The Gujarat riots of 2002 must be the most discussed event in Bharat’s post-independece history. And most of the coverage in mainstream media is full of half-truths, misinformation and outright propaganda. The way channels like NDTV, IBN etc and newspapers like Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India etc repeatedly twisted news related to the burning of Sabarmati Express in Godhra on 27 Feb, 2002, and subsequent riots that broke out in large parts of Gujarat is well documented.
But if there is one defining feature of the secular- socialist narrative that has dominated Bharat’s polity since Independence, under the protection of the Nehru-Gandhi family led Congress, it is the firm belief in the Goebbelsian dictum “Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth.”
The latest Modi-bashing piece “The New Face of India Is the Anti-Gandhi”, from the stable of self-declared secular liberal writers, regurgitates the deepest lie that has been told about 2002 – that the coach S-6 of Sabarmati Express, in which 59 innocent Hindus (including 27 women and 10 children) were roasted alive, caught fire due to an ‘accident’. The writer of this rambling piece, Siddhartha Deb (based out of New York), writes about the train fire – “Investigations would later point to the fire originating inside the carriage, perhaps from a malfunctioning cooking-gas cylinder”.
— Eminent Intellectual (@padhalikha) May 4, 2016
This lie was first formulated by the UC Banerjee (a retired SC judge) commission appointed by UPA Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to probe the incident. A year later the Gujarat High Court quashed the conclusions of this commission and ruled that the investigation was “unconstitutional, illegal and null and void”, declared its formation to be a “colourable exercise of power with mala fide intentions”, and its argument of accidental fire “opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record.” In 2011, A trial court convicted 31 Muslims for the crime saying the incident was a pre-planned conspiracy – death penalty was awarded to 11 convicts (those believed to have been present at a meeting held the night before the incident where the conspiracy was formed, and those who had actually entered the coach and poured petrol before setting it afire.) Twenty others were sentenced to life imprisonment.
But in the secular and liberal world, the lie that the Godhra train fire was an accident continues unhindered. This is how a 16-year old survivor of the carnage, Gayatri Panchal – who witnessed her two sisters and both parents being burnt in front of her eyes, recounts the horror –
“On the 27th morning, at around 8 a.m. the train left Godhra Station. The karsevaks were loudly chanting the Ram Dhoon. The train had hardly gone ½ Km., when it suddenly stopped. Somebody had perhaps pulled the chain to stop the train. Before anybody could know what had happened, we saw a huge mob approaching the train. People were carrying weapons like Gupti, Spear, Swords and such other deadly weapons in their hands and were throwing stones at the train. We all got frightened and some how closed the windows and the doors of the compartment. People outside were shouting loudly, saying “Maro, Kato” (kill, cut) and were attacking the train. A loudspeaker from the Masjid close by was also very loudly shouting “Maro, Kato, Laden na dushmano ne Maro.” (murder the enemies of Laden). These attackers were so fierce that they managed to break the windows and close the doors from outside before pouring petrol inside and setting the compartment on fire so that nobody could escape alive.”
Old Wine, New Bottle
This is not the first time that a literary figure, much lauded for their wordsmithery, has lied about the true nature of the Godhra carnage. This 2009 blog by @doubtinggaurav calls out Khushwant Singh for an even more egregious version of the lie –
“Venerable fossil Khushwant Singh comments on connection between 1984 anti Sikh pogroms and 2002 post Godhra riots. Now I am not sure whether a logical connection can be drawn between the two riots.
What I do find interesting is this throwaway dissimulation, “After the burning of a bogey of the train at Godhra, we are still not certain who set the compartment on fire or the identity of the victims”
Now former part (of Khushwant Singh’s lie) is familiar to us. To this day our secular overlords still pretend that the identity of perpetrators is somewhat of a mystery, I can only assume that they think the Muslim mob was present there just to enjoy the stench of burning flesh.
However the latter part is a novelty, now we are not even sure about the victims! And all along I had the impression that the victims were mostly VHP activists who had greatly offended Muslims of Godhra by traveling to Ayudhya to demand construction of Ram Mandir which in the lexicon of secular Joan of Arc Teesta Seetalvad is a justifiable excuse for roasting them in gasoline fire.
Lest people dismiss the curious apologia as a rambling of senile mind, they should realize the agenda which subconsciously drives the dissimulation, it is to keep reinforcing the narrative of Muslims being the designated victims and Hindus always suspect as aggressors with only secular liberal establishment shielding former from the wrath of the latter. Secular liberal establishment zealously guards this narrative and will not, indeed it can not, allow any chink however minor to appear in this.
Of course the end result, and intended one at that, of this endless propaganda is the Hindus are hidden with an abstract mask labeled as aggressor, and it is under this shaming of anonymous notoriety denied any claim to insult to cultural dignity and as the in case of Godhra even the possibility of being a victim. This is dehumanizing Hindus.
Orwell described Totalitarianism as a boot endlessly stamping on a human face, secularism as a doctrine is just endless beating of Hindus as a punching bag.”
And in an ironic twist, the rambling piece by Siddhartha Deb is actually called out for the hate-induced bile it is, by another secular-liberal academic Prof. Varshney! Maybe the professor felt threatened at the rise of another young entrant to the Hindu bashing club?
— Eminent Intellectual (@padhalikha) May 5, 2016