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Justice For The Victims Of
Gujarat Pogrom

By Mirza A. Beg

11 December, 2007

Dear Mr. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
The Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.

At this important juncture, the helm of the ship of state, the Republic of India is primarily in your hands. The agenda of the executive and political power has been entrusted to your judgment by the people of India, in the hope that you will leave an ethical and proud legacy for the generations to come. Unfortunately the nightmare of the BJP misrule persists in many parts of the Republic and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of minorities are still being violated with impunity.

The perpetrators, the victims and the average Indians know that Narendra Modi's government engineered the riots in Gujarat resulting in the death of 2000 innocent people and injuring hundreds of thousands more in 2002. The justice to the victims is being denied because the BJP controlled governments in Gujarat and at the Center concealed the evidence, precluding a citizen’s ability to seek redress in the courts of law. Therefore, it was not a spontaneous riot, but a planned Pogrom.

The fig-leaf of lack of legal evidence of Modi government's direct involvement is believed only by the morally bankrupt. Even the American and European governments, though well disposed towards India, know enough to repeatedly deny the coveted diplomatic visa to Modi.

Over the years sectarians within the Congress party stealthily looked the other way while the Hindutva (Hindu sectarians) engineered cyclical riots, too numerous to list, often supported by the police. It culminated in the orchestrated destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 while the then Congress Prime Minister Narsimha Rao, feigned helpless surprise for six long hours. The loss of faith among the secular electorate, and the minorities resulted in Congress's defeat in the successive general elections.

After being in wilderness for eight years, the Congress led coalition under your new and vigorous leadership was elected as a repudiation of the fascistic and sectarian agenda of the BJP. Indian electorate gave the Congress another chance in the hope that the party has learned a lesson and returned to its founding secular and humane principles.

The dead and the dispossessed are still waiting for justice after five long years. Some may find them a political inconvenience, but they cannot be wished away.

We understand that political disputes in a democracy are decided by elections; and the division of power between the Central and the Provincial governments are well established in the constitution. But the constitution clearly provides mechanisms to punish provincial governments guilty of blatant criminality. Many times in the past provincial governments have been dismissed by the President for much less.

The brave reporters and editors of the Tahelka News magazine took enormous risks to record irrefutable evidence from the culprits, exposing the hand of Modi and the Gujarat government. They did what the government should have done.

I know the elections in Gujarat are around the corner; some wedded to politics of unprincipled power, afraid of political muscle of the Hindutva forces, want to cajole them. This will be a grave mistake. Instead of more placebos of toothless inquiry commissions, the Central government should protect the Tahelka reporters and promptly bring charges against Modi and his cohorts in the court of law. A five year delay is not too soon. Failure to act will fortify the assessment that the Congress has forsaken the ethos of the Indian Constitution to succumb to the destructive lure of power. It will confirm the perception of Congress as enablers of riots by stealth sectarianism.

Both of you understand the economics of dispossession and personal loss. Steadfastly you have overcome great impediments to reach your present coveted positions, not in search of power, but in pursuit of ideals. Great leaders courageously navigate the country to uphold the Constitution and establish principles that the succeeding generations will be proud to follow. It is time to use the irrefutable evidence provided by the Tahelka reporters to bring the powerful nefarious sectarian forces to justice and set the Indian Republic on the firm footing as a nation of laws.

Mirza A. Beg can be reached at [email protected] or

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