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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Narendra Modi: The cause of agony in India

According to Mustafa Khan, there are two different and parallel themes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s utterances. One he views development as necessary and emphasizes it often. But he has always been making it clear that the Muslims are a hurdle to achieving it because of their population. He even illustrates with an example that a high court had severe problem because a five-star activist had brought an injunction against setting up an electric pole.  

There are two different and parallel themes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s utterances. One he views development as necessary and emphasizes it often. But he has always been making it clear that the Muslims are a hurdle to achieving it because of their population. He called the relief camps of 2002 child-producing factories. Much of his pronouncements about the minority are bipartisan. He blames the Muslims as terrorists and their religion as sources of terror despite good principles in it. even more canny is his studied silence and refusal to comment on matters of minority Muslims when his fellow hardliners make acerbic comments.

Participating in the debate two days after 9/11 he spoke fiercely about it. John Elliott, a British journalist who also was present in the debate wrote a more considered recall of what Modi had said. In his book Implosion, India’s tryst with reality (2014) Elliott says that Modi put his finger at the juggad or casual or quick fix attitude of chalta hai as the failure of India’s performance. This is a castigation against all and not specifically Muslim minority. However, when he turns to the minority Modi castigates them as obstacles to India’s struggle to achieve development. But he misses the point when he looks at the greasy attire of the Muslim road-side repairers of vehicles.

Read more: Why Abdulrazak Gurnah’s book Paradise is a must read?

Alleged accusations

Muslims of that profession may not be able to wear the kinds of stylish dresses the prime minister wears, changing many times a day. The unseemly dirty appearance of the minority in no way is a failure. This also cannot be underperformance of the minority. To blame them for the underperformance of India to achieve development is also incorrect.

 He has blamed Islam for terrorism ‘when one says your religion is hopeless and mine is better, then hatred starts, and later when that hatred gets linked into society, terror starts’. It is unthinkable that Muslims utter such sentiments. So. it is inconceivable why he did persist in this: he wanted ‘Muslim friends’ ‘to ‘understand that terrorism has damaged Islam like anything,’ and, that they needed to ‘come out against the terrorist’. It is also incorrect to say that Islam ‘put its flag in the whole world and the situation today is the result of that’.

So he seems to subscribe to the topic of discussion ‘Is Islam now the driving force of terrorism’.  But the truth that is coming out of Gujarat he ruled for more than twelve years shows that he was in fact responsible for the blames he cooked up against the Muslims.

 There are three most puzzling cases in a host of others regarding Gujarat which President Barack Obama must learn because “India’s reformer-in-chief” is squarely responsible for what EM Forster long back called muddle; the Godhra fire accident, the assassination of Haren Pandya and the attack on Akshardham temple close to the official resident of Modi in 2002. Mufti Qayyum Mansuri was one of the accused arrested. He was given the option to choose in which of the three he would like to be framed. He was innocent and had no involvement in any of the three.

Therefore, he wanted to tell the world that he had spent more than eleven years in Gujarat prison and was acquitted on the day Modi won the election on May 16, 2014, but had to wear the badge of shame of “a life branded as a terrorist without evidence.”  The mufti wrote a book “Gyarah Saal Salakhon Ke Peeche” [Eleven years behind the bars] in which he has narrated much more than this. He says that the police of Gujarat under Modi had planted evidence to falsely implicate him and others. So far in two cases of assassination of Pandya and attack on Akshardham all the accused have been acquitted. All were Muslims. In the case of Godhra fire incident, Muslim accused were similarly framed in bogus charges and have been in jail. But the most crucial point is that every accused was offered to opt-in which of the three he would like to be framed! The logical inference is that even in the Godhra case the accused are innocent.

Read more: Remembering the tragic shift in Kashmir in 2014

How could then Obama call Modi India’s reformer-in-chief?

