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Bound by the rules of the greater family

ht-view Updated: Jan 09, 2014 00:37 IST
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Narendra Modi’s 1,000-word blog of December 27, just after the Ahmedabad judge dismissed a criminal case filed against him by Zakia Jafri, is just one in a series of attempts by him to hoodwink people by presenting the judgment as evidence that he, as chief minister of Gujarat, cannot be held guilty for the 2002 riots.

Modi, in his artificial, hyperbolic language, stated “yesterday’s judgment culminated a process of unprecedented scrutiny … Gujarat’s 12 years of trial by the fire have finally drawn to an end. I feel liberated and at peace”. This self-congratulatory action is premature because Jafri has many legal rights and options before her to take up the cause of the massacred residents.

A few things may be mentioned to substantiate the argument that neither Modi nor his government and associates of the Sangh parivar can be absolved of their omission and commission during and after the anti-Muslim riots of 2002. A bandh call was given by associates of the Sangh parivar on February 28 and the messages, rumours and misinformation were spread throughout Gujarat that Muslims (unsubstantiated) had burnt Hindu kar sevaks who were coming back in a train from Ayodhya. Should the Modi government have allowed this bandh, whose only purpose was to create anti-Muslim feelings? The answer is: he could not stop it because he himself has been an RSS pracharak.

The RSS is committed to the ideology that Hindus are ‘first-class’ citizens of India and Muslims and Christians are ‘second-class’ and minorities can live only if they accept that they are citizens of the Hindu Rashtra as defined by the RSS. Modi is an ideologue of the RSS and his role during the riots of 2002 or as the PM candidate for 2014 can be understood by situating him in the Hindu joint family.

In an interview on July 12, 2013, he stated: “I’m nationalist. I’m patriotic. I’m Hindu nationalist …” Similarly, LK Advani, who as home minister in the NDA government had protected Modi, stated on July 17: “…our ideological family will always be the RSS. This is what binds us together…” This explains clearly why neither Modi nor his government can be exonerated. And this is the reason why the Supreme Court not only transferred cases filed by the riot victims outside Gujarat, the judges asked for the creation of a special investigation team.

The story does not end there. Modi did not show any concern for the 200,000 Muslim refugees. Former PM AB Vajpayee, in response to a letter from Sonia Gandhi, wrote back, saying: “I have directed the Gujarat government to set up a broad based committee, under the chairmanship of the governor of the state, to plan and implement rehabilitation measures on war-footing”. The question that has emerged from the above narrative is whether the Sangh parivar can be trusted to perform its constitutional responsibilities of being the protectors of the rule of law and equality for every citizen in the country. The answer is: No.

CP Bhambhri taught politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University

The views expressed by the author are personal