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GUJARAT RIOTS

A Beast Asleep?
Ten years after Gujarat 2002, Outlook asks if were likely to witness such horror again
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ndia is a nation that was born in the bloodshed and displacement of the Partition riots. In its

DNA, it inherited the schizoid gene of being a large Hindu nation with one of the worlds largest Muslim populations. It was a historical faultline that was exploited for politics time and again. Ahimsa was the Gandhian ideal we paid lip service to but the reality far too often was mass violence. In urban ghettos, in the old cities across the land, small riots were part of the cycle of life. A religious procession would be taken out, a skirmish would take place, curfew would be clamped, a minor riot would have just taken place or been barely averted. But the Gujarat riots of 2002 marked the apogee of communal hatred. Ten years after the Sabarmati Express coach was set afire in Godhra on February 27, and after the bloodbath that followed, we must pause and ask: can it happen again? Many would argue that it cannot because, in the long term, Narendra Modi has had to pay a price for presiding over a bloodbath after the advent of 24-hour television. In the immediate aftermath of the riots, however, he gained enormously. Modi ran a communally charged election campaign six months after the violence, when he would famously use Mian Musharraf as a rhetorical term for the entire Muslim community. Modi had been sent to Gujarat in October 2001, at a time when the BJP under Keshubhai Patel was doing badly and had lost a byelection. He began his first term as CM on Oct 7, 2001; five months later, the carnage happened; later in the year, in December 2002, he won the state election with a huge margin and began his second term. He has now been the longest-serving chief minister of Gujarat and will contest later this year for a fourth term.

And, of course, there was Elvis Costello (not a boy, but a man at 35) saying the unsayable: 'Tramp The Dirt Down' in a BBC2 Live Performance:

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Bom bay 1992-93 Babri demolition sparks off first phase in Dec. A rampaging Sena fans flames through incendiary articles and inciting attacks on Muslim localities. (Photograph by Sherw in Crasto)

He most famously used communal polarisation as a political technique and it worked within the boundaries of Gujarat. Sociologist Ashis Nandy says that the problem also arose because for months afterwards, Modi celebrated the riots. He appeared to be showing off. Even the Shiv Sena, which had a decade before Gujarat orchestrated vicious riots in Mumbai, looked like relative amateurs at the riot technique compared to the systematic method that was applied and revelled in inside Gujarat. Nandy points out that the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 actually claimed the largest toll. But its a blot the Congress always tries to live down and not celebrate. The whole psychology was different as Sikhs were a prosperous community that people admired and envied, says Nandy. The Hindu-Muslim equation is another story. As for Modi, he has become the development man, the business-friendly leader, but his image makeover as an acceptable national figure has not worked. Even BJP president Nitin Gadkari says, What happened in Gujarat was an unfortunate incident. I dont think it can or should happen again.

