When night falls, a quiet fear invades the smoky relief camps in Ahmedabad. For the
children of the Gujarat riots, the witching hour has begun. In the slow hours till dawn,
many huddle close to their mothers, struggling to stay awake. The horrific memories that
they try to hold at bay during the day stalk them in their sleep.
For the riot's children, there is a thin dividing line between memories and nightmares. There are visions of parents being dragged out of their homes and cut into pieces, of brothers and sisters thrown into flames. There are memories of women being brutally raped, foetuses ripped from pregnant bellies and of their own spine-chilling escapes from imminent death.
There are some 42,000 children among the over 1 lakh inmates in Gujarat's relief camps today. That's what the discredited state government says anyway. Those working in the field—civil rights groups, ngos—claim that there are at least 30,000 children in Ahmedabad's camps alone. Many of them are orphans. "Children have been worst affected by the carnage. Unlike...