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‘Tried’ and ‘Convicted’

March 28, 2010

The ten hour long ‘interrogation’ of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has seen such massive media coverage that the whole exercise, it seems is being orchestrated by a section of the media that has already made up its mind. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the Gujarat riots of 2002 is an assembly of CBI officers who have been entrusted the task of finding out the facts and then to give their report to the highest judicial body of the land. The media has been short on patience and has not refrained from calling Modi a ‘mass murderer’. The constitutional head of an important state of the Indian Union, Gujarat is being treated as a petty criminal. This sends a wrong signal to the world. The US refused to grant Mr. Modi visa for a conclave of Gujarati Diaspora. Such rhetorical jingoism smacks of a lack of self respect and shows that there is no holds bar in a political gamesmanship that is really a fight for power in the guise of so called investigation into ‘genocide’, ‘mass murder’ and what not.

Let us get our facts right. Was 2002 the first time riots have taken place in Gujarat? The worst riots in Gujarat were not the 2002 riots but the one in 1969 when more than 1000 people lost their lives. It is said that the riots were engineered by Congress led by Indira Gandhi when she did not like the chief minister who was a protégé of Mr. Morarji Desai. Since then there have been riots in various parts of the state but the majority of them were in Ahmedabad. Riots in Ahmedabad had been a regular feature in seventies and eighties. The riots were generally during the time of the Rath Yatra and Durga Puja. This was an annual feature. If one goes through the newspaper reports and magazines of those times one would find such riots a regular event and the one name that cropped up again and again behind these riots was that of a man who today happens to be the General Secretary of the Congress Party. The riots of 1985 stand out as one that were prolonged and many lost their lives during those riots. I may add here that the notion that the riots were engineered by Hindus is total falsehood and it is well known that Hindus were at the receiving end during these riots that took place on a regular basis. I am not sure if there were any committee’s setup to probe these riots, what I do know is that none was convicted in the riots of those times.

The ascendance of Narendra Modi and the BJP on the politics of Gujarat was as a result of this insecurity among the people (read Hindus) of Gujarat. The administrative ineptness of the Congress was a contributing factor. Was the 2002 Gujarat riots engineered by the BJP and its affiliates? The answer is a resounding no!! People are so lost in the shrill campaign that is being orchestrated that they forget that there was carnage in Godhra where 54 innocent men, women and children were burnt alive by a mob of Muslims. These families were returning from Ayodhya after performing kar seva (community work). The Sabarmati Express was stopped by a mob of Muslims, more than a hundred liters of petrol was used to char the S6 bogey of the train to cinders. Some managed to escape but there were 54 passengers, among them women and children that were burnt to death. The cries of these innocent passengers rang out loud throughout Gujarat and what followed was a reprisal to these brutal killings.

There is much talk of Naroda Patia, Best Bakery and the ‘murder’ of Ehsaan Jaffery in Gulbarg Society. It is being projected that only Muslims were killed in these riots. The facts speak otherwise. While 790 Muslims lost their lives in the riots of 2002 there were 254 Hindus who were killed too. It was not as if the Muslims were being targeted only. There were Hindus living near Muslim ghettos who were threatened and killed, their eyes gouged. More than 10,000 Hindus were forced to live in refugee camps after the riots. Did anyone care to ask about their welfare? Does anyone know that more than 250 Hindus were killed by marauding Muslim mobs in a most brutal fashion? Even in the Naroda Patia and the Best Bakery cases not all who were killed were Muslims.

The fact is that the mass killing of innocents in Godhra was such a shock for the people of Gujarat that the state started to burn and it took the administration some time to get its resources and the para-military forces to douse the fire. Which Chief Minister would like to see his state in chaos and anarchy? Modi is being portrayed by many as a modern day Nero but if he were quite so ineffective, the people of the state would not have returned him to power again and again. The fact is that the growth rate of Gujarat is the highest in the country and the state is doing remarkably well in all spheres of development.

Neither were the Gujarat riots carnage nor was it a one-sided affair, as is being portrayed. The Hindu, Chennai reported on the 2nd of March, 2002, as follows:

But unlike Thursday (i.e. Feb 28) when one community was entirely at the receiving end, the minority backlash (on 1st March) caused further worsening of the situation.
Police presence had little impact on the two communities pelting stones at each other in Bapunagar, Gomtipur, Dariapur, Shahpur, Naroda and other areas from where incidents of firing had been reported. But there were no reports of casualty. Pitched battle was continuing between the two communities late in the evening.
The official sources said timely arrival of the police foiled a retaliatory attempt to break into a prominent temple in Jamalpur locality in the walled city.”

