Friday, March 19, 2010

SIT questioning Modi on riots

One of the good things about SIT questioning Modi on the Gujarat riots is that guys like Siddharth Varadarajan will drop their regular catch phrases (eg: genocide of muslims, etc) and get into the details.

Basically, SIT does not think Modi commissioned the crime. You would think that such a leader could not directly commission a crime. Not if you look at the history of Congress leaders. Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, etc directly lead rampaging mobs during Sikh massacres and were duly rewarded by Congress.

SIT wants to explore angles of ommission by Modi and his government. This line of questioning is fundamentally flawed but is also the one which gives enough latitude to arrive at predetermined conclusions.

- First and foremost, it acknowledges that SIT does not have a strong case against Modi. This is what we have suspected all along anyway.

- Given that we are talking about crisis management over a large administrative area, it is hard to conclude with some degree of confidence whether an incident was an administrative failure (arising out of any of endemic inefficiencies within our system, poor capabilities to handle such
situations, overstretched resources, etc), or an act of ommission by responsible authorities. There must be hard, compelling evidence to prove that there was a deliberate act of ommission by the authorities under direct instructions from Modi to put the blame on Modi.

- Has our record of handling of riot situations been far superior than that witnessed in Gujarat to suggest that what we witnessed was an aberration?

- Worldwide Crisis management record including developed countries is not very comforting. New Orleans saw an administrative collapse. Chinese government had trouble controlling (or orchetrating?) the anti-Japanese riots in 2005. The muslim riots in France in 2005 led to a three month "state of emergency". Are we assuming that India has the best record in the world in the matter of riot control along?

Reasonable actionswere taken for the VHP bandh call. The paramilitary was deployed on the next day of Godhra and the army was put on alert. The day after, 13 columns of army was
. Parading dead body to burial ground is a hindu ritual, isnt it. In hindsight, it could have been done differently. But the parade effect couldn't have been felt across Gujarat as the parade was not across Gujarat. Does the SIT have evidence to prove that the bodies were paraded beyond the usual norms?

I am only trying to illustrate that the SIT must provide compelling evidence to prove there was a motivated campaign by the administrators to target muslims. Otherwise, there are several questions that SIT could raise but they dont necessarily mean anything other than proving the benefit of hindsight. I am sure that just like Baneerjee, who was given a mandate to produce a theory on spontaneous combustion, the SIT will find "evidence" that will please the seculars. And we will have to brace ourselves for more breast beating by Siddharth Varadarajan.

The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : The buck must stop at the very top
The petition asks whether senior police officials told the Chief Minister or higher officers in writing about the likely repercussions of parading the bodies. Why was no preventive action taken when a bandh call had already been given by VHP? Why was the Army not called out immediately and why was there a delay in its deployment when it finally reached Ahmedabad? By themselves, none of these questions implies the commission of a crime.


Sudhir said...

Frankly, I really didn't get the head and tail of Sidd's article. Is he toning down his criticism of Modi? Is he trying to use this incident now to stress on the need to change a "system that can allow massacre of so many of its citizens"? And if the buck has to stop at the top, is he ready to use that same benchmark always?

- Sudhir

Xinhua Ram said...

The Chinese example is pertinent. And what about the disappearance of Uighurs and Tibetans that LiC carefully censors?