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I dont think it can happen again, not because Riots are regular occurrences at low levels of of any growth in ethics but because the national income. With rising incomes, political costs of riots have been rising since communal discontent does not fully 1984 and after 2002, Narendra Modi has blown disappear, but it begins to take the form of hiany chance of ever being PM. Ashis Nandy, tech terrorism as opposed to low-tech mass Sociologist riots. Ashutosh Varshney, Author and academic The possibility of a big riot happening cannot be ruled out. We cannot forget that there is no preventive law in place and those guilty of orchestrating riots are not punished. But we have faith in majority, civil society and the media. Mahmood Madani, MP and cleric A Gujarat-type riot can happen only if theres complicity between the Centre and state government. Which is what happened in 02. The Sangh has not given up on that kind of mobilisation; they are trying it in Karnataka. B.K. Hari Prasad, Congress leader There was a context to riots and places where riots were habitual. Today there are different concerns, the human rights industry has emerged, media is more intrusive; consequently administrations have to be more responsive. Swapan Dasgupta, Right-wing ideologue There were always political motives to the riots in Hyderabad. Sometimes Bajrang Dal, sometimes MIM, sometimes the Andhra lobby. Now things have changed because of the media and Hyderabads expansion. Amir Ali Khan, Siasat, Hyderabad Riots can happen again in Mumbai. The rhetoric against north Indians is similar and we have also seen sporadic violent attacks against bhaiyyas although Mumbai moves on our finance and enterprise. Sanjay Nirupam, Congress MP Aggressive Gujarati middle class believes in hard Hindutva; elsewhere middle class at best believes in soft Hindutva. The only place I can see it being replicated is Karnataka but the middle class there is more diverse. Achyut Yagnik, Author and historian 1992-93 wont happen in the same way in the near future because the potential of that particular anti-minority track has been temporarily exhausted. Majority and minority communities have become more selfreflexive. Kamala Ganesh, Sociologist Mumbai is even today a tinderbox and vested interests can still play with peoples emotions. The scale of violence may be difficult but not impossible because people who order such riots sit safe somewhere and stand to gain. Julio F. Ribeiro, Ex-police chief, Mumbai No riot can happen without tension being built up by parties and outfits. Average citizens and party workers react out of insecurity, not animosity. That insecurity not only still exists in Mumbai, at times its even sharper. Asghar Ali Engineer, Islamic scholar The poorer people of Mumbai have moved northwards which means fewer paradoxes exist. The spoils of power and office are now distributed among the parties, which means all shades of politicians are busy getting wealthy. Aroon Tikekar, Historian