What Obama does not know is that Modi might have been born poor but he was born as blue boy with silver spoon of RSS. The killers of Gandhi Nathuram and Gopal Godse were also like him. It is Indian malaise that innocent Muslims are blamed terrorists and rot in prisons across the country. Instead of Obama and other leaders of the world asking India to introspect over it they only sing the development mantra of Modi. They also conveniently overlook that if Godhra like the other two cases was also bogus it was this that led to the genocide of Muslims in 2002.

Muslims in India like the Armenians in Turkey and the Jews would require half a century to have Gujarat 2002 pogroms recognized as genocide. It was this wrong policy of the US administration of ignoring the genocide when it was overwhelmed by 911 that forced Samantha Power to leave the Obama election campaign team in which she was talked of as the next secretary of state. Obama’s own secretary of state John Kerry has been asked by a court in America to reply why RSS be not named as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Innocent Muslims have suffered for the terrorism that was the handiwork of extremist Hindus.

Among the Indian diaspora, there are many in America like Sonal Shah and her father who had funded hate campaigns against Muslims and collected huge funds for Vishwa Hindu Parishad America. The fund was sent to the Delhi address of VHP which was used for the genocide. The killers of Muslims had readily available food packets and drinks as they were butchering Muslims. When this matter was raised Obama quietly left Sonal Shah out of the campaign which saw him becoming the first black president of the US. Whatever development in India under Modi in Gujarat and now in India is achieved is thus tainted. It is smeared with the blood of the victims of genocide.

Development is a ruse to hide the grave charges of genocide. As Pope Francis observed on April 12, 2015 that honouring the memory of genocide in Armenia April 24, 1915 is needed: “honor their memory, for when memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester.” That is what is happening in Gujarat too. Further details of the prevention of the publication of the book by Mufti Mohammad Qayum Mansuri show that the police of Gujarat have not changed under a new chief minister. Thus the wounds are festering.

The genocide in Gujarat was very carefully planned

Modi had called the fire incident at Godhra a terrorist attack mounted by LeT and Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan. Till today he has not substantiated on what ground did he say this in the evening of February 27, 2002. Obama’s write up in Time of April 16, 2015 is about the most influential people in the world, yes Modi is very influential. [4] But a part of his influence is in reforming not the economy but India as a Hindu nation. Rewriting history has been a part of it but he is now reforming the judiciary and the legislature.  We had collegiums system of appointment of judges but now Modi wants to reform it and hence he is introducing National Judicial Appointment Commission.

The purpose behind is alarming. The executive will control NJAC. In the meeting of the chief justice of India and other judges as well as the chief minister of all the states on April 5, 2015, Modi said that the judges must introspect whether they are driven by “five star activists.” He is insinuating them that they have to guard from human rights activists like Teesta Setalvad or those who were against Narmada dam. Such people according to him are not working in the interest of India. Another insidious remark is that “perception” matters a lot. He had always perceived that those killed in the fake encounters were anti national and deserved extrajudicial killing.

Read more: Reckoning the destiny of Narendra Modi

He is far from obscure as he is preparing his own defense against the cases slapped against his police like DG Vanzara and GL Singhal. These two of nearly scores of police men were very close to him. They are involved in killing people like Sohrabuddin, Tulsiram Prajapati, Ishrat Jahan. Modi and Shah were the ultimate bosses whose orders the cops carried out. The police justified as did Modi that they were doing patriotic duty. This kind of perception Modi wants the judiciary and the legislature to adopt.

Modi’s perception

PM Modi remarked “It is never too difficult to do justice within the boundaries of law and Constitution. But it is very difficult to find the truth between perception and reality. It must be pondered over whether five-star activists are driving the judiciary today…if havoc is created to drive the judiciary. It has become difficult to deliver justice in an atmosphere of perception. A judge is not completely insular today. A judge is worried over what is happening outside and thinks if a judgment should be delivered one way or the other. It is imperative to strengthen the hands of the judiciary.

Be if people in the government or in the media or the issue of bail of five-star activists, we will cause trouble to ourselves, if we don’t help strengthen the judiciary.” His perception of strengthening the judiciary is with a price that the outside world influences a judge. Modi clearly justifies it. He even illustrates with an example that a high court had severe problem because a five-star activist had brought an injunction against setting up an electric pole.

