Heard about concentration camps of the Nazi force in Germany? Yet not about the ghettos made for Gujarati Muslims in Narendra Modi’s regime where Muslims are being marginalised in a planned way by the BJP-led government. This is confirmed recently by a book Scarred: Experiments with Violence in Gujarat, by journalist Dionne Bunsha who covered the Gujarat riots four years ago. She has explored the various modes adopted by the state government and rightwing organisations to target minorities.
“A large number of Muslims still haven’t been able to go back to their homes from refugee camps. They are forced to live on the fringes of various towns in ghettoes without any civic amenities,” she said in a discussion in New Delhi on December 14 when some victims of the Gujarat riot, which killed at least 2,000 people in 2002, spoke about their loss and inability to go back home.
“The state is using all measures to repress them. It is a fascist rule,” Bunsha said commenting on the condition of the minorities in Gujarat from where she has returned recently. She said that there was no improvement in the condition of the minorities in Gujarat even after four years of the sectarian strife.
Rohit Prjapati from Vadodra said, “By changing the BJP rule and replacing it with any other political party is not going to help as this is a short-term measure. What we need is long-term planning to combat communalism in Gujarat.”
“Unfortunately, all political parties in Gujarat now speak in Modi’s voice. He seems to be implementing a long-term policy of marginalising Muslims and other minorities,” adds he.
The Muslims are not allowed to leave the refugee camps. Neither government nor the village Panchayats are ready to take them back to the villages, as confirms Sheikh Naushad Rasool, a participant in the talk.
“I belong to Pavagad village. Four years ago when the riots started in Gujarat, I was first moved to a police station with my family, then to a refugee camp,” utters Rasool. Without home, without room to take fresh air, the Muslims of Gujarat do not know where to go.
The question remains, will the Gujarati Muslims get their homes back or the government ghettos will be the perpetual homes for them? And this is yet to be answered by the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s camp.