IV.  TARGETED ECONOMIC DESTRUCTION OF THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY

A Times of India report on Wednesday, 6, March, 2002 clearly outlines the extensive and systematic economic damage that was caused to the minority community.

The Report states: “ The communal disturbances that rocked the city for one week has caused heavy losses of around Rs 300 crore to the production and sale of fabrics manufactured in 18 textile mills and over 200 process houses and powerloom units - a majority of them still closed as fear stricken workers have left for their native places.”

A another report by Daily Pioneer on 7 March 2002, titled “Gujarat riots take huge toll on economy” gives a detailed account on the economic lose suffered and the extensive and deliberate damaged caused. The report highlighted the following: 

    According to Union Textile Minister Kashiram Rana, who hails from Surat, two textile mills a number of handloom units apart from other industries in the city were damaged.

    60 Opel Astra cars and other vehicles parked inside the GM Motors at Halol were reduced to ashes. The loss is estimated at around Rs 10 crore.

    The loss to the nearby Lucky Film Studio, which also bore the brunt of mob fury, was of the order of Rs 2 crore.

    A Landmark Honda Showroom at Thaltej on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway, which the VHP mob mistook as belonging to Muslims, was a burning inferno, with Honda City cars and brand new fleet of Accord cars being torched. The consequent loss is put at Rs 4 crore.

   The hotel industry suffered a loss of Rs 600 crore in Ahmedabad alone, according to President of the city's Hotel-Restaurant Association Ratanprakash Gupta. He said as a result at least 20,000 workers, who were dependent on these hotels, have been rendered jobless; and many are missing, among them were a large number of migrant workers.

   The loss arising out of burning down hotels and restaurants in other parts of the State is said to be in the region of Rs 500 crore. Among the 'casualties' were two A/c hotels in Bhavnagar and innumerable small restaurants on highways and small towns.

    At least 20,000 two-wheelers and 4,000 cars were reportedly burnt. Thousands of vehicles were torched at Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and scores of trucks on Kalogudhra, Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar, Mehsana-Ahmedabad and Surat-Vadodara highways. They are lying everywhere - 20 to 30 vehicles lying broken or burnt every kilometres on the inner streets of Ahmedabad. Most of the vehicles belonged to innocent Hindu customers. Garage owners, most of them Muslims, fled to escape mob fury.

    The State road transport buses and city buses were withdrawn before the bandh days after at least seven buses had been set on fire. Besides the five industrial units burnt down at Halol, the mob set fire nine tricks carrying cars.

    Three big industries were heavily damaged at Shapar Veraval area in Saurashtra, six plastic and other industrial units at Rajkot, several units in Vadodara, Surat, Godhra and Bhavnagar inside GIDC estates (industrial sheds of the Government).

Professor Keshavram Kashiram Shastri, Chairman of the Gujarat unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, made a startling revalation. He said that the list of shops owned by Muslims in Ahmedabad was prepared on the morning of February 28 itself.

He stated: “In the morning we sat down and prepared the list. We were not prepared in advance.”

Asked why they did it, he responded, "Karvun j pade, karvun j pade (it had to be done, it had to be done). “We don't like it, but we were terribly angry. Lust and anger are blind." He said the rioters were "kelvayela Hindu chokra" (well-bred Hindu boys).

He stated the reasons of the deliberation inaction of the Police on the rioters. He said "They feared death.”  "And some of them were Hindus who thought, let the mob do whatever it wants."

He also admitted that people had been burnt, mosques razed, and shops looted, but argued that all that had been done in a “frenzy"

The complete interview can be accessed on http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/mar/12train.htm

(Concerned Citizens Tribunal Report 2002)