1984: justice at last?

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by parijataka, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    Why is media not taking Congress party to task for its most heinous crimes against Sikhs in 1984 ? Despite eyewitness accounts against several leading Congress men such as HKL Bhagat, Sajjan Kumar, Kamalnath, Maken, Tytler, etc courts are still dragging their feet after almost 3 decades. Why are leaders of Sikh community in India not taking forward this issue ? Is apology from Congress Party enough, why should persons who took part in murderous attacks not be taken to task just because they belong to all-powerful Congress Party ? Shame on our media and shame on our so-called intellectuals.

    This kind of attitude where powerful people are literally getting away with murder speaks very poorly of Indian people - a Salman Khan gets 80+ adjournments in running and killing over people on the pavement or Sanjay Dutt can get 5 years in jail and 20 years of freedom while his poor driver gets 10 years for ferrying arms at the behest of Dutt.

    Our media and so-called intellectuals are truly cowards and hypocrites. An Arundhati Suzanne Roy will speak for Kashmiri Muslims but not the Hindus who were terrorised and driven out from Kashmir out by the Muslims. Retired CJI Katju has the gall to ask for leniency for Sanjay Dutt who IMO deserves the strictest punishment having known about the impending bomb blasts in Mumbai and kept unauthorised arms - more than his driver or the poor old lady (Zaibunnisa I think) in whose home the arms were stored. Shame on grovelling and paid media like NDTV, CNN IBN etc who dare not talk against the crimes of Congress Party but keep on flaying others day in and day out. Justice and sympathy only for the rich and powerful in India it seems - truly a banana republic.

    1984: justice at last?

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013 could be the most important day in the lives of the relatives of the victims of the worst genocide in independent Indian history: the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom. District Judge J. R. Aryan will pronounce his long-awaited verdict on Sajjan Kumar and five others accused of inciting a mob against Sikhs in the Delhi cantonment area.

    The trial court had framed charges under several provisions of the IPC, including Section 302 (murder) which carries a minimum punishment of life imprisonment.

    Several other politicians accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom could go on trial as the 2014 Lok Sabha poll approaches – with cruel irony exactly 30 years after the horrific genocide. Bigger leaders than Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar will probably also be named once witnesses depose in cases still pending in various courts.

    As television journalist Sunetra Choudhury wrote recently: “Jagdish Tytler was number six in the very first report of citizens’ groups like PUCL and PUDR called Who Are The Gulity? soon after the riots in November 1984. The report named 198 Congress activists and 15 Congress leaders, but even at that time the report says, ‘H K L Bhagat, Lalit Maken and Jagdish Tytler have been given tickets – and thus clean chits by the PM.’ ”

    In an election year, comparisions with the post-Godhra 2002 Gujarat communal riot are inevitable. There are three principal differences between 1984 and 2002.

    One, in 1984, typical of a pogrom, all the 3,000-plus victims in Delhi and elsewhere were Sikh. In 2002, of the over 1,000 victims, around 250 were Hindus, 200 were policemen (killed in the crossfire) and over 550 were Muslims. This distinction between a pogrom and a communal riot must be made even though both obviously are reprehensible.

    Two, in 1984, the top leadership – from Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Home Minister Narasimha Rao – escaped censure during their lifetime. In 2002, Narendra Modi has not – rightly – escaped responsibility. He remains answerable.

    Three, in 1984, cases against mid-level leaders like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar have been consistently derailed by the government-controlled CBI. A miniscule few, after 29 years, have only now come to some degree of closure due to the persistence of the victims’ relatives – most of whom have over the decades been threatened or bribed into silence. In 2002, in sharp contrast, an entire cottage industry of activist-NGOs has succeeded in bringing a semblance of justice to some of the victims in Gujarat and convicting some of the guilty.

    Though he hasn’t been personally charged with wrongdoing, what about Narendra Modi’s moral responsibility? Should he apologise? Must he show contrition?

    There is little doubt that Modi should accept moral responsibility for the communal carnage on his watch – and in some of his speeches over the past year he has done so though less equivocation would serve him better.

    The fact that he was Chief Minister for just 3½ months and that Madhya Pradesh (whose Chief Minister then was Digvijay Singh), Rajasthan and (to an extent) Maharashtra denied him paramilitary forces to help quell the riots, despite official requests, is not relevant. The outcome – a horrific communal carnage – is what history will record and judge the administration by.

    And the apology? I believe one should be forthcoming as I wrote here on December 20, 2012:

    It took Modi three days to end the 2002 carnage in which over 1,000 people died, nearly three-quarters of them Muslims. He must express regret at what happened on his watch. That does not mean accepting the charge of complicity. But expressing regret is necessary – not because it may or may not double the percentage of Muslims who voted for him in the 2012 assembly election (22%) but because it is the honourable thing to do.

    Modi rightly says he works for six crore Gujaratis – not Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs or Parsis. It is the Congress that seeks to divide communities by segregating them into silos for special treatment. That is not secularism but communalism masquerading as secularism.

    The fact that Rahul Gandhi has not expressed regret for 1984 should not be a factor. Sonia has apologised though, again, less equivocation would have served her family and party better. Finally, contrition. I believe it is both necessary and overdue. It should not however take the form of token Muslim “inclusion”. There are dozens of Muslims in local BJP councils in Gujarat though none regrettably in the assembly.

    Identity politics, however, must end. An Indian’s religious, regional and ethnic identitics are personal. Nationhood has primacy. That is not tantamount to jingoism. It is simply a necessary unifying force in a diverse and plural nation.

    It is also why, following Justice Aryan's verdict on April 30, the battle to deliver justice to the victims of 1984 will only have just begun.

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