By Shyam Khosla
Demonising Hindus and appeasing minorities at the cost of national interests is the hallmark of the Congress led government supported by the communists and Muslim League. A glaring example is the Andhra Chief Minister'sannouncement of 5 per cent job reservations for Muslims. Reservations for Dalits were provided for in the Constitution for historical reasons. V.P. Singh Mandalised the society by announcing the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations without consulting his cabinet or the parties lending outside support. Political expediency forced most parties to fall in line on the premise that it would benefit socially and educationally backward sections of the society. It was also thought to be politically prudent not to antagonise OBCs that constitute a large section of Indian voters. However, extension of reservations to a whole religious community is not in the same league. It is absurd, discriminatory and violative of the Constitution. While Muslims, who may not be educationally and socially backward, will get the benefits of reservations, a poor Hindu belonging to a ?higher? caste will be denied the same. Besides, this cuts at the very root of the national unity and integrity and will divide the society on communal lines.
The Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi can'tescape responsibility for this totally unacceptable, arbitrary and discriminatory policy of the Andhra government. If not stopped in his tracks, Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy or some other Congress Chief Minister may announce reservations for Christians. It is worth reiterating that it will not be a long hop from job reservations to separate electorates on religious lines?a sure recipe for communal polarisation. It is heartening that the media, including English language newspapers, have, by and large, come down heavily on the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister for his dangerous move. It would be wrong to dismiss the announcement as a political gimmick for it is fraught with grave consequences. It is minorityism at its worst.
It is heartening that the media, including English language newspapers, have, by and large, come down heavily on the AP Chief Minister for his dangerous move. It would be wrong to dismiss the announcement as a political gimmick for it is fraught with grave consequences.
An equally reprehensible case in point is the ?departmental enquiry? the Railway Minister has ordered into the Godhra massacre in which 59 pilgrims, including 25 women and 12, children, were burnt alive. Announcing this, Laloo Yadav told the Parliament that a ?conspiracy? had been hatched to carry out the massacre and the NDA government had ?colluded? with the Gujarat government to cover up the findings of the Gujarat Forensic Science Laboratory (GFSL). So, the minister has already reached a conclusion that there was a ?conspiracy hatched by the NDA and the Modi government? to cover up the ?crime? committed by Hindu pilgrims to roast themselves alive so that other ?communal? Hindus may take revenge on the ?hapless and innocent? Muslims. The departmental enquiry to be conducted by his loyal officials is presumably meant to confirm the minister'spronouncement in Parliament and please jehadis that are strong supporters of the ?secularists?.
Quoting from the GFSL report of May 15, 2002, the minister said, ?By observing the flames of the windows of the coach, it appears that all windows of the coach (coach S-6 of the ill-fated Sabarmati Express) were closed during the time of the fire. . . .No sign was observed of the use of any corrosive fluid like acid in the said fire?.The height of the windows of the coach was around 7 feet from the ground at the place and in that position it was not possible to throw any inflammable fluid inside from outside the coach from any bucket because by doing this, most of the fluid was getting thrown outside?There was no possibility that any inflammable liquid was thrown through the door of the bogie.? What is so great in these ?findings?? If acid and petrol couldn'tbe thrown inside, burning missiles would do, as an in-depth enquiry by independent professionals showed. What if the fire started from within the coach? A commission set up by a NGO had quoted eyewitnesses to say that the mob entered the coach through the vestibule. Former Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar is on record that the Railway authorities had discovered that certain unauthorised persons had travelled in Coach S-6. Were they a party to the conspiracy to put the train on fire to teach the Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya a lesson? The Railway Minister is wrong on many counts, including his charge that the report was kept under the wraps. It was widely reported in the media two years ago.
What if the fire started from within the coach? A commission set up by a NGO had quoted eyewitnesses to say that the mob entered the coach through the vestibule. Former Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar is on record that the Railway authorities had discovered that certain unauthorised persons had travelled in Coach S-6. Were they a party to the conspiracy to put the train on fire to teach the Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya a lesson?
Exactly 20 days before the GFSL submitted its report, on April 26, 2002 to be precise, Justice D.S. Tewatia, a former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, released to the national media a printed report titled Godhra and After based on an enquiry conducted by a five-member team of independent professionals headed by him on behalf of the Council for International Affairs and Human Rights. The report that was widely carried by media inter alia stated, ?It (the Sabarmati Express) came to halt about 700 metres away from the Godhra Railway Station as some one had pulled the chain. The vacuum pipe between the Coaches S-6 and S-7 was cut, thereby preventing any further movement of the train?. Miscreants threw bricks and stones at the train as soon it left Godhra Railway Station?The passengers shut the windows and doors to protect themselves? Burning missiles were thrown into Coach S-6. The coach caught fire and within minutes it was in flames. The passengers who managed to get out of the burning compartment were attacked with sharp weapons and stones.? Some of the major findings of the Justice Tewatia Study Team were that someone in the vicinity of the gruesome tragedy used public address system exhorting the mob to kill kafirs and enemies of Bin Laden and that the attack on the Sabarmati Express was pre-planned and premeditated. It concluded that it was the result of a criminal conspiracy hatched by a hostile foreign power with the help of local jehadis led by a Congress Councilor, Haji Balal, who led a mob that prevented fire engines from reaching the burning train by blocking the road leading to the site of the crime.
Laloo'sintentions are crystal clear. By ordering a departmental enquiry by his loyal officials, the minister wants to ?prove? that it were the Hindu outfits that burnt alive the pilgrims to accuse the Muslims. It is a blatant attempt to encourage jehadis and blame the Hindu society for the former'santi-national activities. Nitish Kumar has hit the nail on the head by charging Laloo of behaving ?irresponsibly? and making a political statement to address a particular community (read Muslims). The Muslims in general, and the accused in the train burning case, have hailed Laloo'sannouncement. The Hindu society has been shocked by this joker'santics and rightly perceives the Congress led ruling alliance as an anti-Hindu dispensation. It is pseudo secularism at its worst. As the NDA had boycotted the tainted minister, there was no one to challenge this blatantly false and outrageous statement. Will the Opposition give a thought to what harm their decision to boycott the minister has caused to the nation? They must find another way to target the corrupt and criminal in the government. Boycotting them amounts to giving them an opportunity to tell lies and half-truths in Parliament to serve their petty partisan interests and in the process mislead the nation and the world.