Friday, November 2, 2007

1984 ANTI SIKH RIOTS: THE REAL TEHELKA

It was on October 29 that I had written about the Tehelka expose on the riots in Gujarat, which showed a number of people on hidden cameras boasting and saying many horrific things about what they had done during the riots which had engulfed Gujarat in 2002. These riots had taken place in reaction to a railway coach full of Hindu pilgrims being burnt, allegedly by Muslim fundamentalists, at Godhra, killing all of them.

I had then asked the question which had been begging to be asked but had been ignored by the politicians and the media: Were the Gujarat riots of 2002 any different from the anti Sikh riots that had engulfed Delhi in 1984 after Indira Gandhi was assassinated, when thousands of Sikhs were lynched, burnt and mercilessly butchered?

Everyone seemed to have conveniently forgotten the shame of 1984, particularly the Congress party, which with the help of its sponsored media friends, was gleefully all set to politically destroy Narendra Modi for his involvement in the riots of Gujarat. The party had also thought that through Tehelka it had got a golden opportunity to prove its ‘secular’ credentials to the minorities by exposing the ugly face of Hindu communalists.

I had expressed my reservations about the success of this strategy and had even gone to the extent of saying that the flame lit by Tehelka, instead of burning Modi, had made him almost invincible in Gujarat, something which was clear to all except perhaps those cocooned in Delhi. I had also felt that Tehelka, ironically, also had possibly provided the BJP with an almost unbeatable Prime Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming general elections.

The full post may be read here.

I had no way of knowing then that within a couple of days, 1984 riots would be back on centre stage with a bang to haunt the Congress and turn the Tehelka table on them decisively.

On November 1, 2007, the 23rd anniversary of the anti Sikh carnage in Delhi, CNN-IBN disclosed to the world that a new book, When a Tree Shook Delhi, which leveled serious charges against top Congress leaders for their involvement and participation in the riots, was going to be released later this week.

In their program ‘Face the Nation’, the host, Sagarika Ghose had this to say:”November 1, 1984, a massacre began. Over 3,000 Sikhs were hacked to death. But the police and the Government looked the other way. Commission after Commission whitewashes the guilt of the accused. Now 23 years later a new book nails the guilty in chilling detail.”

Then she asked almost the same question that I had in my post:” Is the Congress as guilty over the 1984 riots as the BJP in Gujarat?”

Ghose spoke to the authors, journalist Manoj Mitta and lawyer HS Phoolka, and the Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi and raised very disturbing questions which had Singhvi virtually groping for answers, which were clearly not there.

The lively, disturbing and revealing debate can be viewed and read here.

The mass reaction in Gujarat to the killing of innocent pilgrims was, as I had stated in my earlier post, no different from the mass madness that had gripped Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Tehelka had also unwittingly established beyond any doubt that the Hindus of Gujarat truly believed that the railway coach full of Hindu pilgrims was set ablaze by Muslim fundamentalists, killing all those who were inside. There was no pre planned Hindutva conspiracy behind the riots.

The disconnected leaders and their SWOT analysts who had planned the Tehelka sting had, not surprisingly, not factored in the ordinary man on the street, while planning and executing the expose, which they thought would bring to them great political advantages.

I had said then itself that to the ordinary Indian, you can’t say, “Genocide is fine if my mom is killed; it is heinous if faceless Indians are!”

That answer was given just as I had sensed by citizens to CNN-IBN. In the SMS poll conducted by the channel to the question,” Is the Congress as guilty over the 1984 riots as the BJP in Gujarat?”, 93 percent said ‘Yes’ while only 7 percent said ‘No’.

It may now be the turn of Narendra Modi to laugh at the Congress for a victory it has handed over to him so foolishly. For the ordinary citizen, however, there is no reason to celebrate. No matter who wins, the disturbing fact which has emerged yet again is that our leaders will stop at almost nothing in their desperation to win the next election.

The common man is only an expendable pawn.