00 03
Fifty years ago my father - a muslim – took a train just like this.

00 11 He was fleeing India. All around him, Hindus and Muslims were killing each other.

Back in February the killings started again.

PTC: We’re travelling north-west from Bombay to a place called Godhra, which is where 58 pilgrims –Hindu pilgrims- were killed when a train was attacked.

00 32 The pilgrims were burned alive.

00 34 A muslim mob attacked the train.

00 38 Revenge followed. Hindu gangs killed hundreds of Muslims throughout the state of Gujarat.

In India, extreme Hindu nationalism is on the march

TITLE: The Saffron Warriors

01 02 Godhra, close to the border with Pakistan, was a town still in shock.
The violence that spread from here stunned the whole of India and was condemned by the national government in Delhi.

01 17 Everywhere I looked, I could see thousands of Muslim refugees from the countryside. In an abandoned school, I found 500 survivors from the village of Pandavara. One in ten of this state’s 50 million people are muslim, the rest overwhelmingly Hindu.

01 38 Husaina Bibi had only just escaped with her life.

PTC: There was a mob after her, her and her relatives. …they sought refuge in a Muslim lawyer’s house. The mob surrounded the house and climbed on top of the building. They threw acid into the house, over her and some of her friends. And set fire. So that’s how she got her injuries.

This gentleman was in the room when the attack happened. He tells me that the Hindus were shouting from outside: ‘Kill all the Muslims. Cut them all down.’

02 34 The villagers showed me their dead. Across Gujarat, the Indian Government says almost a thousand people have been killed since March, most of them muslims.

02 50 I was told that Inside the school, there was a room full of widows.

Under Islamic law, widows can’t talk to men during the grieving period.

But the women wanted to tell their stories to our camera.

03 08 Fatima Abbas described how a Hindu gang stormed into the village. I saw my own son being killed, she said. And no one helped.

03 23 Maqsooda also had a story to tell

03 31 She described how her husband was shot down with an arrow, then beaten. Finally, the Hindus set his body on fire.

03 49 The police stood by and watched it all, she said.

03 53 No-body helped.

04 03 I wanted see what the refugees had fled from.

04 09 Some of the women agreed to take me to their homes in Pandavera.

04 19 The road took us through a devastated landscape. Most of this happened in March. But there’s still sporadic violence.

04 33 This was the first time they’d been back to their village since the killings in March.

04 44 Alima Ben Kharade said she’d lost everything.

06 13 This wasn’t mindless violence. The killers had an extremist political agenda –that India is for Hindus.

06 47 Nearby, Hindu villagers told me what happened when another mob attacked their Muslim neighbours.

This woman’s a witness. She’s been telling me there were muslims being protected by their Hindu neighbours in this village here, and a two or three in the afternoon on the third of March a mob of 900 arrived and started burning doen the houses, and there’s a mosque here which they also burnt down, and the muslims eventually scattered and they ran to try and help themselves. And they scattered across the plain here. Now a group of eleven women jumped into this well. Seven of them died. Four of them wee eventually pulled out by the Indians, the hindus, who’s actually been looking after them.

07 52 Ahmedabad- the state capital of Gujarat. It epitomises modern India. From hi tech to high fashion - It’s all here.

08 07 India is ruled by a coalition led by the BJP, the hindu nationalist party. What sets Gujarat apart is that the state government is also run by the BJP.

The people who voted these one-time political outsiders into power are the new prosperous middle classes.

PTC: I’m here to have lunch with a middle class, quite well off family. I’m hoping they’ll tell me why.

08 30 Vijay Chauthaiwale works in pharmaceuticals. He was appalled by the recent violence. But though he was educated in America he votes Hindu nationalist. He wants Western prosperity. But he fears Western values.

Why are middle classes worried about losing their Hindu identity?
I would say a very remarkable phenomenon is happening in the middle class. They are becoming more Western in their lifestyle. No doubt about it –they are watching CNN and BBC and world cup soccer, and cricket and wearing Western outfits and maybe drinking, and something. But at the same time they are becoming more and more orthodox Hindus. This is very peculiar –if you see the number of people going to temples. And they are all in their Thirties and Forties.

09 25 Going to temple has become central to Ahmedabad’s middle classes. What was once a daily lunch for the poor has turned into an opportunity for people to assert their Hindu identities.

PTC: Here at the Jagarnath temple in Ahmedabad, This part of the city saw some of the worst communal riots here recently. I’ve come to meet a local priest and I’m going to try and find out exactly what he thinks about it.

09 56 In this temple, one of the biggest and most popular in Ahmedabad, politics and religion are becoming bedfellows. I thought the priest Rami Swar-Daas Gi would say Muslims and Hindus needed to get along. I was wrong.

Priest: I asked him if he thought there was a solution to some of the ethnic tensions here. And he says that the Muslims who don’t want to live here as part of mainstream society should be repatriated back to Pakistan. In fact he made a big thing out of blaming the government. He says the government isn’t doing its job properly. Because these people should be picked up and sent back to Pakistan.

10 37
That night, I set off for the offices of the World Hindu Council. It raises money from Hindu communities across the world for the nationalist cause. The message is simple: India for the Hindus.

11 19 Everywhere, were pictures of the train attacked by the muslim mob.

PTC: These are the victims of the train massacre in Godhra.

World Hindu Council: He said that as far as the Muslim population here is concerned, unless they have the same feelings of nationalism as the Hindus have, they’re in deep trouble. He said they should either vamoose, vanish, or he said the people here would take of them. People would take justice into their own hands. And you can only guess what would happen then.

12 08 Three hours out of Ahmedabad, and we’re outside the town of Lunavada.

