Between February 28 and March 2, thousands of attackers descended on Muslim neighborhoods, clad in saffron scarves and khaki shorts, the signature uniform of Hindu nationalist groups, and armed with swords, sophisticated explosives, and gas cylinders. They were guided by voter lists and printouts of addresses of Muslim-owned properties-information obtained from the local municipality. In the weeks following the attacks, Hindu homes and businesses were also destroyed in retaliatory attacks by Muslims.
The groups most directly involved in the violence against Muslims include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, VHP), the Bajrang Dal, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that heads the Gujarat state government. Collectively, they are known as the sangh parivar, or family of Hindu nationalist organizations.
The Gujarat state administration has been engaged in a massive cover-up of the state's role in the massacres and that of the sangh parivar. Numerous police reports filed by eyewitnesses after the attacks have specifically named local VHP, BJP, and Bajrang Dal leaders as instigators or participants in the violence. The police, reportedly under instructions from the state, face continuous pressure not to arrest them or to reduce the severity of the charges filed. Top police officials who sought to protect Muslims have been removed from positions of command.