After the brutal killing of a 3-year old girl in Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh by Zahid and Aslam, allegedly over a very minor issue of payment of less than Rs 10,000, there has been a natural outrage. Of course, this outrage was triggered on the social media, by the right-wingers, and the Leftists who initially tried to ignore the issue were forced to show outrage at this. After this, they went back to their original nature and instead accused BJP of supporting rapists and killers of the 8-year old girl Asifa, who was brutally raped and killed in Kathua in early 2018, like they had done at that time.
The ability of the Leftists to twist the narrative to slander BJP and Hindu nationalists is truly extra-ordinary. Firstly, let us see the truth of the rally organized in Jammu in support of the alleged killers.
Those who rallied in Jammu did so as they genuinely felt that the accused have been framed by the Kashmir Crime Branch and simply demanded a CBI inquiry. That is by no means supporting killers and rapists, at maximum it can be called supporting accused. They were actually demanding a better investigation by CBI which would only give better justice to the poor 8 year-old victim. They did not rally and say: “The rapists and murderers of Asifa should be set free as this rape and murder is justified”. They rallied as they believed that the accused were INNOCENT and were wrongly framed in the case. The media, both Indian and global, and political opponents and Leftists reported as if the rallyists in Jammu had supported the rape and murder, which they never did.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said, as did Union Minister Prakash Javdekar, that the Bar Association of Jammu President B S Slathia, who spearheaded the protest in Kathua, was Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s polling agent in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The state unit chief of the Congress was seen in a video terming the police probe in the Kathua rape-and-murder case as ‘motivated’ and defending the public protests against it.
The rally was organized by Hindu Ekta Manch, not by BJP or any Sangh Parivar organization. Only 2 BJP Ministers attended it, and they were both asked to resign by the party. The mainstream organizations like BJP, RSS and others did not demand setting the accused free, nor did they deny the Kathua murder by calling it an ‘accident’. The first arrest made for this killing was of a 15 year old boy. Much later, the Crime Branch of J&K made new arrests.
The Central government was appalled by what happened in Kathua, it got two Ministers from Jammu sacked for being present in the rally. All people I know and met, of RSS, BJP and others on Facebook and on WhatsApp were genuinely giving messages demanding death to the killers of the 8-year old girl in Kathua. They really demand harsh penalty for the killers. The Prime Minister gave a statement that the incident is a shame, and assured that the victim would get complete justice. The then Home Minister Rajnath Singh too said that victim should get justice.
The confidence with which the current accused are talking, demanding a CBI probe and narco tests as well as a lie-detector test makes me feel that they could be framed. Besides, there is a lot of evidence (such as CCTV footage of an ATM in UP on the day one accused is alleged to be in Kathua) which doubts their involvement. The trial court judgment has now come convicting 6 out of the 7 accused, and acquitting the one about whom there was CCTV footage of alibi.
There is a tremendous outrage in Jammu among the rallyists for being called ‘supporters of killers’. They have every right to demand a CBI inquiry for a fair investigation if they feel J&K Crime Branch framed innocent accused as an after-thought on orders of some Kashmir politicians. Follow what Madhu Kishwar is saying on this issue on Twitter at @madhukishwar
If the accused are guilty, they should be given the harshest penalty, i.e. nothing less than death penalty. The rape & murder of the innocent 8-year old Asifa outraged all of us, and (barring some heartless fanatics) everyone on the Hindu right is for strict punishment to the real killers. But they only want to be sure that the real killers are punished, not innocent people who could have been framed.
Now, after the outrage over the killing of the 3 year old innocent in Uttar Pradesh, the Left liberals are drawing parallels with Kathua and accusing BJP of defending the rapists & murderers. Outrage by the Left-liberal-secular brigade over disrespecting the dead and supporting killers? Hypocrisy and irony died a million deaths.
On Godhra, the mainstream parties and UPA Government defended the horrific killers who roasted to coal 59 Ram sewaks despite knowing fully well that Muslims burnt the train in the densely Muslim-dominated Signal Falia area of Godhra. It is one thing to defend some accused of Godhra saying: “They were not a part of the mob which burnt the train”. It is quite another to deny totally that any mob burnt the train and call it as an ‘accident’.
