Muslim refugees face new horrors in camps Aid workers tell of Hindu terror tactics and appalling conditions INDIA S. N. M. Abdi in Calcutta SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST , p 13 March 25, 2002 Around midnight, thousands of Muslims in Ahmedabad's largest relief camp at the Shah-e-Alam shrine are woken by the shrill cry of Hindu mobs baying for their blood. But Rafiq Ahmed, who runs the camp, tells the frightened refugees to go back to sleep. "We found out that Vishwa Hindu Parishad hoodlums are now playing cassettes of blood-curdling cries and howls on loudspeakers at night to intimidate inmates and deprive them of sleep," Mr Ahmed said. He added that the police were ignoring the new terror tactics of this and other anti-Muslim groups in Gujarat, where Hindu-Muslim tensions continue to simmer after the recent rioting that left more than 700 dead. Gujarat's Bharatiya Janata Party Government is facing severe criticism for the appalling conditions in state-run relief camps for 75,000 Muslims displaced by large-scale killings, arson and looting by Hindu mobs. The Government also is under pressure for its inaction during the rioting, when Hindus killed more than 650 Muslims and burned shops and homes throughout Gujarat after the deaths of 58 Hindu activists on a train set on fire by a Muslim mob on February 27. Police said a curfew was in force yesterday in the Vijalpur area of Ahmedabad and in Jambusar in Bharuch district after scattered incidents. In the latest unrest yesterday a mob killed a Muslim woman in Vijalpur, a Hindu-majority area of Ahmedabad, and one person was stabbed in the same area, police said. A leading non-governmental organisation, Sahmat, has accused the Government of discriminating against the victims of violence, mostly Muslims, living in shelters throughout the state. Aid workers say there is an acute shortage of food, cooking oil, sugar and other needs such as medicine, clothes and blankets. The Hindustan Times newspaper reported that each camp, housing about 3,000 people, had only six toilets and people received only 60 grams of wheat a day. Authorities are stopping relief trucks sent by Muslim charities to the camps, claiming they have received reports that the trucks might be smuggling arms. "There is no sign of the fabled Gujarati philanthropy which was so much in evidence during last year's earthquake," said Harsh Mander, of Action Aid India. "The Muslim riot victims are being looked after almost exclusively by Muslim organisations. It is as though the monumental pain, loss, betrayal and injustice suffered by them is the concern only of other Muslim people." Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet have not visited any of the 29 shelters, blaming security concerns. Father Jimmy Dhabi, a Jesuit priest in Ahmedabad, said government officials refused to lend his group a single truck to deliver food to the camps. He said: "They won't give us police protection. The other day, armed Hindu men stopped us as we were coming out of a Muslim neighbourhood and held a spear to our throats." Christians also have been targeted by Hindu mobs in the violence gripping the state. Besides food and shelter, aid workers said there was also an urgent need for counselling to help the dispossessed cope with psychological trauma.