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Godhra incident godsend for Modi
By MH Lakdawala
|The Godhra incident provided the Gujarat BJP with handle to try to recapture some of the lost grounds for the BJP to fight the Assembly elections due in February next year.
Mumbai: It was very common among the ancient Greeks to believe that those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first deprive of their brains. Hindu extremists of the RSS family (Sangh Parivar), think that by manipulating the communal temperature in the country and polarising a pluralistic society like India on communal lines they will keep holding the threads of power.
There has been nothing in the decision by the BJP to play communal card that testifies the existence of a mind in the government led by Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Center and Mr Narendra Modi in the state of Gujarat. There are allegations from many quarters that the Narendra Modi government has "connived'' in the gruesome carnage that took place in the state. It has been attacked for not deploying the army swiftly in Ahmedabad.
The large-scale arson and killings of innocent people took place with police standing by and watching. One of the most shameful images of the Thursday (28 February) "backlash" was the BBC Television's pictures of clusters of khaki-uniformed policemen in Ahmedabad idly watching mobs on the rampage. The army was merely standing by. In a joint statement, the Communust Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India both have alleged that "the Modi Government has connived in this gruesome carnage and there can be no words to condemn the role of the State Government''. Human rights groups have also alleged that the Army was deliberately deployed in the western part of Ahmedabad while rioting was taking place in the eastern part. The Shankaracharya of Govardhanpuri, Jagadguru Aadhokshjanand Teerthji, in a statement condemned the mob violence in Gujarat as "state terrorism'' and demanded a ban on the VHP and the arrest of its leaders and activists under the National Security Act.
That this carnage was coming is clear and should be seen in the context of the drift in the state that forced the installation of Narendra Modi as chief minister. That Modi was a hard-core RSS pracharak (preacher) is known to all. His statement of February 28, that ''I am absolutely satisfied with how the police and government handled the backlash... I am happy that violence has largely been contained...", will rank in our history on a par with Rajiv Gandhi's words he uttered after his mother's assassination that provided instant moral justification to the Sikh-lynching mobs: ''when a tree falls the earth shakes...''.
Mr Modi has tried to virtually "justify'' the vandalism on the bandh (strike) day as the "natural outpour of anguish of the people'' for the "terrorist-type pre-planned attack'' on the "Ram sevaks'' in the Sabarmati Express. And what did the chief minister have to say about what was happening: "The five crore (fifty million) people of Gujarat have shown remarkable restraint under grave provocation."
He also maintained that the mass murder in Meghaninagar and Naroda areas in Ahmedabad, in which more than a hundred people were burnt alive, were actually "provoked'' by the minorities. Asked about the violence, Modi quoted Newton's third law - "every action has an equal and opposite reaction" - to virtually justify what was happening as he spoke those words.