Wednesday, November 09, 2011

India Jails 31 Hindus for Life for Killing Muslims

November 9, 2011.

A court has sentenced 31 Hindus to life imprisonment for killing dozens of Muslims by setting fire to a building during one of India's worst rounds of communal violence nine years ago.

Judge ST Srivastava acquitted 41 others of murder for lack of evidence.

Those convicted at the Mehsana district court can appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

Since partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan after independence from Britain in 1947, there have been sporadic bouts of violence. The worst recent violence erupted in 2002 in Gujarat state. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed by Hindu mobs after a train fire killed 60 Hindus returning from a pilgrimage. Muslims were blamed for the fire.

During rioting, the suspects set a building on fire in a village in Mehsana district, nearly 25 miles (40km) north of Ahmedabad, the main city of Gujarat. Thirty-three Muslims, including 20 women, who had taken shelter there were burned alive.

Two suspects died during the trial that was expedited by orders from India's top court, the supreme court.

Muslims account for about 14% of India's population of 1.1 billion but lag far behind the Hindu majority in most social indicators, from literacy to household income.


Kweli said...

Brother, I saw this on the news this morning.

I latched on to the inequalities in India not only through Ambekdar but also by recently reading some of Saroj Giri's work (particularly on how the formation of the Indian state subsumed diversity). (I'm not so coherent today, so bear with me).

I don't like to see our sisters and brothers in the subcontinent fighting each other.

There are ways to peace. There must be.

Ridwan said...

Hey there Kweli thanks for your thoughts.

Giri is right to finger the attempted erasure of diversity - at least at the state level.

At the center of the problems in Gujarat and occupied Kashmir is Hindutva (essentialized and politicized hinduness).

Conservative proponents of this contrived caste and class consciousness believe that India is a Hindu state/country.

It is not a new phenomenon and speaks to India's episodes of historical colonization.

Try to find Buddhists in India today - most of them have been obliterated by waves of Hindutva violence over decades.

Muslims (most of them who have converted to Islam to escape casteism in Hinduism) are routinely attacked in India for much the same reason.

The violence in Gujarat is just one such example - a more policy oriented attack is the call by Hindutva advocates to scrape Affirmative Action policies which aim to improve the impoverished condition of Muslims (and other so called scheduled classes).

In the US there are prominent Hindutva personalities in very powerful positions and they have significant influence on policies toward the subcontinent.

Some of them flame anti-Muslim sentiments/policies in the region.

Obama went to India and did not say a word about Kashmir, for example.

These problems are not new in this context and played out between Gandhi and Ambedkar and Nehru and Jinna.

The problem is that India is anything but one country. It is like China, an empire of nationalist (imagined) proportions.

Peace brother Kweli,

Kweli said...

Thanks for the enlightenment, bro. It's time I looked at this more.