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Current Affairs
29 Apr 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com
Even God's Arm Is Not Long Enough To Catch The Murderers Of Gujarat!

The curious silence around Modi

 

Those who feel that the post-Godhra Gujarat riots of 2002 constitute one of the most shameful episodes in the history of independent India might celebrate the Supreme Court's directive to the Special Investigative Team, headed by ex-CBI director R K Raghavan, to inquire into the role of chief minister Narendra Modi, 15 other Gujarat ministers and MLAs, and saffron leaders such as Praveen Togadia in the organised violence and submit its report in three months. Such celebrations would be premature. 

In response to the SC order, the widow of former Congress MP Ahasan Jafri who was murdered by a mob during the riots has said "Allah ke haath lambe hain" (God's arm is long). Tragically, long as it might be, even God's arm is not long enough to retrieve the miscarriage of justice from the tortuous labyrinths of what passes for India's legal system. -- Jug Suraiya

The campaign to project Narendra Modi as the BJP’s future prime minister has taken some interesting turns. First, the Supreme Court has ordered a probe into Modi’s role in the Gujarat riots. Second, the Congress has been strangely reluctant to raise this issue or to call for Modi’s head.

Third, the Rajnath Singh camp within the BJP has hit back. It recognises that the subtext of the campaign is to denigrate Rajnath’s own position. And finally, more BJP leaders have signalled their support for Modi suggesting that they regard his ascension as inevitable. -- Vir Sanghvi

The question is relevant because the order against Modi, 11 members of his Cabinet, bureaucrats and policemen has the potential of polarising the electorate in the state where communal peace has been tenuous since the 2002 pogrom. Political pundits are already arguing whether the probe that ended the complainant’s seven-year-long wait for judicial redress, could be a blessing in disguise for the CM? -- Vinod Sharma

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamCurrentAffairs_1.aspx?ArticleID=1367

-----------------------------

 

 

Modi as martyr

Jug Suraiya

29 Apr 2009

 

Those who feel that the post-Godhra Gujarat riots of 2002 constitute one of the most shameful episodes in the history of independent India might celebrate the Supreme Court's directive to the Special Investigative Team, headed by ex-CBI director R K Raghavan, to inquire into the role of chief minister Narendra Modi, 15 other Gujarat ministers and MLAs, and saffron leaders such as Praveen Togadia in the organised violence and submit its report in three months. Such celebrations would be premature.

 

In response to the SC order, the widow of former Congress MP Ahasan Jafri who was murdered by a mob during the riots has said "Allah ke haath lambe hain" (God's arm is long). Tragically, long as it might be, even God's arm is not long enough to retrieve the miscarriage of justice from the tortuous labyrinths of what passes for India's legal system.

 

The seven-year saga of trying to get to the truth of what really happened in Gujarat in early 2002 when more than 3,000 people were killed and over 1,40,000 rendered homeless bears all the features of a tragic farce. Despite accusations by organisations like Amnesty International which said that "the same police force that was accused of colluding with the attackers was put in charge of the investigations into the massacres, undermining the process of justice", both the Shah commission, and later the Nanavati commission, by and large exonerated the state government from culpability in the riots and in subsequent attempts to suppress evidence of such complicity. These findings were in stark contradiction to the conclusions of the National Human Rights Commission of 2002 that nothing "rebuts the presumption that the Modi administration failed in its duty to protect the rights of the people of Gujarat".

 

Mass murder became a game of political football. As witnesses turned hostile amidst a storm of accusations and counter-accusations of intimidation and fabrication of evidence, a key case in the Gujarat carnage, relating to the Best Bakery killings, was shifted to Mumbai.

 

Only one clear verdict has emerged from this politico-legal morass. And that is that Narendra Modi has, among his supporters and they extend beyond the borders of Gujarat emerged as a Hindutva hero and a champion of not just Gujarati asmita but of an aggressive saffron nationalism. The SC directive to SIT will, if anything, only help to reinforce this image by turning Modi the hero into Modi the potential martyr, much in the way of Varun Gandhi whose much-reported 'hate speech' and his subsequent detention under the harsh National Security Act earned him fame or notoriety, depending on your point of view much above his stature.

