Crime Against Humanity
into the carnage in Gujarat
List of Incidents and Evidence
By Concerned Citizens Tribunal -Gujarat 2002
Incidents of Post-Godhra Violence
Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee on Gujarat
“From Godhra to Ahmedabad, in so many places, there are so many incidents of people
being burnt alive, including helpless women and children. This is a blot on nation's forehead
and has grievously harmed India's image in the eyes of the world”.
—Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India's statement on March 3, 2002, from the PMO's website
“I do not know what face I will show them (the world) now after the shameful events in
—Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, during his visit to Ahmedabad on April 4, 200, quoted in The Hindustan Times.
“My one message to the chief minister is that he should follow raj dharma. A ruler should not
make any discrimination between his subjects on the basis of caste, creed and religion.”
— Atal Behari Vajpayee, during his visit to Ahmedabad on April 4, 2002, quoted in The Hindustan Times.
Indian Express (24 April 2002)
'Who are these people accusing us, India was secular even before
Muslims and Christians'
(Reprinted here is the English text of the speech, delivered in Hindi, by Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee at a public meeting in Goa on April 12).
I was in Cambodia just recently. It is the Kamboj state of the past, where magnificent
temples that kissed the sky were built in the 10th and the 11th centuries. It had Hindu states
ruled by Hindu kings. There were others too among the citizens, but there was justice towards
all. Sometimes the kings also used to fight among themselves. The wheel of victory and defeat
rolled on. But during their centuries' long history there isn't a single instance of a Hindu king
destroying temples or breaking idols when he attacked another Hindu king. The kings who
were victorious used to build a new temple. If Vishnu was being worshipped there earlier,
later Shiva began to be worshipped. If Shiva was being worshipped at one time, then other
deities began to be worshipped later. Nevertheless, no king destroyed a temple or damaged
the deities' idols at the time of attacking another king.
This is our culture. This is our outlook, which treats all faiths equally. Yet, accusations are
being hurled today that secularism is under threat. Who are these people accusing us? What is
the meaning of secularism for these people? India was secular even when Muslims hadn't
come here and Christians hadn't set foot on this soil. It is not as if India became secular after they came.
They came with their own modes of worship and they too were given a place of
honor and respect. They had the freedom to worship God as per their wish and inclination.
No one thought of converting them with force, because this is not practised in our religion;
and in our culture, there is no use for it.
Today the 100 crore people of India are engaged in creating their future on the basis
of their own culture. Sometimes, minor incidents do take place here and there; some-
times these take the form of major incidents. But if you go to the root of these inci-
dents, you will find intolerance, you'll find them to be a manifestation of growing intol-
What happened in Gujarat? If a conspiracy had not been hatched to burn alive the
innocent passengers of the Sabarmati Express, then the subsequent tragedy in Gujarat
could have been averted. But this did not happen. People were torched alive. Who were
those culprits? The Government is investigating into this. Intelligence agencies are collect-
ing all the information. But we should not forget how the tragedy of Gujarat started. The
subsequent developments were no doubt condemnable, but who lit the fire? How did the
fire spread? Ours is a multi-religious country, a multi-lingual country, we have many dif-
ferent modes of worship. We believe in peaceful and harmonious co-existence. We be-
lieve in equal respect for all faiths. Let no one challenge India's secularism. I have read
somewhere in newspapers that the Congress Party has decided not to try to topple my
Government. Shall I thank them for this? Or shall I say that the ''Grapes are sour''? How
will the Government fall? Once they did topple it, but they couldn't form one themselves.
Then a fresh mandate from the people was called for, and the people once again gave us
an opportunity to serve them.
For us, the soil of India from Goa to Guwahati is the same, all the people living on
this land are the same. We do not believe in religious extremism. Today the threat to our
nation comes from terrorism. Wherever I went around the world, the heads of state or
of elected governments complained to me that militant Islam is sowing thorns along
their paths. Islam has two facets. One is that which tolerates others, which teaches its
adherents to follow the path of truth, which preaches compassion and sensitivity. But
these days, militancy in the name of Islam leaves no room for tolerance. It has raised the
slogan of Jehad. It is dreaming of recasting the entire world in its mould.
