Organised bands of armed Hindus — some from groups tied to Modi’s party — fanned across the state seeking revenge against Muslims for allegedly burning a train full of Hindu pilgrims a few weeks earlier. The Hindu rioters systematically sought out and destroyed Muslim homes and businesses, killing more than 1,000 people. Muslim women were singled out. According to many Indian and foreign sources, including a Human Rights Watch account and a report by an international research team called ‘Threatened Existence: A Feminist Analysis of the Genocide in Gujarat,’ women were stripped, gang-raped, often publicly, and in almost all cases then burned or hacked to death. The reason the violence reached such extremes was that the state police stood back and did not intervene to stop the attacks by Hindu fanatics and even told victims that it could not protect them.
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