THE PLANK MARCH 28, 2008
Six years ago, in the Indian state of Gujarat, as many as 2000
people were killed in Hindu-Muslim violence. It all started when a
train carrying hundreds of Hindus caught fire, probably by accident.
But thanks to a nationalist government intent on stoking sectarian
anger, riots began and--over the course of many months--Gujarati
Muslims were raped and killed in huge numbers. But now we have some very good news for democracy in India:
The Indian Supreme Court has ordered fresh investigations into several
high-profile cases of Hindu-Muslim violence in 2002 in Gujarat State,
effectively concluding that justice cannot be done in the
in large part to the work of Indian non-profit groups unwilling to let
the case die, there is some hope that government officials who
passively or actively encouraged the killings will finally be punished.
Unfortunately, the chief minister of Gujarat is the same man who
spurred on the rioters six years ago, and then did nothing to curb the
violence (he was elected to another term
last December). This issue will be worth watching closely, especially
if the more liberal national (but not, thankfully, nationalist)
government decides to call early elections later this year.