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"We Have No Orders to Save You": State Participation and Complicity in the Communal Violence in Gujarat

StoryMay 03, 2002
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More than 2000 people dead in the last two months. Thousands more missing. Homes destroyed, businesses burned, hundreds of thousands of displaced refugees. State complicity in violence against Muslims. Brutal torture. Eye-witness reports of crimes against humanity. No, this is not the Occupied Territories. This is the state of Gujarat in western India. It is the site of some of the worst anti-Muslim violence in recent history. Some are calling it genocide.

The violence in Gujarat began two months ago, after a Muslim mob in Godhra set fire to a train carrying Hindu nationalists. Fifty-eight people died in the attack, many of them women and children. Hindu nationalists then embarked on a three-day killing spree. They burned Muslim homes, destroyed Muslim shops, raped Muslim women, brutalized Muslim children. The Government says that 850 people died in the attacks. Independent sources place the figure above 2000.

The state of Gujarat has repeatedly dismissed the massacres of the past two months as a "spontaneous reaction" to the train attack in Godhra. They say that Muslim "terrorism" provoked the uprising and deserved to be punished. But a groundbreaking Human Rights Watch report argues the reverse: it says that the attacks on Muslims were planned in advance of the Godhra incident and that the government actively helped organize them.

Smita Narula is the primary author of that report...


  • Smita Narula, senior researcher for the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch. Smita is the primary author of the recently released Human Rights Watch report: "We Have No Orders To Save You": State Participation And Complicity In The Communal Violence In Gujarat. The Report documents the complicity of the State Government in the Gujarat massacres.
  • Suleman Kazi, first cousin of Mohammad Aswat, a British national killed in Gujarat two months ago while on a visit to his home village. Kazi is leading the effort to file charges of crimes against humanity against the Gujarat government.
  • Ruth Manorama, director, National Alliance of Women, one of the leading women’s rights organizations in India, speaking from Madras.

Related link:


  • Oh, Sacred World–Studs Terkel, Where Have All The Flowers Gone (The Songs of Pete Seeger) (Appleseed Recordings CD) mixed with Fawn–Tom Waits, Alice (Anti Recordings CD).

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