Pseudo-Secularism

Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merchants of falsehood and hatred


By Shyam Khosla




The Congress can neither garner votes nor occupy the high moral ground
by reviving the specter of Godhra and the fierce communal riots that
claimed lives of several hundred citizens. Despite canards and
distortions spread by the “secular brigade” about the role of the
Administration during the riots, it is now fairly well known that Modi
called in army within hours of the riots breaking out and that the
police and security forces mercilessly used force against rioters
irrespective of their religious or political affiliations.


Unfamiliar with dignified political debate and used
to hurling abuses at her political rivals, Sonia Gandhi has done it
again. She has reduced the current debate over law and order situation
in the poll-bound Gujarat into a street brawl. Addressing election
rallies, she said no body was safe in the state barring criminals who
had the protection from the Government and went on to castigate those
running the Gujarat Government as “liars, betrayers and merchants of
fear and death”. The Election Commission took cognizance of these
utterances, albeit belatedly and that too after the BJP raised a hue
and cry over these derogatory and wild allegations, and issued notice
to the Congress president for perceived violation of the model code
that inter alia says, “No party or candidate shall indulge in any
activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual
hatred or cause tensions between different castes and
communities—religious or linguistic”. She must take the blame for not
only shifting the focus from the debate over issues of development and
governance to the silly and stale debate over secular-communal divide.
Obviously uncomfortable with the popular support to Modi on his record
of economic growth, the Congress that is never tired of blaming the BJP
for raising communal issues has by design or otherwise shifted the
focus away from development issues.


Not unexpectedly, Modi responded to Sonia Gandhi’s allegations
with vigour and sarcasm. Making fun of the “merchants of death” charge,
the Chief Minister launched a counter-attack by asserting that
merchants of death were ruling in Delhi—an illusion to the 1984
carnage. He went on to seek people’s support for his fight to eliminate
terror and terrorists and sharply criticised former MP Chief Minister
Digvijay Singh’s reference to “Hindu terrorists” insisting that Singh
had insulted the Hindus. His reference to Sohrabuddin—the notorious
terrorists killed in a fake encounter by Gujarat police—as a criminal
wanted by police in several states for his terror-related activities
was taken out of context and distorted by the interested parties to
launch a hate campaign against the Chief Minister. Complaints based on
“factually incorrect and false” media reports were lodged with the
Election Commission and the Supreme Court. Congressmen thought they had
zeroed in on the issue on which Modi could be vanquished and raised
“Hang Modi” slogans only to realise they had unwittingly picked up an
issue that would turn the people against them. Modi remained unphased
and asked the EC to withdraw its notice insisting that it was based on
“wrong and unverified media reports.


EC’s official CD of Modi’s controversial speech at an election
rally on December 4 appears to vindicate his stand that he never
justified extra-judicial killings and that he didn’t say anything to
the effect that Sohrabuddin got what he deserved, as reported by a
section of the media. Comments in the media that the Chief Minister had
made a confessional statement or that he justified fake encounters
remain unverified. Sections of media are in the habit of demonising
Modi and attributing statements to him that he never made. It is most
unfortunate that a section of “secular” media has once again resorted
to falsehood and distortions to generate a hate wave against Modi.
Congress flip flap on Sonia’s “merchant of death” statement has further
eroded its credibility. While Kapil Sibal tried to deny that she was
referring to Modi, the party’s official spokesman sought to justify her
attack on the Chief Minister saying it was an appropriate and “mild”
description of Modi. However, the party took another U-turn when in her
response to the EC notice, Sonia Gandhi is believed to have maintained
that her reference to merchants of death was not about the Chief
Minister but the entire administrative machinery and argued that the
use of the plural—merchants—made it clear. It is for the EC to take a
view on these complaints. One expects the Commission to be even handed.
No constitutional authority is expected to resort to double standards.
In a democratic society, every party has the right to politically
respond to unsubstantiated and patently false allegations against it by
persons holding responsible positions.


The Congress can neither garner votes nor occupy the high
moral ground by reviving the specter of Godhra and the fierce communal
riots that claimed lives of several hundred citizens. Despite canards
and distortions spread by the “secular brigade” about the role of the
Administration during the riots, it is now fairly well known that Modi
called in army within hours of the riots breaking out and that the
police and security forces mercilessly used force against rioters
irrespective of their religious or political affiliations. Official
records show that 98 persons, most of them Hindus, were killed in
police firing in different parts of the state during the first three
days of rioting. This is in sharp contrast to Rajiv Gandhi’s track
record during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in which 3000 Sikhs were
butchered and burnt alive in three days in the wake of Mrs. Indira
Gandhi’s assassination while the police looked the other way at the
instance of Congress leaders. Post-Godhra riots were not a pogram as
painted by “secularists”. There is credible evidence to prove that
people belonging to both the communities suffered in the riots. None
else than UPA Government informed Parliament in 2005 that 790 Muslims
and 254 Hindus lost their lives in Gujarat riots. On the other hand,
1984 was a massacre supported by the Government and the police in which
not a single non-Sikh lost his life.


The Prime Minister thought his clever statement that only God
can save those who are opposed to the rulers in Gujarat was a bouncer
that would end Modi’s innings. Chief Minister’s “Is it not better to be
at the mercy of God than be at the mercy of Sonia Gandhi?” is a huge
sixer. Prime Minister may be a great economist but he is still a novice
in the art of political debate.

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