Director, CBI, CGO Complex
New Delhi 110013.
People have moved on after the Godhra carnage and Gujarat riots of 2002, but a section of English media, some pseudo-secular fundamentalists and politicians with vested interests have slandered Narendra Modi and his government relentlessly, not waiting for the courts orders, while Gujarat riots unlike previous riots, have seen so many convictions. Also, Gujarat has had a very rare entire decade of peace since then. Courtesy Gujaratriots.com, IBTL presents a weekly section to put into light all that is now relevant, and how the sanctity of facts was desecrated in the frenzied campaign against Narendra Modi.
The much-hyped, much-repeated allegations of the Indian media, both electronic and print, that the post-Godhra riots of 2002 in Gujarat were “sponsored” by the state BJP government, or at least, “the state government turned a blind eye to the rioting” are nothing but a figment of their imagination, stemming out from their biased and prejudiced vision.
Two surveys done by India Today in 2002 on Gujarati people establish at least what the people who went through all this, thought. According to it, nearly 60% blame it on Godhra killings, and nearly 20% on Muslim extremists, while only 10% thought them to be either state-sponsored or organised by Hindu extremist organisations (and, that's nearly the precentage of Muslims in Gujarat). This was a survey done of the Gujarati people, much closer in time to the actual happening of the riots. Both the polls gave more or less the same results. Even among the Congress voters, many agreed to the fact that the Modi government handled the riots fairly and effectively. This is what the people of Gujarat felt. And this was completely different from what the newspaper editors said sitting in air-conditioned rooms in New Delhi, miles away from the place where the actual riots happened. Even India Today's nationwide survey done in August 2002 suggested that only 5% believed it was caused by Hindu militants, while a whopping 40% blaming it on Godhra cospirators and Muslim fundamentalists. Despite this, India Today itself was one of the propagandists against Modi led government.
Let's look at what Gujarat government had to face. It had to face the most difficult situation in trying to control the post-Godhra riots. That’s because Gujarat is an extremely communally sensitive state and often even minor things like kite flying and cricket matches are enough to cause riots. Gujarat has along history of communal violence-dating from 1714 AD- and in the recent past- saw horrible riots in the pre-Independence period of the 1940s –and then again riots after Independence.
The Times of India in its issue dated 13 April 2002 carried a report saying- “Trivial reasons sparked earlier riots” and begins with the sentence,
“If it took a shocking massacre like Godhra to trigger off massive communal riots in the state in the 21st century, history shows that trivial incidents caused most riots in the 20th century…”
Steps takes by the government on Feb 27th itself:
The Godhra massacre occurred on February 27 at 8 AM. At 8:30 AM –Chief Minister Narendra Modi- then in Ahmedabad- was informed about the carnage. Modi at once issued shoot at sight orders to prevent law and order. This report was posted at 1:37 PM. This shows that Modi’s claim of imposing curfew at 9:45 AM was absolutely true.
The same day- the Gujarat government deployed the entire police force of 70,000 in Gujarat as reported by even International Newspapers. The same day-on February 27- the Gujarat government deployed the Rapid Action Force in Ahmedabad and other sensitive areas and the Centre sent in the CRPF personnel.
The VHP also appealed for peace. The Times of India reported on 28 February 2002 even before a single major riot had taken place. “VHP international Vice-President Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters here at Sola Civil Hospital, where 54 out of the 58 bodies of the train attack victims were brought, that Hindus should maintain calm and keep patience. I appeal to Muslim brethren to condemn the attack and ask them not to put Hindus’ patience to test.
Thus, in brief, the steps taken on 27 February (Wednesday) were:
shoot-at-sight orders at 9:45 AM- within 2 hours of the carnage.
sensitive areas by the state government.
# The Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Gujarat Government urged Hindus
not to retaliate and maintain peace.
# The RSS and VHP also appealed to Hindus to maintain peace and not retaliate.
# CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) units were also deployed.
# The Centre sounded a nationwide alert in the evening.
These were the steps taken by the Gujarat Government on February 27 itself to quell the violence- or prevent the violence. But on February 28- large –scale riots happened. That was due to the extreme anger of the masses over Godhra- the reaction from pseudo-secularists on it- and great anger over terrorism and anti-national activity.
Continued at Day 1 of Riots - Role of Government in curbing it
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