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To Understand What’s Happening to Minorities in India, You Need To Understand ‘The Gujarat Model’ (Video)

Farah Naqvi, Harsh Mander & Shiv Visvanathan explain the insidious majoritarian design in this Karwan-e-Mohabbat video.

As Hindutva groups target Muslims and Dalits across India, Karwan-e-Mohabbat has released a video titled ‘The Gujarat Model and why it matters’ as part of the series ‘Tathya’, to explain the situation in context of the what has happened in Gujarat since the 2002 riots.

The video features bureaucrat-turned-activist Harsh Mander, authors Farah Naqvi and Shiv Visvanathan talking about why it is important to understand the 2002 Gujarat pogrom to make sense of why minorities across India are in danger today.

Mander says, “You can’t understand what is happening in India today until you understand what happened in Gujarat over 12 years. What was the Gujarat model? It set out to create second-class citizenship of minorities.”

The effects of the 2002 pogrom, which killed over a thousand people and injured over two thousand people, are long-lasting. Victims are still displaced, perpetrators have escaped justice and that nothing is really “normal”.

Mandar adds, “Half the people who were displaced by the violence could never return because there were conditionalities —you will not pursue your legal case, you will live separately etc.”

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Shiv Visvanathan points out that 79,000 people from 13 districts have not returned to their homes since the riots in 2002. “This riot did not return to normalcy and the claim of return to normalcy is false. It has to be challenged,” he says.

Naqvi explains, “When people say how do you look back at Gujarat? I find that phrase all wrong. I do not look back at Gujarat. Because Gujarat is very much here with me, in the present. And the continuity of that cannot be denied.”

She adds, “Gujarat remains relevant unless this hate stops and good luck with that to all of us. Gujarat remains my reference point for a moral low.”

So how do we move on from there? Mander explains that there are four things essential for healing to take place. “The first is acknowledgement… The second is remorse. Mr. Modi instead led what he called the Gaurav Yatra, three months after the massacres. What did that mean?” He says, adding “The third is reparation. Helping people rebuild their lives but we saw organised boycott. And the fourth is justice. My book extensively describes how justice was systematically subverted.”

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Referring indirectly to the hate speeches being delivered by leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now, Mander says, “The kind of speeches that we are hearing now are ironically and eerily very similar to the speeches that were made during the Gaurav Yatra which demonised the Muslim, equated the Muslim with Pakistan.”

“When he (Modi) was asked why are you not setting up relief camps? He said “I’m not setting up relief camps because I don’t want to set up baby producing factories,” he recounts.

Visvanathan warns against viewing such pogroms as on-time incidents. “The riot didn’t end with the riot. It continued as the consumption of violence. The way this violence was replayed again and again it was a very important part of the continuity of the riot.”

At the end of the video, Mander emphasizes the importance of uniting to raise our voices against the despair and to make sense of these dark, violent times.

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