Until Muslims forgive him, Modi has no hope outside Gujarat

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By Kaleem Kawaja

In the ten long and miserable years since the horrible 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat, Modi’s vast machinery, the vast wealth and cunning of BJP and Modi’s Gujarati Hindu fans have tried their level best to rehabilitate him in the public arena. They have used all of their political and money connections in India, UK and USA in this effort. But nothing has really worked. US refused him visitor’s visa six years ago; in UK he was allowed to visit under very restrained conditions. Inside India he can only visit a few states where BJP has its government. But he cannot visit any state where Muslims or secular Hindus live in significant numbers, that is Assam, Bengal, Bihar, UP, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala etc.

The mainstream Indian media, Supreme Court and Indian human rights groups are regularly pulling him up for his role in the 2002 genocide and subsequent persecution of Muslims in Gujarat. Unfortunately the Congress government in the Centre has refused to hold a CBI enquiry in this regard and is going easy on him. It even bargained with the BJP not to arrest Modi after the arrest of Amit Shah in lieu of the saffron party’s support to the government in Parliament to pass the nuclear deal with the US.

The international media or the media in US and UK knows hardly anything about Modi’s misdeeds. Also a majority of Hindus and most of the Gujarati Hindus in US and UK are fans and supporters of BJP. They are wealthy and well-connected with American and British politicians. Through them they are constantly trying to give importance to Modi. They also use their connections with the anti- Muslim Jewish politicians to further BJP and Modi.

However, Modi’s crimes in the 2002 genocide are so well-documented and so recent that it is very difficult for them to whitewash it. If Muslims continue their campaign with force and be media savvy, they can keep the pressure on Modi and confine him to Gujarat. Now it becomes the responsibility of educated and well-to-do Indian Muslims, no matter where they live, that they continue a relentless and forceful campaign to bring Modi to justice for his crimes. No matter where we live, we should work on this campaign.

Within BJP, a significant segment thinks of Modi as a political liability, but another segment is his follower. BJP’s top leaders know that without Muslims and secular Hindus forgiving Modi he cannot be rehabilitated.

They also know that this problem bedevils BJP in every election and keeps them in second or third place. The recent elections in UP, Bengal, Bihar, Assam and Kerala, where Muslim voters were the kingmakers, was very bad news for BJP. None of the major third front parties (SP, BSP, Trinamool, Telugu Desam, Communists, DMK) will take the risk of hobnobbing with either Modi or BJP until such time as Muslims forgive them, because these parties have won elections with Muslim votes.

So if Muslims work out a smart strategy and maintain media pressure against Modi, he can be confined to Gujarat, regardless of Gujarat’s improved economy. Whenever Modi’s followers use an international forum like TIME magazine or Brookings Institution, as they recently did, we should lobby strong with them. We should always include secular Hindus in our groups. Let us have faith in Allah’s help and continue resolutely on this path.   

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2012 on page no. 2

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