to bring, say, the killers of the Sikhs in the 1984 riots would be entitled: Punish the guilty for the Anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984. I do not think there is any bias involved here.

n!

Jai_Choorakkot said...

Hello various anonymice,

I did have reservations myself, with the title and some of the initial wording (maybe some warped reading of these will set up Radhabai chawl as a defensive or revenge encounter), but after some internal debate decided that the cause of justice is worth a LOT more than such quibbles.

The other concern I had, that 'revenge theory' will serve as a mitigating factor and lead to lighter sentences has been squarely addressed with these verdicts.

I request you to sign the petition- preferably not anonymously.

If the "anti-muslim pogrom" part upsets you so much, why dont you create a parallel one without those words and sign that instead.

Thank you,
Jai

Anonymous said...

riots were "anti-muslim"

R u saying, no hindus died, no anti-hindu sentiments existed??? What are you smoking?

Blasts were aimed at "mumbaikars".

It all depends on perspective. You can see 99% hindu blast victims as mumbaikars or you can see them as hindus. But hey, we only call them hindus when they riot else they are mumbaikars.

(just as a note, the population of minorities has only increased in India while its complete opposite case in our neighboring countries. That says a lot about rioting, blood thirsty bad hindus, does it?).

I am an atheist myself and think religion is bane and should be banned. I also have no love for the names mentioned in the petition.

All I want is everybody involved be punished and that includes people from both sides not one side only.

Anonymous said...

http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/2007/08/06/leftist-political-correctness-with-taliban-like-fanaticism/

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anon:

riots were "anti-muslim"

Do you stay in Holland???

From the article:
"The facts are the 1992-1993 riots saw about 600 muslims and 300 Hindu deaths. So how can Justice for the riots be made out to be about Minorities versus Majorities when both communities suffered just as both communities suffered in the blasts."

Considering the percentage of Hindus Vs Muslims in mumbai & and the percentages of death by religion, who killed more??

But still go ahead and say they were ONLY ANTI-MUSLIM.

You guys could have had much better support had you tried to punish all at fault, not just from one religious community.

REMEMBER
CANNOT CLAP WITH ONE HAND.

Super url anon.