People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 21

May 31, 2009

 


VILLAIN OF THE PIECE

 

Accused Number One:

Narendra Modi, CM Of Gujarat

 

This is the moment all those eagerly hoping for justice to be done for the victims of Gujarat pogrom have been waiting for. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the alleged role of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots has begun its work.

 

The SIT team led by its chief R K Raghavan  had its first interaction on May 26, 2009 with Ms Zakia Jafri, on whose complaint the Supreme Court had given its direction to SIT. Ms Jafri is the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was also killed in the riots at Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad.

 

According to a report in The Asian Age (May 27, 2009) SIT chief  did not rule out questioning Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in this regard. "I don’t rule out anything at all," he said when asked whether his team would question Modi. "We had our first interaction with the lady (Ms Jafri) to find out what happened on the day of the riots (February 28, 2002)," the SIT chief said. "It can be officially said that we have begun an inquiry into the petition filed in the Supreme Court against some of the leading politicians in Gujarat. This is just the first stage, we have a plan of action for the investigations and it has to be conducted in an orderly manner to be fair to the petitioner as well as the accused," he added.

 

 

As is known, the SIT has been asked by the Supreme Court to probe within three months the alleged roles of Modi, his cabinet colleagues, police officials and senior bureaucrats in the communal riots. Over 2000 Muslims were systematically killed in Gujarat in communal riots which drew worldwide attention after they were dubbed a genocide. Narendra Modi was re-elected chief minister with an overwhelming majority after the riots.

 

On the appointment of public prosecutors for trials of some riot cases, as per the SC’s order, he said the SIT was ready with a tentative list of public prosecutors which they would submit to the state home department in a couple of days.

 

The Supreme Court has given the SIT the power to choose the public prosecutors in the riot cases. The SIT chief said they have identified three courtrooms in the old high court building in Ahmedabad where the trials of the riots at Naroda Patia, Naroda Gam and Gulbarg Society will be conducted. "The trial of the Godhra train carnage case will be conducted in the Sabarmati Jail premises. I have visited the jail premises and the courtroom inside the jail, which has been structurally modified to accommodate the large number of accused in the case," Raghavan said.

 

In this context we give below extracts from articles published in the latest issue of Communalism Combat dealing with the chargesheets filed against Modi and company.

 

THE BJP’s rumour machine coupled with the Indian mass media’s tardiness to investigate has allowed the impression to grow that there are no specific allegations against chief minister Narendra Modi in the complaint currently being investigated by the SIT.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth. The carefully constructed complaint lists more than 100 specific charges against Narendra Modi.

 

Let us deal with some of the major charges.


MISCONSTRUING

GODHRA

 

February 27, 2002. The tragic killings in the fire in coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express train at Godhra were used and manipulated to justify a pre-orchestrated massacre which enjoyed the sanction of the constitutionally elected government in Gujarat.

 

The district magistrate (DM) and collector of Panchmahal (Godhra), Jayanti Ravi, called the incident at the station an accident, as did the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, making his official statement in parliament at about 4 p.m. on February 27. By the evening of that day however, Modi – who arrived in Godhra around 2 p.m. surrounded by VHP confidants like Dr Jaideep Patel – had decided otherwise. At about 7.30 p.m. he said on an Akashwani Gujarati radio broadcast that the incident at Godhra was a preplanned ISI-driven conspiracy (executed by local Godhra Muslims, no doubt!). In the days that followed the union ministry of home affairs, manned by none less than Modi’s mentor, L K Advani, did its best to instill into public perception the theory of a conspiracy behind the Godhra incident. To date such conspiracy has not been proven.

 

Modi did not stop at that. He expressed his intention to have the burnt coach transported to Ahmedabad, a move that the district magistrate (DM) Jayanti Ravi strongly opposed. Irritated, Modi did the next best thing. He assembled a motor cavalcade, ordered that the bodies be handed over to the then VHP state general secretary, Jaideep Patel, and sent them to the Sola Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. There the bodies were paraded around. The next morning, on February 28, 2002, the Gujarati daily, Sandesh, carried a gory seven-column colour photograph of the burnt bodies wrapped in white shrouds, a trishul lying beside them.

 

Undeterred by the impact or fallout, unconcerned by facts, Modi set his Machiavellian plan into motion.

 

SECRET MEETINGS

TO PLAN CARNAGE

 

February 27, 2002. Gandhinagar, Lunawada, Godhra. Late in the evening of February 27, Modi called a secret meeting in Gandhinagar, which he attended along with some members of his cabinet and top bureaucrats. At this meeting illegal instructions were issued, where policemen and bureaucrats were in fact instructed to perform illegal acts.

