Prime Ministerial Candidate
Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat and a strong proponent of Hindutva was anointed by BJP as its candidate for Prime Minister in 2014 Indian Parliament elections. Conspicuously absent, was the BJP's senior-most leader LK Advani, a hardline Hindutva adherent and another prime ministerial aspirant, who refused to support the decision, holding out till the end against all attempts to bring him on board. Other dissenters like Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi, grudgingly fell in line. Ms Swaraj sat next to Mr Modi and listened intently as he promised a BJP victory next year. Advani has reportedly told Rajnath Singh that today's Modi announcement will plunge the BJP into "political disaster."
The BJP's allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal have already thrown their weight behind Modi. However, a third important ally, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United, opted out of the alliance months ago, in opposition to Modi's alleged involvment in the 2002 Gujarat riots and his Hindutva ideology.
Hindutva is a virulent fascist ideology which holds a Hindu supremacist world view.
Narendra Modi's role in the infamous Gujarat Pogrom, is still under legal scanner. The anti-minority carnage started following the gruesome killing of 59 Hindus on 27th February, 2002 in a train fire at Godhra. Modi's alleged to have given free reign to rioters without taking sufficient steps to prevent the massacre. The Gujarat administration was accused by the opposition of taking insufficient action against the violence, and even condoning it in some cases.
According to official estimate, 1044 people were killed in the violence – 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus including those killed in the Godhra train fire. Another 223 people were reported missing, 2,548 injured, 919 women widowed and 606 children orphaned. When missing people were declared dead after 7 years, total deaths went up from 1044 to 1,267. The Human Rights Watch have come out with a shocking report “WE HAVE NO ORDERS TO SAVE YOU”, State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat.
In April 2009, the Supreme Court of India appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to inquire into the Gujarat government and Narendra Modi's role in the incidents of communal violence. The SIT reported to the court in December 2010 submitting that they did not find any incriminating evidence against Modi of willfully allowing communal violence in the state.
On 7 May 2012, the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae, Raju Ramachandran, observed that Modi could be prosecuted for promoting enmity among different groups during the 2002 Gujarat violence. His main contention was that the evidence should be examined by a court of law because the SIT was required to investigate but not to judge.
However, on August 31, 2012 two Modi lolyalists Dr. Maya Kodnani, a former minister in the Modi cabinet and a BJP MLA at the time of conviction, and former State president of the Bajrang Dal, Babu Bajrangi were found guilty and sentenced to 28 years and 31 years in jail respectively, in the gruesome Naroda Patya massacre. The Naroda Patiya massacre took place on 28 February 2002 at Naroda,in Ahmedabad, capital city of Gujarat. 97 Muslims were killed by a mob of approximately 5,000 people in the incident. The massacre which lasted over 10 hours, the mob looted, stabbed, sexually assaulted, gang-raped and burnt people individually and in groups.
Delivering the judgment the court observed that “as a representative of the people, Dr. Kodnani was expected to serve the people and try to stop the riots. Instead, she has been found to be involved in plotting and planning the conspiracy along with Babu Bajrangi to attack the Muslims in Naroda-Patiya” The court said Dr. Kodnani was the “kingpin of entire riots in the Naroda-Patiya area. “She led the mob and incited them to violence. She abetted and supported the violent mob,” the court observed. Dr. Kodnani was elected to the Assembly three times from Naroda. At the time of the 2002 riots, she was a sitting MLA. She was Minister of State for Women and Child Welfare after her victory in the 2007 Assembly elections, a post she held till she was obliged to resign after having been arrested in connection with the Naroda-Patiya massacre by the Supreme-Court-appointed Special Investigation Team in 2009.
Narendra Modi is also alleged to have organized with his loyal officers a series of encounter killings to boost his political image, including the infamous Israt Jahan case. The Supreme Court on March 2, 2012 entrusted enquiry to a retired Supreme Court judge, Justice H S Bedi , of all 22 extra judicial killings by Gujarat Police from October 2002 to December 2006. In the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, on 21 February 2013 CBI arrested Gujarat IPS officer G L Singhal who was then Assistant Commissioner of Police Crime Branch at the time of the incident, in connection with the alleged fake encounter. The CBI in its FIR alleged that Singhal, now Superintendent of Police at State Crime Records Bureau played an active role in the encounter which was later found to be fake by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Gujarat High Court. Besides Singhal, CBI had previously arrested senior police officers, Tarun Barot, J G Parmar, N K Amin, Bharat Patel and Anaju Chaudhary.
On 4 June, suspended IPS officer D G Vanzara was arrested by the CBI, from Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad, after he was transferred a day ago from a Mumbai Jail since 2007, where he was lodged as he is an accused in Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter killing case of 2005 as well as Tulsi Prajapati encounter killing case. CBI alleged that he led the team of Detection of Crime Branch (DCB), Ahmedabad, on whose tip off the Ahmedabad Police went ahead with the encounter, and wanted to interrogate him further. Vanzara is alleged to have organized encounter killings which saw 15 deaths.
The resignation Vanzara also has created a controversy that is detrimental to the prime ministerial aspirations of Modi. His letter was rejected by the state government on technicalities, saying that his resignation can't be accepted as he is facing serious charges and a vigilance clearance is needed to forward his case to the union home ministry.
In this letter he maintains that between 2002 and 2007, he and other officers of his ilk "simply acted and performed their duties in compliance of the conscious policy of this government" and yet his political bosses betrayed him. The letter targets Narendra Modi and Amit Shah - who handled the home portfolio at the time. He maintains that the police officers were just implementing the policies formulated at higher level and demands that the policy formulators should also be questioned and punished.
Inspite of all these, Modi does not regret the carnage that took place in Gujarat in 2002 under his Chief Ministership. All these 12 years since the carnage, Modi refused to answer that question and even walked off a TV show when the interviewer repeatedly asked the question. With his Prime Ministerial ambitions within the reach, he recently answered that question, that too with a twist. In the interview with Reuters, he said he did “"absolutely the right thing". He further said, ".... any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we're sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will be painful or not? Of course, it is. If I'm a Chief Minister or not, I'm a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad". That too generated controversy. One Countercurrents writer asked,
What did Narendra Modi meant by giving example of a puppy in a serious issue related to the brutal genocide of thousands of Muslims? Modi’s word couldn’t have been a slip of tongue. It seems his subconscious self spoke his real mind, which for years he was trying to cover with his ‘Gujarat model’ and ‘perfect leader’ veil. Does Modi consider Muslims as puppies, which are always associated with helpless creature? One of the first thing a murderer's mind would do before commit a crime is belittle or declare his/her victim worthless, by which his or her subconscious mind legitimizes the act (read John Wayne Gacy, Jr.’s case). One of the famous cases which can be quoted here is of Adolf Hitler and his views about Jews. In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler not only considers Jews as a threat to the existence of white Aryan race but also belittles their existence, thus seems them as subhuman. True to physiological phenomenon, Modi’s subconscious mind always had an impression of Muslims as subhuman or worthless creatures, which has the genesis from his Hindu fundamentalist views.
Shamsul Islam, a respected academic in Delhi university also wrote an open letter to him on his open admittance that he is a “Hindu Nationalist”
Recently Modi had to cancel his plan to visit UK and address the British House of Commons at the investigation of a labour MP Barry Gardiner, on fear of being arrested under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction for crimes against humanity.
On December16, 2002 a day after the re-election of Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat for a second term, CC editor Binu Mathew wrote an article, titled "The Fuhrer Is Here". The fear and apprehension expressed in the article were our worst nightmare. Whether it will come to fruition in India, only time will tell. But, these are times when nightmares come true, if we are not vigilant!