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Modi vs the Constitution


To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
(Modi).
 
I
 
The Special Investigation Team  entrusted by the Supreme Court of India to enquire into the culpabilities (including those of the Home Minister of Gujarat at the time of the carnage of February, 2002, namely one Narendra Modi) with respect especially to the gruesome killings at the Gulbarg Society where a Congress Member of Parliament, Ehsan Jaffri, was also hacked to smithereens alongwith the rest  has now submitted its report to the honourable Court.
 
Within days, the redoubtable Tehelka  magazine found access to the 600 page document, consistent with the  era of leaks. Contrary to the propaganda machine of the proto-fascist Sangh Parivar  which had been busy spreading the unfounded lie that Modi had been given a “clean chit,” the findings scooped by Tehelka  must seem all too damning to any objective and conscientious citizen of the Republic.  Caveat: assuming that the magazine has given us the authentic text of the SIT report, something we have no reason to doubt.
 
Hereunder a quick wrap in direct quote  from the Report as published by Tehelka:
 
–“inspite of the fact that ghastly and violent attacks had taken place on Muslims at Gulbarg Society and elsewhere, the reaction of the government was not the type that would have been expected by anyone.  The Chief Minister had tried to water down the seriousness of the situation at Gulbarg Society, Naroda Patiya. . .by saying that every action has an equal and opposite reaction” (p,69);
 
–that Modi’s statement “accusing some elements in Godhra {where a coach of the Sabarmati Express train bringing back Hindutva  volunteers from Ayodhya had gone up in flames, leading to the deaths of some 59 people; the Justice Bannerjee Committee deputed  by the then Railway minister to enquire into the burning had concluded that there was no way that the coach could have been set on fire from the outside, and that most likely a spark from a stove or a cigarette butt within the compartment had reached the cushions, leading to the smouldering before the fire spread} . . .as possessing a criminal tendency was sweeping and offensive, coming as it did from a Chief Minister, that too at a critical time when Hindu-Muslim tempers were running high” (p.13);
 
–“his {Modi’s} implied justification of the killings of innocent members of the minority community, read together with an absence of a strong condemnation of the violence that followed Godhra suggest a partisan stance at a critical juncture when the state had been badly disturbed by communal violence” (p.153);
 
–that in a “controversial” move, Modi  placed two central ministers, Ashok Bhatt and I.K.Jadeja, in the Ahmedabad police station control room, with “no definite charter,” fuelling the speculation that they “had been placed to interfere in police work and wrongful decisions to the field officers.” “The fact that he was the cabinet minister for Home would heighten the suspicion that this decision had his blessings” (p.12 of Chairman’s Comments);  crucial to note that Ashok Bhatt’s cell phone record analysis showed that he was in touch with Jaideep Patel of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a key conspirator in the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon massacres, and a central culprit in the Ahmedabad carnage);   
 
–that those police officers who had attempted to do their   duty lawfully had been subjected to “questionable” transfers, “since they {the transfers} came immediately after incidents in which the officers concerned were known to have antagonized ruling party men” (pp. 7-8, Chairman’s Comment);
 
–sample this: “The Gujarat government has reportedly destroyed the police wireless communication of the period pertaining to the riots”;  “no records, documentations, or minutes of the crucial law and order meetings held by the government during the riots had been kept” (p.13);  interestingly, the Shah Commission, later Nanavati-Shah Commission which was appointed on the 6th of March, 2002 by the Modi government to enquire into the riots did nothing to first secure the safety of all these records;
 
–and who were appointed to prosecute the accused?– “It appears that the political affiliation of the advocates did weigh with the government for the appointment of public prosecutors” (p.77);  it is commonly known that these were men directly affiliated to the RSS and the VHP;
 
–that the Chief/Home Minister displayed a “discriminatory attitude” in “ not visiting the riot-affected areas in Ahmedabad where a large number of Muslims were killed, though he went to Godhra on the same day, traveling almost 300 km within a single day”(p.6);  “Modi did not cite any specific reason why he did not visit the affected areas in Ahmedabad city as promptly as he did in the case of the Godhra train carnage”(p.8, CC);  all that despite the fact that Ehsan Jaffri, the Member of Parliament had been making frantic calls to whoever he could, intimating the incendiary conditions that prevailed;
 