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Modi is stuck with the taint because Gujarat was the first mega riot in the age of 24-hour TV. There were victims in Mumbai, Surat, Bhagalpur, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, Moradabad, Bhiwandi, earlier riots in Ahmedabad, a city that actually recorded one of the first big postPartition riots in 1969. But they were just numbers, death tolls, the faceless victims of communal carnage. But in Gujarat 2002, the stories were documented in heart-wrenching detail and etched in our collective memories. How Bilqis Banos daughter was snatched from her hands, flung against a rock, killed, and the pregnant woman raped repeatedly; how Zahira Sheikh survived the grisly burning of the Best Bakery in which her family was roasted alive; how limbs of children were hacked and little boys flung to their death in Naroda Patiya; how Ehsaan Jafri begged for the life of those who had sought his protection in Gulberg Society; how his widow Zakia Jafri still fights for justice and says her husband called the CMs residence for help. The photograph of Qutubuddin Ansari begging for his life epitomises the plight of an entire community in Gujarat; thankfully, Ansari survived.

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Flash points The Dec 6, 1992, Babri Masjid demolition; Sabarmatis burning coach

The 2002 Gujarat riots also marked the coming of age of anti-communal activism. Several citizens, activists and lawyers who live within Gujarat have consistently fought against a state administration determined to block any probe. On the national stage, individuals like Teesta Setalvad have never relented, losing one legal battle to come back with another. Although Modi has been able to stay one step ahead of the legal snare, he is certainly bogged down by it. Outside Gujarat, he may have appeal for the BJP cadre, but regional parties want to keep a distance from him. If the big players of any regional front in the future are to be Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik and Nitish Kumar, the CMs of Bengal, Orissa and Bihar would not like to share a platform with Modi even if realpolitik were to force any sort of arrangement with the BJP. Indeed, one can argue that the political price of riots is now too high. Modi is quite stuck.

he perpetrators of riots are long-term players in the political landscape. The Thackerays

have again bounced back in the local polls in Maharashtra. But the city of Mumbai has changed under their watch. The ferocity and cruelty of the violence that ripped right through Bombay (which became Mumbai later) in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, in two phases in December 1992 and January 1993, came to symbolise the worst face of a seemingly inclusive city. Till then the city would be described as a cosmopolitan megacity where caste, class and religion were not the dominant markers of public life. Bombay was the city of dreams, its streets offered anonymity, its pavements could turn into homes, its constant whirring machine of enterprise and entrepreneurship played the great equaliser. Surely, such a place could not be derailed by communal violence? This belief turned into a shattered myth in those two spans of 92-93 when nearly 850 people were killed, 575 of them Muslims; over 2,000 injured and nearly 1,00,000 displaced. After that, Bombay became Mumbai and no one really calls it a cosmopolitan place any longer. Resilient, yes, but not cosmopolitan. Bombay had its Hindu- and Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods but they were not community-insulated as has happened in the post-riots era. The ghettoising effect of 1993, which continues even today, has made the divisions sharper. In fact, its easier now to target this or that community and in many areas the other is not welcome at all, says Farooq Mapkar, who was witness to five namazis being shot in Hari Masjid by policemen, was wrongly accused of rioting and acquitted after 16 long years. A bank employee now, he says, There is now a Muslim Mumbai and a Hindu Mumbai.

