In India, since 2002 after Gujarat riots – which erupted after a handful of Muslim fanatics lighted fire to train bogeys carrying pilgrims from Ayodhya – there have been two personalities whose fate took a quick turn. One was coronated and the other was demonized. Most of that was the work of Indian media and blind “Secularists”. It later turned out that the truth was not as it had been painted all this while.
Teesta Setalvad, an NGO activist and a rabid “Secularist” was suddenly coronated as a person who could do no wrong. Narendra Modi, on the other hand, was painted as the demon incarnate.
That Teesta had no sense of situation and sensitivity and was already party to this entire conspiracy was clear to someone with some sense from her reply to Washington Post. Right after the train burning carnage in Godhra, where men, old and young; women and children were burnt alive, she said nonchalantly that she condemns the gruesome attack but “you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilization to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India.”.(February 28, 2002)
What she meant is that just because some of the people in the train had been to Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya for the 10th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, which was a symbol of a barbarian’s celebration of massacre of locals and desecration of their religious places – it was justice enough that they be burnt alive! Just to go to Ayodhya was a good enough reason that they burnt alive. Of course, we are not talking about the women and children who got burnt alive as well.
The justification of extremist and mindless violence perpetuated by a terrorist because of the victim’s belief system is the sickest, and yet the most popular, defense of terrorism by the pseudo-secularists.
What started thereafter was one of really bad riots in India’s recent history. Whatever happened was shameful, yet what happened after that in the media and by the NGOs was even worse. The official figures released by the Congress government in Parliament in 2005, said this:
Junior home minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told parliament that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 more people reported missing and another 2,500 injured.
As for the what the riots did to the property of every group of citizens and how things were brought under control can be seen from the facts below:
523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus fled their homes. Preventive arrests of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims were made. In total 27,901 Hindus and 7,651 Muslims were arrested. Nearly 10,000 rounds of bullets were fired by the police, killing 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.
In a shameful riots where everyone was affected, some more and some less; where arrests were from all the sides and communities of the society; the story that became popular was that the state government not only orchestrated the riots but also were specifically “fascist”. A lot of witnesses were brought out with apocalyptic tales and stories of pregnant women with their stomach torn out and fetuses killed on the tip of the sword. These stories quickly became the staple of Jihadis who were brought up on these tales like a kid is brought up on lullabies.
The truth was something and somewhat different.
The pregnant woman’s womb was not touched. She did die – killed by violence from the mob, which is extremely shameful – but the tale weaved around her death had a clear sinister plan to it. The story and the truth was depicted thus in “Times of India”.
One of the most gory stories of the Naroda Patia massacre, of how a pregnant woman’s womb was ripped open and the fetus dangled on the tip of a sword by the mob, before she was killed, has been busted by a testimony given by a government doctor.
After 95 persons were killed on February 28, 2002 at Naroda Patia, stories were doing rounds that the killers had cut open eight-month pregnant Kausar Bano Shaikh’s womb, pulled out the fetus and killed her.
Dr J S Kanoria, who conducted post-mortem on the woman’s body on March 2, told the special court on Wednesday, supported by documents, that he found the fetus intact. He said he was posted at Nadiad but called to the Civil Hospital following the emergency when he conducted the autopsy on an unidentified body, which was later identified as Kausar Bano.
Kanoria showed his post-mortem report to the court saying he found the fetus intact in the woman’s womb itself. The fetus weighed 2,500 g and was 45 cm long. He mentioned about burn injuries in his post-mortem note, but was quiet on whether there was any other injury on the body.
India Today had also hit the NGOs and characters involved in this tale ready-made for Jihadis strongly:
Soon after the riots, the human rights activists and the Muslim witnesses had alleged that a pregnant woman Kausarbanu’s womb was ripped open by rioters and the foetus was flung out at the point of a sword. The gruesome incident was seen as the worst-possible example of medieval vandalism in the modern age.
Last week, eight years after the alleged incident, Dr J.S. Kanoria, who conducted the post-mortem on Kausarbanu’s body on March 2, 2002, denied that any such incident had ever happened. Instead, he told the court: “After the post-mortem, I found that her foetus was intact and that she had died of burns suffered during the riot.” Later Kanoria, 40, told INDIA TODAY, “I have told the court what I had already written in my post-mortem report eight years ago. The press should have checked the report before believing that her womb was ripped open. As far as I remember, I did her post-mortem at noon on March 2, 2002.”
A careful study of the three police complaints, claiming that Kausarbanu’s womb was ripped open by the rioters, shows several loopholes. While one complaint accuses Guddu Chara, one of the main accused in the Naroda Patiya case, of ripping open Kausarbanu’s womb, extracting her foetus and flinging it with a sword; another complaint accuses Babu Bajrangi, yet another accused in the case, of doing the act. A third complaint, on the other hand, does not name the accused but describes the alleged act.