–that Modi took no steps to proscribe the illegal Bandh call given by the VHP for Feb.,28, a call that infact was supported by Modi’s party, the ruling BJP (p.69); the Bandh was to become the launching pad for the butcheries;
 
–that Modi did not impose curfew in Naroda until 12 noon, and in Meghna Nagar (Ahmedabad city) till 2.p.m, by which time the murderers had done the worst;
 
–that despite recommendations by field officers, no action was taken against inciteful reporting of events in the local media (p.79);
 
–that shoddy investigations were affected by the state police, overlooking the cell phone records of Sangh Parivar members and BJP leaders involved in the rioting (pp.101-105);
 
–that compliant police officers such as M.K.Tandon, joint commissioner of police in whose jurisdiction some 200 Muslims were massacred, and P.K.Gondia, also guilty of having willfully allowed the killings, were hugely and consistently rewarded with lucrative career advancement and postings (p.48-50); indeed, SIT  has also found evidence against the then Minister of State, Home, Gordhan Zadaphia who reported directly to the Minister of Home, Modi, for his complicity in the riots.  Zadaphia has since left the BJP.
 
Considering the humiliations suffered by him at Modi’s hands, we would suggest he turn approver for a much larger cause than his own well-being; exactly as the senior police officer, M.K.Amin has recently agreed to turn approver in the matter of the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a murder that also involves another one of Modi’s cabinet colleagues, Amit Shah;
 
–that, come August, 2002, a false picture of normalcy was presented to the Election Commission of India to facilitate early elections, when in fact the state was seething with communal tension (pp.79-86).
 
Based on just these facts, were we to ask the reader to close her eyes and make a determination of Modi’s culpability in the carnage of 2002, and thereby of the State, ten to one, the verdict might be “guilty.”
 
But wait a minute, No.  Having recorded all these details, the SIT, for reasons unfathomable on grounds either of legal plausibility or plain commonsense, concludes thus:
 
        “the substantiated allegations did not throw up material that would justify further action under the law.”
 
Astounding, to put it mildly.  As far as we recall, Hitler was never known to have killed anyone with his own two bare hands, or used a gun, except, appropriately, upon himself in the end.  Something he must have done knowing that he was indeed guilty as  hell.
 
We are taught that the law pertaining to circumstantial evidence—supposing all the above to be circumstantial evidence and not the “smoking gun”—lays down that if all the circumstances of a given case point only in one direction, and are not amenable to any contrary narrative, such evidence is more damning than even an “eye witness” account, or a confession drawn by force. That for the reason that whereas, in law, even a confession made before a magistrate requires corroborative proof, consistent circumstantial evidence reinforces itself at all points of the circumstance.  It can easily be seen that in the points listed by SIT, every circumstance thus reinforces the inescapable conclusion that Modi was not only in the know of everything that was happening, but indeed pulling all the ropes as well.
 
We pose the question:  in what direction do the stated facts as recorded by the SIT and reproduced by Tehelka point?  And is it to be thought that even the cleverest misrepresentation of those details could lead to any conclusion other than that the Gujarat killings were fully State sponsored and Modi-directed?
 
Remember now that the Report also alludes to the fact that a law and order meeting was called by Modi on the evening of Feb.,27. From  recorded statements, including by Modi, the SIT has drawn up a list of seven people present in that meeting of which no records/minutes were maintained.
 
News of that meeting was first shared by one of Modi’s ministerial colleagues, Haren Pandya (now unsurprisingly deceased as a result of a murderous attack for which his father to this day accuses Modi as the chief architect) to two eminent retired judges, one of the Supreme Court and the other of the Bombay High Court  who comprised the Concerned Citizen’s Tribunal.  That Tribunal recorded thus: “Pandya appeared and deposed before the tribunal on 13 May, 2002,on condition of anonymity, that he had attended a meeting on 27 February 2002 night at the residence of Modi in which the latter had made it clear that there should be a backlash from the Hindus on the next day and the police should not come in their way” (p.18 of that report).  
 
