Myth of Clean Chit: Gujarat Carnage and Narendra Modi
In a recently televised interview the Vice-President of Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi (Jan 2014) raised the storm when he said that some Congressmen might have been involved in 1984 Sikh Massacre and that Narendra Modi has a blame to take for the Gujarat carnage of 2002.
There were multiple responses to this interview. Already Arvind Kejriwal had promised to set up SIT into Anti Sikh violence of 1984 even before elections. Now his Government seems to be taking it up more seriously and it is likely that a SIT will be formed to investigate the Delhi tragedy. One can say that it may be too late by now as lot of valuable evidence might have been lost or destroyed. Still whatever of process of law can be retrieved, should be saved and justice should be done to victims of Delhi. It goes without saying that the justice should be done to the victims of communal violence irrespective of the fact as to which religious community they belong to. The Kashmiri Pundits also need to be given required justice and rehabilitation even today. The tendency to flaunt Kashmiri pundits or anti Sikh massacre, after every talk of justice to violence victims of Gujarat or any other place is an attempt to deflect the attention from issue on hand.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Violence against one religious community can’t give justice to another religious community which has been wronged. On the same level to turn a blind eye to the atrocities on Muslim minorities in India because Hindus are being persecuted in Pakistan or Bangla Desh is totally inhuman and vice versa. Justice should be demanded for all religious minorities, in all the countries, all the time. Tolerating injustice at one place is like tolerating injustice everywhere.
In response to Rahul Gandhi’s comments on Gujarat, the BJP spokespersons lashed out that Modi has been given clean chit by SIT in Gujarat and also by the court of law, by legal process. This is a false propaganda. Right from the beginning of Gujarat violence, the comments of National Human rights commission indict Modi for his role in orchestrating Gujarat Violence. Though Special Investigation team (SIT) commented that there is no case against Modi, in the findings of SIT, there has been a strong element which indicts Modi for his acts of commission and omission. The apologists of Modi will point that in Delhi the military was not called for three days, while forgetting that in Delhi violence was contained in three days and in Gujarat process of violence went on unabated till May 2002, starting from 27th February. This stoppage of violence in Gujarat could happen only when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee sent K.P.S. Gill as the special officer to overlook the control of violence in Gujarat. Modi personally got adverse comments all through, right from the beginning as his role was too glaring to be undermined at any stage of time.
In the initial period the Hon’ble Supreme Court first pulled up the State government and observed “The Nero’s in Gujarat fiddled as Gujarat burned” (http://teestasetalvad.blogspot.in/2013/12/we-will-soldier-on-zakia-jafri-case.html). Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to reprimand Modi that Raj Dharma should be followed. The type of atmosphere created in Gujarat resulted in Supreme Court asking for shifting of the two major cases away from Gujarat, as an intimidating atmosphere was created in Gujarat due to Modi’s high handedness. Even after the latest judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, the human rights’ activists Mallika Sarabhai was forthright to comment, “Silly to have expected anything else but clean chit for Narendra Modi from a Gujarat court.”
Even the interpretation of the report of SIT is fallacious. Supreme Court had appointed the SIT and also Amicus curiae, Raju Ramchandran. To say that SIT gave a clean chit to Modi is not true. The fact is that the SIT in its 2010 report clearly said: In spite of the fact that ghastly and violent attacks had taken place on Muslims at Gulberg Society and elsewhere, the reaction of the government was not the type that would have been expected by anyone. The chief minister had tried to water down the seriousness of the situation at Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya and other places by saying that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Ramu Ramchandran based on same report pointed out that there is enough evidence in the SIT report to prosecute Modi.
One recalls that NHRC much before all this had concluded its report 31.5. 2002 and said that “there was a comprehensive failure of the State to protect the Constitutional rights of the people of Gujarat” Amicus Curiae in his final report, recommended the prosecution of Narendra Modi under Sections 166 and 153a and 153b of the Indian Penal Code. So where is the clean chit? If we see three major factors, The National Human Rights commission has indicted Modi. Second, based on SIT observations Supreme Court appointed Amicus Curiae holds that Modi can be prosecuted. Third, the process of justice through Courts in Zakia Jafri has begun. After the Court verdict Ms Jafri said that she will appeal to the higher courts. Our process of justice begins with Magistrates Court, does not end with that. Proclaiming that Modi has been given a ‘clean chit’ for his role in Gujarat carnage is far from truth. It’s a clever propaganda, which has been dished out with a deliberate purpose.
At another level, Modi acolytes, Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani are in jails for their role in the carnage. The Tehelka sting shows the collusion between the Babu Bajrangi clan and the state led by Modi. The tribunal set up by Citizens for Justice and Peace with eminent jurists like P.B.Sawant also outlined Modi’s role in a very clear manner. There has been some justice in few cases of Gujarat. And that is due to yeomen struggle for justice launched by the victims and human rights defenders. The process of justice needs to be pursued. The state of Gujarat has created all possible obstacles in the justice being given to the victims. The claims of clean chit hold no water, we need to look beyond the propaganda and the truth will show the blood tainted hands of Modi.