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“They Gang Raped My Daughters In Front Of Me”: Why Are Women The Worst Hit In Every Communal Riot?

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By Harsh Vasani:

Gujarat 2002

“But what they did to my sister-in-law’s sister Kausar Bano was horrific and heinous. She was 9 months pregnant. They cut open her belly, took out her foetus with a sword and threw it into a blazing fire. Then they burnt her as well.”
Source: Saira Banu, Naroda Patia (recorded at the Shah-e-Alam Camp on March 27th, 2002).

“The mob started chasing us with burning tyres after we were forced to leave Gangotri society. It was then that they raped many girls. We saw about 8-10 rapes. We saw them strip 16-year-old Mehrunissa. They were stripping themselves and beckoning to the girls. Then they raped them right there on the road. We saw a girl’s vagina being slit open. Then they were burnt. Now there is no evidence.”
Source: Kulsum Bibi, Shah-e-Alam Camp, March 27, 2002


Muzaffarnagar 2013

“Four women of my family, including my three daughters (age 17, 18 and 21 years), were held captive by 10-13 rioters and gang-raped in front of me. I was forced to see the shameful and brutal act.”

A multi religious and fervid society like ours bestows women on a higher pedestal; where they signify the ‘sanctity and dignity’ of the household and community. Perhaps, this is a reason the unfathomable burden of communal riots lies with the women the most.
The curse of being a woman in India – where they are venerated and idolised as Goddesses, but are fervently denied the humaneness which takes away the piety. They shall always be distanced, always sitting atop the pedestal, to be defended by the men. This sense of ‘honour’ of a man attached to the women in the family is overtly patriarchal, effacing the identity of women.

Consider the propaganda of ‘Love Jihad’, where Muslim men woo Hindu women and eventually convert them to Islam, used by the mandarins of VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) in Muzaffarnagar recently to inflame the passions. Behind the outrageous absurdity and preposterousness of the statement lies the mentality which perceives women as a tool in gaining one-upmanship over ‘the other’.

11 years ago, this was exactly what a Gujarati daily; Sandesh, did. Besides reporting the Godhra carnage in a provocative language, they reported absolutely fabricated stories of Muslim men picking up Hindu women from the train compartment, of dead bodies of kidnapped women found with their breasts cut off. These concocted stories were later retracted very inconspicuously, but by then the damage was done. These stories were enough fuel for the mobs to avenge by indulging in greater brutality towards the women of the other community. As Aziz Tankarvi, editor of Gujarat Today told to a fact finding team, “Murder ho jata hai, chot lagti hai, to aadmi chup sahan kar leta hai, lekin agar maa, behen, beti ke saath ziyadti hoti hai to voh jawaab dega, badla lega.”

The fact of the matter is that with every riot, modesty and humanity go for a hit with women being the most victimised. The deep rooted agony faced by them, and the inability of our society to eliminate it; and emerge as a civilised society instead of being tangled in antiquated fault lines, mobilised by demagogues, is at once tragic and shameful.

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  1. veer Subhash

    You say ” These stories were enough fuel for the mobs to avenge by indulging in greater brutality towards the women of the other community. “.

    So you realize that reports are sufficient to fuel passions and hatred in a community. Still you go on the top of your voice, shout aloud, about an extremely tragic narration about a Muslim women, which occurred 11 years ago.

    Violence against any women from any community needs to be prevented. But your such depiction will only fuel hatred and further feelings in the minds of Muslims. Now you may ask why not report the truth ? Because many times, when Muslims are accused, News reports deliberately hide there identity so that Hindus don’t get incited.

    You are indirectly doing what exactly BJP MLA accused in Mujjafarnagar riots is accused of doing . i,e, inciting hatred and religious passions.

    Your intentions might be noble, your actions are irresponsible.

