Press Statement regarding Gujarat issued by the participants at the 'Siting Secularism Conference', 21 April 2002, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, USA. (

We the participants of the Siting Secularism conference express our serious concern at the state-sponsored pogrom launched against Muslims of Gujarat for over 45 days now.

The incident at Godhra shocked us all and was immediately condemned by various religious and human rights organisations. However, we unequivocally condemn the cynical use of that incident by the RSS, BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal and the Gujarat state machinery to justify the massacre that followed.

Several fact-finding reports have revealed the pre meditated nature of the violence and the planned targetting of Muslim lives and businesses with the full backing and connivance of the police and state administration. Every government official who took a principled position has been targeted, harassed and transferred. There is also no doubt that the VHP and the RSS have been the primary organisers of the carnage in Gujarat.

We are deeply alarmed by the continued refusal of the Indian government to take action against the government of of Gujarat headed by Mr. Narendra Mody and by the recent public pronouncements of India's Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee describing the Muslim communities of India and elsewhere as trouble makers.

We are equally concerned at the prospect of elections being held in the state of Gujarat under the present conditions where the Muslim community is in a state of siege.

We call upon all Indians to:

Signed by:
Gauri Viswanathan (Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, New York, USA)
Partha Chatterjee (Professor of Political Science and Director, CSSSC, Calcutta, India)
Shyam Benegal (Film maker, Bombay, India)
Nira Benegal (Bombay, India)
Mushirul Hasan (Director, Academy of Third World Studies , Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi)
Kum Kum Sangari (Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi, India)
Ravi S. Vasudevan (Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India)
Nivedita Menon (Delhi University, India)
Raveena Agarwal (Assoc. Professor of Anthropology, Smith College, USA)
Rachel Sturman (Asst. Professor of South Asian History; Fellow, Society of Fellows, University of Michigan, USA)
Upendra Baxi (Professor of Law, University of Warwick, UK)
Akeel Bilgrami (Professor of Philosophy , Columbia University, New York, USA)
Gyan Prakash (Professor of History, Princeton University, New Jersey, USA)
Gyanendra Pandey (Professor of Anthropology and History, Johns Hopkins University, USA)
Anuradha Dingwaney Needham (Professor, Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan (University of Oxford, UK)
Tadhg Foley (Professor, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
Anupama Rao (Asst. Professor, History, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA)
Shabnum Tejani (Lecturer, Barnard College, Columbia University, USA)
Tayyab Mahmud (Professor of Law, Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA)
Raza Mir (Professor of Management, Monmouth University, USA)
Ali Mir ( Assoc. Professor of Information Systems, Monmouth University, USA)
Biju Mathew (Professor of Information Systems, Rider University, USA)
Srimati Basu (Asst. Professor, Anthropology, De Pauw University, Indiana, USA)
Satish Koluri (Pace University, New York)
Zoe Shernin (Asst. Professor Music, University of Oklahoma, USA)
Bhasker Sarkar ( Asst. Professor, Film Studies, UC Santa Barbara, USA)
Amitava Kumar (Assoc. Professor, English, Penn State University, USA)
Bishnupriya Ghosh (Assistant Professor, English, UC Davis, USA)
Manu Bhagavan, ( Asst. Professor, Dept. of Political Scince, Manchester College, USA)
Shuchi Kapila (Asst. Professor, Keynon College, Ohio, USA)
Sanjay Ruparelia (Cambridge University, UK)
Wendy Kazd (Assoc. Professor, Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Jennifer Bryan (Asst. Professor, Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Ravindran Sriramachandran (Columbia University, New York, USA)
Sivakumar Arumugam (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Teena Purohit (Columbia University, New York, USA)
Neelam Srivastava ( Student, Oxford University, UK)
Poornima Paidipaty (Columbia University, New York, USA)
Malavika Kasturi (History Dept., Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Priya Kumar (Asst. Professor, University of Iowa, USA)
Arvind Rajagopal (Assoc. Professor New York University, USA)
Josna Rege (English Department, Dartmouth College, New York, USA)
Rajan Krishnan (Columbia University, New York, USA)
Amardeep Singh (Lehigh University, USA)
Christi A Merrill (Asst. Professor South Asian Literature, University of Michigan, USA)
Jyotika Virdi (Asst. Professor, film/media studies, University of Windsor, Canada)
Harsh Kapoor (South Asia Citizens Web, France)
Dwaipayan Sen (Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Shahana Siddiqui (Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Rashne Limki (Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Pamela de Bourg (Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Sarah Green (Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)
Morgon Williams ( Oberlin College, Ohio, USA)

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