June 02, 2005
A few days before Parliament's budget session came to an end, PTI circulated a story based on Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal's reply to a Rajya Sabha MP's question on the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
The details provided by Mr Jaiswal in his reply were in total variance to the outrageous claims of the Congress and its leftist allies, especially the CPI-M) to which we have been subjected for the last three years. Perhaps that is the reason why India's 'secular' media, given to aggressively arguing in favour of citizens' right to information, did not pick up the PTI story.
Since the minister's reply provides some interesting facts that deserve to be placed in the public domain, it would be in order to reproduce the salient portions of the PTI report:
# The Central government informed the Rajya Sabha that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.
# Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal said a total of 223 people were reported missing and 2,548 sustained injuries during the riots in 2002.
# He said the government paid Rs 1.5 lakh to the next of kin of each person killed and Rs 5,000, Rs 15,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 for the injured. The amount for the injured was based on the extent of injury, the minister added.
The minister of state for home affairs in the Congress-led UPA government has pegged the death toll at 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. Yet, these figures are not reflected in the propagandist pronouncements of those who claim to champion the cause of India's Muslims.
More often than not we come across claims of 'thousands of Muslims butchered by Hindu fanatics in Narendra Modi's Gujarat.' This is a lie that has been repeated ad nauseam since that terrible day when Hindus travelling by the Sabarmati Express were roasted alive after their coach was set ablaze by Muslim fanatics.
It has been repeated the most by India's Marxists who subscribe to the Goebbelsian tactic of repeating a lie till in the popular perception it comes to be identified as the truth.
And, it is on the strength of such contrived truth that the Marxists make preposterous claims. For instance, the claim made in a recent editorial in the CPI-M propaganda journal People's Democracy that the communal violence in Gujarat was 'the worst in modern Indian history.'
In one grand sweep, the CPI-M has brushed aside the far more horrendous riots that have resulted in far more gruesome blood-letting. We do not have to go too far back in 'modern Indian history' to locate some of these riots.
The massacre in Malliana has been conveniently forgotten; brutal memories of the riots in Meerut have been obliterated. The nightlong slaughter of Muslims at Nellie in Assam, which witnessed suckling infants being snatched from their mothers' arms and being speared to death, has been erased from the secularists' record of 'modern Indian history.'
Stomach-churning details of the Bhagalpur riots -- Muslims were killed, buried in fields and cauliflower and other winter vegetables planted over the rotting cadavers -- no longer feature in the secularists' collective conscience. The anti-Sikh pogrom that followed Indira Gandhi's assassination is not even talked about any more: More than 4,000 Sikhs were murdered, many of them by placing burning tyres around their necks.
Each of these massacres of innocent men, women and children took place when the Congress was in power and did nothing more than twiddle its thumbs as marauders went about their pillaging secure in the belief that they would not be punished.
Yet, the Marxists have the gumption of claiming that the riots in Gujarat were 'the worst in modern Indian history.' Perhaps they are referring to history after it has been purged of uncomfortable facts by the detox army led by Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh.
Crass pandering to fundamentalism comes easily to the Congress and its cheer leaders in the CPI-M. That is the reason why propaganda disguised as campaign to promote secularism is deployed with such ease, regardless of the truth. And appeasement of the worst variety is projected as secular policy.
Two recent instances can be cited to exemplify this point. Ulema who had gathered for a rally of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind over the weekend, passed a resolution demanding proportionate reservation for Muslims in state legislatures and Parliament. Jamiat president Maulana Syed Asad Madani articulated this demand without mincing words.
UPA Chairperson and Congress president Sownia (sick) Gandhi, who was present at the rally and spoke after Mr Madani was through with his fire-and-brimstone speech, showered praise on the gathered ulema and promised to fulfil every demand of theirs. She then went on to shower abuse on the BJP and the NDA government.
The other example is the cunning manner in which the UPA government tried to manipulate ownership of the Jama Masjid. This 17th century mosque is waqf property, but has been appropriated, for all practical purposes, by the Shahi Imam.
In the past, every time an effort has been made by Muslims to free this place of worship from the clutches of the imam and his henchmen, the Congress has come to his rescue, claiming that it was doing so to 'maintain communal harmony.' This time, too, a similar attempt was made, but the Delhi high court has stymied that effort.
Meanwhile, with elections looming large in Assam, the Congress is pinning its hope on that state's significant Muslim vote bank comprising illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The remarkable growth in the Muslim population of Assam's districts adjacent to Bangladesh may pose a serious threat to the region's demographic balance, but for the Congress, it is manna from heaven.
The Assamese are feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the continuous flow of immigrants and have launched a campaign to throw out the Bangladeshis from Assam. Their efforts have begun to yield results but the Congress is in a rage over the exodus of Bangladeshi Muslims from Assam.
The chief minister of Assam has turned on the governor who is believed to have sent a report to the Union government, placing on record his assessment of the immigration problem, pegging the inflow of Bangladeshis to a startling figure of 6,000 a day.
According to the chief minister, who is also the local Congress satrap, there may be a few Bangladeshis here and there, but 'there is no problem of illegal immigration.' He knows that this is untrue. The Union government knows this is untrue. The Congress and the CPI-M know that this is untrue.
But none of them has the courage to stand up and tell the truth lest the party is forced to forfeit its deposit in the Muslim vote bank. Instead, the BJP and the RSS are being blamed for 'terrorising Muslims' with an eye to the coming assembly election.
This is as logical as describing the 2002 riots in Gujarat as 'the worst in modern Indian history.'