Friday, April 22, 2016

Forty years after Turkman Gate firing: Massacre, killing of Muslims during emergency, is now a forgotten affair

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

The day passed off quietly without a whimper. There were no tears, no protest, no recall of the tragedy or any demand for justice.

April 18 was the 40th anniversary of the Turkman gate killings--when poor Muslims of the area were shot dead, killed in cold blood during Emergency.

The incident had occurred in Delhi, the national capital. As Sanjay Gandhi was calling the shots and there was tight control over newspapers, it was foreign media [BBC] that broke the news of the atrocities, blood and gore.

Yet, the massacre, one of the worst in the national capital in India's history, has been forgotten. What happened at Turkman gate was so horrific that even today one shudders while recalling (or writing about) the incident.

The firing continued for long. And then all signs of blood and gore were also removed, as bulldozers decimated the entire slum--taking everything along. The ground was flattened. It was all over. 

Read, except from this book:

This excerpt is from the book, 'The Sanjay Story'.

It was written by Vinod Mehta. Many other writers have recalled the brutal attack on the residents of the locality.

It was a Muslim-dominated locality and the DDA wanted the land cleared. Veteran Congress leader Subhadra Joshi had suggested locals to go for Gandhian protest.

Hundreds of women and children with black bands, sat on the street. This was one of the incidents that caused immense anger among people.

Muslims were naturally shocked, all over the country.

The atrocities and the casual nature of the Congress leaders towards the killings, as if nothing had happened, angered them the most.

It was the beginning of the Muslim disenchantment with the Congress. In fact, Turkman gate killings, hurt the Muslim psyche across the country, particularly, North India. 

After the incident, Muslims began looking for alternatives. The next election was, of course, won by Janata Party.

But, in each state, Muslims were no longer going to vote for the Congress. In parliamentary elections too, the situation was same.

With the sole exception of 1985, Muslims never voted for Congress, as a block, in the aftermath of Turkman gate killings.

Turkman Gate, Photo Courtesy: Varun Shiv Kapur on Flickr

Do read:

READ: The Khooni Kissa of Turkman Gate [Excerpt from the book, 'For Reasons of State: Delhi Under the Emergency']