The much publicised Hyderabad rally addressed by Modi on July 3 after the national executive meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was aimed at launching election campaign for 2024. Having declared that BJP will rule the country for the next 30-40 years he was actually terrorising the opposition parties. The sharpest attack, however, was reserved for the Congress. Why not 100 years? The time looks too short to be described as the golden period of saffron raj or BJP era as they would like to call it. They specifically targeted Bengal and Telangana where regional outfits dominate, through their political resolution. They hope to spread their footprint in states which are still unconquered by BJP, particularly in the south. The main purpose of convening the all important national executive meeting in Hyderabad was to mobilise public opinion for BJP in southern states. They came down heavily on dynastic parties and were in a mood to celebrate victory in advance as they called their mass meeting ‘Vijay Sankalpa Sabha’. Only a few days back they managed to capture the Maharashtra Assembly by way of horse trading, rather donkey trading engineering a split in Shiv Sena. The dissidents in Shiv Sena were not happy with soft Hindutva of Congress and NCP; they need BJP’s hard Hindutva to keep the communal pot boiling in India. With 4 of the 8 north-eastern states under their control and the remaining 4 ruled by their allies they may make it easy in 2024. So they think. Union Home Minister Amit Shah went a step further and assured the people of North East that all their problems would be solved by 2024. Nobody believes it.

For one thing their Hindutva faces tough competition from Christian orthodoxy in North East. It is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that has been doing the ground work for BJP by imitating the social work of Christian Missionaries through their frontal organisations Viswa Hindu Parishad and Seva Bharati, both affiliated to RSS, among tribals, by providing free education and health service. The opposition parties are nowhere in picture. And the communist left that was once a dominant political force among tribals in Tripura and Assam has very little presence in these areas these days.

They are trying to convince the voters in non-BJP states that the double-engine government a la Gujarat is the best guarantee for development. But their double-engine idea didn’t work in Bengal. Nor did it succeed in Odisha. Whether it will sell in Telangana is anybody’s guess. What is needed is revision of centre-state relations, not double engine government. The Sarkaria Commission report is gathering dust, albeit regional parties that are so vocal about the Centre’s step-motherly treatment for not granting adequate doles and grants hardly raise the question of reorienting Centre-State relations against the backdrop of systematic centralisation of powers by the Centre.

The saffron brigade is now doubly encouraged to erase their anti-Muslim image after the Supreme Court’s verdict on Gujarat riots. Terming the judgement as historic they grilled the opposition parties, journalists and NGOs who as per their allegation, conspired to blame Modi for the 2002 pogrom.

Court verdict or no verdict, the Gujarat carnage cannot be wiped out from the memory of hundreds of thousands of affected people so easily. The saffron camp is rewriting history in every sphere of social and cultural life. Now they are all set to rewrite the history of Gujarat riot for the international audience, thanks to apex court’s judgement.

Legal experts are divided over the controversial judgement. A senior lawyer of Supreme Court said the “judgement is completely illegal, unconstitutional and violates every tenet of law and fundamental rights”. In truth Teesta Setalvad, former DGP R B Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt were not parties in the petition filed by Zakia Zafri, widow of Ahsan Jafri who was brutally murdered in the riot. The accused may not get relief easily because the observations have come from the top court.

Incidentally it was the Atal Behari Vajpayee government that reportedly persuaded the retired Chief Justice of India to become the chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and asked him to find out what was happening in Gujarat. NHRC in due course filed several petitions in the Supreme Court against the atrocities on Muslims and high-handedness of local police and other authorities in handling the cases. Strangely, the NHRC reports were ignored. Many of them are said to be missing in their official website. The people who are espousing the cause for justice and those who are fighting for human rights are now being castigated. Dozens of prominent human rights defenders are languishing in jails just for demanding justice for the prosecuted.

For the BJP Gujarat pogrom is now a closed chapter. Their one-point agenda is how to demolish all opposition while continually shouting for democracy. Their democracy is not for the poor, not for the socially and economically disadvantaged. Ironically, they touted introduction of CAA as one of the major democratic achievements of Modi government. But how CAA has rendered thousands of Muslims homeless and stateless in Assam has become an international outcry.



Back to Home Page

Vol 55, No. 3, Jul 17 - 23, 2022