‘Don’t feel guilty raping another community’s girl’
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: A United Nations body has asked India to explain steps taken to provide justice to Muslim women who were victims of sexual crimes, following a report by world feminists on the state of Muslim women in the western state of Gujarat. The report unveiled here called upon the global community to declare a “genocidal alert” in Gujarat, paralleling it with the situation that existed in Bosnia and Rwanda.
After 22 months research and interaction with the Muslim community in Gujarat, which witnessed bloody communal riots two years ago, International Initiative for Justice in Gujarat, consisting of nine world famous feminists including Professor Rhonda Copelon from USA, Gabriela Mischkowski from Germany, Sunila Abeysekara from Sri Lanka, Anissa Helie from Algeria, Nira Yuval Davis from UK, Vahida Nainar from Holland and three Indian members Prof Uma Chakarvarti, Farah Naqvi and Meera Velayudan, expressed concern at the silence of the international community over the crimes against humanity being perpetuated by Hindu revivalists. Documenting the statements of almost more than 100 women, the 244-page report concluded that sexual violence was central to the Hindutva project in Gujarat. “It was not spontaneous, but systematic and done in the knowledge of highly-placed state actors and in many instances with the full participation of the police,” said the report.
Prof Uma Chakarvari told Daily Times that the UN body called the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women had taken note of their findings and has called for a status report from the Indian government. India is a signatory of this UN committee and is bound to file the status report. The panel has said that there was enough evidence to show that almost two years after the massacres, the violence continues unabated in different and frightening forms with long-term consequences. Discussing the legal implications of the pogrom, the report criticises the mechanisms of obtaining justice and inadequacies of Indian laws to deal with situations like that in Gujarat. It has asked lawmakers to look at sexual violence as a significant engine of genocide like that of massacre and murder.
The document further states that the state government was imposing measures to prevent birth within the Muslim community. Quoting Gujarat Chief Minister Narinder Modi as saying that “relief camps were actually child-making factories and those who keep on multiplying the population should be taught a lesson,” international panellists claim that preventing birth by causing serious bodily and mental harm to women was categorised as genocide according to various judgments passed by international tribunals. Quoting several witnesses, the report states that violence against the Muslim community was continuing and has had an impact on the vast majority of the population. The community lives in perpetual fear, facing economic and social boycott and the problems of displacement and non-rehabilitation would have long-term impact on the children.
The document has asked the international community to challenge the charitable and tax exempt status of Hindu organisations that support the Hindutva agenda and spew hatred and violence with public money. Such is the hatred in the minds of Hindu revivalists that at many places Hindu women extorted their men to rape and disgrace Muslim women.