 

In Modi's case, any real or perceived threat of politically motivated persecution even if such persecution is no more, or less, than the prosecution of justice will only magnify his already larger-than-life image as the saffron superhero and the BJP's PM-in-waiting.

 

Jagdish Tytler, one of the accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots whose ringleaders have yet to be brought to book, was unlucky. Thanks to a shoe hurled at P Chidambaram who announced his candidature on the Congress ticket, Tytler was unceremoniously dropped from the party's electoral list. Modi, and the BJP, have both shown they're made of sterner stuff. Far from conceding defeat and by that token admitting to guilt in the face of public condemnation, Modi has mastered the art of turning accusation into assault, the meting of justice into the rite of crucifixion.

 

Indeed, coming as it does in the middle of the poll process, the SC's order to the investigative team regarding Modi couldn't have been better timed if it had been planned by an event manager. Whatever be the findings of the unfortunately acronymed SIT whose performance so far suggests that it has, true to its name, been sitting on the job Modi and his supporters will seek to fashion them into a crown of thorns. Which, as every martyr worth his cross knows, has a way of blooming into the laurel wreath of victory.

secondopinion@timesgroup.com

Source: The Times of India, New Delhi

 

---------------

The curious silence around Modi

Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times

New Delhi, April 29, 2009

 

The campaign to project Narendra Modi as the BJP’s future prime minister has taken some interesting turns. First, the Supreme Court has ordered a probe into Modi’s role in the Gujarat riots. Second, the Congress has been strangely reluctant to raise this issue or to call for Modi’s head.

 

Third, the Rajnath Singh camp within the BJP has hit back. It recognises that the subtext of the campaign is to denigrate Rajnath’s own position. And finally, more BJP leaders have signalled their support for Modi suggesting that they regard his ascension as inevitable.

 

The Supreme Court order is significant because it suggests that Modi owes the country an explanation. By naming various officials of the Gujarat Police and administration along with Modi, the court has suggested that the oft-repeated allegation that the Gujarat government deliberately let the mobs run riot also needs to be probed.

 

The court order is not, by any means, a conviction. But at a moral level, and at the level of propriety, it is at least as damning as the charges against Jagdish Tytler.

 

You would expect the Congress to now go for Modi. You would expect it to ask how the BJP feels about a prime ministerial candidate whose role in mass murder is being probed by the Supreme Court. It could even ask for Modi to step aside till the investigations are complete.

 

Instead, the Congress has played down the issue, refusing to ask for Modi’s resignation and not saying much about the court’s order — a startling contrast with the way in which the BJP went for Tytler.

 

The Congress’s argument is that the court order may actually help Modi. He could use it to polarise the electorate, to raise Hindu-Muslim tensions and to project himself again as a Hindutva hardliner. Better therefore to play it down.

 

This is a risky strategy. A chief minister can afford to polarise the electorate. But a prime ministerial contender cannot afford to do so. If Modi adopts his old Muslim-bashing persona, it might actually scare away moderate voters, terrify potential allies, and embarrass the BJP.

 

Besides, Modi has spent the last two years trying to make people forget about the Gujarat riots, and projecting himself as a champion of development. Would he really want to go back to his old communally divisive persona?

 

One indication of how the BJP feels might be its response to the court order. Arun Jaitley offered the standard defence but after that the party tried to play it down. Few BJP leaders wanted to discuss it and the party’s C team of spokesmen was dispatched to TV studios to make the usual noises.

 

Partly, this reflects a division within the BJP. The Rajnath camp, which is paranoid about Arun Jaitley, sees the campaign to promote Modi as a Jaitley ploy facilitated by the former law minister’s vast access in the media.

 

So, Sushma Swaraj — no pal of Jaitley’s and a PM candidate herself — went public with her denunciation of the campaign. Rajnath’s supporters sung their man’s praises. And even Jaitley, in an effort to deflect the criticism, declared that this was ‘a media campaign’ — which, at one level, it certainly was.

