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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Report damns Gujarat Government
A burnt car in Ahmedabad
The reports alleges police did little to stop the violence
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By Ayanjit Sen
BBC correspondent in Delhi

A leading non-governmental organisation in India - Communalism Combat - says it has evidence of government complicity in the recent communal riots in the western state of Gujarat.

In a vast majority of cases, the police either did not act or acted on behalf of the mob

Genocide 2002 report

The group says it has compiled the evidence in a 150-page report - Genocide 2002 - which was released in the capital Delhi on Thursday.

It said the document is based on eye-witness accounts.

The Home Minister of Gujarat, Govardhan Jhapadia, told the BBC that the report was totally baseless.

Nearly 800 people, mostly Muslims, have died in the riots which erupted in late February when a Muslim mob attacked a train carrying Hindu activists, killing 58 people.

'Partisan role'

A member of the group, Teesta Setalwad, told the BBC that right-wing Hindus had infiltrated the police as well as other state departments in Gujarat.

Rioters throwing stones in Ahmedabad
The report is based on eye witness accounts

She said police officers did not take enough steps to control the violence.

"The state played a partisan role in these riots", Ms Setalwad said.

She said the police made only two preventive arrests after the train incident when they had enough evidence of provocative pamphlets being circulated in the name of different Hindu groups asking Hindus to rape, destroy and kill Muslims.

The report cited a case where it claims that 36 of 40 people killed in a single incident in Ahmedabad city were Muslims.

It said Hindus freely targeted the Muslims before the police took action.

Police 'guilty'

The report says the police did not carry out the mandatory drill in the riot-affected areas.

No effort was made to contact religious and community leaders for appeals of peace, the report said.

"The general message sent out to the police was that minimum response and action to panic calls should be allowed, that armed crowds of 5-15,000 should be left to do their business and complaints should not be registered or should be doctored", the report said.

The group has alleged that the police were guilty of intimidating survivors into filing complaints without identifying the accused.

The report is the latest in a series of criticisms of the Gujarat Government which has been under attack by the opposition as well as welfare groups for failing to prevent the spread of violence in the state.

See also:

23 Apr 02 | South Asia
Gujarat vote in Indian parliament
18 Apr 02 | South Asia
Parliament impasse costs India
12 Apr 02 | South Asia
Analysis: BJP's Gujarat tactics
16 Apr 02 | South Asia
Gujarat Muslim women 'rape victims'
24 Mar 02 | South Asia
Rights panel censures Gujarat
15 Mar 02 | South Asia
India's secularism under threat?
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