    “You also forgot to mention that that the riots were started because several Muslims guys eve teased a hindu girl, and when her brothers protested, they were chased and killed by a Muslim mob. There was no action on the part of police to punish the mob which killed the two boys.”

    I would have never mentioned the above incident of eve teasing of Hindu girl , but it is required to mention to show that violence/molestation/rapes are not limited to any one community as portrayed by your article.

    be careful when you write on such sensitive topics.

    1. Deep_Kolkata

      @veer Subhash : Your comment gives an insight into the PERVERTED minds of the HINDUTVA BRIGADE. Here the author is citing a few examples where women from a particular community were violated and even many of them were cut into pieces and thrown into fire. Let me also remind you that Mr. Harsh Vasani is only citing facts. Your Mr. Som(BJP MLA) uploaded certain videos from Pakistan and blamed the local muslims for the brutalities. So there is a huge difference. BTW,
      Mr. Vasani has done a commendable job.

    2. veer Subhash

      Have some decency in your words, or Should I say that you lost it in your Communist schools or Jehadi camps ?
      Shame on creatures like you who utilize even something as tragic as ‘rapes on women’ to incite religious hatred. I also realize you may not bear allegiance to any religion on earth, your loyalty is to a political class which thrives on the suffering and poverty of masses.

      Your respect for women should nt be limited to one particular community ?
      Is modesty of women from one community for important than others.

      Such mindless representation will only fuel hatred and violence in our already divided society. It is time people look at violence against women as violence against humanity. But people like you use it to get political dividends.

    3. Aamir Sohail

      yes you are right.. this person is a fool why he has to say it aloud and with chest high will he get back his sisters will rapist be punished ?? no…. then whats use doesnt he know his cry is falling on empty minds of govt the party responsible is now the govt of country who control judiciary system …….. justice has been done culprits has been punished citing reasons that they are not threat to society ….. who rips apart foetus and rapes and burned people alive … of course dr zakir naik is more threat to society because he spreads peace and those culprits out of 5000 rioters 11 have been punished who did not pay ransom to their beloved saffron party leaders for taking them out
      one thing i am sure had ur sister mothers would have suffered same fate you would have shouted aloud and with high pitch and same comment if that man and i would have given by sitting at laptop … then i think u would ve understand the sorrow pain of these sufferers
      if u cant provide justice to them better shut ur mouth

  2. bansi dhameja

    I am pained to everyday read about rapes and gang rapes in various part of our country. More of such animal acts take place during riots. I feel it is not right to blame one community or the other.
    I feel
    1) These crimes against women have to be dealt with awarding speedy and severe punishment so that none dares to commit such crimes.
    2) We have to pay attention to moral building of the youth so that their inner self does not allow them to commit such crimes.
    3) Parents and teachers and the respectable persons in the society have to do their part to achieve crime less society.
    4) Those who are governing our country have to display A SENSE OF HAVING HIGH MORAL VALUES IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE INCLUDING WHERE MONEY IS INVOLVED. It is pitiable situations when we see that person at the highest level of governance are involved in corruption cases. THEY DO NOT COMMAND ANY RESPECT.
    5) The religious leaders have also to play their role well in guiding people to inculcate good habits in day to day life.

  3. Aditi Thakker

    Saira Banu and Kulsum Bibi’s statements have been verified by several fact finding committees. Anyone who thinks that innocent people were not killed during the Gujarat riots needs to buy a copy of ‘Gujarat: The making of a tragedy’, read it and of course verify the stories for yourself.

    Then sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

  4. pappu

    This is not a religious problem but a problem where men of all religions in India consider women to be fair game. There is no respect for women in the community. Imagine what will happen if you add religious dimensions to it. Riots are always incited based on the rumours or sometimes real news of sexual violence perpetrated against women of one community. That community then tries to avenge it by committing the same crime against other community. Both majority and minority community in India is to blame here. What this shows is India and Indians need to change. BTW the article would have been more balanced if it also mentioned the suffering of other communities in India.

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