I write this on the fifteenth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri mosque by fascist hordes of the Sangh Parivar, consequent upon the pogrom set in motion by Advani’s infamous rath yatra.
Few events in the post-independence history of India have outfaced the founding principles of both the Freedom Movement and the Republic as decisively as that wanton and blood-thirsty challenge to the secular state. That was the day on which Mahatma Gandhi was buried ten fathoms deep, and when majoritarian terrorism came to be installed as the new operative version of ‘nationalism.’
It was also the day when the party that led the Freedom Movement lost its raison d etre. Not to be forgotten that the then Congress prime minister twiddled his pout while fascist pickaxe took the mosque apart brick by brick in full glare of television crews in a day-long operation.
The coercive influence of that terror may be gauged from the fact that fifteen years to the good, the major political formations and institutional mechanisms of Indian democracy have failed to this day to bring a single culprit to book, either from a cloaked complicity or fear of consequence.
Nor indeed has the state found its way yet to implement the findings of the Justice Srikrishna Report on the communal terror that was unleashed by Hindutva forces in Mumbai subsequent to the demolition—a Report that has held the highest of the high among the saffronites guilty of marshalling the killings like ‘Generals’ in combat.
All that in stark contrast to the avidity with which judgements have been pronounced against muslims deemed guilty of involvement in the bomb blasts that took place in Mumbai subsequent to the communal terror mentioned above.
Taken all together, the pogrom that began with the Advani yatra yielded a crop of some two thousand or so human lives.
When, therefore, Sonia Gandhi at a campaign rally in Gujarat made the formulation that ‘communalism and terrorism are two sides of the same coin’ she gave voice to a thesis that Indian sociology has long needed but been too timid to acknowledge or flesh out. For fifteen years no single event has struck as petrifying a terror in the heart of india’s muslims—and, by extension, its pluralism—as that evil deed in Ayodhya on the 6th of December, 1992. A deed that also made possible Narendra Modi’s Gujarat and the massacre of 2002.
And now, as if to ratify the validity of Sonia’s formulation, Modi, putting his fascist foot in his fascist mouth, has thumpingly endorsed two days after– among a thinly attended saffron rally– the murder of one Sohrabuddin in a fake encounter (acknowledged as fake by the Gujarat government in a court of law in the the face of irrefutable evidence) meticulously and conspiratorially planned by Modi’s chief satraps among his police force some years ago.
It is to be noted that the Modi government is currently prosecuting those officers for the murders in a case supervised by the Supreme Court of India!
In saying what he has said Modi has clearly admitted to the following:
–that the killing had his blessings; (a recent sting operation conducted by the Tehelka group has conclusively shown of course that the entire carnage of 2002 had Modi’s blessings—this from the horses’ mouths.)
–that the cases filed against his officers amounted to nothing more than bowing expediently to the undeniable exposures that were made on hidden camera, and to the consequent pressure from the judicial wing of the state;
–that regardless of those cases being now sub-judice under Supreme Court supervision, his sway among saffronite voters renders him above the laws of the land, and fully justifies him in cocking that public snook at the highest court that is seized of the matter, not to speak of the Election Commission charged with the conduct of the forthcoming Gujarat elections;
–and, as the lawyer, K.T.S. Tulsi, prosecuting the arraigned Gujarat police personnel on behalf of the Modi government has been ruefully obliged to say, not only is Modi now in contempt of the Supreme Court but guilty of inciting the polity to engage in extra-judicial murders of people (read muslims) whom they suspect of being terrorists. Note that during his brazen confession, Modi posed the rhetorical question to the crowd: ‘what should be done with the likes of Sohrabuddin?’ Promptly receiving the answer from cronies in the front rows. ‘kill, kill.’
This of course is a dimension to Modi-speak that confirms the justice of that other epithet used by Sonia Gandhi for Modi and his killer squads—‘merchants of death.’
Little wonder that Shri Tulsi has decided to disassociate himself from the brief he has been holding on behalf of the Modi government.
So, will there be consequences?
Now that the concerned District Collector has handed in his report on the Modi rally alongwith a CD to the Election Commission, will the latter do the right and proper under the People’s Representation Act that forbids inciting sectarian passions during election time, and debar Modi from the elections, not for now but the next many years, as the late Indira Gandhi was once debarred?
Will the so honourable Supreme Court of India take suo motu notice of the occurrence and proceed under the law to charge-sheet Modi as an accomplice in the murder of Sohrabuddin and his wife?
Will the Human Rights Commission of India take cognizance of the matter and issue showcause to Modi?
Will the Ambanis, the Tatas, and other industrial tycoons that underwrite Modi withdraw their favours, let go their greed, and exercise their clout on behalf of secularism and the rule of law?
And most importantly, will the people of Gujarat stand up and deny Modi his self-proclaimed right to liquidate all and sundry (all muslims) whom he designates terrorists? Will they rethink Gujarat and vote to reclaim the region for the Constituion and the Republic?
Alas, such is the state of the nation that nothing may be said with confidence.
It is nonetheless certain that until such time as the state picks up the will and the courage to bear down on communalism with the same resolve as it does on terrorism, there will be no end to either. Although there may well be an end to the Republic in consequence of that failure.
The Justice Liberhan Commission has been enquiring into the culpability of the BJP/Sangh stalwarts in the Babri crime for some twelve years or more. Would you believe that it is after fifteen years of the demolition, that the first witness against Advani and others has finally testified in a court!
Does the state now piloted by the UPA government mean to bring these procedures to conclusion? Or is it intended that the cases remain in pendency till some of the chief culprits live out their natural lives?
In the meanwhile, nothing underscores the unacceptable impotence of the Indian state as starkly as the fact that a self-proclaimed monster should rule the roost in the land of Gandhi on the pretext that he alone can guarantee the well-being of five and a half crore Gujaratis. Did not Hitler think likewise of Germany, believing that the extermination of the jews was, after all, only one necessary step in guaranteeing that well-being.
What Modi has now said clearly suggests that he continues to have a similar use for the muslims towards the well-being of Gujarat.