 

According to the report of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Gujarat 2002 by a panel including Justices V R Krishna Iyer and P B Sawant:

"The chief minister, Narendra Modi, took an active role along with at least three cabinet colleagues to instruct senior police personnel and civil administrators that a ‘Hindu reaction was to be expected and this must not be curtailed or controlled’."

 

"What is worse or as bad as the occurrences themselves is the now almost incontrovertible pointers/evidence, including statements made by a former cabinet minister of the state of Gujarat, that a high-level meeting was convened by the chief minister at which then chief secretary, Subbarao, and then [additional chief secretary (home)] Ashok Narayan, and senior policemen were summoned, at which clear instructions were given ‘not to deal with the Hindu rioting mobs’. Thereby clear sanction and sponsorship was given by the state to brute violence that included sexual violence of girls and women" (Crime Against Humanity, report of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Gujarat 2002).

 

A minister from Modi’s cabinet had testified about these details before the tribunal in mid-May 2002. His identity was kept anonymous. Soon after the report was released in November 2002 however, one of the panel members revealed Haren Pandya’s identity to Outlook magazine. Within months, Pandya was killed.

 

There is other primary evidence of similar meetings to plan killings that were held in Lunawada and Godhra on February 27, 2002 at which cabinet ministers like Prabhatsinh Chauhan and others were present. Each of those present will need to be interrogated and investigated at the time of the SIT investigation.

 

TAKING CONTROL

OF POLICING

 

The illegal attempts by senior members of the chief minister’s cabinet (Ashok Bhatt, accused number 2 in the complaint, and Indravijaysinh K Jadeja, accused number 3) to influence the police were part of the collective design of the chief minister and his colleagues. Several reports in the press during that period described how the ministers sat in the police control rooms at Gandhinagar and Shahibag and actually subverted police rules and protocol by instructing policemen not to function and manipulating instructions in many cases to aid crimes and the destruction of evidence. Bhatt, state law minister in 2002 right up to 2007, is today the speaker of the Gujarat assembly. As head of Gujarat’s law and judiciary department, he had complete control over the appointment of public prosecutors until 2007.

 

Proof of both the February 27 meeting as also the illegal activity of ministers located inside the Ahmedabad city and Gujarat state control rooms to influence police functioning, have corroborative evidence.

 

MODI’S

‘REVENGE’

 

February 28, 2002. The Tehelka tapes contain a confession or, rather, a gloating admission from a rapist from Naroda who speaks of Modi arriving in Naroda not long after 112 persons were humiliated, butchered and burnt, and euphorically congratulating the army of marauders even as he was surrounded by Black Cat commandos (who are therefore witnesses as well).

 

"(Suresh) Richard: [On the day of the massacre] we did whatever we did till quite late in the evening… at around 7.30… around 7.15, our Modibhai came… Right here, outside the house… My sisters garlanded him with roses… Tehelka: Narendrabhai Modi… Richard: Narendra Modi… He came with black commandos… got down from his Ambassador car and walked up here… All my sisters garlanded him… a big man is a big man after all… Tehelka: He came out on the road? Richard: Here, near this house… Then he went this way… Looked at how things were in Naroda… Tehelka: The day the Patiya incident happened…

Richard: The same evening… Tehelka: February 28… Richard: 28… Tehelka: 2002… Richard: He went around to all the places… He said our tribe was blessed… He said our mothers were blessed [for bearing us]… Tehelka: He came at about 5 o’clock or at 7? Richard: Around 7 or 7.30… At that time there was no electricity… Everything had been burnt to ashes in the riots…" (August 12, 2007, www.tehelka.com).

 

‘Operation Kalank’ was a sting operation carried out by Tehelka over several months and made public in October 2007. The tapes, recorded conversations with several persons who were in some way involved in the Gujarat genocide of 2002, have now been verified by the CBI and have the status of extrajudicial confessions.

 

The contents of these conversations are stark and revealing. Apart from brazen admissions of mass murder and rape, they describe the transportation of arms from other states and preparations for the Godhra and post-Godhra violence that were underway for several weeks before February 27, 2002. They also describe the chief minister, Narendra Modi’s direct role in fuelling mass rape and murder. These revelations call for the SIT to re-examine the veracity/authenticity of the recordings. The SIT must question/interrogate all those persons who spoke to Tehelka as well as the individuals they name no matter how powerful they may be.

 

One such conversation is with a man who worked in the accounts office at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara. He also speaks of direct orders from Modi and Modi’s street operator, Babu Bajrangi.

 

The chief minister did not visit the riot-affected areas to meet the bruised and battered victims who had taken refuge in nearby relief camps. He went there, it seems, as a victorious messiah of evil.

 

(To be continued)