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The violence of February-May 2002, especially in its early days, assumed ominous proportion in its reach and intensity. What was striking about this bout of communal carnage was its use of rape as a weapon to humiliate the minority community. The nature of the violence also assumed genocidal characteristics [1]: children were targeted and burnt alive, women were raped and burnt, means of living and livelihood were systematically destroyed, shrines and places of worship were desecrated and damaged and the social and economic boycott of these communities was encouraged. It was to this cataclysm, that the surviving victims of Gujarat bore witness. As of April 7, 2002, a report indicated that there were 42000 children living in relief camps alone. The total number of children over the state of Gujarat that witnessed this mayhem, the violence, the role of personnel in uniform, the massacres of immediate family and neighbors, the targeted vandalism against their symbols of faith, the ruination of their homes and their community's businesses and the social response to this tragedy (or the lack thereof), may never be known, but is apodictically very high. It is the lives of these children that I attempt to restrict the focus of this report to.

In order to fully comprehend the impact of the recent events on the young minds of these children, it is imperative to revisit the episode of their life that has scarred them irreversibly. 



[1] CONVENTION ON THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. Art. 2. In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.