Aligarh, 1990 125-150 people died in riots set off by killing of Muslims near a mosque by PAC. Misreporting, rumours, partisan PAC kept flames alive for nine days. (Photograph by HT (From Outlook, March 05, 2011)

he Shiv Sena in 1993 called itself the defender of Hindus. The Srikrishna Commission

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report famously indicted Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and said that like a veteran general, he commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organised attacks against Muslims, especially in January 1993. The Mumbai police registered four offences against him for a communally provocative editorial exhorting such violence, but the go-ahead to prosecute was not given by the state government; then CM Sudhakarrao Naik famously said if certain leaders were arrested, Bombay would burn; it escaped his notice that the city had already burnt. *** Riot After Riot Fifty-eight major communal riots in 47 places since 1967 Ten in South India, 12 in East, 16 in West, 20 in North India Ahmedabad has seen five major riots; Hyderabad, four; Calcutta, none since 64* The 1990s saw the most riots in the last five decades: 23 The 1970s saw seven riots, the 80s, 14; the 2000s have seen 13 Total toll: 12,828 (South 597, West 3,426, East 3,581, North 5,224). * In 64, a wave of rioting in Calcutta, Jamshedpur and Rourk ela k illed 2,500. Note: Only riots with a toll of five or more included; deaths due to bomb blasts not included Data: Alk a Gupta *** Year Aug 67 Mar 68 Sep 69 May 70 May 70 Oct 77 Mar 78 Sep 78 Oct 78 April 79 Aug 80 Apr 81 Sep 82 Dec 82 Feb 83 Sep 83 May 84 Oct 84 Apr 85 Jul 86 Apr/May87 Mar 89 Oct 89 Oct 89 Oct 90 Oct 90 Oct 90 Oct 90 Oct 90 Oct 90 Oct 90 Oct 90 Nov 90 Dec 90 Dec 90 Dec 90 May 91 May 91 Oct 92 Dec 92 Dec 92 Dec 92 Dec 92 Dec 92/Jan 93 Nov/Dec 97 Feb 98 Dec 98 Mar 2001 Mar 01 Oct 01 Feb-May 02 May 02 Apr 06 May 06 Dec 07 Oct 08 Sep 09 Sep 11 Place Hatia, Ranchi Karimganj, Assam Ahmedabad Bhiwandi, Mah. Jalgaon, Mah. Varanasi Sambhal, UP Hyderabad Aligarh Jamshedpur Moradabad Biharsharif Meerut Baroda Nellie, Assam Hyderabad Bhiwandi, Mah Delhi Ahmedabad Ahmedabad Meerut Bhadrak, Orissa Indore Bhagalpur Ahmedabad Jaipur Jodhpur Lucknow Chandni Chowk, Delhi Hailakandi, Assam Patna Hyderabad Agra Hassan, Mandya, Mysore Hyderabad Aligarh Baroda Meerut Sitamarhi, Bihar Surat Malpura, Andhra Kanpur Bhopal Bombay Coimbatore Coimbatore Surathkal, Karnataka Nalanda, Bihar Kanpur Malegaon Gujarat Marad, Kerala Aligarh Baroda Kandhamal Bhainsa, Andhra Miraj, Karnataka Bharatpur Toll 183 82 512 76 100 5 25 20 30 120 1,500 80 12 17 1,819 45 146 2,733 300 59 70 17 27 1,161 41 52 20 33 100 37 18 165 31 60 200 150 28 40 44 152 24 254 143 872 20 60 12 8 14 13 1,267 9 6 6 12 6 5 10 Till 92-93, the city police was seen as a proud force in khaki, worthy of being compared to Scotland Yard; their brutality and vehemence during the 92-93 carnage turned them in the public eye into a force that did not hesitate to display the saffron beneath the khaki. As police officers and constables told the Indian Peoples Tribunal in the immediate months, they were Shiv Sainiks at heart and policemen of a supposedly secular state by accident. As many as 32 policemen, including then joint commissioner R.D. Tyagi, were severely indicted by the Srikrishna Commission (SKC) for acts of omission and commission during the riots. None was punished; in fact, Tyagi was promoted to the post of city commissioner during the Sena-BJP regime in Maharashtra soon after. Senior Sena leaders refuse to discuss the riots but point to the thousands of illegal Bangladeshi migrants and Pakistani sympathisers who live in the myriad lanes of the metropolis and sometimes need to be put in their place. If at that time the Muslims were the target, today the other is the bhaiyya or migrant from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Though political organisations may have found it increasingly difficult to stoke such largescale, mind-numbing violence in recent years, Mumbai is still a tinderbox and vested interests can still play with people. Besides, the question of justice cant be forgotten when we talk of riots. It rankles the victims that justice has still not been done; not only is justice a prerequisite for reconciliation, its also a necessary signal to those who believe they stand to gain by engineering such violence, victims say. The bomb blasts that followed in March 1993, killing 257 and injuring 800, have resulted in convictions, but no one has been punished for the 92-93 riots except former Sena MLA Madhukar Sarpotdar who was convicted in July 2008 and let off on a Rs 5,000 bail. When the Shiv Sena-BJP came to power in Maharashtra in 1994, barely a year after Bombay burned, the administration withdrew as many as 3,000 cases registered against their workers. The subsequent Congress governments did not drop cases against Muslims that even the SKC concluded were false. This one-sided justice has exacted its price. The Muslims in the ghettos are angry and often justifiably so. Every bomb blast and terror attack since has meant comb-and-search-andarrest operations in their mohallas. Now after every major and minor terror attack on Mumbai, mohalla committees mobilise their peace soldiers in bastis, community elders come out requesting calm and peace, Muslims display their patriotism through solidarity marches in case theyre perceived as anti-nationals. The peace is kept but the tensions simmer.

