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Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy

Siddharth Varadarajan
Price: $ 12.95

Is Gujarat a turning point for India?

The events at Godhra and the ensuing communal carnage in Gujarat, like the Babri Masjid demolition and the 1984 massacres, constitute an ugly chapter of our contemporary history. For the sheer brutality, persistence and widespread nature of the violence, especially against women and children, the complicity of the State, the ghettoization of communities, and the indifference of civil society, Gujarat has surpassed anything we have experienced in recent times. That this happened in one of India's most 'well off' and 'progressive' states, the home of the Mahatma, is all the more alarming.

This book is intended to be a permanent public archive of the tragedy that is Gujarat. Drawing upon eyewitness reports from the English, Hindi and regional media, citizens' and official fact-finding commissions - and articles by leading public figures and intellectuals - it provides a chilling account of how and why the state was allowed to burn.

With an overview by the editor, the reader covers the circumstances leading up to Godhra and the violence in Ahmedabad, Baroda and rural Gujarat. Separate sections deal with the role of the police, bureaucracy, Sangh Parivar, media and the tribals, the economic and international implications of the violence, the problems of relief and rehabilitation of the victims, and, above all, their quest for justice. The picture that emerges is deeply disturbing, for Gujarat has exposed the ease with which the rights of citizens, and especially minorities, can be violated with official sanction. The lessons of the violence ought to be heeded and acted upon by the public. For, in the absence of this, can another Gujarat be prevented from happening elsewhere?

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