The UPA constituted a fake Banerjee Committee, which whitewashed the heinous sins of the fanatic Muslims, and called it an ‘accident’ in Jan 2005. In Jan-Feb 2005, Lalu campaigned in rallies in Bihar saying “BJP-RSS ke logon ne Godhra mein 59 logon ko jalaya, bola Musalman ne jalaya…” [BJP-RSS men burnt 59 in Godhra, said that Muslims did it.] The Congress Party officially fully defended the findings of the Banerjee Committee and said that Godhra was an accident, with its national spokesmen Anand Sharma and Abhishek Singhvi in the forefront. This is real defending of the heinous killers. Many Congress leaders went a step ahead, going to the extent of accusing BJP-RSS-VHP of killing 59 in Godhra, like Lalu.
How would it seem if tomorrow a BJP Govt ordered a fake committee like Banerjee on Kathua which gave a report that the death of the 8 year old girl was an accident, and then BJP leaders campaigned saying: “Congress-Left ke logon ne Kathua mein 8 saal ki ladki ka balatkar aur katal kiya, bola Hinduon ne kattal kiya”? [Congress-Left people raped and killed an 8-year old girl in Kathua, accused Hindus of doing so]. This is how bad the ‘Left-liberal seculars’ are and were on Godhra. None of them showed any disgust when Lalu did this on Godhra, many of them defended Banerjee Committee findings and they staunchly defend Lalu today.
The world media outlets like New York Times have also been in the forefront to defend the barbaric killers of Godhra and they even today call the Godhra carnage as an ‘accidental fire’.
This entire ecosystem of the Congress-‘secularists’ [with the exception of Vir Sanghvi and maybe Jyoti Punwani] has not only disrespected, but also insulted and slandered the 59 dead victims of the Godhra carnage including 25 women and 15 children including babies and toddlers, by leveling shameful and character-assassinating fake charges on them to somehow reduce the intensity of the heinous crime committed by 2000 fanatic Muslims of Godhra.
Nobody, including rallyists in Jammu demanding a CBI probe in the Kathua case and others, leveled fake and third class charges on the Kathua victim, like the Congress and ‘secularists’ did on the victims of the Godhra carnage.
On 27 Feb 2002, 59 Ramsewaks were burnt to coal in Godhra in the densely Muslim-dominated Signal Falia area by a well-armed and ready mob of 2000 Muslims at 8 am. After this, the ‘secularists’ in the media and the non-BJP politicians slandered the dead Ram sewaks and blamed them for the tragedy, and not the Muslims who actually burnt the train. This troubled the conscience of one of the ‘secularists’, Vir Sanghvi, who condemned this response of the ‘secularists’ and said that the dead Ram sewaks are being dehumanized, are being insulted. His exact words were:
“Some versions have it that the kar sewaks shouted anti-Muslim slogans; others that they taunted and harassed Muslim passengers…Equally, it does seem extraordinary that slogans shouted from a moving train or at a railway platform should have been enough to enrage local Muslims, enough for 2,000 of them to have quickly assembled at eight in the morning, having already managed to procure petrol bombs and acid bombs. Even if you dispute the version of some of the kar sewaks – that the attack was premeditated and that the mob was ready and waiting – there can be no denying that what happened was indefensible, unforgivable and impossible to explain away as a consequence of great provocation. And yet, this is precisely how the secular establishment has reacted…And yet, the sub-text to all secular commentary is the same: the kar sewaks had it coming to them. Basically, they condemn the crime; but blame the victims…Why have we de-humanised them [the dead kar sewaks] to the extent that we don’t even see the incident as the human tragedy that it undoubtedly was and treat it as just another consequence of the VHP’s fundamentalist policies? The answer, I suspect, is that we are programmed to see Hindu-Muslim relations in simplistic terms: Hindus provoke, Muslims suffer. When this formula does not work – it is clear now that a well-armed Muslim mob murdered unarmed Hindus – we simply do not know how to cope. We shy away from the truth – that some Muslims committed an act that is indefensible – and resort to blaming the victims…Not only does this insult the dead (What about the children? Did they also have it coming?), but it also insults the intelligence of the reader…There is one question we need to ask ourselves: have we become such prisoners of our own rhetoric that even a horrific massacre becomes nothing more than occasion for Sangh Parivar-bashing?”
