The G.T. Nanavati-headed commission on Gujarat killings has reportedly given a clean chit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi. I have seen how Justice Nanavati evaded naming the person behind the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi after reconstructing an impartial account. When I met him after the report to pinpoint the person responsible, he shrugged and said that everybody knew who he was. This is true, but coming from him, as it did, in black and white, would have made all the difference.
The head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), R.K. Raghavan, investigating 10 cases on the Supreme Court instructions, appears to have allowed his ideology get the better of him, although he has been an outstanding police officer. Even the court has not commented on Modi, although it had all the details before it. By sending to the trial court the case of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who along with 69 people were burnt or butchered alive in Ahmedabad’s Gulburga Society, the Supreme Court passed the buck. This is the same Supreme Court which said about Modi that Nero was fiddling when Rome was burning.
Sanjeev Bhatt said in an affidavit that Modi instructed officers to let Hindus vent their anger on Muslims.
The sort of report that the SIT has submitted can be assessed from the evidence of two retired judges it has ignored. Both had interviewed the then Home Minister Haren Pandya, who was murdered because he had started speaking the truth. According to the two judges, P.B. Sawant, who was on the Supreme Court bench, and Justice H. Suresh of the Bombay High Court, Pandya told them that the Chief Minister had directed the police to let the Hindus vent their anger during the riots. Both judges were members of the People’s Tribunal which held Modi guilty. That there is not a single FIR filed against the Chief Minister is not a plus point. He had created so much fear in the minds of the victims that they did not dare to go to the police station, hardly safe for Muslims at the time.
To incite people, Modi also arranged to parade through Ahmedabad’s streets the bodies of the 49 karsevaks who died in the Godhra train burning. This had dire repercussions. Even today Muslims in Gujarat generally confine themselves to their localities fearing that they may be attacked. They have not forgotten how some 2,000 of their community were killed 10 years ago, between 27 February and 1 March 2002, and how several thousands were ousted from their hearth and home. Some Muslims have tried to return to Gujarat, but have found that they are not welcome in the land their forefathers lived for ages.
The horror of Gujarat has shaken the nation. Yet, no amount of condemnation by the public and the media has made Modi relent, much less force him to apologise. He has refused to say sorry and has gone about arranging the humbug of sadbhavana (goodwill) sittings. Modi has a lot to hide. Specific instances of murders, when reconstructed or proved, prove that the state plotted to ethnic cleansing.
Brave police officers like Sanjeev Bhatt have told the truth, even at the risk of annoying Modi, who has unleashed his repressive, one-sided administration against Bhatt. Even the Gujarat High Court has not come to Bhatt’s aid. Bhatt said in an affidavit that Modi instructed officers to let Hindus vent their anger on Muslims.
Hats off to Teesta Setalvad who has stood firm to expose Modi and his police’s acts of omission and commission. I endorse her walking out of a television programme where the anchor, ignorant of facts, was indulging in an inquisition, not questioning.
n the case of Sikhs, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have offered their apologies for the 1984 riots. Modi and the BJP have not done that. In fact, he is the party’s candidate for prime ministership for the general elections of 2014. BJP chief Nitin Gadkari cannot stop praising him.
Certain tragedies make such deep furrows in our minds that the time does not lessen the pain or the anger when the perpetrators go scot-free, the Gujarat and anti-Sikh riots being cases in point.
The BJP and the Congress do not understand why there is so much umbrage against the anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh riots years after they took place. The reason is, there is practically no action against those people who bloodied their hands. The BJP has saved them in Gujarat and the Congress in Delhi and elsewhere. Worse, the parties have protected the administrations that planned and executed the riots.