Most of the people still do not know that it was not communal violence resulting in riots in 2002. It was genocide. The case of the Sardarpura attack on March 1, 2002 illustrates the point. The following description is from what people’s tribunal of eminent jurists and human rights activists. “Muslims constituted about 10 per cent of the total population of Sardarpura, in Mehsana district, which included about 25 families of Pathans, 20 of Sheikhs (Ghanchis) and about 20 families of Mansuri Muslims. On February 28, 2002, at about 9 p.m., several kiosks owned by Muslims, Harijans and Rawals were burnt in Sardarpura by a mob of local Hindus. The police were called but the attack continued even in their presence and even after they had left.

Fearing further attack, the Muslims again called the police the following day. Led by two sub-inspectors the police arrived in two jeeps. The idea of forming a peace committee was mooted and names of people from various communities were short-listed. A meeting was fixed for 4 p.m. Apart from the sarpanch and an ex-sarpanch (both Patels), representatives from Harijans, Rawals, Prajapatis and Muslims reached the venue but the Patels stayed away. The sarpanch, too, left the venue shortly saying he would try to get the Patels. He did not return.

“An electrician promptly repaired the streetlights of the village, which were not working for about a month prior to the incident, that evening. A halogen light was installed near the colony of the Sheikhs and a long wire was attached to the same point. By 9.30 p.m., a Hindu mob from 8-10 villages started collecting in Sardarpura. All the three Muslim localities (of Pathans, Sheikhs and Memons) were simultaneously attacked. While shops were being burnt in the localities of the Memons and the Sheikhs, houses of the Pathans were stoned.

 “The two sub-inspectors were still in the village when the attack started. Making excuses about going to the other end of the village to stop the attack on the Memon shops, they disappeared and gave inaccurate feedback to the SP that everything was all right in the village. In the Sheikh locality, a two-year-old girl child was flung and killed by the mob. Some of the Muslims ran to the Rawals’ houses for shelter; together with the Rawals then ran away through the fields. One person saved himself by hiding in a grave. Thirty-one people, mostly women and children, had taken shelter in a house in the Sheikh locality. The mob surrounded the house, locked them all in a room, and threw acid at them from outside.

Read more: Redeeming from destiny: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

How did Muslims get attacked?

An iron rod, attached to the loose end of the live wire was then shoved inside the room packed with Muslims. This instantly electrocuted 29 persons to death. Two children who fell beneath the pile of bodies somehow survived the attack. Finally, after receiving desperate pleas from trapped Muslims on phone, the SP, A Gehlot, reached the village with two vehicles at about 2.30 a.m. The Sardarpura survivors were rescued and taken to Sawala village. The police found that the roads out of Sardarpura were blocked at frequent intervals up to Ladol, 9 km away, to prevent the Muslims from escaping. An FIR was lodged and 28 persons named by survivors. One of the chief accused, Chandra Kant is a Bajrang Dal activist. As of early May, he had still not been arrested.”

The gravamen of the crime against humanity was that the Hindu extremists wanted to attack only Muslims. They had blocked the escape routes to Muslims but not the Hindu Rawals, Prajapatis or the Harijans. They killed only the Muslims in a systematic planned manner. The Patels (Hindus) betrayed the Muslims. The brutal killing of the two-year-old Muslim girl was a shock and stun strategy of heralding the genocide, that it would run its fixed course. Every Muslim was targeted, children, women and men, old and young.  This meets the defining features of what genocide is according to the UNO.

In another village called Ode the Muslims were exterminated lock stock and barrel. No one from the minority lives there. The Non-Resident Indians (Hindu Patels) behind the genocide there fled to the US. In his first visit to the US, PM Modi saw to it that the Indians like the Patels have their- papers of immigration regularized and saved from harassment. This would benefit those who were from Ode and are now hiding in the US.