This article was written on 28 Feb 2002 by Vir Sanghvi, after which a lot more slander of the dead was done. Till that time, the inconsistent and self-contradictory charges on Ram sewaks were that they shouted anti-Muslim slogans, taunted and harassed Muslim passengers, did not pay for tea and snacks. Later emerged third class allegations [copied from an Islamic website which blamed Jews for 9/11, & had similar claims] of them trying to kidnap a Muslim girl which was later tried to be portrayed as true by many, e.g. Tehelka with Ashish Khetan claiming so, who later joined the AAP.
In reality of course, no such attempt was made to abduct any girl, the alleged girl Sophia Sheikh was examined by the Nanavati Commission and it found many loopholes in this claim, and concluded that she was parroting what had been fed to her perhaps a few days after the incident. These fake, third class and slanderous charges were made just to reduce the heinous-ness of the crime of Muslims of Godhra, to somehow imply that “Muslims did not start it, they had no choice than to retaliate as they were wronged by the Ram sewaks”.
Vir Sanghvi cleared admitted on 28 Feb 2002 itself that “The truth was that in Godhra, some Muslims committed an act that is indefensible, which was never going to be accepted by the ‘secularists’, though they knew it.”
Within 3 days of Godhra, the Gujarat Congress leadership in Gandhinagar prepared a report that claimed that the incident was ‘provoked’ by kar sevaks who were shouting slogans from Ratnam to Godhra.
The late Amarsinh Chaudhary, the then Gujarat state chief of the Congress Party, came on TV on 27 February 2002 and blamed Ramsevaks for ‘provoking’ the Godhra carnage, alleging that they did not pay for tea and snacks. India Today (11 March 2002, covering events till 28 Feb 2002) said: “…While former chief minister Amarsinh Chaudhary condemned the attack on the train he also blamed the Ram sevaks for provoking it. ”
The anger of the Godhra victims is seen since March 2002 itself. UNI reported on 8 March 2002: “That the survivors of the February 27 Sabarmati Express blaze at Godhra are a bitter lot will be an understatement. Few politicians, human rights activists or media persons have had a kind word for them.”
There was an ‘independent fact-finding report’ in April 2002 on the situation in Gujarat, full of lies [e.g. It lied that the daughters of Ehsan Jafri had been raped & killed in the riots while in reality they were in USA]. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, S.P.Shukla, K.S.Subramanian, and Achin Vanaik made this report, which was given in Outlook:
“A Report To the Nation by An Independent Fact Finding Mission…Some kar sewaks refused to pay for the tea [priced at Rs 5] and snacks and got into an altercation with the [Muslim] vendors. An old Ghanchi vendor, who is absconding, was ordered to shout pro-Rama slogans and his beard was reportedly pulled when he refused. This was followed immediately by stone throwing and physical assaults started…a kar sewak who grabbed one of the teenaged daughters Sophiya and tried to drag her inside the compartment, but contrary to later press reports and rumours failed to do so…
The fracas on the platform lasted around 15 to 20 minutes before the train began to pull out… Apparently incensed by reports of the misbehaviour with members of their community by the kar sewaks and the molestation, even rumoured abduction, of a Muslim woman, a mob of up to 2,000 people allegedly of Ghanchis from Singal Faliya attacked the train with stones and fire bombs. The kar sewaks of almost equal strength threw stones back…
This notwithstanding, major conclusions can be arrived at:
1] The attack does not appear to be pre-planned in the sense in which it was claimed publicly by high authorities in the immediate aftermath of the incident of 27th Feb. Neither available information nor the circumstances then prevailing provide support to the theory of any deep-rooted conspiracy, with or without involvement of foreign agencies.
…3] The tragedy could have been averted or at least, minimised if strong preventive measures had been taken in the wake of the communal incidents/irritants that were taking place on the train route and which could have been anticipated once the kar sewaks started leaving/returning by train in large numbers for/from Ayodhya.”
Thus they slandered the dead Ram sewaks, falsely accused them of not paying for tea and snacks at the station for Rs 5 [FIVE Rupees is the value of the lives of Ram sewaks for these shameless propagandists and Outlook which published this], falsely accused the dead of pulling the beard of a vendor etc, and of trying to kidnap a Muslim girl Sophia Sheikh and of ‘provoking’ the Godhra massacre.
Outlook dated 1 April 2002 reported: “The Godhra case, meanwhile, will remain a mystery…What triggered off the Godhra massacre is still not answered. Clearly, the Sabarmati Express incident is not an open and shut case of Muslims targeting kar sevaks. Had it been so, the police would not have been so tightlipped.”