On this most crucial piece of revelation the SIT opines that this fact “is not established” since Pandya being deceased could not testify to SIT, and all the others had either pleaded amnesia, or refused to otherwise confirm or deny Modi’s directive, having been either rewarded, or in expectation of reward.  Those that had retired did not desire any controversy.
 
The Strange Case of Sanjeev Bhatt:
 
An IPS police officer, name of Sanjeev Bhatt, was to say to the SIT that DGP Chakarvarthi had insisted that he attend the 27th Feb., meeting, since it was thought desirable that an officer from the Intelligence services be on hand.  And since his senior, GC Raigar was away on leave, Bhatt was asked to fill in.     
 
In his testimony Bhatt argued that since the SIT enquiry was merely a preliminary one, he would not like to testify on the point; but were a criminal case to be instituted he would be willing to tell the truth.  The SIT, for reasons best known to it, dubs Bhatt “an unreliable witness,” although, curiously, at other times during the enquiry his testimony is given due weight.
 
And sample this:  when Modi was asked in his summons before the SIT about the meeting of the 27th, he concluded his statement by averring that Sanjeev Bhatt had not been at that meeting.  Significantly, Modi had never been asked any question with respect to Sanjeev Bhatt.  The truth as they say will out.
 
It must be noted that the SIT was deputed the job of a “Preliminary Enquiry.”  It had no power to search, raid, arrest, interrogate in police custody, or compel the State to produce any records.
 
Its proceedings therefore comprised entirely asking various protagonists to record statements.  Yet within such a lame-duck frame of reference it was able to dig such facts as listed above.  We wonder what results it might have obtained had its enquiry followed upon the registration of a formal First Information Report—a police procedure which authorizes a full scale police investigation leading to the framing of charges.
 
Be that as it may, we are speculating that the amicus curiae, Raju Ramachandran, appointed by the Supreme Court, would have in his observations and recommendations submitted to the SC on January 20, 2011 made the inescapable recommendation that a formal FIR be now lodged in the cases that the SIT  was entrusted with.
 
And, indeed, as the  SIT  Report comes up for consideration of the honourable SC  (perhaps in early March), every citizen of India  who wishes the “basic  feature” of India’s Constitutional regime, namely “secularism,” to be preserved and protected at all costs  would hope that the highest Court of Justice would not but take due note of the gravity of the culpabilities relative to the Gujarat massacres across all segments of the then Gujarat State Apparatus and of the governing regime, and of the implications these bear on the founding principles of the Republic, and order accordingly.
 
II
 
Liberal India has often since 2002 had to respond to the question as to why it seems so obsessed with Modi, since the Gujarat communal killings were not the first nor may be the last that India has experienced.
 
And this question now needs to be given a truly short answer; in one word, the Gujarat killings were no mere communal killings.  The SIT findings now confirm what Liberal India has always maintained: that with Modi’s ascension to power in Gujarat, a clear determination of Hindutva  fascism came to the fore, namely to attempt a State in Gujarat alternate to the stipulations of the  Constitution of India, especially as enshrined in its “Preamble” which  a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court has designated its “Basic Structure,” laying down the law that this structure will always remain outside the ambit of Article 368 of the Constitution, namely, the power of the Legislature to affect amendments to the Constitution.
 
And part of that “basic structure” is the stipulation that India is a “secular” democratic country where the right of minority populations to equality before the law and to profess and practice their religious faiths will remain guaranteed and protected.
 
In doing what he has been doing in Gujarat, Modi  has sought to draw his legitimacy not from such Constitutional injunctions, but from the alternate and arbitray source—that  of  sectarian legitimacy.  Whenever he has boasted of representing the honour of Gujaratis, he has in effect always meant the honour of its Hindu residents—a concealed fact that has found demonstrations in all his political, administrative, and cultural dealings.  To this day, Modi has failed to visit any of the locations were the residual Muslim lives from the carnage seek  merely to exist, nor once  expressed the least regret at what happened.  Indeed, the energy of polarized hate from which he has drawn such electoral dividends continues to inform the general tenor of community living in Gujarat, and he moves not a little finger to bring about any change in that situation.
 
