Narendra Modi’s speech made on September 9, 2002, the year of the Godhra and post-Godhra riots, have obvious indications of the extremist-Hindutva nature of the BJP where Modi is seen parroting the words “hum paach aur hamare pachhees”, which we laymen here must understand, in Hindutva terminology bears an unarguably obvious reference to Muslim polygamy and the growing numbers of the minority community. He also makes a statement that supporters may pass off as a light-hearted remark regarding the refugee status of hundreds of Muslims packed in refugee camps across the state, inadvertently carving a largely anti-Muslim picture for himself, for which he shall have only his communal remarks to thank.
The little piece of background information doled out to you should be absorbed as a pertinent contextual fact, as it holds much relevance whilst seeking to establish the religious intolerant Modi’s hand in the very bloody 2002 Gujarat double-massacre. Why this issue has bounced back up to newspaper front page again is because the Special Investigation Team set up to investigate Modi’s role in the riots recently awarded him a clean chit regarding his alleged involvement in the massacre, despite a suspiciously aggressive stance adopted by the SIT as if seeking to vehemently defend Modi on all counts. To make matters worse, on December 26, 2013, Zakia Jafri’s protest petition against the SIT’s conclusion in the matter was rejected by the court of metropolitan magistrate which upheld the clean chit awarded to Modi, thereby absolving him of all accusations made against him for the bloody riots whose wounds largely remain unhealed.
The ruling has forced the Indian public yet another time to question how far they can bank on the Indian judiciary to secure justice where it has evidently been denied. Zakia Jafri, the widow of Ehsan Jafri — an ex parliamentarian also massacred in the Gulberg society riots — in filing a petition against the SIT’s decision effectually gave voice to the family members of the hundreds of victims of this communal violence, bringing hope in the hearts of many that Modi would be punished by the law for the devastating violence that he is widely and justifiably believed to have perpetuated, encouraged and refrained from curtailing.
While there may be thousands today who chant praises of Narendra Modi’s applause-worthy feats with regard to the industrial and economic development of Gujarat as it stands today, an in-depth analysis of the build up of events and how it gave rise to a series of unfortunate events will lead to an actual understanding of how the very Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat betrayed his people, shamelessly adding fuel to an already raging fire instead of seeking desperately to extinguish it.
Horrible things happen and we look for somebody to blame and direct our anger at, so that justice may be secured to us, well at least on the face of it. The Gujarat government was quick to accord the blame for the fire that began in the Sabarmati Express and became the cause of hundreds of deaths of Hindus present on the train to the Muslims who entered the train, without a modicum of valid evidence to substantiate their claim. Where was the basis for such a controversial statement to have been made? Modi took it a step further, making unacceptable references to the Muslims as “terrorists” which was seen as a concerted attack on the minority community. Being the head of the state government, Chief Minister Modi should have attempted to dispel rumors and speculation until proof was available to prove circulating theories, instead of participating actively by making highly inflammatory speeches.
There continue to remain rumors of Modi’s visit to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad President Patel soon after the Godhra incident, and only days later large numbers of Hindu extremists belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Sangh Pariwar, armed with swords, explosives and gas cylinders marched off to Gulberg Society, a residential building occupied largely by Muslims. The fact that the building also housed former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri served as a form of reassurance to the terrified Muslims, who gathered in the compounds of the society hoping to be protected on account of the presence of a former Member of Parliament in the area. Ehsan Jafri was believed to have made multiple calls to various colleagues and senior members of the Parliament, requesting for protection, but none arrived, The police officers in the area did nothing to stop the throngs of people scathing with anger from attacking the Muslims present in the area. Jafri himself was lynched at by a huge, infuriated mob of Hindus, forcing him to fire at them in an attempt to disperse them.
Modi, thereafter in a morally perverse turn of events, invoked the third Newtonian law and went on record to say that this very act of firing by Jafri was the action that infuriated the mob causing a grave, irreversible bloody reaction of sorts – “Godhra ke is ilake ke logon ki criminal tendencies rahi hain. In logon ne pahele mahila teachers ka khoon kiya. Aur ab yeh jaghanya apraadh kiya hai jiski pratikria ho rahi hai.” In these lines, Modi has made an express reference to the Sabarmati fire, which he subtly refers to as the action, and the Gulberg Society massacre as a reaction, inadvertently supporting the act of unjustifiable violence committed by the Hindus against the Muslims.
Being the charismatic and influential leader that he is, had he chosen to, Modi could have done much to contain and perhaps even prevent the violence that followed the Godhra riots. He chose to incite Hindus publicly against the Muslims without proof, making absolutely no attempt to stop the violence by appealing to the people, or even for that matter to convey his support and solidarity for the Muslim community following the Gulberg society incident, thereby failing to successfully and impartially carry out his duties as Chief Minister by virtue of his failure to curb sectarian violence from ‘flourishing’ in his state during that period of time. At every stage, he has been portrayed as the innocent victim who is being plotted against, when in reality he is just the opposite. Moreover, we have been gravely let down by the judiciary, which has failed in establishing through strong and valid evidence a frustratingly obvious connection between the post-Godhra riots and Narendra Modi, on account of its own inabilities as well as lack of support from assisting parties and committees to ensure prosecution of a politician who has supported and condoned a heinous act of violence in the eyes of the law.
Seeing the way the powerful politician that Modi is and his adeptness at being able to squeeze himself out of the most trying situations even when he stands in the wrong, must we then be forced to draw the conclusion ourselves that might is in fact, always right ?