Then what was it? Was it a case of the dead 59 Ram sewaks including 25 women and 15 children targeting Muslims? Just because some police officers remained tight-lipped in April 2002 doesn’t mean Godhra was not a case of Muslims targeting kar sevaks. Of course it was. And Outlook called Godhra a ‘mystery’ when it was crystal clear that Muslims burnt the train, simply because it did not WANT to accept it.
An article by Rajeev Srinivasan on Rediff.com on 7 March 2002 exposed the slander of the Godhra victims done in the first week after Godhra. That article said:
“The response in the English-language media in India has been quite intriguing. The editorials and reports generally blamed Hindus for provoking Muslims by the act of wanting to build a temple in Ayodhya. The tone, generally, was: ‘We told you that Hindu provocation in wanting to build a temple will lead to a Muslim backlash. So here it is. It’s the Hindus’ fault.’
Here is an excerpt from an editorial in The Hindustan Times: A number of innocent people have already died and more may suffer if the Centre, even now, doesn’t step in to stop the insanity unleashed by the VHP. Right from the time when this outfit of Hindu fanatics announced its provocative plan to begin the construction of the temple in Ayodhya, it was known that trouble was brewing. But the BJP at the Centre, perhaps hoping that the VHP’s belligerence will consolidate the Hindu vote behind it, did nothing more than mouth pious platitudes. [Blames BJP and VHP and not Muslims who burnt the train.]
Here is an excerpt from a report in The Washington Post, with a quote from…: Teesta Setalvad, head of Communalism Combat, a group that opposes religious extremism in India, said that ‘while I condemn today’s gruesome attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilization to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India.’
Even by the standards of the Indian English media and its ‘secular’ ‘progressives’, known for their Marxist blinkers, this is astonishing. For they are conveniently pinning the blame on the victim…
This issue of provocation is quite illuminating…Does this look like a spontaneous response to an act of provocation, or does it look like a pre-planned, well-thought-out plan for mass murder? What kind of ‘provocation’ leads someone to randomly execute women and children in the most gruesome manner possible, by burning them alive?”
Varsha Bhosle wrote on Rediff.com dated 11 March 2002 an article titled “Déjà vu, all over again”, which said:
“…Take, for instance, the “news” about the 60 karsevaks being burned to death because they had abducted a 16-year-old Muslim girl: “She kept pleading and begging to them [sic] to stop beating her father and leave him alone. But instead of listening to her woes [sic], the kar sevaks [sic] lifted the young girl and took her inside their compartment S-6 and closed the compartment door shut.” Forget the scores of Pakis who sent me that mass-circulated piece of shit, even Indian Muslims and Hindus used it to rationalize the incineration of the karsevaks….
A variation of this “news” was produced by Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post: “[Karsevaks] exposed themselves to other passengers. They pulled headscarves off Muslim women… They failed to pay for the tea and snacks they consumed at each stop,” even quoting a mere deputy superintendent of police saying that the attack on Hindus “was not pre-planned”, but “a sudden, provocative incident”. No matter that Additional Director General (law and order) of Gujarat police J Mahapatra and The Hindustan Times (Godhra: A planned attack, March 3) and The Pioneer (Dastardly crime, March 1) and The Times of India (Attack could have been pre-planned, February 28) *and* the Intelligence Bureau, all indicate a pre-planned conspiracy. Chandrasekaran simply found “witnesses” he wanted to find… Déjà vu, all over again. And thus, from March 5 to date, messages about the villainous karsevaks and the abducted Muslim girl have been steadily trickling in.
Here’s some real news for you: The “information” about the ‘abduction’ was directly lifted from an item on an Islamist Web site purporting to be a news portal, and then embellished with garbage like “I would also mention my sources namely Mr Anil Soni and Neelam Soni (reporters of Gujarat Samachar Newspaper and also member of PTI & ANI) have worked hard to dig the true facts”, and gave 3 phone numbers of the Sonis. Well, I found Mr Soni at (02672) 40264. He said, “Are you calling up about the emails? That is complete bogus and rubbish. It is the work of my enemies.”
That’s how Islamists work — knowing well what “secularists” *like* to believe.”