12 15 I’d arranged to meet Arvind Sisodia, one of the leaders of the World Hindu Council. The Council, and its parent body, the RSS, had a masterplan – he explained.

PTC: He tells me that there were 75 countries, stretching from Burma all the way over to Iraq. They practised an earlier form of Hinduism, the foundation for the religion. There were distinct sects and they all later were united in India as Hinduism as we know it today. He says that the job of the RSS is to reclaim these 74 other countries, and therefore give birth again to this larger India.

PTC: I wanted to ask him how he felt about the attacks on Muslims since the incident on the train. And he tells me there haven’t been any attacks -that any Muslims deaths have been purely accidental.

13 35 Gujarat’s most powerful politician is a hero to Hindu nationalists He is the Chief Minister, a nationalist politician called Narinder Modi.

Somebody told me that he’s gonna be speaking here today. This is a peace rally that’s been organised.

14 00 The Jains are a Hindu sect committed to non-violence. Some wear masks so as not to harm even a fly. They were worried that the Chief Minister and the police had not done enough to prevent the violence.

14 17 The chief minister argues sometimes violent acts were non-violent. It was a complicated argument, and not one the Jains wanted to hear.

14 43 The Chief Minister agreed to meet me.

14 48 Among other things, I wanted to ask him about a report by British officials in India, later leaked to the press. It accused the state government of supporting the violence.

15 03 The Chief Minister started by telling me what had happened had caused him great pain:

At the time of the riot there was a report by the British that said that the violence was pre-planned, and that it was state sanctioned. How do you defend yourself against that?

He says that not even a fool would burn his own house, so why would he do something like that? He says this report issued by the British was full of lies and conjecture.

16 09 Last week the Chief Minister resigned. But he’s running a caretaker government until elections are held. He expects to gain an increased majority.

Yet all over Ahmedabad, there is evidence pointing to the ambiguous role in the violence played by some of those in authority.

16 30 In a Muslim area of Ahmedabad, I met Father Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit priest.

16 40 The attackers arrived in trucks he told me. Witnesses said they sang Hindu chants, and that many wore saffron scarves. The saffron flag is the symbol of hindu nationalism

Father Cedric: Because this was a place that was thriving with activity/ Okay? Throbbing with people. And now it’s still like a graveyard.

16 57 They knew which homes to target. They had printouts listing the addresses of Muslim families

See, one of the things I wanted to show you. See? This house –nothing has happened to this. Because the Om and the swastik signs are put.

17 11 The swastik is an ancient Hindu sign –meaning peace.

17 19 Father Cedric is convinced the printouts must have been obtained from official sources.

In 1999 there was a very private census, instituted by this government of Gujarat. It was directed at Muslims and Christian minorities in the state. Across the state, those who were Muslims, those who were Christian were identified –their places of worship, their residences were totally identified.

17 48 Gujarat, he said, has become a laboratory for extremist ideology.

Basically, this ideology is fascist. It is one nation, one culture, one race one religion, upper caste –exactly what Hitler wanted for in Nazi Germany. So there is no room, no tolerance for anybody else in this scheme of things.

18 09 India’s founding father, Mahatma Gandhi, lived in Gujarat. He wanted a tolerant, secular society.

Father Cedric: Gandhi would have been heartbroken. Thank God he’s dead.

18 32 Early one morning, I was taken to a field opposite one of the city’s Hindu temples.

18 55 Men meet like this every morning across the city. They are members of the RSS, the grand daddy of Hindu nationalism. The chief minister himself is a leading light in the organisation. The RSS has a formidable and growing grass roots membership.

19 15 At the end of their exercises, they pledge their allegiance –not to the Indian flag- but to the saffron flag of Hindu nationalism.

19 43 I wanted to learn more about how the RSS operated. A message was passed to head office that a British journalist was in town.

PTC: This is the Gujarat headquarters of the RSS. As a Muslim, I’m obviously slightly worried. If these people found out what my real name was –I’d probably be shipped off to Guantanamo Bay.

20 10 But in fact, Mukund Rao Deobhanker, couldn’t have been happier to explain how he was winning hearts and minds.

20 26 He says the press have blown the violence out of proportion:

He says it was a natural reaction that a thousand people should die here after the incident at Godhra. After having seen those pilgrims being burned alive. He says look at the case of America, after September the eleventh, they razed Afghanistan to the ground. He says these are natural reactions. These are events that normally happen when people witness symbolic images of carnage.

20 55 He wanted to show me a local contribution to one of the RSS’ most ambitious projects:

20 09 Across India, the RSS have set up schools.

21 14 They inculcate the pupils with the ideology of Hindu nationalism.

21 19 The headmaster told me how the pupils were chosen.

I asked him exactly what kind of school this was, and he tells me that they went round the neighbourhood schools and they picked the most intelligent -they took IQ tests in local schools. And they picked the most intelligent kids. Who apart from going to those schools also get special teaching here afterwards as well.

21 51 The RSS is planning for the future. They want these youngsters to rise to positions of power.

22 09 Nearby, in the Muslim refugee camps, another generation of children is growing up:

PTC: In a camp just on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. This is probably one of the worst looking camps I’ve seen yet. Conditions are absolutely horrible here.

22 32 The forces of modernity can bring great prosperity. But it seems they can also threaten people’s sense of who they are. And that can mean the emergence of new and darker identities

A Hindu mob attacked his dad, and they poured kerosene over him and set him on fire. And he ran away. But he was captured and one of the men took a cleaver and chopped his fingers off.

23 35 As I left, a group of Hindus and Muslims were praying together.

23 40 They want peace: but they have powerful enemies.

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