 

But within the BJP, the conviction that Modi will be the next leader is growing. Even Yashwant Sinha, one of the BJP’s secular liberals, declared on Monday that, “Modi has all the qualities needed to be PM,” adding, “India would be lucky to have him as prime minister.”

 

So, the Modi juggernaut rolls on, nevertheless.

---

What was the hurry?

Vinod Sharma, Hindustan Times

April 29, 2009

 

The Supreme Court’s (SC) order directing a probe into Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots cannot be faulted on grounds of law. The problem is with the timing and the possible impact of the ruling on the April 30 polls in the state.

 

Nobody doubts the punctiliousness of the Bench that directed the Special Investigation Team to inquire into slain Congress MP Ehsan Jaffri’s wife Jakia Nasim Ehsan’s allegations of murder and criminal conspiracy. But couldn’t the judges have deferred the matter till the end of the Lok Sabha elections on May 13, or till April 30?

 

The question is relevant because the order against Modi, 11 members of his Cabinet, bureaucrats and policemen has the potential of polarising the electorate in the state where communal peace has been tenuous since the 2002 pogrom. Political pundits are already arguing whether the probe that ended the complainant’s seven-year-long wait for judicial redress, could be a blessing in disguise for the CM?

 

It’s hard to miss the irony of the situation as most political parties, including the BJP and the Congress, have desisted in the campaign, which closed on Tuesday, from any recollections of the retributive communal violence in the state. The contest is over strong leadership, good governance and an inclusive polity.

 

The probe directive has indeed arisen from a matter pending before the SC and is by no means an indictment or proof of Modi’s complicity in the riots. But such nuances of the law often get lost in the din and bustle of elections. The worry is about the campaign being vitiated in its twilight phase by biased, politically ingenious interpretations of the SIT probe.

 

An identical situation had arisen in the SC, a couple of weeks ago, in the disproportionate assets case against Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav. The judges rejected the plea that the ruling be delayed to obviate electoral implications. They held back their order only on the technical point that a larger Bench of the same court was yet to decide the legality of a CBI probe without the approval of the state government.

 

Article 329(b) of the Constitution talks of “bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.” Election in this case means the entire process starting from the notification to declaration of results of candidates to (the date) of completion (of the process).

 

The order in the Modi case is not the least in violation of this provision. But the court would have been in consonance with its spirit, had it decided to defer the ruling until completion of polling in Gujarat or the election process on the whole.

 

Many legal experts concurred with this view but were unwilling to go on record for the very reasons that they expected the court to reserve its ruling till after the polling date. For his part, former Chief Election Commissioner G.V.G. Krishnamurthy advocated “judicial circumspection” in the interest of free-and-fair polls: “Keeping the spirit of 329(b) in the national interest, the Supreme Court could have deferred its orders till the completion of election, if they could in the absence of urgency in the matter.” On the urgency aspect, it would be pertinent to mention that Ms Jaffri moved her special leave petition before the apex court in December 2007 after failing to get relief from the Gujarat High Court.

 

Krishnamurthy’s call for “judicial circumspection” is akin almost to the ‘judicial statesmanship’ the SC so often demonstrated in the early decades of Independence to transcend controversies and take a holistic, long-term view for strengthening institutions as well as social and institutional harmony. Unlike the executive and the political class, the SC needs no election-time model code. Its conduct is a model for other institutions.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamCurrentAffairs_1.aspx?ArticleID=1367

 

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COMMENTS
Ghulam Muhammed

Date:     Sat, 2 May 2009 19:55:56 +0530 [07:55:56 PM IST]

From:   Ghulam Muhammed

To:       To:       Sultan Shahin Editor@NewAgeIslam.com

 

Subject: Shadows of Violence Cling to Indian Politician - By Somini Sengupta - The New York Times.

 

<http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/world/asia/29india.html

 

 

Shadows of Violence Cling to Indian Politician

 

By SOMINI SENGUPTA

Published: April 28, 2009

The New York Times

 

AHMEDABAD, India — Narendra Modi, India’s most incendiary politician, is trying to cast himself as the vanguard of India’s modern industrial future. The ghosts of this city’s savage past, though, are refusing to leave his side.

