Probing the unhealed wounds

 

Splintered Justice: Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat captures the anatomy of a communal riot.

Kuldeep Kumar in The Hindu

[…] Based on interviews with victims and witnesses of Bhagalpur and Gujarat riots, what Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha have written goes to reinforce the terrible realisation that criminal justice system in our country has largely failed, and the bureaucracy and the police have been, to a large extent, politicised and communalised. It is the same heart-rending story of how FIRs were either not registered or, if registered, heavily doctored by the police persons themselves, how investigation was conducted that often led nowhere, how witnesses were intimidated or eliminated and how justice was not only delayed but often denied. The governments of the day watched over these manufactured incidents of mass violence without doing much to control the situation. Post-riot relief was often selectively distributed. The two detailed accounts of the Bhagalpur and Gujarat riots also bring out the oft-ignored reality of gender violence being used as a weapon of communal violence.

As Harsh Mander and Navsharan Singh ask in their introduction, “did the governments in Assam in 1983, Delhi in 1984, Mumbai in 1992-93, and Gujarat in 2002 or Kandhamal in 2008, fail to prevent slaughter and arson because they lacked sufficient powers or legal muscle?” The obvious answer is an emphatic ‘No’.

Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha have made a valuable contribution to the growing literature on communal riots in India through their first-hand interviews with those who bore the brunt of these massacres. Reading through these accounts is an eye-opening experience. It is an experience that shakes the very foundations of one’s belief in human goodness but also makes one better prepared to face the grim reality.

Read the full article here

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