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Truth about Godhra incident
By Raj Babbar

Continued from

I got the answer to my question. In fact this was an ordinary quarrel between a buyer and a seller. Very often the root causes of riots are ordinary and minor incidents like these; some one’s cycle hits a pedestrian, some one’s scooter dashes against a cycle, sometimes a minor quarrel takes place between a shop keeper and client. If the two belong to different religions, the situation in the city or country is so explosive that people with communal mentality who are on the look out of such excuses or incidents take advantage of such incidents and blow minor incidents out of proportion and which lead to incidents like Gujarat.

The fact is that ‘karsevaks’ with their slogans and VHP people with their statements about Ram mandir etc provoke Muslims who hate these things. These very things take the shape of big and dangerous incidents. It is all the more regrettable when responsible and sane people who occupy seats of power and responsibility and know the mentality of people issue such statements as ‘when a large tree falls, the earth definitely shakes’ etc., incidents like these take place. The history of 1984 riots is known to all of us which promoted Sikh terrorists and the events of 6 December 1992 gave birth to Muslim terrorists resulting in the Bombay blasts the following year. Same thing happened after Godhra train incident which was given a communal colour and declaring it an organized conspiracy, the whole of Gujarat was pushed in the abyss of destruction. Communalists who were waiting for such an excuse started playing ‘holi’ with human blood. Not only Bapunagar of Bapoo, the apostle of non-violence, but the whole of Gujarat was consigned to sighs, wailings and flames. Humanity started breathing its last and happy, thriving families and people were burnt alive.

The government of Gujarat, whose responsibility it was to control the situation, became a spectator after adding fuel to fire. The Central government looked the other way while all this was going on, as if it was nothing serious. Anti-Sikh riots of 1984 in the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s murder and communal riots of Mumbai started paling before the Gujarat riots. In any case conditions will become normal after a few days. Inquiries will be conducted; persons responsible will be identified, murderers will be arrested and they may be sentenced also. I have said ‘may be’ because some people, because of their political clout and money and muscle power, may succeed in keeping the law at arm’s length. But one thing I want to make clear that killers and murderers are not only those who have actually killed or murdered but those who have incited others to kill are also murderers. According to Indian law, where the killer is sentenced for killing, those creating circumstances for killing or inducing others to kill are also declared killers who deserve punishment.

The activities and machinations of VHP and Bajrang Dal people in Gujarat riots which have been unearthed are no secrets now. SIMI was banned because its connections with ISI were suspected. I have nothing to say in its defence. Whether it is true or false will be decided on the basis of proofs and it is the job of our secret agencies to provide proofs. But if VHP and Bajrang Dal are not banned even after their activities have been exposed and which are the biggest danger to the unity, peace, security and brotherhood in the country, it can only be called regrettable and unfortunate.

More than the caste, creed and religion of the people who were killed in Godhra train tragedy and Gujarat riots, the more distressing thing for me is that they were all human beings and most of them were poor people. It is not the blood of Hindu or Muslim but the blood of man that has been shed. I am sorry that Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modiji said to me that ‘Raj Bhai, you know who keeps the arms’. Announcing it publicly in national interest, I request the chief minister to have a look at Sri Krishna Commission’s report about Mumbai riots, Gyan Prakash Committee’s report on Meerut and Maliana riots and the report about Bhagalpur riots. I am not talking here about Hindus or Muslims; I mean humans and humanity. I am proud of my country which is known throughout the world for peace, harmony and humanism; but I am ashamed of whatever is happening in my country today and of my helplessness about not being able to do anything in spite of wanting to do. But I am not disappointed either. I have full faith in the justice of God Almighty. He will definitely punish the guilty and wrong-doers and give me courage enough to bring justice to the aggrieved and the wronged and also to unite human forces to prevent such happenings in future so that the country’s peace, security, brotherhood and unity could be preserved.

(Translated from Rashtriya Sahara (Urdu), 4 March)
Raj Babbar, a well-known film actor, is a member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)

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