5 May 2006

The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) expresses its deep concern at the recent incidents of anti-minority violence in Baroda. it strongly condemns the way in which an anti-encroachment drive was transformed by the administration and the police into a vicious attack on minority sentiments and then on their lives and livelihood. A 300-year old dargah cannot be characterized as an 'encroachment' on the same level as various other structures, religious and otherwise, that have come up in the recent years. The fact that the demolition squad was accompanied by a large mob of cheering people who celebrated the knocking down of the dargah lends credence to the belief that this was no normal drive. The response of the police to demonstrators agitated by the destruction of the dargah was certainly unjustified and excessive. The bias of the police and the administration were revealed when they turned a blind eye to mobs going on the rampage against minority-owned shops and business establishments and finally burning a Muslim to death in his car. All victims must be given adequate compensation by the State Govt. and erring members of the administration must be punished.</p> <p>Those responsible for these attacks must also be arrested and punished. AIDWA demands that the Central Govt. take appropriate action in this matter. AIDWA also demands that the cases pending at various levels connected with them 2002 riots be expedited and that a CBI enquiry be instituted into various aspects of the riots in which the State administration and Government were involved.