Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Double standards for Narendra Modi?

The dynamic CM of Gujarat Mr.Narendra Modi has got a breather from the Supreme Court. The court has refrained from passing any order on a petition seeking his prosecution for the 2002 riots, while asking the trial court to decide on the case on the basis of the report by Special Investigation Team (SIT). Mr.Modi has been accused of instigating riots against Muslims in the aftermath of the tragic burning of a coach of Sabarmati Express in Feb 2002. He has also been universally blamed for inaction when the rioting was taking place and allowing the murderers to have a free run. Is Narendra Modi truly a mass murderer? Or is he a victim of negative propaganda? What happened in 2002 in Gujarat was really unprecedented? I will try to examine these questions by presenting two separate scenarios.

First Scenario. On 27th February, 2002, Muslims mobs burnt a compartment of ill fated Sabarmati Express, which was returning from Ayodhya with Hindu pilgrims. 58 Hindu pilgrims, mostly women and children were killed in the tragedy. Quite obviously the anger among the Hindu community was running high and retaliation against the Muslims was unleashed with full force. In the resultant violence, around 800 Muslims and 250 Hindus were killed besides the damage to private properties and religious places. Narendra Modi since then has been accused of being complicit in the riots since he allowed the angry Hindus to release their fury on the hapless Muslims. Others have gone to the extent of even calling Gujarat riots a pogrom or even genocide of Muslims. Any unbiased assessment of 2002 riots will reveal that Narendra Modi was, at the very least, guilty of not taking strong action against the rioters. Although he cannot be successfully accused of genocide of Muslims since 250 plus Hindus were also killed in the violence. Narendra Modi did try to control the situation since 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus were killed in police firings. But it was all too late and the damage to his reputation was already done. 

Second Scenario. On 31st October 1984, the then PM of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation to the Indian army's operation to flush out Sikh extremists from the Golden Temple shrine. Rajiv Gandhi succeeded his mother as the PM of India. Quite obviously the anger among the Hindus was running high and revenge for the killing of Indira Gandhi was planned. Prominent Delhi Congress leaders like H.K.L.Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler etc organised mobs and orchestrated the massacre of innocent Sikhs all over Delhi. For full three days the anti Sikh violence continued and the Delhi Police did not effectively intervene. After the massacre of around 3000 Sikhs, the violence was brought under control. Here it is pertinent to mention that the Delhi Police reports to the Home Minister of India, who in turn reports to the Prime Minister of India. Rajiv Gandhi, who was the PM when the anti Sikh violence was perpetrated, should have directly intervened to stop the massacre since it was happening under his very nose in the capital of India. Rajiv Gandhi chose to look the other way and his deliberate inaction was a clear proof of his own complicity in the massacre of the Sikhs. Moreover he rather inhumanly justified the killing of Sikhs when he made the following statement on 19th November, 1984 at Boat Club rally," Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji. We know the people were very angry and for a few days it seemed that India had been shaken. But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little.”  

After going through the chain of events of both 2002 Gujarat and 1984 Delhi riots, the following startling conclusions can be drawn;

Firstly, there is a striking similarity in the both the events where the people in power allowed the murderous mobs to unleash violence with full assurance that the police will not effectively interfere in the bloody mayhem.

Secondly in the case of Gujarat, there was retaliation from the attacked Muslim community since many Hindus were also killed; therefore it is wrong to conclude that it was genocide of Muslims. On the other hand in Delhi, the attacked Sikhs did not retaliate and no Hindu was killed in the violence; therefore it is right to conclude that it was genocide of Sikhs.

Thirdly, the Gujarat riots happened under the constant gaze of 24/7 news channels which beamed horrific live images of the violence. Quite obviously the people asked as to why CM Narendra Modi was not controlling the situation. His inaction led to the conclusion that he was a mass murderer. While in the case of anti Sikh violence there was a solo government controlled TV channel "Doordarshan" which obviously blacked out everything and Rajiv Gandhi never suffered any adverse publicity. Rajiv's inaction was never highlighted and he simply got scot-free for a much serious criminal complicity.

Fourthly, Gujarat riot cases were actively pursued by various NGO's  putting Narendra Modi under relentless pressure while the Sikhs were not so lucky as the media and NGO's did not put effective pressure on Congress government. 

It's absolutely clear that Narendra Modi tried to replicate in Gujarat in 2002 what Rajiv Gandhi and his cronies did in Delhi in 1984. If Narendra Modi is a mass murderer; so is Rajiv Gandhi since both of them allowed mobs to kill innocent people and restrained the police from taking any action. Since members of both communities were killed in Gujarat, therefore the violence can be classified as riots but Delhi violence was a Congress sponsored pogrom since only the Sikhs were killed. Narendra Modi is labelled as a mass murderer for Gujarat riots while on the other hand Rajiv Gandhi is not even accused of being communal in spite of a much greater offence. Narendra Modi is an international pariah while Rajiv Gandhi was conferred with India's highest civilian award "Bharat Ratna"       

Finally my view is that even the gravest provocation can never justify the mass killings of innocent human beings. It's barbaric to punish innocents for the crimes perpetrated by other people. Both Narendra Modi and Rajiv Gandhi along with numerous other politicians had blood of innocent human beings on their hands. The anti Sikh pogrom went unpunished and this emboldened others to dispense mob justice on hapless people. There is no doubt that the media had been biased in reporting various riot cases and clear double standards were adopted. Yes, in my view Narendra Modi is guilty of not following the "Raj Dharma" as advised to him by then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the Gujarat riots. Rajiv Gandhi and others are also guilty of the same offence. 

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