An investigative Indian news weekly, Tehelka last week totally exposed the truth behind Gujarat riots and the role of the state and the RSS in it. The extraordinary six-month investigation — one of the finest in the history of Indian journalism — peeled off all kinds of masks, and showed the beast in the underbelly of India where Hindu communalism takes the toll of minorities. So far the world had only heard charges and counter-charges, the victims, the government, the police, the judiciary, and the civil rights groups. As Tehelka editor wrote, “Now for the first time hear the story of the killings from the men who did it. Put to rest your doubts about the foetus that was pulled out from its womb; about the systematic slicing of Ehsan Jafri’s limbs and torso; of the raping and chopping and burning of women and children; of law officers who turned on the victims; of the collusion of the police and the government.”Shame was wri large on India’s face. The RSS and its poster boy Narendra Modi;s Hindutva laboratory’s doings were fully exposed.
The anatomy of the rioters is now clear. The chilling details came from the accused themselves, caught on two hidden cameras. The accused tell on camera how every killing was planned and thought through. How bombs were manufactured in factories owned by members of the RSS Sangh Parivar. How arms were smuggled in from other states. How, for the men in uniform, the colour saffron meant more than khaki. How Narendra Modi, custodian of the law, volunteered to let his state resemble a killing field.
“The revelations are important because they are entirely voluntary. They were not made under any inducement. Wads of notes were not brandished to elicit them,” Tehelka wrote.
Its investigation, it said, was important for many reasons. Public prosecutors appointed to prosecute the guilty were caught on camera acknowledging allegiance to their faith over their profession — paying homage to a warped sense of religion over nobility of duty. Details of how they are actually working to help the guilty escape the law. How they have even turned brokers and have already helped an accused — who had used a sword to cut a man to pieces — by offering money to the victim’s family.
Clearly, India is a downhill story because it while it is emerging as an IT power, as a software power, as a fast developing economy, it is losing its soul to the Hindutva monster. The Congress is no less guilty. Its response even after Tehelka is muted. The PM is mum, Sonia Gandhi has not said a word.
We know why.
Because the Congress is fully aware, as we had shown in the last issue of the WSN, that the moment it opens its mouth against the BJP, the ghosts of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom will come back to haunt it.
It was exactly the same story. Congress backed goons roamed the roads of the national capital, grabbing Sikhs and burning them alive. See the image of the burning tyres on each of the relevant pages of this edition of the WSN. This is India’s multi-tyre system of justice. A burning tyre around the neck of the minorities. Official India wants the minorities to either vanish or barely survive. It wants a single brand of Hindutva to survive.
It is clear from the many turns that politics takes in India. In the heartland of the RSS laboratory in Maharashtra and Gujarat, you see the politicians from Shiv Sena and BJP regularly find admission into the secular Congress or vice versa. Basically, you have a communal face of Hindutva and a secular face of Hindutva. Either way, the minorites are doomed. Between 1984 and Godhra-Gujarat, it is your pick. The monster needs its diet.
This investigation deserves all the attention the civil society can manage. It is India’s shame. If civil society wants to live with it, just as it has with the shame of 1984, except the few honourable exceptions, then so be it. The Sikh community is grateful to the few great men and women of India who stood by the community and a roll call of such men will forever find a mention in any list of those who deserve eternal thanks.
We do not have museums to mark the holocaust like the Jews have. As Tehhelka mentioned, round the year, ceaselessly, the Jews ship out their children from all over the world to show them the beast that resides in us all. By their own long suffering they understand that the battle of life against death is the battle of memory against forgetting. That to not look the beast in the face is to have the beast on your back all the time.
There is nowhere that a Sikh can take his son or daughter to make her recognise the beast of Partition, the beast of the 1984 Sikh riots, the beast of a hundred communal and caste massacres, or the beast of Gujarat 2002. Because we do not remember, we repeat; because we do not look the evil in the eye, it dogs us all the time.
As and when the Sikhs have such a museum, we can assure the world that the community will also acknowledge all those who refused to watch mutely, who refused to be mere bystanders, who were banging at the gates of the Prime Minister and others and who were landing directly in the street of Tirlokpuri and elsewhere to stop the carnage, and to record what the beastly Hindutva mind did.