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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 731

Godhra Carnage Vs. Pundits Exodus

By J. N. Raina - Syndicate Features

On-again, off-again nature of talk about 2002 Gujarat riots, on the heels of Godhra carnage, is preposterous. It is outrageous and disgusting to raise such issues, rendered irrelevant with the passage of time, to tarnish the image of India, booming with economic activity. It is disrespectful to the nation of one billion people.

The so-called ‘Tehelka expose’ has, in fact, exposed the hollowness of pseudo-secularists, who flourish on such ‘gossip’. Such loose discussions, brought to the fore repeatedly, should be put to an end once for all. The drum-beaters of secularism are deliberately orchestrating of what they call ‘sting operation’, when the Assembly elections in Gujarat are approaching. It is the height of stupidity to claim that the ‘expose’ just ‘coincided’ with the announcement of the Assembly poll in Gujarat.

In the first instance, such ‘exposures’ are politically-motivated. The ‘power hungry’ Congress politicians know when and how to operationalise their ‘mischievous designs’, how to indulge in dirty tricks and how to mould public opinion. They raise the bogey of Gujarat riots, without bothering to mention about Godhra mayhem, in which 58 Hindu Kar Sevaks were roasted alive while they were traveling in the Sabarmati Express. The reaction to Godhra was Gujarat riots.

The question is what was the need to reopen healed up wounds. If it was needed at all, why ‘publicity’ was not given to these killings six months earlier? What was done is done; cannot be undone. No sane person will gloat over the killings or justify them.

But raising such issues repeatedly cannot be justified. More so since the secularists across the country did not bother to talk about the gruesome killings of nearly 1200 Kashmiri Hindus in early 1990 and later in sporadic incidents of ethnic cleansing. These killings and the resultant mass exodus of 5, 00,000 Hindus from Kashmir Valley are a blot on the Indian democracy.

Hardly 15,000 Hindus are left in the valley now. Have they no right to live in their land of birth? Have they no democratic rights? The Human Rights organizations and the Amnesty International are just feigning ignorance about the apathetic conditions of the Kashmiri Hindus. So far the Indian Government’s internal policy priorities are concerned human rights of Kashmiri Pundits have been locked in the boot.

Since there is so much talk about post-Godhra carnage by secularists, may I ask them why they are not equally strident in the case of Kashmiri Hindus’ plight. Why don’t they pause for a while to wonder what was the fault of the Kashmiri Hindus to be marginalised and neglected in their own country? What crime had they committed against the majority Muslim community in the Valley?

After the mass exodus, their houses were looted and set on fire. Temples and other places of worship were burnt down. The Hindus were compelled to dispose off their properties at throwaway prices, so that they don’t dare to return to the Valley. Is this secularism? Is this democracy? No eyebrows were raised about the pogrom of the Kashmiri Hindus.

For Kashmiri Hindus, secularism has been buried in the graveyards of Kashmir. The moderate Muslims were helpless as the radicals are holding the sway. And they just advised the ‘Hindu brethren’ to leave for lack of security.

To cap it all, some maverick writers believe that killings of Muslims in Gujarat, as exposed by Tehelka, should not be suppressed. Does it mean, what has happened to Kashmiri Hindus and non-Kashmiri Hindus, who had also settled there for decades, should be suppressed? It is shameful. Why was not any commission set up to go into the killings and forcible exodus of Kashmiri Hindus?

Why are there one-sided sting operations? Is it not a new weapon in the hands of the secularists to divide the society on communal lines, keeping in mind the vote bank policy?

The authorities in Godhra, soon after the mayhem, had made an unsavoury statement that those who had burnt alive the karsevaks were “uneducated, without jobs and poor. Most of them, called Ghanchi Muslims, live in poverty and have no economic activity” How amazing? The Godhra officials were forced to make confusing statements to suppress the truth about Godhra.

These tactics are sure to boomerang and destroy the age-old residual communal harmony. They should realize such exposures will retaliate on them, just like terrorism has boomeranged on Pakistan. Dr Sachidananda Sinha has well said: “Where there is no vision, the people perish”.

Maverick writer Farzana Versey argues that the cause of Kashmiri Hindus has been romanticized. In a recent news paper article, “Fission Kashmir” (September 7, 2007) she remarks: “Unlike the 140 terrorist groups, the Pandit lobby is strong. It can organize itself. Displaced Pundits are now demanding reservations in the Jammu and Kashmir legislature and government jobs, as well as setting up of three townships in the Valley for their rehabilitation”. What is wrong in making these demands?

Unlike Versey, some Pakistan journalists appear to sympathise with Kashmiri Pundits. They visited the migrant camps in Jammu and saw things for themselves. They have taken up the cudgels for speaking the truth. For the past 17 years, the Pundit community has lost its cultural moorings. They have lost their identity as an ethnic group, and are unable to preserve their traditions and customs.

Some Indian journalists are talking about ‘nailing the guilty of Gujarat’. Their response is based on Tehelka’s investigations, which, according to them, has ‘provided evidence on tapes ‘of stories relating to the Muslims’ killings by top functionaries of the BJP and Sangh Parivar.

Well, if that is indeed the case, what about nailing known JKLF activist Bitta Karatay, who, in a recent TV interview had claimed responsibility for killing scores of Hindus, with many more on his hit-list. He was in jail for 16 years on the charge of murdering a score of Kashmiri Hindus.

The Supreme Court has released Karatay recently for ‘want of evidence’.

- Syndicate Features -

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