By B.P. Singhal
It has become fashionable for the pseudo-secular leaders of UPA and their collaborators in the media to glibly equate the Sikh massacre of 1984 with the post Godhra riots. The comparison is not only erroneous, but seems definitely aimed at misleading the people of the country.
The differences in the two events are too glaring to allow them to be equated:
The Gujarat riots were sparked off by the dastardly acts of hundreds of persons belonging to a single (Muslim) community.
The Sikh community as such had absolutely no role in the assassination of Smt. Gandhi, still less could that community be blamed for having done any pre-planning.
On the other hand, the Godhra massacre of 59 innocent Hindus was done by roasting them alive and was a pre-planned conspiracy by members of a single community.
At Godhra, on the other hand, not even one person was allowed to escape because of the hundreds of sword, lathi and brickbat-wielding mob attacking the possible escapees from both sides of the ill-fated railway coach.
In Ahmedabad, the riots started on February 28, and Chief Minister Narendra Modi sought Army assistance at 2:30 p.m. on the same day. Police reinforcements were also sought from neighbouring States. The Army contingent had to be flown to Ahmedabad and landed on the midnight of Februray 28 and had been deployed the very next day, i.e. 1.3.2002 from 1100 hrs. onwards.
No such assistance by any Government agency was provided to the rioters in Gujarat. The Hindu community in the country ensured that the riots did not spread beyond Gujarat even though Godhra had severely outraged the Hindus all over the country.
In Delhi, the Army, even though available locally, had not been called in for three days.
The Godhra massacre of Ram bhaktas was so ghastly that it sparked off simultaneous riots in several places in Gujarat, yet the highly limited police force took action and 34 Hindu rioters had been shot dead and 56 were wounded by Gujarat Police in the first three days alone. On the 28th itself, 10 rioters were shot dead and 16 had been wounded. The stories carried by the English media that the police was asked to look the other way were obviously patently false. Actually, a total of 80 Hindus were shot dead and 207 had been wounded in police firing in the Gujarat riots. The police had fired over 10,500 rounds of which 5,450 had been fired in the first three days alone. In addition, in all, 15,000 tear gas shells had also been burst during the Gujarat riots.
In 1984 carnage against Sikhs at Delhi, not a single rioter was killed in police firing. In fact, the police had conspicuously been absent on the streets for three full days.
As established in the Nanavati Commission report, DTC buses had transported the attackers carrying petrol and other incendiary materials.
No such assistance by any Government agency was provided to the rioters in Gujarat. The Hindu community in the country ensured that the riots did not spread beyond Gujarat even though Godhra had severely outraged the Hindus all over the country. Even in Gujarat, out of 18,600 villages, 240 municipal towns and 25 district HQs, riots and counter-riots had occurred in less than 60 locations. That the entire Gujarat was on fire was a figment of imagination of the biased English and electronic media.
The anti-Sikh riots did not remain limited to Delhi. They had spread like wild fire all over the country, specially so, in the Congress-ruled States.
The initial wave of post-Godhra riots in Gujarat had been controlled within the first four days (read any of the local Gujarati dailies of that period). But then began the retaliatory riots by Muslims and this time the riot spread to several villages in the interiors of Gujarat, and started a fresh wave of riots in Ahmedabad and other cities of Gujarat.
The 1984 riots escaped the media glare because TV was barely in its infancy.
On the other hand, a lot of mischief was played by the electronic media, which went on repeating some of the gory incidents of riots day after day. One channel repeated a particularly gory seen as many as 21 times. An image was thus created by the collaborating media that the massacre of Muslims was continuing unabated in Gujarat, day after day. The truth is that the total number of riot-related accused that came to light in entire Gujarat was 25,486 (17,489 Hindus and 7,997 Muslims). The efficiency of the Police can be gauged from the fact that out of the above mentioned number, as many as 25,204 accused were arrested- out of which 17,348 were Hindus and 7,856 were Muslims. The police in Gujarat was therefore not sleeping at any time.
Godhra massacre of Ram bhaktas was so ghastly that it sparked off simultaneous riots at several places in Gujarat, yet the highly limited police force took action and 34 Hindu rioters had been shot dead and 56 were wounded by Gujarat Police in the first three days alone.
The maximum number of relief camps opened up during riots was 159. At a given point of time the figure varied as certain camps were closed down and certain new camps were opened up. As on 5.3.2002, out of the 98 refugee/relief camps opened, 85 were for Muslims while 13 were for Hindus.
On the other hand, no attempt was made to open even a single refugee camp for the hounded Sikhs at any point of time anywhere. Actually, as per Nanavati Commission report, weapons of the Sikhs living in Sikh localities were withdrawn with the promise of protection by the police while the same localities were then attacked causing casualties among the Sikhs.
In Gujarat, what happened were riots in which both Hindu and Muslim communities had attacked each other.
What happened in Delhi and elsewhere in 1984 were not riots but a one-sided carnage aimed at eliminating the Sikhs as a community by the Congress loyalists. There was not a single casualty among the attackers.
The media versions of anti-Sikh riots were identical in the English/Hindi and regional language sections of the Press throughout the country.
On the other hand, there was a contrast of night and day in the versions of riots as projected by the national English media as against the sharply contrasting versions appearing in the local Gujarati papers of all hues.
In the light of the above, every rational person can see for himself the mischief that is being played by the pseudo-secular UPA leaders and their cohorts in the media by repeatedly equating the anti-Sikh massacre with the Gujarat riots. It is time that this mischief is stopped.
Notwithstanding the above, it will be in the fitness of things if the majesty of law is zealously upheld and every rioter, whether Hindu or Muslim, whether at Delhi and other places or at Godhra and other regions of Gujarat, get the punishment that the accused legally deserve.
(The Writer is IPS (Retd.) and ex-MP. C-001, Stellar Kings Court, F-32, Sector-50, Noida (U.P)-201 301.)