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Star TV plays Modi hate speech, nailing his lie 

New Delhi: For days the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ruling the western state of Gujarat has been denying chief minister Narendra Modi‘ s hate campaign against Muslims at his "pride" rallies. Nailing the lie, Star TV played the speech repeatedly Sunday and Monday, September 15-16.

Instead of being ashamed and saying sorry, BJP, many of whose functionaries, including Modi, have been accused of involvement in the recent anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, have said the Star TV tapes were "doctored." 

One Gujarat minister, seen by victims as a perpetrator of the pogrom, went to the extent of defending the hate speech. "There has been a trend in Gujarat of delivering such speeches over the past 40 years," he said.

The Gujarat chief minister, who has often been compared to Slobodan Milosevic for his viciousness, was reported by the Times of India, the country’ oldest and most prestigious daily, as having told a rally that relief camps housing Muslim survivors of the pogrom should be closed because they had become "factories for producing babies".

He said people (Muslims) who multiplied thus "should be taught a lesson." He made quite a few anti-Muslim remarks at the rally. These pre-election rallies were part of Modi’s weeks-long "pride march" through the state, in which he addressed crowds every few kilometres.

The "pride" in the "pride march" is regarding having taught the Muslim minority a lesson during the pogrom which lasted more than two months—March, April and early May. As many as 2,000 Muslims were killed, hundreds others raped, thousands of homes destroyed and 100,000 forced into relief camps across the state.

Victims and a dozen private inquiry commissions have indicted BJP leaders for the monumental crime. Even state organisations like National Human Rights Commission, National Minority Commission and Election Commission have censured the state government.

The BJP, which leads the ruling coalition at Centre, has been backing Modi despite tremendous pressure to sack him for his acts of ommission and commission.

Deputy prime minister LK Advani, instead of reining him in, patted Modi on the back for his pride marches. BJP general secretary and former Union law minister Arun Jaitley claimed there were "inaccuracies" in media’s reports on Modi’s speech. 

Hate speech is a serious offence under Indian law as well as per obligations India has to honour as a signatory to international covenants.

Despite condemnation from national media and intelligentsia the BJP is unrepentant. Even party chief Venkiah Naidu, who had cautioned Modi against using too blatant anti-Muslim rhetoric, is now backing him.

Outraged by the virulence of Modi’s speech, the National Commission for Minorities had demanded the audio and video tapes of the speech from Gujarat government. However, the state bureaucracy said they were not able to procure them.

The fascist tactics of Modi have scandalised the civil society here. Quite a few have drawn parallels with Milosevic and Hitler. Yet others have compared him to General Rex Dyer, who in 1919 opened fire on a meeting of Indian civilians and killed 379, wounding another 1500.

Those were the last years of the all-powerful British Empire. Popular columnist Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar wrote in his column in the Times of India that Modi was teaching Muslims a lesson as Dyer taught Indians. 

Dyer took pride in his act like Modi does in his. For that Dyer was sacked by the empire. "Let us mete out the same fate to Narendra Modi," Aiyar wrote.

¯ MG Correspondent

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