Update on the Darzikola Cemetery

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[On Sunday, 26 October 2008, the prestigious organization Human Rights Activists of Iran published a short repot on the recent desecration of the Baha’i cemetery of Darizkola:  http://hrairan.org/Archive_87/1140.html.  This is a crime about which Iran Press Watch has reported previously:  ipw/2008/10/24/desecration-of-the-bahai-cemetery-of-ghaemshahr/.  It should be noted that as our maps indicate, there are two Baha’is communities in the same area, Darzikola and Qa’emshahr (also spelled Ghaemshahr, which is a new name for the former Shahi).  Each of these towns has a Baha’i cemetery; and sometimes both cemeteries are referred to as Qa’emshahr’s, since that is a better known town.  This fact is pointed out because the Human Rights’ report refers to destruction of the Baha’i cemetery of Qa’emshahr, but it is our understanding that it is actually the one located in Darzikola which has been devastated.  Ahang Rabbani.]

While it has been less a month since the destruction of the Baha’i cemetery of Isfahan, during the dawn hours of Thursday, 23 October, the cemetery belonging to the Baha’i community of Qa’em-Shahr, in the province of Mazandaran, was desecrated in a similar manner.

The difference between these two incidents is that in this case, even more shamelessly and abhorrently, about 80% of the graves were destroyed using heavy equipment, and only a handful of the graves remain unmolested.

Evidence suggests that this heinous deed occurred around midnight.  The reason for this supposition is that on Thursday morning a number of Baha’is came by the cemetery and saw the destruction of the tombs. When they reported the matter to the authorities, several military officials and the town’s representative to the Islamic National Parliament, Ezatu’llah Akbari, came to the cemetery; however they then departed without doing anything at all.  In fact, as of this writing, they have taken no action whatsoever towards investigating this crime.

Given the scope and extent of these pre-planned attacks and destruction of Baha’i cemeteries, they cannot be considered to be the acts of a few individuals or prejudiced elements with no connection to the government.  When the government responds with the harshest measures and punishments to the most insignificant activities against the state security, how can it be that it leaves such violations without any response and completely ignores them?

The presence of the Parliament representative, Estau’llah Akbari, who is the deputy of the people of Qa’emshahr – a person who should be the defender of human rights for all people in that region – and his disregard towards this incident, and the indifference of the authorities to this shameful crime, is indeed a troubling thought.

However what is even more troubling is the worry that a widespread destruction of Baha’i cemeteries throughout the country using similar means is in process of taking place.

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