 

A young supporter of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party wore a mask with the likeness of Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat State.

Mr. Modi, 59, is the thrice-elected chief minister of the western state of Gujarat. On his watch, this city witnessed one of the worst episodes of Hindu-Muslim violence in the history of independent India: in the spring of 2002, mostly over three days, 1,180 people were killed across the state. Most were Muslims. Mr. Modi’s administration was accused of doing little to stop the fury and on occasion, abetting it.

 

On Monday, India’s Supreme Court, in its strongest move yet, ordered a special police team to investigate Mr. Modi’s role in the alleged conspiracy to attack Muslims.

 

With national elections under way, Mr. Modi is the biggest crowd-puller for India’s main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party. And while party hierarchy means he is not the B.J.P.’s candidate for prime minister this year, he is positioning himself for the top slot in the next race.

 

On the campaign trail, he is sardonic, often churlish, always theatrical. At one rally, he compared the ruling Indian National Congress, the nation’s oldest party, to an aging woman. At another, he assailed the incumbent prime minister, Manmohan Singh of Congress, as so “weak” that he ought to get a medical check-up; Mr. Singh had recently recovered from heart bypass surgery.

 

At a third, stabbing the air with his finger, he taunted Mr. Singh for turning to the United States for support in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November, which India said were the work of a Pakistan-based militant group.

 

“O-baaaa-maaa,” he whined, referring to President Obama. “O-baaa-maaa. Our neighbor has come and attacked us. Do something!” The crowd lapped it up, hollering, clapping and imitating his cry of “O-baaa-maa.”

 

Mr. Modi’s success offers a window into the B.J.P.’s delicate balancing act: It has to hold on to its radical Hindu support base even as it pitches itself as a force of prosperity and security. His rise also suggests a turning point in Indian politics, in which voters weigh what matters more: identity issues, like faith and caste, or practical issues, like electricity, water and roads. Opinion polls show that Hindutva, or Hinduness, has diminishing appeal.

 

With a national profile clearly in mind, Mr. Modi has assiduously sought to reinvent himself from a scruffy mascot of Hindu nationalism to a decisive corporate-style administrator. His talking points these days are Gujarat’s double-digit economic growth, private seaports and round-the-clock electricity in Ahmedabad, a booming western city that Gandhi once called home. He wears business suits to business meetings, instead of homespun tunics. He still lampoons the urban, English-speaking elite, but he is also honing his English skills.

 

His biggest coup has involved the Tata Nano, the world’s least expensive car. Last fall, Mr. Modi persuaded Tata Motors to relocate its Nano factory to government-owned land not far from here. The company had been buffeted by protests over land acquisition in another state.

 

Soon afterward, several of India’s most prominent industrialists gathered in Gujarat for a meeting and declared Mr. Modi, a former tea shop manager, fit to be a future prime minister.

 

Swapan Dasgupta, a columnist who advises the B.J.P. on strategy, described him as India’s “aggressive modernizer.”

 

The B.J.P “promises growth, good governance, development and security.” But it also returns to the party’s original ideological pillars, from pledging to build a Hindu temple on the site of a razed 16th-century mosque to resurrecting a preventive detention law that Muslims said had been unfairly applied to them.

 

Rarely does Mr. Modi make overt appeals to faith. He does not have to.

 

“Modi has learned that you have to do development to get re-elected, you have to have a secular image if you want to be prime minister,” said Ajay Umat, editor of a Gujarati-language daily newspaper, Divya Bhaskar, who has known Mr. Modi for more than 20 years.

 

Mr. Modi has also learned, Mr. Umat said, that his core Hindu supporters will not easily forget his original incarnation as their “protector.”

 

That image was sealed in 2002, after a train ferrying Hindus was set on fire by Muslims in a town called Godhra, killing 59 people on board and prompting Hindu mob attacks on Muslims across the state. The mobs stabbed, raped and set their victims on fire; they burned homes and businesses. Mr. Modi has never apologized for what happened. (His office did not respond to numerous requests for an interview with The New York Times.)