Then there was the curious case of Zahira Sheikh, who was the main witness in the famous Best Bakery case. Zahira Sheikh had alleged that 14 people, including 12 Muslims had been burnt alive in the premises of the bakery on March 1, 2002. She later went back on it. It was told by some “investigative journalists” and NGOs that she had been bought by Modi’s government. The “sting operation” from a website had alleged that two Modi Government’s MLAs had bribed Zahira to change the testimony, which was later said to be a false accusation by a committee of Supreme Court:
More than a year after a sting operation charged a Gujarat BJP MLA with having induced Zahira Sheikh to turn hostile, the SC on Tuesday said its probe committee has failed to find any link between the legislator and payment of bribes to the key witness in the Best Bakery case.
MLA Madhu Srivastava and Congress corporator Chandrakant Batthoo Srivastava, named in the sting operation conducted by a portal, however, got an adverse inference from the committee that was set up by the court after social activist Teesta Setalvad moved an application seeking an inquiry into Zahira’s flip flops.
Interestingly, although Zahira alleged that she had been coerced by Teesta Setalvad to give a false witness report, which was really written by Teesta herself, Zahira got one year’s prison sentence and Teesta went scot free.
Zahira and her mother had said during the entire drama that Teesta and her accomplice Rais Khan had threatened Zahira and her mother with dire consequences:
Sehrunnisa Sheikh, mother of prime witness Zaheera Sheikh in the Best Bakery case, on Wednesday alleged that social activist Teesta Setalvad had threatened to kill her and eliminate her family. Deposing before the session court conducting re-trial into the Best Bakery carnage, Sehrunnisa alleged that Setalvad and her colleague, Rais Khan, had visited her house here over a month ago and threatened to shoot her and her family.
Now, interestingly, the character Rais Khan, who had been accused by Zahira’s mother as being Teesta’s accomplice – has now turned hostile to Teesta herself. He alleges that not only did Teesta doctor the witnesses herself personally, but has also hacked into Khan’s email accounts.
What one finds even more damning is the allegation that she was forcing him to do things that were against “communal harmony”.
In his complaint to the police commissioner of Ahmedabad under Sections 65, 66 and 72 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Khan on Thursday said he worked for six years as coordinator of Teesta’s Mumbai-based NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), and was sacked in January 2008 after he refused to carry out certain orders “which were not in the interest of communal harmony”.
So, in a country which has a vast history of riots, and in a situation where one particular community was targeted in a particularly sensitive area and burnt alive in trains – a full fledged riot breaks out. Members from all the communities are affected and killed. Some more and some less. From the numbers standpoint, the majority community fares better. But someone in the minority community, which orchestrated the burning of innocents in a train ought to have calculated it beforehand. And, honestly, what was the “professed” reason for that burning of innocents (including women and kids)? “That, they had been to Ayodhya to Ram Janmabhoomi”.
So, the logic is that just because something happened 1000 miles away, it is fine for us to burn people in our own state alive.
Whatever the merits and demerits of the events on December 6, 1992; one cannot be allowed to use it to slaughter more! If one is to be allowed and justified, then why are the others blamed for retaliating?
A lot has been written against Modi and his government, and a lot of artificial halos have been specially constructed for Teestas and accomplices of the world. But the truth is that most of what the latter said was fabricated and coerced from people to suit their own diabolical designs! Sometimes these designs, according to their own accomplices – who were once loyally “in the game” – against communal harmony itself! Thanks to Rais Khan for “belling the cat”, but one, if one was honest and truthful, didn’t need Khan’s verdict to know it. It was known the moment Teesta stepped up to the reporter of Washington Post to blame the victims for bringing on their own misfortune of being burnt alive!
The utter neglect for the sensitivity of the local community, which had been hurt very badly in the most gruesome manner and the almost mockery of their pain was enough to create one of the most explosive situations in recent history in India. Was that lost on the “peace-loving ” people? Did it need someone to point out that it was extremely important to not condone or seem like condoning the barbaric burning in Godhra that day. It was imperative that the perpetrators of the crime were hunted and legally tried as soon as possible. Instead, there was a righteousness in justification of that act.
And, then the madness that occured thereafter was spun again to create tales and stories that became the staple of Jihadis including the band that indulged in unprecedented and unpardonable massacres in Mumbai.
One would wonder, did it really need Khan to lay it out like that?? Did it really?
Rioting is an accepted political currency in India, whether one likes it or not, even though it is reprehensible. Even though we all know such an expression needs to be put an end to for political “action”, but it cannot happen if one is selectively trying to condone the right of ANY group to kill other for ANY grievance. For, if we eulogize or let someone use the concept of “Victimization” as a “good enough” reason to kill another, then you cannot take away that “right” from ANYONE! Either no one gets to use the “Victimization” card, or everyone does. There is no solution in “percentages”.
And, that is why, it is really a comment on our messed up sensibility that someone like Teesta Setalvad who not only violated all standards and ethics of activism, but also jeopardized communal harmony and even national security through falsehoods and outright lies – is not being tried! Such a person should have been tried to show that such negative and Machiavellian activism will not be tolerated.