Teesta Setalvad-edited Combat Communalism too insulted the dead Ram sewaks, and tried to concoct all sort of stories to paint them as bullies and demons, rather than victims. It wrote:
“In a report published on February 25, the Jan Morcha, a Hindi daily published from Faizabad, detailed instances of provocative behaviour by kar sevaks, who allegedly beat and threatened Muslim passengers, insisting that they chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’. They even unveiled Muslim women…
The Jan Morcha report published two days before the incident at Godhra, reports the conduct of kar sevaks from Gujarat headed for Ayodhya. But by several accounts, the conduct of kar sevaks returning to Ahmedabad by the ill-fated Sabarmati Express on February 27 was no better:
…And on March 7, Akbarbaig Sirajuddin Shah, a Muslim passenger who was returning to Ahmedabad with his family, in an interview with the Gujarati daily, Gujarat Today, recounted the misbehaviour of the kar sevaks throughout the journey…
As stated earlier, no provocation whatsoever can justify a heinous crime like burning people to death. But the misconduct of kar sevaks is nonetheless important to record for two reasons: One, given such persistent hooliganism, where was the intelligence machinery of the law enforcement authorities? Why was no preventive measure taken by the police? Two, if the attack on kar sevaks was pre-planned, as chief minister Modi and Union home minister LK Advani have maintained, was the outrageous conduct of kar sevaks a part of the pre-planning?…
Local accounts say that stories of the behaviour of kar sevaks (believed to be as many as 1,200 or so on board) had preceded the train’s arrival. Dahod, an-hour-and-a-half before Godhra, had seen the eruption of tension and the news had already travelled. As the train pulled in and stopped at Godhra railway station, locals who live just outside the station recounted (see box on testimonies of witnesses) that they heard abusive shouts and sounds of stone throwing from the station. Vendors near the station recounted that tea stall owners at the station (who incidentally hail from the same Ghanchi Muslim community) had an altercation with the kar sevaks who refused to pay. One elderly vendor on the platform was threatened by the kar sevaks and asked to shout slogans; they pulled his beard and assaulted him when he refused.
…Suddenly, a kar sevak obstructed their departure, grabbed Sophiya [at around 8 am] and tried to drag her inside the compartment. He did not succeed in doing so….
Reports of misbehaviour, repeated provocation, the rumour of abduction of a young Muslim girl, allegedly incited a 2,000 strong mob of Ghanchi Muslims from Signal Falia to attack the train with stones and fire bombs. The kar sevaks also resorted to stone throwing.
…Criminologically speaking, in the assessment of this [anonymous] officer, the fire was not intended. It ‘caught more than they expected.’ ‘There was no pre-planning.’…
As we have seen above, investigating officials have yet to find any proof of the Godhra atrocity being pre-planned. Nonetheless, Modi, Union home minister LK Advani and others continue to reiterate the distorted version of the motive behind the incident at Godhra…
Though all accounts suggest that there was provocation enough by the kar sevaks, little can justify the crime that burned 58 persons alive. The guilty need to be brought to book and punished.”
There was another article in this issue which was totally devoted to slandering the Ram sewaks since the time the trains carrying Ram sewaks were in Faizabad, UP.
Rajiv Srinivasan wrote in Part 2 of his article dated 14 May 2002 on Rediff.com on Godhra where he exposed some of the slander & insult of the dead Ram sewaks.
The Independent (UK) insulted the dead kar sewaks and leveled fake allegations. The report written by Peter Popham published on 20 March 2002 says that the “Ram sewaks were drunk, unruly, pulled the beard of an elderly Muslim, smashed a Muslim tea-owners stall for not saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’, drunk kar sewaks kidnapped a Muslim girl, the girl began screaming for help, a mob assembled to help her, the mob ‘requested’ that the karsevaks return the girl. But instead of returning the girl, they started closing their windows. This infuriated the mob, and it became a battle with the karsevaks piling in with their swords and sticks, and a crowd now said to be 1,000-strong burnt the train!”
Four months after Godhra, The Week reported in an article: “…The karsewaks refused to pay for the tea and abused the vendors (Muslims at Godhra Railway Station)”. Though this article mercifully accepted that Muslims burnt the train, it called Godhra a ‘Mystery’ and insulted the dead by alleging that they did not pay for tea and snacks at Godhra station and ‘abused’ the Muslim vendors.