When journalists were covering 2002 pogroms Modi as chief minister had gagged them by threatening them with the fate of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist executed by the Talibans in Pakistan. The gagging of Mufti Qayum contrasts sharply with Vikram Bhave. The accused member of terrorist outfit Sanatan Sansthan was sentenced to prison for ten years was given bail for two months in which he wrote a book on terrorism and it was published. Even DG Vanzara was allowed to write books and book were released in official function where he occupied seat on the dias. So gagging was used most discriminating way.

Read more: Worsening and insecure life of Muslims in India

Important details from Bhave’s book

Bhave’s book has such disturbing details that it matches with what Mufti Qayum would expose and goes beyond and calls for all the judges entrusted with terrorism cases to introspect as Modi has exhorted: There are such details in two recordings of Captain Nitin Joshi, one of 14-1(1)-2008 and another of 18-11-2008 as submitted to Deputy Commissioner of Police:

  1. A certain Dr Dav had given affidavit to the Deputy Commissioner of Police against a man called Bhagwan who had- been given RDX for attack on Samjhauta Express in February 2007. It was from the consignment that Purohit had stolen from the army when he was on duty in the Kashmir valley. Captain Nitin Joshi had seen the RDX in a room of Purohit’s bungalow in Pune.
  2. Indresh Kumar had advised Hindutva terrorists to target Muslims and kill them in larger number and hide in temples. Kumar and Mohan Bhagwat had received 21 crore rupees from the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan. Joshi had heard a man say this when he was with Purohit in Purohit’s bungalow. Joshi is witness no. 55 in Malegaon 2008 attack case. Bhagwat now chief of RSS, Kumar and Ramji Kalsangra and many others are members of RSS. Their involvement in terrorism is direct.

Witness no. 61 is Sham Apte in 2008 Malegaon attack case. He says that he had seen a secret dossier mentioning that ISI had given 21 crores to Kumar as head of the Muslim National Front, a sub group of RSS. “I consider this treachery to the nation,” asserts RSS leader Sham Apte. “I was so overwhelmed by shock that I said that we must arrange to kill Bhagwat and Kumar.” However, he also claimed in self defense that he did not really intend to kill them.

This so upset Samir Kulkarni another accused in 2008 case that he appealed to the high court that there should be a case filed against Nitin Joshi for taking part in conspiracy to kill. It is clearly an attempt by an accused in support of another. There are other accused inside and outside jail or on parole that are doing the same work. In this Vikram Bhave figures prominently as does Amit Shah. Bhave was accused in the bomb blast on February 20, 2008, in Cineraj cinema in Panvel, Vashi theatre Vishnudas Bhave on May 31, 2008 and in the same week another attack in Gadkari Rangayatan theatre. He was arrested on June 16, 2008 and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Sham Apte’s needs serious attention to know the shades of Hindutva terror

Purohit was a more diehard terrorist than is known and yet the army Court of Inquiry supported him. Sham Apte noted ambiguity as hall mark of his character. He had introduced himself as a major when he was just Lieutenant Colonel. When he went to meet Apte he did not make it clear as to who had recommended him to meet Apte.  He introduced Apte to Swami Amrutanand Deoteerth, aka Shankaracharya whose real name is Dyanand Pandey.

Read more: When & how will terrorism between India and Pakistan end? -Part 1

In July 2008 Shankaracharya of Peeth came to Pune and Apte arranged for his stay in Sarda’s house where industrialist Jindal donated ten lakh rupees of which 5 lakhs went to the treasury of Abhinav Bharat and the remaining to the Shankaracharya. When the Shankaracharya visited Indore on August 1, 2008 Purohit arranged for travel of Apte and Ajay Rahirkar to fly in to visit the Shankaracharya. In the hotel Apte overheard Purohit asking for one lakh rupees from the holy man.

There were greater frequency of meeting of Abhinav Bharat and RSS functionaries in August and September 2008 and so was more funding of money to AB and Purohit. Parallel to this was the growing and to an extent worked up concern for the displaced Pandit community.  All this led to the blast of 2008 in Malegaon.

