The validity of the clinical construct of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been questioned in non-Western cultures. This report describes in-depth interviews exploring the experiences of women who were traumatised by the communal riots in Ahmedabad, India, in March 2002. Three specific narratives are presented which describe experiences that closely resemble re-experiencing, avoidance and hyperarousal. Thus, symptoms described as characteristic features of PTSD in biomedical classifications are clearly expressed by the women in our study, and are attributed by them to trauma and grief. We conclude that PTSD may be a relevant clinical construct in the Indian context.