 

His admirers say he has moved on. They credit him for removing red tape for business, improving the state’s road networks, and cracking down on lawlessness and petty corruption. His detractors call him an autocrat. (Sonia Gandhi, the president of Congress, once called him “a merchant of death.”)

 

If and when Mr. Modi becomes the standard-bearer for his party, Indian voters will have to decide whether they can overlook what is called the “2002 stigma” in favor of the “aggressive modernizer.” His critics hope they will not.

 

“This man can’t represent India, either as a civilization or as a nation,” said Shiv Visvanathan, a sociology professor and one of Mr. Modi’s critics. “He can represent a part. He can never represent the whole. That is the sanity of Indian democracy.”

 

Unfortunately for Mr. Modi, the past has been hard to cast off. A police team appointed by the Supreme Court has begun to pry open several cases from 2002, making fresh arrests.

 

Maya Kodnani, Mr. Modi’s former minister for women and child development, was arrested on charges of helping a Hindu mob attack two nearby Muslim enclaves. She is awaiting trial on accusations of arming the mob with kerosene cans, which were then used to set people on fire. All told, the mob killed 106 people on a single day, including seven members of Abdul Majid Mohammed Usman Sheikh’s family.

 

Mr. Sheikh, 56, who came to the courthouse on the morning of the arrest in late March, called it the beginning of justice for the dead. Among them were his pregnant wife, three sons and three daughters. He carried their pictures in a plastic shopping bag. He said he felt “a little satisfied.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/world/asia/29india.html?_r=1

Aamir Mughal

To refresh the memory:

“All of them have done it together in collusion. Vehicles full of people were coming from outside. If
the police and SRP had supported us, so many Muslims would not have died. They surrounded them, and got them killed.”

“It was pre-planned only in that area, just at that time, phones were cut down, electricity was cut. Who doesn’t hold one’s life dear? To save our lives, some ran that way. We didn’t know there was a mob of about 500 waiting with petrol and swords. Whoever went, they raped and killed them. When children cried for water, they poured petrol into their mouths. They raped, they burnt everything. When life did not go easily, they pierced people with iron rods and killed them. The police clearly said: “We have no orders to help you”. Tell me, what can we do?”

“They dragged people out of their houses. Young girls and women were raped by them, and then they burnt everyone together. I saw corpses in fron of houses, in very bad condition - burnt and naked.”

“There were 11 people in my sisters family. Only three are left - in the hospital. The other were finished, burnt. My sister had money. She said: “Take the money, spare my children”. They said: “No! You have to die!” They poured kerosene and petrol over her and burnt her. Even now if you go, you will find dead bodies in every house. My mother-in-law’ s sister and some others were burnt with their children. What could we do, tell me? There was no one to support us! What happened was terrible! My pregnant niece’s stomach was cut open, the foetus taken and thrown into the fire. Look at our situation! They ask us: Why did you burn our train?”"

“In front of my eyes, they burnt my grandmother and two cousins. They raped a woman and cut her arms. In front of me they took out a foetus from a mother’s belly, showed it around and put a sword through it. They told us to say “Shri Ram”. They took us to a temple nearby, put tikkas on our forehead and asked us to say “Shri Ram”. They killed whoever did not do so.”

http://news.amnesty.org/mavp/mediaclip.nsf/0/42DEF7DCF66A0A9A80256F9600380976

Narendra Modi on Gujarat:

“With the entire population of Gujarat very angry at what happened in Godhra much worse was expected” (Times of India Feb 28 2002)

“Asked about the violence, Modi quoted Newton’s third law — ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’— to virtually justify what is happening.” (The Times of India 3 March 2003)

Referring to Congress Party’s so called policy of appeasement of Muslims with sarcasm Modi said:

“I told them [the Congress] I got Narmada water in the month of Sharavan, if they had it their way …. They would have got in Ramzan.” (Star TV played this speech repeatedly on September 15-16 2002)

“What should we do? Run relief camps for them [Muslims]? Do we want to open baby-producing centres?”