Months later, (16 September 2003) reported

“Gujarat riots probe: ‘Muslims attacked Hindus’

A woman on Tuesday alleged before the two-member Nanavati Commission that an armed mob of Muslims, led by a Congress councillor, attacked Hindus in Bapunagar area in Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots.

“On the day of the VHP-sponsored bandh (i.e.28 February 2002), armed Muslim men had stormed our locality and some of them even stripped and said: Kill the Hindu eunuchs. Send your mothers and sisters,” Sudha Patel, a resident of Patelnagar, told the panel probing the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat.

“They gorged the eyes of a youth with swords and repeatedly crushed him under their truck till he died, they then stripped and made obscene gestures at Hindus,” she alleged.

Patel told Justice G T Nanavati (retd) and Justice K G Shah (retd) that though all persons in the mob had masked their faces, she managed to recognise the councillor, Taufeeq Khan Pathan, and his son, Zulfi, on March one.

She alleged that the mob beheaded a local mendicant, who tried to pacify them, in front of her. “They later hung his head displaying it to the locals, saying: We have chopped off your mendicant,” she alleged.

She said terror still reigns in the minds of children in Patelnagar and sought protection from anti- social elements.

Human Rights Watch visited Mahajan No Vando, a fortified Hindu residential area situated within the Muslim dominated area of Jamalpur, on March 23. Mahajan No Vando was the site of a retaliatory attack by Muslims on March 1.
According to residents, approximately twenty-five people were injured in the attacks and at least five homes were completely destroyed. Residents closer to the periphery of the fortified compound and its entrance also suffered extensive property damage. Muslim residents attacked the compound from the higher Muslim-owned buildings that surrounded it using light bulbs filled with acid, petrol and crude bombs, and bottles filled with kerosene and set some Hindu-owned houses on fire. According to the residents, who had collected and saved the remnants of what was thrown in and showed them to Human Rights Watch, “There was acid in the glass bottles and in the light bulbs that were thrown in. They used solvent petrol, kerosene, and acid. They filled some Pepsi bottles with them.”

Gujarat government, on the advice of the Supreme Court, appointed the Nanawati Commission to probe the Gujarat riots. Then there was a U.C. Banerjee committee instituted to look into the riots. Now there is a SIT appointed by the Supreme Court to find out the details about the riots.

Just a word about those who have been on the forefront of this incessant tirade against Narendra Modi and the BJP government of Gujarat. Teesta Setalvad, a human rights activist and a lawyer is at the forefront of this crusade. She is married to Javed Anand. Both Teesta and her husband are card holding members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).  They are known to have been funded by the Congress Party. The other is the newspaper, Tehelka. This is also a left oriented newspaper and is being funded by the Congress Party (though they deny this). Suffice to say that their credentials are dubious to say the least.

Narendra Modi and the Gujarat government of the BJP has been in the dock for the past eight years for having engineered the riots of 2002. The fact is that this is a political gamesmanship that is being played and the Congress has stooped low in trying to use the judiciary to achieve their political aims. Narendra Modi is a thorn in the flesh of the Congress and they want to regain power in Gujarat any which way and if that means they have to keep on mouthing lies and more lies, so be it. They fail to understand that when they do this they are sending a very negative signal the world over- that the head of a state of India is a ‘mass murderer’. This is a poor reflection on the country.

The brouhaha over Narendra Modi is helping Modi in a different way. Congress’s obsession with Modi is so profound that they have projected him as a larger than life political figure. In effect, they have failed to prop up any credible leader from their own party and this has meant that there is no alternative to Narendra Modi in Gujarat. By proxy, Congress is ensuring a longer stint for Mr. Modi than he would have probably enjoyed had they stuck to their task and stopped targeting Modi constantly. This irks the common Gujarati who then vents his anger by voting decisively for Modi. The Congress increases the pitch against Modi and this again boomerangs. Congress would do well to project their own agenda and try to play the role of a constructive opposition, so that the people know what the alternative is. By projecting Modi as a pariah and asking anyone who associates with Gujarat or Modi, who is the constitutional head, they are in effect slighting the people of Gujarat. The way they kept on asking Amitabh Bachchan as to why he became the brand ambassador of Gujarat was obscene. Now they are demanding that the Chief Justice of India refuse to share dais with Mr. Modi. This is ridiculous and smacks of arrogance.

