What was Modi thinking?

Zee News, Zee Exclusive
March 31, 2010

Flashback to 2002 to Gujarat. A train carrying over 50 Hindus coming from Ayodhya was burnt purportedly by the local Muslims. The Hindus retaliated and what ensued was expected, yet another communal riot between the Hindus and Muslims. Over 1,000 people, both Hindus and Muslims, were killed; over 500 places of worship were damaged; thousands fled their homes and many abandoned their businesses.

Coming back to the Gujarat of 2010. The state's GDP is growing at over 10 percent, comparable to that of China. It is a front-runner in attracting industrial investments.

So, what has brought about this humongous change in less than a decade? Has it happened under the same leadership that had been globally criticised for its incompetent handling of the 2002 communal riots? Surprisingly yes.

The verdict on the 2002 riots is still not out but, the extensive media coverage that the riots received may have coloured our judgment. Many of us have already proven Modi and his allies as guilty. However, there are two kinds of charges that have been levelled against him. The first being that the Modi-led government instigated the mobs to massive killings. The other one is that the government did not act responsibly to stop the riots. It would not be prudent to comment on the first as the matter is sub-judice. However, there is enough evidence to prove him guilty of the second charge. How can a train fire lead to a riot killing thousands? What was the government doing? What actions did it take to control the situation?

There is this very interesting aspect of human psychology called self-serving bias. According to this, we tend to take credit for success and deny any responsibility for failure. This is especially true of politicians. If the claims of the government were true that they were proactive in handling the riots, then how come there is no mention of what steps they took on Modi's website? A little Googling about the riots and Modi throw up all negative reports. Was it that the government was being modest this time or it did not consider this issue significant enough to merit mention? Surprisingly, even under the political achievements section, not much has been mentioned about the steps taken by the government to prevent or even control the riots. Some may claim that Modi's decisive win in the elections after the riots, says it all. There is no denying the fact that Gujarat has progressed a lot since October 2001 when Modi took charge as the CM of the state with a shrinking economy and stagnant growth. However, we all know that a lot goes in winning an election, things better not discussed here.

Irrespective of whether Modi is guilty or not for the charges levied against him, he should not become complacent. Just because he has developed Gujarat, he cannot be exonerated of any other crime that he may have committed in the past. Some people, especially the youth of today, may say that we should let go off the past. How does it matter what happened in 2002 in Gujarat? What matters is what shall happen in 2010. Sound logic for some, but what about the riot victims? What about those people who lost their near and dear ones, those who saw their relatives being killed/burnt/raped mercilessly? What about those who lost their well established businesses? What about those who still get nightmares of the events which their eyes witnessed? Can anybody offer any logical explanation to them? They are still living in 2002 and are hoping to see the guilty punished, at least in their lifetime.

If Modi had acted proactively to prevent the riots, then he should not worry about his questioning by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). It is obvious that such actions are not taken alone but, orders are given to the state machinery that is bound to have proofs. In fact, he should support the investigation so that he can be acquitted of the charges once and for all. It is okay that he has done a lot of good for his state but, if guilty, then all this good should be taken as his penance for his wrongdoings. On second thoughts, why be so kind to him? All this good that he has done was his duty that should have been done anyways. So, if guilty, then the real punishment should be given by the court of law.

Whatever the final judgment, all involved with Modi should face the same consequences. This includes not only the state ministers but, also the Union ministers at that time like the then Home Minister LK Advani, who anyways is facing a trial for yet another communal disturbance, that during the Babri Masjid demolition.

