Monday, May 11, 2009

A secular liability: Saurav Basu

Siddharth Varadarajan at Hindu: a secular liability
This is apropos of Siddharth Varadarajan Where silence prevails, justice will not [The Hindu ] The newspaper has long been known to be an impotent lapdog of degenerate commie propaganda. In a recent article, its editor N Ram was glorifying the annihilation of Tibetan culture, society and civilization by the Chinese on the pretext of saving them from serfdom while on a Chinese govt. sponsored trip to Tibet. The moral vacuity of a news editor who tomtoms obvious Chinese propaganda machinery as the paragon of objectivity reminds us of a similar starry eyed communist in USSR who glossed over Stalin"s Gulags even as he "eloquently" fought the fascists.

Mr Vadarajan uses the classic goebbesque subterfuge of repeating lies, and at best half truths and presenting them as accepted facts. The crux of his article is summarized below;

1. Modi or no Hindu leader has apologized for the Godhra riots
2. Sri Sri Ravishankar directed attention on Kashmiri Pandits but never on Godhra and Kandhamal victims
3. Muslim leaders issued fatwas against terrorism but Hindu leaders did not

There are other palpable lies which are employed by the classic subterfuge of putting words into the mouth of non existent witnesses. No man in the right mind would attribute post-godhra riots in the name of Kashmiri pundits when the immediate provocation was the burning of kar sevaks by 2000 Ghanchi muslims.

i. Nevertheless, Mr Vararajan sinful sophistry is explicit when he complains against Modi"s "unwillingness" to apologize for so called Gujarat massacre. Any apology is an open admission of guilt and subscription to the nefarious theories of "state sponsored genocide" when over 1/3rd of the victims in the riots were Hindus. No proof of Modi"s involvement in the riots has ever surfaced. Instead, secular mythmakers from "The Hindu" justified the train burning by suggesting a provocation of molestation of a non existent Muslim girl, Arundhati Roy"s invention of spicy rape stories of Ehsaan Jaffri"s daughters which she later retracted when it was revealed they were not even in Gujarat during the riot, all without battling an eye lid, Teesta Setelvad nailed in the SIT report for having invented victims who were dead months before the riot out of natural causes or cooked and spicy stories of a ripped off foetus were found to be fake. Indeed, communal riots are not new to India but these journalists created an atmosphere of permanent hate and paranoia of Muslim victimhood which was liberally exploited by Muslim terrorist groups. Now who has blood in his hands?

ii. The second accusation against Sri Sri Ravishankar also smacks of malice. Since 1989, more than 5 lakh Kashmiri pundits have been rendered refugees in their own lands. They have also lost over 5000 of their brethren. Yet, in that 20 yr period their case was conveniently shelved and their minority status in the valley was brushed aside even as Muslims in the valley were consistently appeased and imaginary cases of human right violations by the army concocted by the same "secular" mythographers. In fact, there has been no dearth of books which have demonized Kashmiri pundits and ignored their paramount cultural contribution to the state and their rightful place as the indigenous people of the valley. In contrast, there is a thriving cottage industry operating on fraudulent Godhra and Kandhamal studies in both national and international universities. Hence, the attempt to draw parallels between post Godhra, Kandhamal and Kashmiri Pandits by Varadarajan is criminal subversion of the pandit"s right to self determination who have become victims of a jihadi conspiracy. In case of Godhra and Kandhamal, there was a preceding communal conflict and grave provocation by agents acting on behalf of the minority community. The riots that ensued had victims from both sides. There were Hindu relief camps operating in Godhra and Kandhamal within days of the riots which was a mathematical impossibility in case of Kashmiri Muslims who had armed mercenaries on their side. Finally, the so called internal displacement in post-Godhra Gujarat and Kandhamal was restored to normal order within months. Can we say the same for the Hindu Kashmiri pundits who have no hope of returning to the valley? While the Orissa govt. made elaborate arrangements for voting by the Kandhamal refuges, Kashmiri pundits were brutally lathicharged at Anantnag for desiring to exercise their franchise.

