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Gujarat carnage not spontaneous outbreak of violence

Gujarat carnage was in no way a spontaneous outbreak of violence. How did the riots spread so swiftly explains MH Lakdawala 

Mumbai: Tragic events like the ones we are witnessing all over Gujarat shatter lives, unsettle moral convictions and unmake the fragile establishment we normally call society. But the discourse that has slowly arisen over this violence, the terms that have gained wide currency to describe, explain, justify and excuse this violence threaten to once again render it invisible.

Just as this violence blurs the line between legality and illegality, between state and criminality, between truth and fiction, between faith and power, so it blurs the meaning of terms till we don't quite know what we are talking about. The most common description given for the Gujarat carnage is the "spontaneous" nature of the riots and the outburst of the Hindu sentiments.

The Sangh parivar wants this nation to believe that what is happening in Gujarat is nothing but the manifestation of the sentiments of the Hindus.It cannot be farther from the truth. According to social scientists, riots need, as a necessary condition, organisations that plot mass killings with governmental support. The prerequisite for any riots as social scientists have proven time and again, is that the rioters know very well, each and every one of them, that the government of the day was solidly behind them. 

There is then three of this social forensics. The first, and the most obvious, one is that riots do not just happen, they are created. There are organisations that have a definite interest in fomenting riots but they need the active support of the government. When a riot takes place it is because the killers know that no harm is going to come to them. If they had the slightest fear that they might not come home, that they might be in jail, even killed, they would never have ventured out. 

The killings of Sikhs in 1984 and the Bombay carnage of 1993,the Bhiwandi riots, the Meerut massacres, the killings of Christians, the Ayodhya bloodlettings all are well documented and proven beyond any doubts if proof indeed was necessary, that riots take place because social sentiments overflow normal bounds and move otherwise reasonable people to indulge in murder and mayhem. It's a myth and propaganda from the so called Hindutva representatives like RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP that Gujarat carnage was the manifestation of Hindu sentiments. 

The past riots analysis and commissions’ findings have disproved the theory of saffron Brigade that after the Godhra episode social sentiments overflew normal bounds and led otherwise reasonable people to indulge in murder and mayhem. Why should the recent Gujarat carnage be any different from the past riots? The genesis of the 92-93Mumbai riots was the Radhabai chawl episode when few Hindus were burnt alive allegedly by the Muslim mob. Till date it is not proved whether the mob consisted of Muslims or the agents of vested interest. Even Supreme Court has acquitted all the Muslims accused in the Radhabai chawl case. The Radhabai chawl episode was exploited by the Shiv Sena to unleash the terror against the innocent Muslims of Mumbai as documented by Shrikrishna Commission. 

When Shiv Sainiks went to make the Bhiwandi riots everybody knew what was going to happen. They boarded trucks in Mumbai, armed with rods and cycle chains, openly announcing their intentions. They all looked like a happy bunch out for a Sunday picnic. They knew very well, each and every one of them that the government of the day was solidly behind them.

Thus as Sangh parivar want us to believe, Gujarat carnage is in no way a spontaneous outbreak of violence. The involvement of political factors in Gujarat carnage has elements of premeditation and wilful intent to harm, kill or destroy both life as well as properties belonging to Muslims. The RSS and Jan Sangh have been censured by commissions of inquiry galore: Justice Madon on Bhiwandi; Vithavathil on Tellicherry (1971); Jitendra Narain on Jamshedpur (1979); Venugopal on Kanyakumari (1982); and Sinha and Shamsul Hasan on Bhagalpur (1989).

How do the riots spread so swiftly as they do? Prof. Paul R. Brass, a scholar of repute who has done field research in India for decades, explains in his mini-classic Theft of an Idol (1997): "Riot specialists are specialists in the conversion of incidents in the relations between the communities, in this case between Hindus and Muslims, into occasions for riots. When the time is right for the fomenting of a large-scale disturbance, then students, hooligans, low-caste persons from slums and outlying areas, criminals, and special squads of trained activists such as the members of the Bajrang Dal, will be brought in.

The Manual of rioting is back in circulation. Even as the Narendra Modi government and the Gujarat Police talk about the "spontaneous" nature of the riots that followed Godhra, the pattern of violence can be found in guidelines laid down in a pro-Hindu booklet. The booklet - Hinduno Bachao: Akraman ane Kayedo (Save Hindus: Attacks and Laws) - first surfaced in Gujarat two years ago after the withdrawal of an order that allowed government employees to participate in RSS programmes. The terror manual stated that an organised attack on minorities could be made to look like a 'spontaneous' reaction by the public. The primer illustrated how a crowd had beaten to death a boy and a girl in Halvad town many years ago in full view of court officials, but no one was prosecuted as thousands were involved. 

The same pattern was followed in the post-Godhra violence in which rioters escaped under the cover of anonymity. Apart from guidelines on how to register complaints against minorities for their 'Vidharmi' (non-believer) acts, the 12-page booklet advised the Hindu 'samaj' to implicate senior missionaries in false cases. "They may not be convicted, but they should be made to go up and down the courts for months..." The mob's manual Pro-Hindu booklet says an attack on minorities can be made to look like a 'spontaneous' reaction Missionaries must be implicated in cooked up charges. Booklet illustrates how a large mob can get away with murder even if committed publicly "Now that we have our own government, we should take proper advantage of it and get our work done by it," it states.

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