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Still, the cycle has been broken in other cities. Hyderabad, for instance, has moved on. The old city is still a hothouse, but communal violence no longer pays. Amir Ali of the influential Urdu

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city is still a hothouse, but communal violence no longer pays. Amir Ali of the influential Urdu daily, Siasat, recounts this brief history of his citys riots. Before 1994, he says, violence took place every year over processions of Ganesh Chaturthi, Moharram or Bonalu (an Andhra festival). The violence stopped in 1994, when the TDP came to power, though one could not pinpoint an exact reason. Then, in 1998, a poster appeared in the old city of Hyderabad depicting Ganesh with Kaaba under one foot and Medina under the other. Police investigations revealed that the poster was the handiwork of a Hindu politician and former mayor of Hyderabad. He was in fact a member of the Majlise-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen run by the Owaisi family that still has a grip on sections in the city! The linkages are circuitous, to say the least.

hat this story illustrates is that an attempt to trigger a riot is a political tactic. Paul R.

Brass, author and political scientist from the University of Washington, whos studied Indias communal tension and violence, calls it the institutionalised riot system or IRS. This IRS, he says, was created largely in northern and western India and it can be activated by politicians during political mobilisation or elections, and the production of a riot involves calculated and deliberate actions by key individuals, like recruitment of participants, provocative activities and conveying of messages, spreading of rumours. There are frequent rehearsals until the time is ripe and the context is felicitous and there are no serious obstructions in carrying out the performance. Does such an IRS still prevail in Mumbai, or Bhiwandi, Malegaon, Aurangabad, Nashik, Moradabad, Ahmedabad? Recently, activists of the Hindu right were arrested in Karnataka trying to raise a Pakistan flag in a Muslim area. They presumably hoped they would trigger a riot and blame it on Muslims. One must conclude that small riots can and in all likelihood may continue to happen (there was recently a Gujjar-Muslim clash in Mewat not far from Delhi), but it would take a certain conjunction of politics, intent and regime to trigger anything on the scale of the Gujarat riots. Meanwhile, the political saga of Modi continues, with his national ambitions all too obvious. As things stand now, he can be a national player only if the BJP gets a majority on its own. As that currently seems unlikely, Modi can perhaps examine his predicament from a philosophical, moral or literary viewpoint. He could ruminate over that quote of Lady Macbeths who kept washing her hands. Out, damnd spot! out, I say! Riot Triggers Social: The feeling of being left out of the discourse. Especially prevalent among minorities who are excluded, deliberately or otherwise, from mainstream events and activities, leading to ghettoisation. Economic: The feeling of being left behind. Poor education, unemployment lead to marginalisation of the have-nots. Heightened by sense of deprivation and sight of conspicuous consumption. Political: Parties and politicians play on the emotions of votebanks, often to expand it, by mobilising mobs and whipping up passions and fears over illegal immigration and demographic change Administrative: The feeling of being targeted and/or ignored by the immediate touchpoints of governmentthe police and civic administration. Denial of rights and harassment spawn sense of injustice. Religious: Perceived slights to sentiments. Can be sparked by a procession in a sensitive area; a loud prayer, a road blocked for prayers, or an animals carcass thrown into a place of worship Commercial: Rivalries sparked off by encroachment of traditional areas of business and economic activity Verbal: Provocative speeches that stereotype and instigate the intended target on the basis of language, religion and sexual habits. Rabble-rousing about appeasement. Sporting events as a test of patriotism and nationalism. Global: Rumours and whispers that travel across the wired world about defacement or denigration of holy scriptures and holy figures in books, movies, newspaper articles, posters, cartoons. *** By Saba Naqvi in New Delhi and Smruti Koppik ar in Mumbai

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FILED IN: AUTHORS: SABA NAQVI | SMRUTI KOPPIKAR PEOPLE: NARENDRA MODI | TEESTA SETALVAD | THACKERAYS | ZAKIYA NASIM JAFRI | QUTUBUDDIN ANSARI TAGS: GUJARAT: RIOTS 2002 | BJP | SHIV SENA | MUSLIMS | COMMUNAL-COMMUNALISM | GUJARAT: GODHRA 2002 | RIOTS | 1984 ANTI-SIKH RIOTS SECTION: NATIONAL SUBSECTION: COVER STORIES PLACES: GUJARAT | MUMBAI | DELHI | HYDERABAD

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...answer some questions?

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SUNDEEP DOUGAL

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SUNDEEP DOUGAL
OPINION

A Beast Asleep? | Saba Naqvi

Reminding, A Rough Art


One would never wish 2002 to have an encore, but to discount that possibility would mean being lulled into complacency.
NILANJAN MUKHOPADHYAY