iii. Islam is a centralized religion. Therefore, the entire social outlook of its followers is controlled by a reactionary ulema. But when Mr Varadrajan praises the same forces of obfuscation and bigotry for issuing so called "fatwas against terror", he is making a complete fool of himself. I ask Mr Varadrajan to point towards a specific unconditional apology issued by the ulema till date. Have they apologized for the destruction of over 300 temples in Kashmir between 1986-1989? Have they apologized for the intentional displacement of Kashmiri pundits and the abuse of their women in the heyday of the Kashmir crisis? Have they or even any secularist condemned the burning of innocent Hindus in the Godhra train carnage. Instead, fatwas which instantly degenerated into America and police bashing were the order of the day. "No Muslim can be a terrorist" and "all Muslims are innocent" was the base ingredient of the anti-terror fatwa. Conspiracy theories of the Urdu press which have recently been exposed in a new book point towards a systematic attempt at undermining the Indian state. Therefore, Ulema Council Chairman, Maulana Amir Rashadi in a typical conspiracy theory alleged that, "The UPA governments have been acting under pressure from Mossad, which has been acting in coordination with the Sangh Parivar and targeting the Muslim community. All the terror attacks in the country have been carried out by them. Karkare exposed them and brought out this naked truth. So they killed him." When Mr Antulay openly peddled these conspiracy theories in the national parliament he was only dancing to the tunes of his Muslim votebank. Similarly, Christian missionaries openly encourage confrontation by claiming it is their god-given duty to convert the Hindu infidels.

Finally, Mr Varadarajan also does not know the difference the organizational difference between Hinduism and Islam. The latter encroaches the public sphere and every Muslim is expected to don the ranks of a Ghazi to defend his religion. He is expected to mould himself through authoritative traditions of Hadith as close as possible into the man whose human rights record was controversial at best. Since Hinduism is more a way of life than belief, hence it provides automatic agency to the individual to make decisions which do justice to his conscience. The role of priestly intermediaries is exclusively restricted to the private sphere of ritual.


kuttychathan said...

Sidd Varadarajan is desperate. Even though he was in the race for our 'jackass of the week', last week, he did not made it. Now, he is making sure that he will win the prize, this week

Karmasura said...

@ kutty chathan..


Is the idea of 'jackass of the week' borrowed from the kind of awards these people give?


Anonymous said...

Sidd is a sudosacular scum

Anonymous said...

Media ethics and the SIT report on Gujarat

Reporters should be careful about claiming to have “access” to explosive confidential documents when all they might have are a few paragraphs selectively planted on them by vested interests. SIDDHARTH VARADARAJAN wonders why three weeks down the line the TOI reporter has not done more exclusives if indeed he had access to the report. Pix: Teesta Setalvad.

Posted Tuesday, May 12 18:45:27, 2009

In the face of the Gujarat government’s persistent refusal to investigate and prosecute the most heinous crimes committed during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state, the Supreme Court last year set up a Special Investigating Team to inquire into 14 specific incidents of mass violence. The decision followed a petition by the National Human Rights Commission, which had wanted the Central Bureau of Investigation to be given charge since the Gujarat police was clearly unable and unwilling to conduct an honest probe. Later, the Citizens for Justice Peace, an NGO led by Teesta Setalvad, also joined the case.

The SIT, headed by the respected former CBI director, R.K. Raghavan, but staffed by police officers drawn from the state force, submitted its report to the SC on March 2, 2009. The court treated the report as confidential since it was akin to a chargesheet. However, a copy was provided to the “accused”, i.e. the Gujarat government, as well as to Harish Salve, amicus curiae in the case. Gujarat was asked to submit its reply to the SIT’s findings on April 13. Meanwhile, based on its own investigations, the SIT began proceeding against functionaries of the Gujarat government and sangh parivar for their involvement in the riots such as Mayaben Kodnani, Jaideep Patel and senior police officers.

On April 13, Gujarat counsel Mukul Rohtagi provided the state government’s response to the SIT report before the court. Neither the SIT nor Mr. Raghavan made fresh submissions that day. As expected, the Gujarat government highlighted those aspects of the SIT’s findings which, it felt, showed the authorities in a relatively good light. Since the BJP state government had argued from day one that its handling of the violence was exemplary and that allegations of official complicity were the product of NGO bias, its counsel sought to portray the SIT report as an indictment not of the administration but of Ms. Setalvad and other activists. There was nothing unusual about this strategy. Petitioners and respondents often interpret or distort official documents to bolster their own case. But what was unusual was the manner in which a major newspaper, The Times of India, chose to report the day’s proceedings.

On April 14, its court reporter, Dhananjay Mohapatra, ran a sensational story quoting the SIT and Raghavan as accusing Ms. Setalvad and her NGO of “spicing up” the Gujarat riot incidents. The TOI also reported the SIT as saying she had “cooked up macabre tales of wanton killings”.

