COMMUNALISM

Delhi 1984. Ayodhya, Kolkata, Surat 1992. Mumbai 1993. Gujarat 2002. Kandhamal 2008. These are just some of the unforgettable dates etched as fractures that have divided communities over the last two decades. While there is much more to communal politics than violent outbursts, these events and the times leading up to them have critically informed our understanding of their long term negative impact on our rights and freedoms as women. While our work in crisis intervention helped us develop a keen understanding of the control of religion and religious laws on women’s lives, sexuality and access to resources.

Cases like Shah Bano illustrated how far women can be pushed back for the ‘sake of the community’. Further, situations of conflict, like the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and the anti-Muslim genocide in Gujarat have compelled us to work at various levels. Organising relief and rehabilitation work, fighting to ensure State support for victims, demanding punishment for the guilty, working as part of democratic and secular platforms to create an environment of peace and harmony, being part of fact finding missions and efforts to develop new laws as well as developing a feminist critique of rising fundamentalisms… our work on communalism is facing new challenges every day.


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