SAFFRON TERROR PRAVEEN SWAMI in Ahmedabad

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1906/19060080.htm

Guajarat 2006 Is Deadlier Than 2002 By Prashant Jha 19 October, 2006 Countercurrents. org

http://www.countercurrents.org/guj-jha191006.htm

Last Refuge Of The Scoundrel By Praful Bidwai 30 March, 2005 Khaleej Times

http://www.countercurrents.org/gujarat-bidwai300305.htm

The Hindu Rashtra Of Gujarat By V.B.Rawat 27 September, 2005 Countercurrents. org

What is in the name:

http://www.countercurrents.org/guj-rawat270905.htm

GUJARAT

Crime and complicity

Was the Gujarat government being thick-skinned or was it just wishful thinking?

After the Supreme Court described the leaders of the Gujarat government as “modern day Neros who were looking elsewhere when innocent children and women were burning”, and ordered the re-trial of the Best Bakery case in Maharashtra, the Gujarat government filed an appeal recently against the transfer. While dismissing the petition, the Court came down even heavily on the Gujarat State government saying that its “sympathies were more for the accused than the victims”.

The Supreme Court’s remarks:

*When a large number of witnesses have turned hostile it should have raised a reasonable suspicion that the witnesses were being threatened or coerced.

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2111/stories/20040604003029700.htm

The National Human Rights Commission indicts the Gujarat government for its failure to contain communal violence in the State. V.VENKATESAN

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1908/19081240.htm

“We Have No Orders To Save You”

http://www.hrw.com

State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat Full Report - Printer-friendly PDF version (70 pages, 265 Kb)

Summary and Recommendations - Printer-friendly PDF version (12 pages, 45 Kb)

Thirty-eight- year-old Mehboob Mansoori lost eighteen family members in the massacre of Muslims in the neighborhood of Gulmarg Society, Ahmedabad. He was interviewed by Human Rights Watch three weeks after the attack. His story is representative of many testimonies contained in this report.

They burnt my whole family.

On February 28, we went to Ehsan Jaffrey’s home for safety. He is an ex-member of parliament.. .. At 10:30 a.m. the stone throwing started. First there were 200 people then 500 from all over, then more. We were 200-250 people. We threw stones in self-defense. They had swords, pipes, soda-lemon bottles, sharp weapons, petrol, kerosene, and gas cylinders. They began shouting, “Maro, kato,” ["Kill them, cut them"] and “Mian ko maro.” ["Kill the Muslims"]. I hid on the third floor.

Early in the day at 10:30 the police commissioner came over and said don’t worry. He spoke to Jaffrey and said something would work out, then left. The wall in front of the house was broken at 11:30 a.m. When they entered the hall we had lost our spirit, we had no weapons, we couldn’t fight back. Other people also came there for safety. When the gas cylinder exploded I jumped from the third floor. This was around 1:30 p.m.

At 3:30 p.m. they started cutting people up, and by 4:30 p.m. it was game over. Ehsan Jaffrey was also killed. He was holding the door closed. Then the door broke down. They pulled him out and hit him with a sword across the forehead, then across the stomach, then on his legs…. They then took him on the road, poured kerosene on him and burned him. There was no police at all. If they were there then this wouldn’t have happened.

Eighteen people from my family died. All the women died. My brother, my three sons, one girl, my wife’s mother, they all died. My boys were aged ten, eight, and six. My girl was twelve years old. The bodies were piled up. I recognized them from parts of their clothes used for identification. They first cut them and then burned them. Other girls were raped, cut, and burned. First they took their jewelry, I was watching from upstairs. I saw it with my own eyes. If I had come outside, I would also have been killed. Four or five girls were treated this way. Two married women also were raped and cut. Some on the hand, some on the neck.

I. SUMMARY

II. RECOMMENDATIONS

III. MASSACRES IN GODHRA AND AHMEDABAD

Godhra

The Ahmedabad Massacres: Naroda Patia and Gulmarg

Society

Naroda Patia

Attacks on Women Gulmarg Society

IV. OVERVIEW OF THE ATTACKS AGAINST MUSLIMS

Let’s Not Forget Godhra By Siddharth Varadarajan 22 August, 2004 The Hindu

http://www.countercurrents.org/guj-varadarajan220804.htm

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