Dionne Bunsha wrote in well-known Leftist fortnightly Frontline in its issue of 20 July to 2 August 2002 on Godhra. Again, she refused to accept that it was a well-planned act done by Muslims, and slandered the kar sewaks by saying that they ‘harassed, bullied and abused the Muslim passengers’ and resorted to all sorts of mental gymnastics to avoid mentioning the truth that Muslims burnt the train in a planned act. She quoted the then Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela to promote the lie that the VHP itself torched the train [in a densely Muslim dominated area!] and not Muslims.
Dionee Bunsha also wrote in Frontline in its issue of 15-28 March 2003 a report in which she called Godhra a ‘mystery’ and accused the dead Ram sewaks of trying to kidnap a Muslim girl, and alleged that they misbehaved with other passengers. She again tried all sort of mental gymnastics to avoid accepting that Muslims burnt the train, and even mentioned a JUDICIAL CONFESSION by one accused to court in Feb 2003 in the article. But did not mention that in that JUDICIAL CONFESSION the accused admitted that the Godhra attack was a well-planned one, and that he had himself taken part in it too. She only mentioned that accused’s confession also naming Maulavi Umarji as involved in this attack, which made Umarji a co-accused.
Rediff.com reported on 11 August 2004 in a report titled “‘It is nonsense to say that Godhra was planned’ that:
“…To put pressure on the Gujarat government in connection with the post-Godhra riots, ANHAD [Shabnam Hashmi being the force behind it] organised a seminar titled ‘Rebuilding Justice and Hope in Gujarat: The Agenda Ahead’ in the main auditorium of India International Centre in New Delhi on July 29. Needless to say, ‘secular activists’ attended the seminar in strength. Some were famous personalities like actresses Sharmila Tagore and Nandita Das, lawyers Indira Jaisingh and Nitya Ramakrishnan, and journalists Praful Bidwai and Rajdeep Sardesai. Also present were about 100 students and some known critics of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
…The session that provoked the audience was a PowerPoint presentation titled ‘In search of the truth about Godhra’ by Ahmedabad-based activist lawyer Mukul Sinha. He presented his take on the burning of the Sabarmati Express, which killed 59 passengers on February 27, 2002. With the help of the statements made by people and policemen before the Nanavati Commission, which is enquiring into the riots, Sinha tried to establish that the Godhra carnage was not planned. He said, “It is nonsense to say that Godhra was a planned act or a conspiracy.” It was an accident, which was wrongly termed as the ‘most horrendous diabolical incident’…””
These known anti-Modi personalities like Rajdeep Sardesai, Prafull Bidwai and all others like Nandita Das present there allowed Mukul Sinha to stoop to THIS level in such a horrific massacre, and did not once contest or contradict his lies on Godhra, despite knowing the truth fully well that it was a well-planned attack by Muslims.
Siddharth Varadarajan (presently editor of The Wire) refused to blame Muslims for Godhra in an article in The Hindu in January 2005. He too slandered the dead karsewaks by alleging that they ‘molested a Muslim girl’, and ignored completely that 15 children and 25 women were among the killed people, including babies and toddlers. He wrote a similar article on 22 August 2004 in The Hindu, where he refused to blame Muslims for Godhra and said: “Two years on, the police cannot offer a credible account of how coach S-6 caught fire” as if that is was unknown, while it was clear that Muslims set it afire, and he insulted the dead karsewaks by calling them as ‘ticketless travelers’. Besides, he lied that 2000 Muslims were killed in the post-Godhra riots, exaggerating the numbers to more than double, and as if no Hindu was killed while more than 250 Hindus also died even after Godhra.
He implied in August 2004 that the post-Godhra riots would have happened even without Godhra! This was in Outlook in an article in which he said that the “Godhra incident itself is so shrouded in mystery that it is almost as if the official narrative which emerged within minutes and hours of the train being consumed by fire is an invented one, conveniently conjured up to provide the “rationale” for the pogrom which had simultaneously been ordained.” He ignored completely the killings of Hindus even after Godhra and called the riots as a ‘pogrom’! If one can read between the lines, it means Muslims have been wrongly accused for Godhra according to him.
