The authors, both anthropologists, have conducted long-term fieldwork in the slums of Mumbai and Ahmedabad where the experiences of inter-religious tensions continue to determine not only everyday interactions, but also the territorial reorganization of localities. Their paper offer two undiluted case studies of (a) a Hindu woman rioter attacking Muslims in Mumbai, and (b) a Muslim woman confronted with Hindu mobs in Ahmedabad. The sequence of events described by the women highlights how the dread of Hindutva-related processes on the ground defined notions of safety and solidarity amongst both casualties and perpetrators of violence. The two voices of women occupying these contested spaces further reveal how women’s experiences of suffering and loss during the eruption of religious hostilities are intimately related to their domestic space, family relations, bereavement, mobility, their socio-economic position within urban ghettos, the integrity of female bodies, etc., over and above women’s disillusionment with the state, secular and faith-based organisations.
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