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Suman Kumar Mishra Works at Tata Teleservices Limited riots is nothing new with this decade or others.. hinduism and islam being two very contrasting religions have always stood out because of the differences.. the earlier onslaughts be it macedonians , kushas came to india and dissolved in the culture ,,. leaving behind their footprints but ultimately being part of the local culture .. islam was different .. apart from the loot , it came to plunder , to destroy the thousands of years of culture , to erase it with sword and gun powder .. it did suceed in some way but wasnt able to erase it completely ... they destroyed temples which got rebuilt.. they were able to drive off hindus from sindh, afghanistan, parts of punjab to east or down south .. people fled but refused to part away with the belief handed over by generations .. the islamic rule for 1000 years has been littered with... S ee M ore Reply Like Follow Post April 8 at 4:28pm Rohit Mittal IIPS, DAVV how can the authors expect to be taken seriously after writing a communally charged article like that; portraying muslims as innocent victims at the hands of the hindu minority? they conveniently forget to even mention that 30% of gujarat riot toll were hindus. It is so important to be politically correct and pseudo secular in India that no one now dares to speak up about the centuries of genocide unleashed upon the hindu populace by foreign, mostly muslim attackers. We are instead taught that although these filthy barbarians slaughtered our civilians, raped our women and took lakhs of slaves, they did good deeds in their own countries. Those times are instead portrayed as a utopian era of hindu- muslim solidarity. It iis our recurring nightmare that if word of these dark deeds gets out, communal harmony in the country will go f... S ee M ore Reply 2 Like Follow Post April 7 at 1:15am Aparna Vaidik Rohit is this your response or francois gautier's? Reply Like April 7 at 2:16am Suman Kumar Mishra Works at Tata Teleservices Limited Aparna Vaidik is this your response or are you shitting out information from media which has been so biased .. you should start analysing and thinking .. if thats not your capacity , dont shit in public forums ,, are u in denial of the 1000 years of history under islamic rule, are you under denial that any islamic structure you see be it babri mosque or qutub minar is built over ruins of preceding culture or are you in denial that partition which happened was unjust . i think thinking is beyond you .. you are good in what you have just done .. stink .. go wash yourself Reply Like April 8 at 4:13pm View 1 more
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MAR 19, 2012

The Long Shadow of Past Prejudice Rather than looking at the possibilities of a recurrence of a pogrom, the need of the hour is to heal the scars of the earlier riots (Can it happen again?, Mar 5). The compensation provided to the victims, both in terms of justice and aid and rehabilitation, has been thin and nominal; in reality, they face social ostracism. The haunting memory of your house being burnt, or your daughter being raped in front of you, is not easy to erase. The courts and the government, therefore, need to resort to unbiased judgements and punish those who do institutionalised rioting rather than hold out development as a surrogate placebo.
AISHWARIYA SAGAR, NEW DELHI

To all those who express their discontent with the biased reporting of the media against the majority, Id say, it is absolutely valid. The majority in every country has a responsibility not to let the minority feel marginalised. The social discomfort they feel develops very quickly into discontent, then into fear and concurrently into reaction. This stands true in India where the minority is defined by religion or in other countries where it is racial, on account of immigration. The more we run away from this responsibility, the more chaos it creates.
CHINTAN, LONDON

The post-Godhra riots will always remain a slap in Modis face. What they did is desanctify the land of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
JANGA BAHADUR SUNUWAR, JALPAIGURI

The 2002 Gujarat incidents, deplorable as they were, have been ballooned up to unnecessary proportions. Ten years is a long time, the point has been made enough number of times, and systems are in place so that this kind of thing is not repeated, not just in Gujarat, but anywhere else in India. Lets get on with life and look to finding solutions to our daily problems like bad roads, inflation and allpervasive corruption. By harping on thus about Modi, how are you going to undo what has already been done?
PRAVEEN KUMAR, THANE

In your cover story, you say the riots of 2002 marked the coming of age of anti-communal activism. You can hardly characterise it as anti-communal. Yes, you can say its come of age: thats because people have learned to make money off it. Its a business built on the basis of phony affidavits and fake stories. Such activism has actually helped keep the polarisation active even though Gujarat has been prospering without any incidents for the last 10 years. You wont see these combatants fighting for the victims of the 1984 riots as there is no glory or financial gain in doing that.
MAHA, NEW JERSEY

It looks like a section of the hyper-secular media wants to keep the Gujarat issue alive for another ten years.
PRAMOD SRIVASTAVA, NEW DELHI

Indians are so religiously and communally prejudiced that a Gujarat kind of riot can erupt anywhere, anytime at the slightest provocation.
K. CHIDANAND KUMAR, BANGALORE

Modi is a monster because he allegedly presided over the killing of 1,200-odd people. Rajiv Gandhi is a saint despite the mass murder of Sikhs in Delhi and his infamous dismissive remark about the earth shaking when a tree falls. And yes, Modi has not apologised in 10 years. But it took Congress 25 years to mumble an apology of an apology for the 1984 riots.
CHARAN RAWAT, MUMBAI

Wont you ever get tired of this eternal Modi-bashing? This issue, sadly, is more like celebrating 10 years of Modi hatred than looking at things with an unbiased view.
KIRAN VOLETI, CHENNAI

Whatever the secular lobby may hope and pray for, Narendrabhai will remain the hope for a large population of educated middle-class Hindus.
RAJIV CHOPRA, JAMMU

A beast asleep? Certainly, and all the more necessary that the perpetrators are not allowed to get away. Outlook deserves special praise for playing a part in keeping the pressure on for all these years and not letting 2002 be forgotten.