In January 2005, the then Railway Minister Lalu Yadav got a Banerjee committee to give a fake report that the Godhra carnage was an ‘accident’. Everyone knows the truth and in February 2003 there was a JUDICIAL CONFESSION by one Muslim accused of this too. If it had been an accident, the Ram sewaks would have ran out of the train and saved their lives, it was a mob of Muslims who did not allow them to run away and burnt them to coal. This of course, was known to all in the ‘secularist’ media, but they promoted the lie of it being an ‘accident’. Lalu campaigned in Bihar in 2005 saying: “BJP-RSS men burnt a train in Godhra killing 59 people, said Muslims did it”. In this report of that campaign Lalu is mercifully not reported as alleging that ‘BJP-RSS men burnt the train in Godhra’ which he did in other rallies, which was shown on TV by NDTV Hindi.
There was and is no outrage in any of the ‘seculars’ for Lalu doing this and instead he was and is their hero. The media did not call this act of U C Banerjee & Lalu as ‘shameful’, unlike their outrage on PM Modi calling Rajiv Gandhi ‘Bhrashtachari’. Actually, they were happy Lalu did this. Papers like The Tribune and journalists like Khushwant Singh supported the claim of U C Banerjee. The Hindu in its editorial of 19 Jan 2005 and mainstream parties like Congress, CPI and CPM staunchly defended the Banerjee report and condemned BJP for opposing it with Congress spokesmen Abhishek Singhvi and Anand Sharma in the forefront!
Outlook fully supported the Banerjee Committee report in January 2005 in an article by Darshan Desai and Saba Naqvi. It said: “While the BJP continues to squirm on the Godhra issue, the report’s release has come as a bit of a breather for Muslims across the country. The overwhelming sentiment is that a huge taint has been removed.” Thus, Outlook instead of calling Lalu & Banerjee’s acts as ‘shameful’, was actually thankful to them for the report, since it whitewashed the heinous crime of Muslims. It exposes only Darshan Desai, Saba Naqvi and Outlook which published such a third class article.
This report of Saba Naqvi in Outlook again defended the heinous crime of Muslims and did not answer how it could have been an accident when the kar sevaks would have ran out of the train had the fire been accidental, and how so many stones were pelted on the train. It totally ignored the testimonies of dozens of survivors and witnesses, like Gayatri Panchal and others, and resorted to stooping to this level to whitewash the heinous crime of Muslims of Godhra, just because the killers were Muslims and victims were Ram sevaks.
It also lied that Godhra sparked off the ‘most horrific communal violence in Independent India’ while there have been many far worse riots in India post-1947, in Gujarat itself in 1969 and 1985 as examples. It exposes only Darshan Desai, Saba Naqvi and Outlook which published such a third class article.
Saba Naqvi lied horribly here saying: “Eyewitness accounts and other evidence indicate this might have been so. There are accounts of cooking in the carriage.” This is nonsense and third-class lies by Saba Naqvi. The coach was so crowded that there was no space for any cooking. This was mentioned by survivors. Outlook itself reported in March 2006 when the final report of the Banerjee committee came:
“…Gayatri Panchal, a resident of Ahmedabad, who survived the incident on February 27, 2002, but lost both her parents in her reaction to the report has said, “The report of the Banerjee Commission is absolutely wrong. I have seen everything with my own eyes and barely escaped myself but lost both my parents.”
Panchal, who has three sisters, said the Banerjee Commission report was not correct as the fire could not have been accidental as no one was cooking in the S-6 coach and it was packed with passengers.“Mobs pelted stones at the coach for long and then threw in burning rags and also poured some inflammable material so that the coach was on fire.I will maintain the same whereever I am called to depose on the matter,” Panchal said.”
The Congress fully defended the final Banerjee report in March 2006 which was same as the interim report and instead demanded the immediate resignation of the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and condemned Modi!
On 13 October 2006, the Gujarat High Court declared the Banerjee Committee to be ‘illegal’ and ruled that the probe was “unconstitutional, illegal and null and void”. Justice D N Patel declared its formation to be a “colourable exercise of power with mala fide intentions“.
When the Nanavati Commission, which was a full-fledged Commission of Inquiry having all powers under the Commission of Inquiry Act, gave its report in September 2008 that Godhra was a well-planned act done by Muslims, the mainstream parties of entire UPA like Congress, RJD and Left parties CPI, CPM refused to accept it, and instead condemned the report.
In Feb 2011 the trial court convicted 31 Muslims and called Godhra as a pre-planned act. Even after this, mainstream parties like the Congress refused to accept Muslims did Godhra. So did men like Swami Agnivesh, Prashant Bhushan.