Mohapatra writes: “In a significant development, the SIT led by former CBI director R K Raghavan told the Supreme Court on Monday that the celebrated rights activist cooked up macabre tales of wanton killings. Many incidents of killings and violence were cooked up… and false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents, the SIT said in a report submitted before [the court] ... Rohtagi also said that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by the SIT which found that they had been tutored and handed over the affidavits by Setalvad and that they had not actually witnessed the riot incidents”. The TOI also said the SIT had found “no truth” in certain incidents “widely publicized by the NGOs” such as the gouging out of the foetus of a pregnant Muslim woman, Kausar Bano, and the dumping of bodies into a well by rioters at Naroda Patiya.

Let us be clear about what this report tells us. First, a series of claims is made about the purported contents of the SIT report. In this narrative, the SIT, far from indicting the rioters and their instigators as the Supreme Court had mandated them to do, is arguing that many incidents never happened and that the witnesses providing evidence are all unreliable. Second, a distinct but false impression is created that the source of these astonishing claims is the SIT head, Raghavan, who, the reporter asserts, “told the Supreme Court on Monday” all of the things that he then goes on to state as fact.

The reality is that neither the SIT nor Mr. Raghavan made any submission on April 13. That the Gujarat counsel is likely the source for the purported contents of the SIT report is made clear by the fact that the only attributed quotations in the story belong to Mr. Rohtagi. But since the respondent could hardly be considered an objective, the reporter chose to slur over this fact.

As expected, within hours of the story appearing, the blogosphere was agog with comments about the duplicity of NGOs and about how the Gujarat government had been unfairly maligned all these years. Even a liberal columnist like Pratap Bhanu Mehta jumped the gun with an instant op-ed attacking not just Ms. Setalvad but all “secular interlocutors”. In a flash, a report that actually formed the basis for the indictment of a sitting minister in the Modi government got converted into an indictment of “secularists” and NGOs in general!

Though Mr. Rohtagi cannot be faulted for spinning the story on behalf of his clients, the episode underlines the need for reporters and editors to be careful about the use of selective leaks from a motivated source. When Ms. Setalvad noted that the SIT had made no fresh submission on April 13 and that the paper had gone by what the Gujarat government argued in court, the TOI editors were gracious enough to publish her rebuttal. However, the waters were further muddied by the reporter’s counter-claim that his original story was based on the findings of the SIT and that even though the report was confidential, “the TOI has access to the report”.

In order to prove this “access”, the reporter quoted sentences from four pages. The essence of these quotes were (1) that some witnesses had brought written statements which turned out to be at variance with what they subsequently deposed before the investigating officer, and (2) that a particular police officer had not been derelict in his duty during the riots as the activists had alleged. But the evidence offered only amounted to a watered down version of two of the less significant claims he had originally made. And he offered no quotations from the SIT report to buttress his more sensational allegations.

I have no way of knowing whether Mohapatra’s claims in these two instances are accurate or not. But what is strange is that a reporter who has access to a document that is brimming with information about the Gujarat riots and its executioners found nothing newsworthy other than the purported allegations about Ms. Setalvad. Even assuming those allegations are an accurate summary of what the SIT has written – and there are reasons to doubt this is the case – it speaks volumes for the reporter’s news sense that this is all he bothered to report. It is as if a defence correspondent “has access” to the still classified Henderson-Brooke report on the 1962 war and does an exclusive story not on its contents and main findings about who was responsible for India’s defeat but on the role of a minor ‘villain’.

Even if the reporter made a judgment call and chose to highlight the Setalvad matter on day one, surely, he would have come across other material worth reporting on subsequent days? It is rumoured, for example, that the SIT report takes a contrary view to the Banerjee committee’s finding on the Godhra incident of February 27, 2002 that the train fire was the result of an accident and not a fire. But despite having “access”, even this crucial angle was not explored. Three weeks on, the fact that the reporter has not provided further details of the contents suggests either that he no longer “has access” to the full report, or, more likely, never had access to the full report in the first place other than the bits and pieces conveniently made available by interested parties.

The authors of this selective leaking thought a planted story would destroy the credibility of the Gujarat government’s critics but the strategy has not worked. The Supreme Court has criticized the motivated, distorted leak of a confidential document and said it will not allow anyone to derail its investigation. The fact that the court has now asked the SIT to probe serious charges against Mr. Modi and more than 60 influential Sangh Parivar leaders and state officials and given the Team a supervisory role in the riot case prosecutions is a timely reminder of the fact that it is the administration of Gujarat that is in the dock and not those who are insisting that justice be done.