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SANTOSH JOHN SAMUEL, KOCHI

A Beast Asleep? | Saba Naqvi

Can Gujarat 2002 happen again? Not if BJP is the ruling party. If the Congress is ruling, then we will be back to the riot regime because it thrives on dividing the society on religious and caste lines.
SRINIVAS, LUCKNOW

I feel quite depressingly certain that we shall be seeing even more ferocious bloodbaths in the days to come.
ATUL CHANDRA, MUMBAI

It was rather intriguing that Doordarshan chose the third week of February 2012election timeto telecast Nandita Dass Firaaq (which deals with the 2002 Gujarat riots) on its national network. Would it now show Parzania? Or wait, why dont they telecast Amu, which is on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984? And with proper advance publicity to boot! Or even better, maybe rescue Kissa Kursi Ka from oblivion!
HARSH RAI PURI, BHOPAL

Only the film industry has done justice to sensitive subjects like riots. No wonder Modi was afraid to have Parzania screened.
S.S. ALMAL, CALCUTTA

Gujarat 2002 might be replicated unless medical science can fully eradicate insanity from India like it did smallpox, unless politicians refrain from caste-based strategies, and religious places stop delivering provocative sermons.
RAJNEESH BATRA, NEW DELHI

If indeed we have reached a place where the political costs of riots are too high to figure as a benefit in the cost/benefit analyses of political parties, maybe one part of the problem would be solved. Still, electoral politics are about the short term. Over the long term, perhaps Modis winning a possible lifetime CMship of Gujarat is enough of a pro to offset losing a shot at a national role.
ARUN MAHESHWARI, BANGALORE

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MAR 19, 2012

Burning Faith Ten years have passed since Gujarat was set on fire, When on grounds of religion, mank ind conspired Bilqis Banos daughter was snatched from her That moment is clear in her head, it did not blur In that minute she saw her child die That one minute can never really pass by Qutubuddin Ansaris face was all over the world They saw his folded hands and moist eyes His scream could be heard Those fateful hours and days Humanity was on a pyre To save a brother, a daughter There wasnt much they could do Apart from pray for a miracle Hoping its just an awful dream, an unreal ordeal Only to see the faith go in vain To live with scars and a mind torn with pain Where is justice, after all these years? Why do people still live with fears? Gujarat lived the most dreaded nightmare, Yet, everything is so unfair After seeing and reading all those stories We only lose faith in this country From a layman, its an appeal to the powers that be, To put justice on priority Though a mother who lost her child will always cry silently Families that lost their love will never laugh carelessly Only a ray of justice can illumine their lives And help them regain their faith in humanity.
KANIKA KHURANA, NEW DELHI PERMALINK

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MAR 26, 2012

Give Him His Due Your cover story on the Gujarat riots (A Beast Asleep?, Mar 5) failed to note that the state has been virtually trouble-free since the 2002 riots. And Narendra Modi must be credited for that.
SANDIP K. PITTY, CALCUTTA

www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?280032

The Gujarat riots were an organised effort by the higher administration to kill Muslims and destroy their property. Unfortunately, even the sit set up by the Supreme Court was found wanting in its work, almost as if it wanted to somehow put Modi in

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4/13/13

A Beast Asleep? | Saba Naqvi


wanting in its work, almost as if it wanted to somehow put Modi in the clear.
C.A. CHALY, KOCHI

If perpetrators of riots are punished severely, riots will never happen. But when the likes of Sajjan Kumar (of 1984 Delhi fame) and Narendra Modi go scot-free, riots will definitely recur.
PROF H.S. DIMPLE, JAGRAON

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