How long do we live in the past, ask riot victims
Are the memories of the 2002 Gujarat riots, in which more than 1,000 people died, fading away? It's been 10 years since communal violence rocked Gujarat and people say they have moved on.india Updated: Feb 29, 2012 23:47 IST
Are the memories of the 2002 Gujarat riots, in which more than 1,000 people died, fading away? It's been 10 years since communal violence rocked Gujarat and people say they have moved on.
"What has happened has happened. How long do we live in the past?" asked Hemendra Chavda, 41, a bank employee and resident of Dariyapur, one of the most communally sensitive areas of Ahmedabad.
Chavda's sentiments were reflected in the assembly, which is currently in session, as there was no mention of the Godhra train-burning incident or the subsequent disturbances.
In Mehsana, a district in north Gujarat, which also witnessed widespread violence during the riots, people say let bygones be bygones.
"Times have changed. There is so much else happening around us. Why should we keep reminding ourselves of the past that destroyed everything around us?" said Mustaq Haidar Patel, 63, a trader whose farm equipment and house were burnt down during the riots.
Patel was referring to rapid urbanisation in this district, which has seen real estate prices skyrocket in the past few years.
IA Sheikh, 57, also a resident of Mehsana, said: "My hotel was burnt down during the riots. I thought I had lost everything. But the land on which my hotel stood sold for enough money to let me start another business. We all feel sad for what happened. But can we bring it back by remembering it every year?"
However, Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad, a group working with riot victims, disagrees.
"The memories have not faded. What you see (happening) is because of the concerted efforts of the (Gujarat) government and Modi to push it out of memory by playing the development card. But that too is not selling. There is a total clampdown on media coverage," she alleged.
Hashmi says the Gujarat police intimidate people who attend demonstrations by video graphing the events.
"People get scared and choose to stay away."