In repeatedly underscoring the Gujarat massacres, Liberal India is not merely referring to the criminal culpabilities, but to a regime that has flagrantly spat on that structure of Constitutional legitimations which alone can be envisaged within the Republican regime as the authorizers of political and administrative life,  to a point where this regime has brazenly at every step moulded the State and its power-elite to  subvert  what “secular” India  and the “secular” Constitution thinks, and to dare, browbeat, harass, and indeed liquidate any and all who have stood up to its nefarious project.  That we now know as much as we do is thanks in the largest part to those dour civil society organizations that have, against all odds, persisted with their resolve to move all public and judicial stops to get at the truth of Gujarat, 2002.  We salute them.
 
III
 
Furthermore, Liberal India has this to say:  looking at Pakistan and now at the Arab world, it should be clear as daylight that only within a fiercely guarded principle of secularism may nation-states find stability, peace, and the inclusive upliftment of all citizens.  Even those polities that are preponderantly of one religious denomination are beginning to find that faith is the most fragile building block of nationhood, or else why would there be more than a score Arab countries, or why would the Saudis have been so anxious for America to launch an attack on Iran (Wikileaks).  How often do we note the despairing fact that more Muslims have been killed in an “Islamic” Pakistan by other Muslims and by external forces than in a secular India.
 
There is no greater illusion than to think that India is a Hindu nation, given that some seventy percent of Hindus  have never voted for the BJP in any of India’s elections.  Or that the Muslims are a “minority” simply by virtue of numbers.  Across communities, if India survives as a vibrant democracy, the miracle can only be attributed to the secular legitimacy of its empowering citizens, and to a secular Constitution that will not allow any other form of transaction between the State and its empowering populace.  To the extent that Modi in Gujarat has rougishly sought to overturn those grounding and binding obligations between State and polity, without,  albeit , taking up a gun himself, as the Maoists do, the offence  strikes at the roots of  the  Idea of India, and is no less heinous than of  those who take to arms with far better justification.
 
If Pakistan has suffered so grievously by remaining ambiguous about what sort of State it wishes to operate, the least that India must do is to make it explicit that its secularism is not for bargain.  And to that purpose, it will not do to soft-pedal Modi’s  culpability.  The SIT Report already seems to have enough in it that the majesty of secular law assert itself in no uncertain terms if an example is to be set for future Neros (the Supreme Court’s appellation for Modi) who might harbour the ambition to frame a Constitution of their own.
 
Indeed, were Modi, reviled at home and refused entry visas abroad, to wish truly to find new life beyond the borders of a Hindu Gujarat, he might take a leaf out of the heroic confession made by the terrorist, Swami Aseemanand with regard to the his and his accomplices’s  responsibility for  the many blasts heretofore ascribed to Muslim youth.  It may not be an exaggeration to say that Aseemanand’s rebirth into humanity and love within the precincts of a jail, as per his own moving admittance, was triggered by the very Muslim he thought of as his enemy.  A circumstance fit to receive a Dostoevskian treatment we think.
 
Speaking of which, is it too much to hope that many of India’s industrial and corporate scions nowadays so taken with Modi’s “developmental” genius (a great part of that as fake as anything else about him) would rethink their greed-driven adulation in the light of the SIT  findings, and set something of a secular-moral example to the nation?  Is it not a wonder that they and the new middle classes generally should be so holier-than-thou on such issues as corruption, hounding other ministers out of office and into jail, but remain so unmoved by the blood that so obviously stains Modi’s hands?  After all, it may be fair to ask: what is more heinous, the loss of moneys or the massacre of lives?
 
And Modi’s party, the BJP, might also introspect as to whether it is consistent for an outfit wedded ostensibly to “values” to remain so brazenly defensive of their chief minister in Gujarat?  Unless, of course, the party at bottom truly sees in his praxis its own best future of ushering in that coveted Hindu Rashtra of which the now terrorist-tainted RSS never fails to remind us day in and day out.
 
Indialooks to answers.  And there is no question that the day of reckoning will be when the honourable Supreme Court pronounces upon the findings of the SIT Report.
 
(All emphases added)
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