Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2002 & Narendra Modi : Part-2

Part-1 is here

The above tweet by Sonia Singh (currently, Editorial Director, NDTV) was sent a day after the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi refused to give an interview only to NDTV on the first day of his Sadbhavana, whilst he spoke to all other TV channels (all interviews can be seen here). Those at NDTV were proud of that fact that he didn't talk to them and went about telling us stuff like the above tweet. Sample this too

So far, so good. 

Now let's see what the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team and the Amicus Curiae had to say on the media. 

Please note, the above marked comment is not made by some troll or "stalkers". 

Now, if NDTV was the "only private news channel" at that time, is the above recommended action also against NDTV? If so, can we go to town (like these people often do) and scream our voices out? Even if not, shall we do multiple shows and debates on how media, in general, helped in fanning the riots (by "publishing communally inciting reports"). 

Update: I have to apologize for some slack here :( A fellow tweeter alerted me that the complaint was specifically against some print publications and not NDTV or media in general. He is right - the allegation was against "print media". Since Amicus said "media", I jumped the gun. Hence deleting a couple of lines above. 

So what is this riot that has an entire industry clinging on to it? 

On the morning of Feb.27, 2002, a coach carrying "kar sevaks" or "ram sevaks" was set on fire just outside the Godhra railway station in Gujarat. 57 people died in that horrifying attack, 43 were injured. About 40 of them were women and children. These people were returning from Ayodhya. 

But why were they murdered? 

According to The Hindu's editorial then:

The Hindu which has been severely critical of an "action-reaction" comment (more on that later) by the Chief Minister just choose different words in it's editorial to explain to us why 57 innocent people (40 of them women and children) had to be murdered. 

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was campaigning that they will start the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, from March 15th that year. The BJP-led NDA government was not inclined to give permission to the VHP for the same (not my words - read The Hindu's Feb 28th edition). A sample

Amidst such a mood, this attack took place on the kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya. 

Sadly and unfortunately, this incident led to a very large scale violence and killings in the state, for about 2-3 days. From the morning of Feb.28, reports started tickling in about mobs going on the rampage in many areas in the Ahmedabad city limits. Some media folks sounded weird (or maybe they wanted to) that the relatively peaceful atmosphere went for a "six".

On March 1st, more reports started tickling in about retaliatory violence by the offended groups. 

This despicable cycle of killing and counter-killing and further counter-killing was happening despite a curfew being clamped and despite the army being present too and despite coverage by NDTV. Hundreds of innocent people were further massacred by rage mobs. Poignant stories about how people were chased and killed; horrifying stories about how innocents were dragged out and killed made very very sad reading. 

Irrespective of what and who started it, the killings of so many innocent people is undesirable in any civil society. Each life is important and anyone guilty of such murders needs to be brought to book - there is no ambiguity and doubt about it. 

And since so many innocent lives were lost, the clamour of Narendra Modi's resignation began. Within the ruling party too, there were different voices on whether Narendra Modi should stay or go. Ultimately it was decided that the BJP will directly go to the people - the assembly was suspended and elections were called for. Elections were held the same year, and the BJP, led by Narendra Modi won the mandate of the people. 

Perhaps it is this victory in the people's court that was not acceptable to the "riot industry" and that's when they started coming up with all kind of weird stories. While investigations were almost reaching decisive stages in 2006, these people (led by Teesta Setalvad) suddenly approached the High Court (and upon rejection, the Supreme Court), demanding that fresh investigations be made based on new information the people who filed cases have. 

And as a result, the Supreme Court appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to go into the details of  the 8 cases and numerous "allegations" that Teesta and co. raised. This blog post by Vijay details well, the chronology of how Teesta and co. delayed the proceedings (including seeking the appointment of an Amicus Curiae). 

And after about 4 years, that report was finally done and submitted to the court. And because that report exonerates many people the riot industry dislikes, the media is agog with discontent. Their self sanctimonius action of bringing "the truth of riots to India" sounds so hollow when we compare their coverage/views on other riots. 

What are these allegations? What does the report say? What did the government do while the riots were happening? How have young impressionable minds been taken for a ride? These and many more points to be discussed in the next post. This post was primarily to summarize what happened in 2002 in Gujarat, coupled with some media reports on the same. 


PS: For convenience sake, am pasting an earlier blog post (written about 2 years back) in which I wondered why any riot based discussion concentrates only on 2002 and 1984. It's as if the country has never seen any other riots at all. 

