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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

URI to spotlight communal violence in India
Lecture rescheduled for March 4

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 26, 2003 -- To educate the public about the nature of the ongoing violence in India, the University of Rhode Island has rescheduled a lecture that was cancelled due to the recent blizzard.

Smita Narula, a senior researcher for the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch will speak on "Communal Violence in Gujarat, India—Crimes Against Humanity on March 4 at 7 p.m. Her talk will be held in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center and is free and open to the public.

Communal violence in India has become too serious for the international community to ignore. In February 2002, in Gujarat alone, about 2,000 people have died, women have been sexually violated, more than 150,000 people rendered homeless and turned into refugees in their own homeland, and millions of dollars worth of property destroyed and burned.

Since then, the violence has been continuing on a smaller scale at different places throughout India. The perpetrators have been continuously threatening to replicate the Gujarat experiment in all the states of India, according to Mohammed Sharif, economics professor at URI. Sharif, president of the Southern Rhode Island Islamic Society, helped organize the lectures.

Narula is the author of We Have No Orders to Save You: State Participation and Complicity in the Communal Violence in Gujarat. The 75-page report documents state and police participation in anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat. She is also the author of Broken People: Caste Violence Against India’s ‘Untouchables, a Human Rights Watch report on caste-based violence and discrimination that affects at least 160 million "untouchables" in India.

Before Narula’s lecture, there will be a screening of a video, Hey Ram: Genocide in the Land of Gandhi.

Narula will be available for interviews with the media, providing arrangements are made in advance. For more information call Sharif at 401-874-4119, e-mail him at or call the URI News Bureau at 401-874-2116.

URI’s Honors Program and Visiting Scholars Committee, and URI’s Women’s Center sponsor the event.

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