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A Heartening Development In India

Six years ago, in the Indian state of Gujarat, as many as 2000 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim violence. It all started when a train carrying hundreds of Hindus caught fire, probably by accident. But thanks to a nationalist government intent on stoking sectarian anger, riots began and--over the course of many months--Gujarati Muslims were raped and killed in huge numbers. But now we have some very good news for democracy in India: 

The Indian Supreme Court has ordered fresh investigations into several high-profile cases of Hindu-Muslim violence in 2002 in Gujarat State, effectively concluding that justice cannot be done in the Hindu-dominated state.

Thanks in large part to the work of Indian non-profit groups unwilling to let the case die, there is some hope that government officials who passively or actively encouraged the killings will finally be punished. Unfortunately, the chief minister of Gujarat is the same man who spurred on the rioters six years ago, and then did nothing to curb the violence (he was elected to another term last December). This issue will be worth watching closely, especially if the more liberal national (but not, thankfully, nationalist) government decides to call early elections later this year. 

P.S. Paul Scott fans will get a kick out of the fact that the NYT story on the case is written by a certain 'Hari Kumar'.

Isaac Chotiner