Year 1990: In Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, about 300 citizens of this country were killed just because the police shot down a gangster who happened to be a Muslim. There was curfew in the ENTIRE city of Hyderabad. I was a kid then, but still vividly remember the empty streets, roads and also the mad traffic rush to buy stuff when the curfew was relaxed. How many of us even know the name of the Chief Minister, leave alone remember it? The then Chief Minister Mr. Marri Chenna Reddy openly accused factions within Congress party of engineering these riots to unsettle him. Internal bickering cost 300 lives, devasted 1000's of life, disturbed peace in the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, and yet we never, NEVER hear of these riots anywhere in the media. Not one rioter was arrested, Chenna Reddy resigned as CM, but went on to become the Governor of Tamil Nadu some years later, and died in office.

Year 1983: 
Nellie massacre in Assam.Official records itself indicate about 2000 Muslims were killed. Most of those killed were immigrants from Bangladesh. There was an agitation going on in Assam to expel these immigrants, but the Central government was keen having elections to tap this vote bank, and despite severe objections, went ahead and announced the elections. In terms of numbers, this is one of the biggest massacre, completely ignored by the state government. And hey, even I knew about this only in recent times after the advent of the superb information available on the Internet. Does anyone know the name of the Chief Minister of the state? And go figure out who the Prime Minister of the country was then.

How many of us know who the Chief Minister of Maharashtra was during the 1993 riots? How many of us know who the Home Minister of India was during 1984? These are just a couple of incidents of the many many riots that have happened in India.

Which brings me to my basic question. Who is responsible for the exclusive concentration of ANY riots related debate to center around 1984 ad 2002? Why is the media shying away from discussing in an impassionate way, ALL these riots/carnages etc. My stand on 2002, 1993, 1990,1989, 1984, 1983 1978 etc is the same, but if I demand equal justice in all cases, why am I being looked upon as someone with dubious political intentions?

Say for example, if I demand that the perpetrators of 1984 be punished on par with 2002 riots, why on earth is that argument twisted as if I am "justifying" the 2002 riots? Media blames Congress for 1984, Modi for 2002. Why can't it blame Rajiv and Modi, or the Congress and the BJP? How does my questioning of this distortion of the media, which has phenomenal reach to people of this country construed as a "justification" of the 2002 riots?

When questioned about the recent lak of coverage imediately after 2010 Hyderabad riots erupted, journos answer saying these are because of the political games. So, does that justify not covering them and discussing them?

Why is the discourse of the riots in India, the "reliving of ghosts" exclusively limited to the 1984 and 2002 riots alone? Don't the people of this country need to have maximum information at their disposal and then be allowed to come to their conclusion? Why is asking for a full account of history termed as being loony and a right winger?
Who is responsible for not putting a full stop to the devious methods many many cheap politicians used to fan thse emotions, and even continue to do it today? Why can't we debate and set in process a motion that will ensure rioters think twice before embarking on mass killing and destruction?Why has the judiciary been let off in the criticism so far? If we are willing to go back in history to study these occurences in depth, why are we stopping at 1984? Aren't all these topics worthy of debate, or will I be called names for even suggesting this?

Go ahead and blame Narendra Modi. It's your opinion, I won't contest it. But please extend that same courtesy to all those leaders mentioned above too. Please don't make the whole riots thing sound as a debate between 1984 and 2002. You are doing grave injustice by discussing selective history.
PS: A similar piece on the "C-word" is here.


Shanta Chari said...

Do not agree with AC. 8 years is not too long back. The media is still harping on the riots which happened 10 years back. They are consistently inciting communal feelings with their reports even today. It is a matter of serious concern and they should be brought to book for such grave acts.

E.S. Shridhar said...

E media are the main culprits to be booked for inciting communal violence. In stead of NEWS they provide VIEWS.They deserve spanking. Wait till next elections

Anonymous said...

The real truth is here
Zakia - wife of congressi.. That tells the story
Teesta.. Who can do anything for fame and mileage.. Can even try to expose her mother by false allegations. She has been charged numerous times for false allegations.
A one more paid article. Why dont you all(Bhatt, teesta, mallika, and Mr Sudhir) just SHUT UP and let judiciary decide. Dont be the JUDGE. Thank you
Some truth if you guys interested

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