Nov 14: At a Sadbhavna Fast at Patan, in Vadodara
Two comments on the recent Sardarpura verdict in which 31 people were convicted of crimes including murder during post-Godhra riots:
Aditya Sinha in the DNA:
If Modi thinks that the lack of proof of a chain of culpability on technical grounds is going to be enough, he has another think coming. And no matter how compromised the credibility of police officer Sanjiv Bhatt may be, Modi’s government’s attempts to discredit him mirror the clumsy attempts by the Congress party to discredit Anna Hazare’s team.
As much as Modi’s aggression and ruthlessness may appeal to that section of the Indian middle class which thinks it is high time India kicked into a higher gear, it does not appeal to most other Indians; and no one can become prime minister unless they appeal to a majority of Indians (we don’t have direct elections to the post, but even in pre- or post-poll tie-ups, regional leaders are going to think twice about hitching their fortunes to this man). India Inc can’t stop gushing about how Modi is the man of the future, and how he will be the one to take India to the next stage of rapid economic growth, but these are contestable claims. I wonder whether or not Gujarat, which has traditionally seen high economic activity in India, would have grown without Modi at the helm. I also wonder how many Gujarati industrialists are willing to concede that their rise and success is due to Modi. In any case, the crony capitalism and the corporate complicity in big-ticket corruption during past few years are evidence of how little India Inc really cares for India.
And then, Ruchir Joshi in the Telegraph:
This verdict is only among the first strands but, perhaps, along with the testimonies of the police officers, R.B. Shreekumar, Sanjeev Bhatt and others, it signals the ultimate unravelling of the whole carpet of vicious lies under which the Hindutwats have been trying to shove their 2002 pogrom.
It’s important that this verdict arrives at a time when a huge campaign is under way to efface Narendra Modi’s crimes and propel him forward as the future prime minister. Even as his cheerleaders shout on about his incorruptible efficiency, the true nature of the Modi-raj is now ever more openly on display. If you’re a Gujarati who was involved in attacking Muslims in 2002, till recently you could count on the Namo machinery doing everything possible to protect you from punishment. However, if you were a Gujarati who was a victim of rape or violence in March-April 2002, you had to learn to live under an energetically enforced load-shedding of justice.
Ruchir Joshi concludes his piece optimistically:
Things won’t subside. As long as there are two brave lawyers and three shrill but fearless NGO activists, truth will out, as the Sardarpura case indicates. When that happens, the time for apologies will be long past and the planners of the massacre will have no place left to go, perhaps not even China.
What do you think?
- Do you think the long arm of the law will eventually catch up with Narendra Modi, as Joshi argues? Or
- Do you think that even if he escapes on legal technicalities, he will still never be accepted by the majority of Indians as Prime Minister, as Sinha argues? Or
- Do you think that he will not only escape from the clutches of the law but will also make it to the prime ministerial chair?
Please keep your answers civil and to the point.