‘Congress ran away when 1992-93 riots broke out’
In Gujarat, so many (riot) cases have come up because of SHRC that filed writ petitions before the high court. We have to strengthen such institutions and ensure they do not come under government pressure.
Sukanya Shetty: When riots break out, most state governments do not use power. What role did Congress play during the 1992-93 riots, as it was in power in the state as well as at the Centre?
Muchhala: Congress ran away. No Congress worker was seen on the street. But at the time of election they included these things (riot cases and Srikrishna Commission report) in
Zeeshan Shaikh: Do you also see a failure on the part of the community? Do you think the community is suffering from some sort of persecution complex? Is there a need for the community to introspect? All is not well with the Muslim community, after all.
Muchhala: I would not call it a persecution complex, but a sense of alienation. There is distrust between the Muslim community and the establishment. But do you blame only Muslims? After the Mecca blast, Muslim boys were picked up. After Malegaon, again Muslim boys were picked up. Then again for Ajmer blast. It is not that Muslims do not commit crimes, but it is the way the community is targeted.
A feeling of alienation is definitely there. Muslims feel police are against them. After the 1993 blasts, police kept 45 Mahim families captive for a number of days as they suspected involvement of a member of one.
Police said produce him and go home. After it became hot for police to keep so many people captive, they locked up one member of each of the 45 families at the office of the commissioner in Crawford Market. I had to file a writ petition to get them released. The government later claimed no one was detained.