The widow of Ehsaan Jaffery has been issuing statements from time to time. English language news channels are lapping up all that she has to say. If one looks closely, it is clear that the lady is being tutored to say what she is saying. She began by saying that she hoped that Mr. Modi would appear before the SIT. Now she is saying that she would like an FIR registered against Mr. Modi. At the end of the statement she was seen asking someone there whether what she was saying was okay!!! This is nothing but witch hunt and a complete lack of respect for the majority community. The Sikhs are still looking for justice after almost 30 years of the 1984 riots. There were more than 4000 Sikhs massacred by Congress goons at that time. Why is their voice not being heard? Because they are an extension of the Hindu mainstream and Hindus do not enjoy the same rights as their Muslim counterparts in this land of ridiculous contrasts. Had 4000 Muslims been killed the way the Sikhs were butchered, one can only imagine what hell would have broken loose.

Update 29.03.2010: Three lawyers have been questioned by the SIT. These lawyers were public prosecutors and the charge against them is that they have close links with the Sangh Parivar. The lawyers were questioned on a plea by Teesta Setalvad alleging their bias. This will not go down too well with the lawyers and the judicial community that is close knit and does not tolerate any wild allegations such as the one hurled at these three gentlemen. This could help the cause of the government of Gujarat and the judiciary could take a tough stand against such allegations.

Update 5.07.2010: The Times of India of today has reported that David Coleman Hadley has said that Ishrat Jehan who was killed in an encounter and for which various police officers were being tried for “fake encounter’ was infact a LeT fidayeen. This is another instance of  ‘human rights activists’ making a scapegoat of police officers who were doing their duty. The case of extortionist Sohrabuddin Sheikh is also a case in point. DCP Vanzara and others should be acquitted immediately, and the state must compensate them in good measure for the loss incurred. I would even suggest that these police officers must slap defamation suits on the state for implicating them in false cases.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Dulip permalink
    March 29, 2010 12:25 pm

    Good read Sir ! .. Agreed with you on every word …
    Keep it up ..

    though SIT officials could be in close links with Sangh Parivar.. but just after the meeting .. they said ‘they are satisfied with the meet.. but in the evening they said .. “they could call Modi again” .. donno maybe he was responding to Journalist News channels hardly show what they are asking !!

    These days all news channels are enforce their VIEWS instead of showing the NEWS n leaving it to the audience .!!

    P.S: “Journalist” (If I may call them.. ) 😀 .

    Take care ! 🙂

    • sharma24 permalink*
      March 29, 2010 2:52 pm

      SIT officials are not close to the Sangh Parivar, it is alleged by Teesta Setalvad that three of the lawyers appointed by the government of Gujarat were close to the rightist ideology (read Sangh Parivar), this is just to clarify. I may add that any aspersion on the legal community is taken very seriously by those in the black coats. 🙂

  2. March 29, 2010 8:44 pm

    Narendra Modi is the only credible threat to the scion of the dynastic family – The stunt man – Rahul Gandhi.

  3. Prithvi permalink
    March 29, 2010 8:50 pm

    i have read urs article in mumbaimirror…very well written..The only conclusion for this is..modi as PM thatz it..and wipeoff CongrASS and their media especially NDTV then only this country will grow

  4. PiterJankovich permalink
    March 30, 2010 4:29 am

    My name is Piter Jankovich. Only want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

    • sharma24 permalink*
      March 30, 2010 9:14 am

      Thanks Piter! Yes, this blog is my hpbby. My vocation is publishing academic books. Cheers!!

  5. arun bhagat permalink
    March 30, 2010 9:57 pm

    Could not agree more with you!! Modi is certainly one of the few result oriented CMs of our country… the tactics to bring him down certainly show fear in the congress camp…fear of his abilities and strong hold.

    the two trump cards congress keeps using at regularly are – Ayadhya and Godhra!!! the hindus r sick of it!!!the mojority bashing must stop!!!
    one suggestion… such powerful articles shoud be published in emglish daily papers and not just on blogs!!!

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