Revisiting the callousness towards the Bombay riots

35 ’93 ‘rioters’ walk free (News report)

On the night of January 11, 1993, a mob of around 100 men ran riot in Lower Parel, pelting stones at buildings, looting and burning shops in the vicinity. The police had arrested 49 men, for offences ranging from rioting, housebreaking to theft, but since some of them absconded or died, the trial took place against 35 men (All of them hindus). Although the police assessed a total loss of approximately Rs 85 lakh, only about Rs 10,000 were recovered from the men. Even the investigating officer of the case died during the trial.

Defence lawyer J K Tandulekar said that the prosecution’s case failed miserably when all 13 witnesses failed to identify the accused, and no evidence was gathered to prove the accused had committed the offences. “After 15 years, no witness could recognise three dozen men from a frenzied mob which went on a rampage that night. Sadly, the huge monetary damages suffered during the incident will be foregone and unaccounted for, as the real culprits haven’t been nailed,” Tandulekar added. The prosecution had also alleged that a part of the mob pelted stones specifically on homes of-Muslim families. However, no witness could substantiate these claims nor could any or evidence be put before the court. With the recent acquittal, the number of those acquitted in the 1992-93 riots cases has gone up to 79 from 81 who have been tried (only two have been convicted). Of the 18 policemen examined, 11 turned hostile.

If any of you were around in those days, your blood would be boiling once again. Why is the onus always on the victims? I had seen those shops, houses burning. However, unlike the judge I think we ought to think beyond the money. In 15 years those people would have either managed to put their lives back together again or been out in the streets. Please do look carefully at the portions marked in bold.

How the hell are people to identify those from a mob? And if they had pointed out randomly to some, what would have happened? They would have to provide evidence? Of what? Did they take goddamn photographs while their shops and homes were looted? What does the judge want?

What does this mean: “The prosecution had also alleged that a part of the mob pelted stones specifically on homes of-Muslim families. However, no witness could substantiate these claims nor could any or evidence be put before the court”?

Isn’t this stupid? If those accused were rounded up, then did not the legal system already know who they were? Do they expect the victims to check just the way they were in those days in the good old “Drop your pants and show is who you are” manner?

Please let us know what evidence is required. Why is it so easy to start talking about Islamic terrorists and jihadis but difficult to point fingers at others? They were arrested, they were a mob, and they did commit a crime. What more do you want? Do you think they saved the money in little piggy banks at home after selling the loot to leave as traces of evidence?

Why don’t we just say: No justice is required in this case and be done with it? Well, you be done with it. Because I am going to keep at it.

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In the course of researching an old article of mine, I found this gem by someone, which essentially gets connected with what has been stated above:

Frankly this is what I think. FV doesn’t believe in the middle or moderate majority and the sooner it disappears the happier she is to be `vindicated`. It has been a constant implicit or explicit theme in all her writings on Hindu-Muslim affairs (according to me) that there are no Hindus who are not genocidal and no Hindus who are not hard core Hindutva-vadis pretending to be something else. This could be the general Indian Muslim belief or not, I have no way of knowing. Pakistanis are certainly 100% behind her on this as it is their national ideology.

Now if Hindus in turn believe that there are no moderate Muslims, that they are all genocidal, that of course is also welcome to FV since then she gets to be a victim twice over. It is an ideology one wields, leaving all responsibility for the complexities of real world to everyone else. It is labelled patriotism by some.


I have often said and will continue to say it: The moderate majority speaking on behalf of the minority is doing a disservice because it only shows up their ‘concern and magnanimity’. Yes, I believe it is patronising. So? Does it mean I do not believe they exist? It is because they exist I am asking them to lay off. It isn’t a question of vindication but letting us speak for ourselves. Am really tired of these “there are no Muslim leaders” whining from the other side…as though there are any good Hindu leaders.

It is convenient for people to accuse me of branding all Hindus when I very specifically use the terms Hindutvawadis, saffron brigade, Hindu fundamentalist. The fact that someone has to state that Pakistanis are behind me is very revealing. It just shows that without my having to believe in it, the Hindutva ideology has seeped into mainstream thought and any Indian Muslim who says something that is ‘Muslim’ in nature is immediately branded along with Pakistan. So, the problem lies with them, not with me.

Of course the last bit had me smiling. FV as victim twice over? FV takes full responsibility for what she believes in but not for what others expect or think she believes in. So, if someone says I think all Hindus are genocidal, that I should be nice to Taslima, then please go fly a kite. The complexities of the real world are as much mine…it is the fantasies of these cyber warriors who have not been to the places I have that makes them talk about the real world. Some of us just live in the real world. We write short stories and poems and musings when we want to fantasise and we call it fantasy or the labels mentioned.

As for patriotism. I really do not need anyone or their cyber chelas to tell me whether they think I am a patriot or not. I don’t need a certificate from anyone, Indian or NRI for that. Branding me with a victim complex is a ploy because many people cannot deal with someone who dishes it out to them in their language and refuses to be cowed down. Only a fool (or a wily mind) would call such a person a victim. There are indeed many so-called secular and liberal Muslims who have these hand-holding sessions with citizens groups and talk about how we are all one…and they feel good because of the concerned Hindus.

I am glad that I am not one with many Muslims either. And the Hindus who know me don’t need to support me. They know what I mean and I know what they mean and we both have our nice little fireside chats and have a good laugh at those who stand and stare.

We have travelled miles…and slept a peaceful sleep…


  1. FV:

    Pray, why can't you ignore these fools? Do they deserve this response?

  2. Agree with you and the proof of what you say is in Karnatak election result

  3. PS:

    The other response came later...I was angry over the report...now if you think the judgment is foolish, you are right...


    Am upset about Karnataka...and want ti wipe that smile off Advani's face.

  4. "Well, you be done with it. Because I am going to keep at it."

    Sigh ... Farzana ... hate to say it ... but India is a Hindu country. Nothing wrong with that of-course, but Indian Muslims unfortunately cannot lay claim to Indian soil.

    Now sue me!

  5. Zeemax:

    India is NOT a Hindu country, not with so many millions as a minority...besides, the Constitution does not say so. Therefore IMs will fight for what is theirs, if need be.

    Sue you? No. I need to save on lawyer's fees and make sure the next-door Abdul learns to do the Salsa or adds it to his poison!


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