India. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims increased
sharply in February, when militant Hindus announced that,
despite court bans, they intended to build a new temple in
Ayodhya in northern India, where the demolition of a mosque in
1992 led to severe riots. A train of Hindu pilgrims was said
to have been attacked by Muslims at a station in the state
of Gujarat and 59 Hindus were burned in when a chariot was
ignited. The deaths triggered severe persecution of Muslims
Countryaah website, about 100,000 people were driven away from their homes
and by the end of May at least 1,000 people were estimated
to have been killed, most of them Muslims. The investigation
of the fire in the railway carriage later showed that it
ignited from inside.
Independent analyzes of the violence in Gujarat gave the
state government under the Hindu Conservative Party BJP
(Bharatiya Janata Party; "Indian People's Party") a large
part of the blame for the unrest because of its inaction.
Despite the criticism, the government strengthened its
position in the new elections in December, which was a
welcome success for the BJP, which earlier in the year and
2001 had lost several state elections. In September, 31
Hindus were killed when a temple in Gujarat was attacked by
two Muslim extremists.
A new war against neighboring Pakistan was imminent. The
situation was already tense as the year began and was
seriously worsened after a guerrilla attack in March against
a military camp in Kashmir, killing 34 people, including the
wives and children of many soldiers. A strong military
recharge took place along the border during spring and
summer. Only towards the end of the year did the troops
begin to withdraw.
However, Kashmir remained India's most troubled corner.
Prominent politician Abdul Ghani Lone was assassinated in
May, at least 27 Hindus were killed in a guerrilla attack in
the city of Jammu in July and 14 people were killed when
terrorists attacked two Hindu temples in Jammu in November.
Despite the unrest, elections were held in Kashmir in
September - October. More than 800 people were killed during
the election campaign and separatists called for election
boycotts. Still, 46% took part in that election as a
manifestation against the extremists who have taken over the
Kashmiris' independence struggle. The election was a
stinging defeat for the ruling party National Conference,
which is also part of the federal government. New head of
government became Mohammad Sayid from the People's
Democratic Party, which formed a coalition with the Congress
Three men were sentenced in December to death for
participating in the terrorist attack on the New Delhi
Parliament in 2001, when 14 people, including five
assailants, were shot dead.
Flooding in northeastern India coincided with severe drought
in other parts of the country. The drought was estimated to
slow economic growth by about one percentage point to just
over 5%. The economy was generally worse off than expected
and in a government reshuffle in July, Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh had to
change jobs. In July, an elective assembly elected rocket
scientist Abdul Kalam as president. He became I's third
Muslim head of state.
Following the terrorist attack in New York on September
11, the United States lifted sanctions against India and
Pakistan, which had otherwise been imposed 3 years earlier
when the two countries conducted nuclear weapons tests. The
removal of the sanctions was the "prize" for the two
countries for their support of Washington in the fight
In October, Kashmir returned to the center of the
Pakistan-India conflict as Indian troops opened fire on a
Pakistani military post. Several Indian policemen died when
a Pakistani suicide unit attacked the New Delhi parliament.
Both countries feared a new war and therefore strengthened
their military positions along the border. In early 2002,
India conducted successful tests on the Agni nuclear missile
In February 2002, a train of Hindu pilgrims caught fire
near Godhra in Gujarat. 60 people perished. Subsequently, a
rumor spread that Muslims were behind the fire, triggering a
storm of anti-Muslim assaults and arson that cost between
900 and 2,000 lives. Most Muslims. Along the way, the state
government imposed curfew in many of the larger cities, but
many subsequently pointed out that the government had done
far too little to prevent the assaults on Muslims. A 2008-09
study indicated that Gujarat's Hindu nationalist governor
Narendra Modi had political and legal co-responsibility for
Despite Indian Secretary of Defense George Fernandes'
assurances in June 2002 that Indian troops would remain
along the border for as long as needed, the scale of attacks
into Kashmir declined significantly following diplomatic
interference from the EU, US, Russia and others. countries.
In 2002, most political parties - including the Congress
Party and the government coalition - supported Abdul Kalam's
candidacy as president of India. He was a scientist and the
protagonist behind the nation's development of nuclear
weapons. Kalam - also known as the "missile man" - took over
the presidential post in July, becoming India's third Muslim
The Kashmir separatists called for a boycott of the
parliamentary elections in October, and for security reasons
it was therefore implemented in 4 stages. The turnout ended
at 44%, and after three decades of uninterrupted rule, the
National Jammu and Kashmir Conference lost the election to a
coalition of the People's Democratic Party and the Congress
Party. Democratic Party leader Mufti Mohammed Sayeed became
the state's new prime minister.
In 2003, 29 Indians were sentenced to death. How many
executions were actually carried out is unknown as the
government does not publish information on executions. In
March, the anti-terror law POTA was passed, and it also
included the use of the death penalty, and was sometimes
applied during the year. In November, the central government
declared itself willing to apply the death penalty in rape
cases as well.