You will be surprised to hear this — indeed, I too was surprised — that some terrorists
belonging to Al-Qaeda were arrested in Singapore. The rulers of Singapore couldn't even
have imagined that Al-Qaeda would be active in their country, too; that Al-Qaeda would
hatch a conspiracy in Singapore too. Some 15 or 16 persons were arrested; an investiga-
tion is underway, which will reveal the truth. The same is happening in Indonesia. The
same is happening in Malaysia. Wherever such Muslims live, they tend not to live in co-
existence with others, not to mingle with others; and instead of propagating their ideas in
a peaceful manner, they want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats. The
world has become alert to this danger.
As far as we are concerned, we have been fighting against terrorism for the past 20
years. Terrorists have tried to grab Jammu and Kashmir through violence, but we have
countered them. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, and will forever remain
so. No other country's dream will ever come true. Now other nations in the world have
started to realize what a great mistake they did by neglecting terrorism. Now they are
waking up, and are organising themselves. They are putting together an international con-
sensus against terrorism.
We tell them through our own example that a large number of non-Hindus live in
our country, but there has never ever been religious persecution here. We have never
discriminated between ''our people'' and ''aliens''. The modes of worship may dif-
fer, but God is one. Only the paths to reach Him and realize Him can be different.
It is for this reason that India's prestige is growing, India's reputation is rising. I have
also had an occasion to visit many other countries. Everywhere Muslims live in large
numbers. And the rulers in those countries are worried lest those Muslims embrace
extremism. We told them that they should educate people on the true tenets of
Islam, that they should teach science in madrasas, and that they should also teach
other subjects in madrasas. Islam too should be taught, but emphasize that people
should live together and that that it is necessary to accept that faith cannot be propa-
gated on the strength of the sword.
Our Government has completed two-and-a-half years. We have tried to change
the face of our country. In a country, which once had a scarcity of foodgrains,
which used to import foodgrains to feed its people, in that very same country we
have created a situation wherein, thanks to our toiling kisans, a day has come when
we export foodgrains to other countries and feed the stomachs of their citizens.
We have large foreign exchange reserves. We are progressing in science and tech-
nology. Our young men and women are excelling in global competition. Even in the
midst of an economic recession, India is progressing, India is marching ahead. When
taxes are imposed in the budget, it is bound to create some difficulties, but in turn,
we are fulfilling many needs of our people. We have taken up such works and
projects that were never touched in the past. We want to create world-class national
highways of four lanes that link the North to the South and the East to the West,
and on which there can be obstruction-free traffic. Work has already begun on this
massive National Highway Development Project covering 13,000 kilometers. We
will spend 60,000 crore rupees on this project. We want to build a network of good
roads all over the country.
We have also prepared programmes and projects for the development of Goa.
There is a proposal to link Goa to the Goden Quadrilateral part of the National
Highway Development Project. I wish to assure you that we shall do everything
possible to implement this proposal. For this, the National Highway No. 17 will be
widened to four lanes. We shall see to it that this proposal goes ahead.
When I had come here last time, I had spoken about improving the sewerage system
along the coastal belt of Goa. Beach tourism is adversely affected by this. It is very neces-
sary that the sewerage system is improved along the coastal belt if we want that tourists
come here. Nature has made Goa very beautiful. It has a sea coast. Goa is an enchanting
place. Tourists wish to come here in large numbers. However, we need to create better
facilities for them. The State Government is making efforts in this direction. I wish to
assure the State Government that wherever Central assistance is needed, we shall provide
such assistance in required quantity.
Goa is also paying attention to the development of roads. We are trying to build roads
to connect all the unconnected villages. Goa does not have unconnected villages and hilly regions, but it has
a large, well-spread out area. It is necessary to link it with good roads
and to make communication smooth. The problem of water is growing in North Goa.
Pollution too is becoming a serious problem. If any project to tackle these problems comes
before the Government, we shall provide assistance to them and contribute to their comple-
tion. Goa will once again pass through a trial. The Goa Government acted on its own to
dissolve itself. This showed that those who were running the Government in Goa had no lust
for power. When they realized that the atmosphere had got polluted, that party-hopping had
started, and that they were not in a position to serve the people, then our friends dissolved the
Legislative Assembly in Goa.
Now a new Assembly will be elected. It will be elected with your votes. It will be elected
with your choice. You elect such a new Government that will be stable, that will be free of
corruption, and that will open up new avenues for Goa's progress. The forthcoming election
will give you an opportunity to do so. If necessary, we in Delhi shall mobilize resources for
your development. At the very least, we shall certainly send you our best wishes
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