Posts Tagged ‘Narendra Modi’
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the 2002 riots has been an emotive issue in India. Conviction of Modi is viewed by his critics as the only form in which justice can be accorded to the victims of Gujarat riots. Modi’s supporters cite his performance as an administrator and development of Gujarat (the Muslim population in particular) as proof of his commitment to public welfare. For the judicial system in India the challenge is compounded because each side has rigid and pre-conceived notions of justice in this case. The legal outcome of this case is expected to have profound political consequences. This context made the Supreme Court’s pronouncements on the case on Monday afternoon particularly interesting.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “pogrom” as “an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group”. By this definition, although there have been hundreds of religious riots in independent India, there have been only two pogroms: that directed against Sikhs in Delhi in 1984, and that directed against the Muslims of south Gujarat in 2002.
Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi
Guha further observes that in both cases the pogroms were made possible by a wilful breakdown of the rule of law. While the achievements of the Congress Party are rarely (if ever) contrasted against the events of 1984, Gujarat Chief Minister’s performance continues to be juxtaposed to the unfortunate events of 2002. This tendency can be ascribed either to the conspiracy of the dominant political discourse or the historical proximity to the violence in Gujarat. Whatever may be the cause, shadow of the 2002 violence discernibly hangs over Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. Vibrant Gujarat Summit (VGS), a business/investment carnival, which drew to a close last week, was another attempt to distance Gujarat from ominous events of 2002 and showcase its economic potential and political stability.
In India there is politics in mass deaths. Whether it is the Bhopal gas tragedy or the Sikh riots in 1984 or the post-Godhra violence in 2002, every incident of mass deaths is graded not on the number of casualties but on its political worth. As soon as a new incident occurs, the previous one assumes mere archival significance to be quoted as a footnote in subsequent discussions. 1984 riots became a footnote in the discussions on Narendra Modi’s role in the anti-Muslim violence in 2002; I fear the day when 2002 will become a footnote! Click to continue…