In what could become a major embarrassment for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of assembly elections in the state, Tehelka, on the basis of a series of sting operations, today claimed that Gujarat 2002 was “not a spontaneous swell of anger but a planned genocide”.
Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal told a crowded press conference here this evening that the “genocide following the burning of coach S6 of Sabarmati Express in Godhra was strategised and executed by top functionaries of the RSS, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the state authorities with the knowledge and sanction of Chief Minister Narendra Modi”.“There is a BJP MLA on tape saying he was present at the meeting in which Modi gave them three days time to do whatever they wanted. After three days, he asked to stop and everything came to a halt…” Tejpal added
The expose was simultaneously also telecast on news channel Aaj Tak.
As per Tejpal, Tehelka’s undercover reporter Ashish Khaitan met “scores of conspirators and rioters who gave first-hand account of how they personally killed Muslims”. Khaitan has recounted several horrific incidents in his report in a special issue with complete transcripts.
There is first-hand account in the Tehelka report of how former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was hacked and burnt. There are also confessions to rape and how persons belonging to the minority community were doused with kerosene and burnt alive.
Attempt has also been made to establish that “the fire in the Coach S6 of Sabarmati Express was a case of spontaneous mob fury and not a premeditated conspiracy as alleged by the state government to justify the carnage that followed”.
According to Tejpal, even after five years, the Gujarat carnage remains a hotly contested issue with disputed versions from the state, the police, victims and civil rights groups.
“For the first time, Tehelka’s six-month investigations brings forward irrefutable evidence of many horrific incidents that have remained contested in the past five years,” he said.
Tehelka has also alleged that bombs were manufactured in factories owned by senior Bajrang Dal and VHP activists. “Arms were smuggled from UP, MP, Bihar and Punjab and then distributed to execution squads, led by MLAs and senior members of the Sangh Parivar,” Tejpal stressed.
“Several conspirators mention key meetings across the states that were held on the evening of February 27, 2002, itself. The strategy on how to hit back and give a befitting reply was devised at these meetings, barely a few hours after the burning of the coach of the Sabarmati Express. The investigation also holds accounts from conspirators and rioters on how the police colluded with them.