Some of these details are in chapter 13 of Bhave’s book. His titling the chapter “RSS and Bomb Blast” confirms the South Virginia US think tank Terrorism Research Centre naming RSS as a terrorist organization. It is still a persisted belief in the establishment that neither the RSS nor Narendra Modi can be called terrorist. Even Bhave is ambiguous as is Apte. Apte has been an adherent of RSS.

Apte had spent a long time in the US and when he returned to India he found that RSS chey purvee vichar aani aata chey vichar yaant barchshi farkat aahe. “There is a sea of change in the mindset of RSS of yore and of today”. It was a reference to how the so- called patriotic organization had accepted money from Pakistan’s ISI to fund RSS run Rashtriya Muslim Manch. This he had read in the dossier that Purohit had handed him when the army man visited Apte at his house. He was shocked by the acceptance of huge amount by Sangh which in its inception was devoted to the moral development of the Hindus for the nation and its culture, he had believed till then. In one stroke the bribery had brought the RSS to the level of ISI.

ISI kadun ghetlele paise munzhe deshase gaddari aahe. “Taking money from the ISI is a high treason against the country.” Next great shock for Apte was when he mentioned this moral turpitude to Mohan Bhagwat, he turned a deaf ear to it! Interestingly the chief of RSS at that time was K Sudarshan a staunch believer in the right-wing ideology who of course ignored it. From the afore mentioned episode Bhave concludes that as the 9 accused in Malegaon 2006blasts were innocent though some were members of Students Islamic Movement of India. In the same way those accused in 2008 were Hindus though some were members of RSS and the law of parity should apply in the latter case, also.

Mufti Qayum writings

There is a world of difference between Mufti Qayum writing a book because he is the agonized and Modi is the one who is the cause of his agony and also that of the community of Muslims. Modi was not just the chief minister but also the home minister. No case could have been filed without his knowing and approving. The mufti was told to copy a letter in the handwriting of some other person who was also framed. Moreover it was all centered on Gujarat. Therefore Modi has to come clean on it. Is it not agonizing that the mufti was eight years in death row, waiting for the hangman’s noose! How could Modi sleepover the eight years cozily and still pretend that he ruled well.

Read more: Tragic realization: Delhi, Gujarat and Kashmir

Bhave’s case is altogether different. He did commit the crime for which he went to jail for ten years. He is not just a member of Sanatan Sansthan, a terrorist outfit, but he is also a member of the RSS. He comments on the schism in the RSS, another terrorist organization. Neither Modi as Chief Minister nor Modi as PM bothered or bothers about this. But to a free judiciary, this is a serious matter.

Obama doesn’t know that Modi did not come from extreme poverty and did anything “to reduce extreme poverty” especially the Muslims who had lost everything in the genocide, their family members, houses and shops. He did nothing to stop the boycott of Muslims. He even did not release the scholarships and stipends the central government had sanctioned for poor school going Muslim boys and girls. Who’s “improving education” Obama speaks of?

Obama should know what the Canadian writer Michael Ignatieff says of democracy as a system in which the minority feels safe and secure. Muslims feel safe today, neither in Gujarat nor in the rest of India. It is significant that a Canadian court for the first time on April 15, 2015 accepted a prima facie case that Modi “committed or counseled torture,” during the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat. The moving force behind it was Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ.

Singh remarked that “April 15 will go down in the history as ‘victims of torture day.’ He went on to claim victory for his effort: Modi “escaped trial on the charges of torture under Canadian law only because of the Attorney General’s last-minute intervention.” The case was registered under Section 269.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code and referred to the allegations brought by the victim “Asifbhai V.” on two counts.

The two counts are that Mr. Modi as the Chief Minister of Gujarat “did inflict torture” upon the victim and his family by engaging in acts of omission and commission “that intentionally caused severe pain and suffering, including death, for reasons based on religious discrimination.”

Mustafa Khan holds a Ph.D. on Mark Twain. He lives in Malegaon Maharashtra, India. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.