Out of the 31 Muslims who were convicted for the Godhra carnage, 11 were given death penalty and 20 were given life imprisonment by the trial court. Even after that, Saba Naqvi did not have a melt of heart. She defended the heinous Godhra killers even after their conviction in Feb 2011 and tried to imply that the ‘BJP and/or VHP did Godhra’. Her article in Outlook in March 2011 said:
“Yet there is no missing the fact that the so-called justice delivered in this case…” Why the words ‘so-called justice’? It implies that Muslims have been wrongly convicted.
She refused to call it a conspiracy though Godhra is impossible to have been anything but planned. She says: “Why would Muslims of Godhra plan such a horrific incident in a BJP-ruled state?” as if Muslims did not plan and do it. The question should be: “Why would Muslims of Godhra not plan such a horrific incident in a BJP-ruled state when they planned and executed such incidents since 1925 in Godhra during the rule of the British in Mahatma Gandhi’s times on which he had to write as well, and the Congress?”
“BJP had just lost power in UP in 2002 & was expected to lose the Gujarat elections later that year when Godhra happened.” Read her implications. She implied that BJP planned and killed the 59 Ram sevaks in Godhra in light of the Gujarat elections. But she is wrong on facts, elections in Gujarat were scheduled i.e. due to be held in Gujarat in Feb-March 2003, not that year in 2002! They were held on December 2002 due to the dissolution of Assembly on 19 July 2002. But the schedule was for Feb-March 2003, a good one year after Godhra occurred on 27 Feb 2002.
There was a judicial confession by a Muslim in Feb 2003 that Godhra was planned and in that carnage, he had taken part and that confession had named Umarji as the chief conspirator. This JUDICIAL CONFESSION was totally ignored by Saba Naqvi in this article. In her entire article nowhere does Naqvi blame Muslims for this horrific planned carnage, doesn’t mention that 25 women and 15 children including babies and toddlers were victims. Saba writes: “After all, the incident became the trigger for the worst anti-Muslim violence in independent India…BJP, VHP and Modi who benefited from the gore” as if they did Godhra and not Muslims! Has she said directly anywhere that ‘Muslims roasted the 59 Ramsewaks in the train?’ Not once.
Saba Naqvi thus whitewashed the horrific crime of the heinous killers of the Godhra carnage of 2002 after the conviction in Feb 2011. She refused to blame Muslims for it writing in Outlook, and instead tried to imply that BJP-VHP burnt to coal 59 Ramsewaks in Godhra in the densely Muslim-dominated Signal Falia area!
She lied that “It was the worst anti-Muslim violence in independent India”. And of course, she lied that riots post-Godhra were ‘massacre of Muslims’ ignoring the killings of hundreds of Hindus even after Godhra completely! That’s nonsense. Even after Godhra, Muslims also killed Hindus and made them homeless. Saba whitewashes Muslim violence even after Godhra. Were Hindus killed in Gujarat even after Godhra, not humans?
Saba Naqvi who is a regular on TV has never been properly exposed for who she is- such a disgusting supporter of heinous killers of 59 Ram sewaks, daring to stoop so low in THIS case, not once, but twice in 2005 & 2011.
A BJP opponent, as late as 2017 refused to blame Muslims for Godhra and called the dead 59 Ramsewaks in Godhra as ‘fanatics’ including the 15 children killed including babies which was allowed to be published by India Today’s platform DailyO.
Rajdeep Sardesai indirectly slandered the Godhra victims even after the Gujarat High Court upheld the conviction of 31 Muslims on 9 October 2017. He tweeted: “My view: train burning was a horrific unforgivable act but not pre-planned. Conspiracy theory added later.” implying that the dead Ram sewaks ‘provoked’ the incident!
They often also accused the dead victims’ organizations themselves of killing them. In July 2002, the Congress officially accused the Sangh Parivar of having burnt the train in Godhra. This is like accusing Rahul Gandhi for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, so third class is the charge! Yet this charge was happily promoted by the media.
The comparison which needs to be drawn after incidents like the horrific Kathua rape-and-killing is with Godhra. It reveals how disgusting, third-class the ‘secularist-liberals’ are and to what extent they can go to, to defend any crime of Muslims.
(The writer is the author of book “Gujarat Riots: The True Story” which gives all details about the 2002 riots- Godhra and after, one of the admins of www.gujaratriots.com and one of the admins of the Twitter handle @gujaratriotscom)