Even though justice delayed is considered justice denied, it is still important to do justice because it sends out strong signals to others who are listening. It can act as a deterrent to those who may want to do so in future and shall revivify the faith of the common man in the judicial system of our country. After all, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


Thanks to all for your comments. Here are some additional comments from me... (1) I have in no way proved Modi guilty for instigating the mobs. To quote from the article, "It would not be prudent to comment on the first as the matter is sub-judice." If some riots happen then the government is ought to be blamed for not controlling the situation. This is precisely what I have said in the article. The first and the obvious blame goes on the government in such cases. Does that not happen all the time? Don`t we all do this? Aren`t we blaming the government for the recent Maoist attack? Further on in the article it is said that if Modi had taken enough steps to control the riots then he should come forward and prove his point in the court of law. Infact, it shall work in his favour if he is proved innocent by the court once and for all. (2) Coming to the point of letting bygones be bygones, I would like to say that it easy for us because we were not at the receiving end. Moreover, if we let perpetrators (irrespective of whether it is Modi or not) of such crimes go scot-free then it shall set a wrong example for all. This way people shall think that one can commit a crime and after a few years when the case becomes old, one can forget about it. Today, the killing of 76 jawans is important but, after 10 years it may not be. So, if the case hangs on for a few years, which shall be the case in all probability, then would it become okay to let it be? (3) I strongly support the cause of victims of all sorts of injustice like 1984 riots, etc. This article is addressing the issue of Gujarat riots but, that does not undermine the importance of any other such incident.

Shobhika Puri, UP

Yes..Yes..I agree some one saying on this forum that Modi will be punished in the great court of GOD..I agree..But then leave it to GOD..Why you are playing with this KHILONA and reminding that black days ...! ! Please come to GUJARAT and find that even those community have at present no particular complaint against MODI.But psuodo secularist like ... (who ?)..keeps the fire alive and insticating certain communitiy to do some thing wrtong...!

Navinchandra Dave, Bharuch, Gujarat

How long...Mr.Secular ,How long you will play with the GODHARA KHILONA ? In Gujarat, it is very peacefull that was not ever before in Cong rule. All community have forgotton the painfull time of 2002. You...Mr.YOU ,the psuodo secularist are keeping the fire alive,adding petrol time to time.By this practice,you are not doing good thing to even those,on behalf of whom you are claiming to speak.It is all like those monkeies irritating the woumd of other monkey and not allow wound to heal. Please stop it...stop it..

Navinchandra Dave, Bharuch, Gujarat

Everybody can say any thing. But I would tell them to ask to RIT and found out that how many communal riots took place during eithties (from 1980 to a9900 in Gujarat and how many people were injured ,killed .Find out the figures of both communities. The truth will be on the front wall .Also find find out that after 2002, there are hardly any remarkable riots in Gujarat and is peacefull now.Mody had never told that "FALLING OF BIG TREE CAN KILL SMALL TREES IS NATURAL"(Courtsey :sikh slaughter incidents.)

Navinchandra Dave, Bharuch, Gujarat

An excellent article by Shobhika Puri. She has touched the pulse of the victims who have been brutally harmed by these mindless riots. Yes, shamelessly there will still be people on this forum who will ridicule Shobhika Puri`s article because for them the massacres and rapes does not matter, after all it happened to the Muslims and not the Gujarati Hindus, so why should it bother them? I still do not understand as to how the Modi lovers can be so ruthless and blind to what has happened. No matter how high the GDP in Gujarat grows all this is nothing in Godís eyes. Yes, there is a God above and not one of the perpetrators including Modi will escape his punishment.

Jeanette, Mumbai

Nice article by Shobhika Puri. Another pseudo secular writer, who gets awards for hindu bashing. On one side she is saying that Modi has done a wonderful job in developing gujarat, but her major writing is spent on to prove how guilty Modi is during 2002 riots. She falls under the same catergory of Media trialing. In democracy one should remember that there are courts to decide whether someone is guilty or not. She says the riots victims will not forget what had happened to their families in 2002, Similarly i want to tell her that even victims of 1984 riots, the kashmiri pandits, The bhagalpur riots or the recent barelly riots or Hyderabad riots are not getting enough attentions or space in the secular intellectuals columns. why this biasness. i dont think so that Shobika puri is a professional writers as her writing clearly indicates her vindictiveness against Modi. Best way is to move forward & forget what had happened in the past. Otherwise we lot of skeletons will come out of the cupboards.

Anish d, Goa

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