THE President of India—bless his heart—is not an independent man as one would think. If he addresses a joint session of Parliament, his speech reflects the government'spoint of view. That is an accepted norm. Never mind that no English language newspaper carried the full text of his speech. But excerpts from his speech have been published. Deccan Chronicle (June 8, 2004) thus published a paragraph that said: “It is a matter of serious concern that the forces of communalism have been able to vitiate the atmosphere in the country, leading to an outbreak of riots, the most gruesome face of which was witnessed recently in Gujarat.” (emphasis added). “Most gruesome?”
On Sunday, July 13, 2003, The Times of India carried an article entitled: ‘The X-Files. Where the mob goes free?. The article compared what happened in the Mumbai riots, in the anti Sikh riots in Delhi in November 1984 and the Gujarat riots of February 2002. In the Bombay riots 872 people were killed. In the Delhi anti Sikh riots, 2,733 people were killed. Writing in The Telegraph (November 2, 1984), M.J. Akbar, who since then has become editor of The Asian Age, wrote, describing the killing of Sikhs and the looting of Sikh shops: “The police simply looked the other way…. The looters were totally unembarrassed. The desire for revenge was the controlling theme of the day…”
On Sunday, November 3, 2003 the Chandigarh based The Tribune, in its Spectrum supplement, carried an article by the well known journalist Rajinder Puri that recalled the events that followed Indira Gandhi'sassassination. Writing in great detail about what followed the day after the assassination, Puri noted: “The anti Sikh riots began. It was a systematic massacre. Sikh homes were earmarked and then torched. Sikhs were pulled out of their homes and killed or burnt alive. I witnessed the carnage at several places. A mob burnt a shop near Regal Cinema in Connaught Place while a policeman looked on silently. ‘Why don'tyou stop them?? I snarled. He shrugged. ‘What can I do?? he said with a smirk. This continued for several days… Later, I learnt that the same mob went further and set fire to a car with a Sikh locked inside. He was burnt alive… . The Army offered to control the situation at the first signs of an ugly situation. The government bluntly ordered the Army to desist (emphasis added). Only after the carnage, after more than 3,000 Sikhs had been slaughtered (emphasis added), after forty to fifty thousand had been rendered homeless, did the government take steps to stop the violence…”
May it be suggested to the President of India that he get a copy of The Tribune (November 3, 2003) for careful reading? Puri has, to the best of one'sknowledge, never been repudiated.
Incidentally, during the Gujarat riots, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had a Congress majority. Not one Congress corporator stepped out into the streets to make even a modest attempt to stop the killings.
According to The Times of India which hates the BJP and Narendra Modi, approximately 1,000 were killed in Gujarat between February and May 2002. Puri says that 3,000 Sikhs were killed. He has not been challenged, again to the best of one'sknowledge. A report on the Delhi killings has still not seen the light of day. Why?
And may one suggest that the President also finds time to read Inder Malhotra'sexcellent work Dynastics of India and Beyond? Malhotra is no friend of the BJP and takes every possible occasion to damn it. But in his book, he writes: “He (Rajiv Gandhi) had been slow to control the shameful anti Sikh riots in Delhi…. More disgracefully, here was also evidence to show that several Congress I leaders… had joined in engineering the pogrom. To make matters worse, he (Rajiv Gandhi)… played very heavily on anti Sikh sentiment…” That book has to be read to be believed.
Incidentally, during the Gujarat riots, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had a Congress majority. Not one Congress corporator stepped out into the streets to make even a modest attempt to stop the killings. That is the spirit of Gandhian Congressmen, if you please. And what about the Supreme Court when the anti Sikh riots were going on in Delhi? Has anybody heard of Neros? Congress party hypocrisy one can understand. But media hypocrisy?
And while we are on the subject of killing, may one be permitted to quote The Statesman (May 24, 2004), datelined Gopiballavpur, Midnapore West, the report says: “Adikanta Dolui (45), Satra Gram Panchayat secretary and BJP loyalist was burnt alive (emphasis added) by a mob allegedly backed by the CPI-M. Around 40 shops and houses were robbed and set ablaze following the murder. The rampage was reportedly the fallout of the murder of senior CPI-M leader, Ardhendu Satpaty… An hour after Satpati'skilling, about 1,000 men, armed with bows, arrows, tangi and knives raided homes and shops belonging to BJP supporters at Birsachowk Bazaar… Dolui (BJP loyalist) was dragged out, the men chopped off his limbs and set him on fire, after sprinkling petrol on him from the tank of his two wheeler parked nearby…. The mob then set fire to about 40 shops and houses after robbing them. Several two wheelers and bicycles parked in the market were destroyed in the blaze. The police posted in the market reportedly watched in silence…”
A man has his limbs chopped off and then burnt alive. Remember the killing of Staines? The media cried murder. But Dolui? Ah, he is a BJP loyalist, isn'the? Serves him right. And, apart from The Statesman, how many English language media does one think, reported this event? A man is burnt alive. A thousand men armed with bows and arrows, tangi and knives go berserk and there is not a word of it in most of our English language papers.
If communist goondas kill a BJP loyalist it is not news (yawn, yawn, yawn). Does anyone remember that some months ago, a BJP teacher was similarly killed and tortured by communist goons right in front of students in the classroom, who witnessed the gory scene, way out in Kerala? That'sthe last one heard of that.
Hypocrisy must stop. The witch hunting against Narendra Modi must stop. Congressmen and communists have turned out to be the worst—most gruesome—murderers. And Sajjan Kumar has now become an MP. The Asian Age (June 6) editorially noted that “there is also a feeling that Sajjan Kumar was allegedly involved in the rioting against the Sikhs, post Mrs Gandhi'sassassination…” That must be dismissed as the great under statement of the year.
To our President all one can say is: “Sir, we have the highest respect for you. But please don'ttake us for a people who have lost our memory.” And please stop this BJP baiting. It doesn'treflect very well on the presidency. Kindly look at Rajiv Gandhi'srecord and the Congress record after Indira Gandhi'sassassination. And the communist record of killings. You will have a better appreciation of the meaning of the word ‘gruesome?.
And forgive this columnist for quoting from past records. The truth has to be faced.