10 years after Godhra: Let us not forget the other riots

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 27, 2012 11:12 hrs

India was born of bloodshed. Rioting between Hindus and Muslims after Independence in 1947 cumulatively led to the loss of millions of lives on both sides of the border. That’s huge. But India and Pakistan had no choice but to move on.

While the wounds might have started getting healed by 2012, India’s biggest and dirtiest open secret is that many politicians across all parties love a good riot as it polarizes its voters on both sides.

Politicians who either oppose or appease minorities usually indulge in this game.

While the BJP has the blot of Godhra, the Congress has so many blots that one has lost count. The same applies to many other parties.

The Constitution of India is Secular.

The political system in India is Communal.

Why do we classify murder?

A Hindu killing a Hindu is murder. A Hindu killing a Muslim is murder. A Muslim killing a Hindu is murder. A Muslim killing a Muslim is murder.
Then why do we make different classifications?

The point I’m making is that if a mob goes wild in any Indian locality, then the police is well-equipped to handle the disturbance. In fact that most of India is by and largely peaceful throughout the year thanks to them.

But the moment you give a “communal” or “political” taint or twist to any incident then the police backs off and dilly-dallies waiting for orders from their political masters.

Why? Violence of any kind should be dealt with firmly and immediately without any kind of classification.

Why Modi won’t be nailed

That is one of the reasons BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi has not been nailed yet. For one, Hindus lost their lives in the Gujarat riots. That was a tragedy. Muslims lost their lives in the Gujarat riots. That was a tragedy.

But Modi critics merely brushed the Hindu deaths aside. In fact some even said as some kind of sick joke that they were asking for it. This kind of painting communal deaths as black and white will not help anyone’s cause.

If a politician is actually convicted in a communal riots case, then it would go a long way in bringing such incidences down. But a trial by media and a witch-hunt without any concrete evidence will not at all wash in courts.

Let us not forget…

It has been 10 years since the tragic Godhra riots, an event that received massive media coverage since it was the first after private TV news channels became popular in India.

But let us not forget the riots of the past and sincerely hope that India’s worst chapter of communal history is behind us.

In April, it would be 27 years since the Ahmedabad riots where more than 300 were killed. That was followed by two more major riots in just 5 years.

In August, it would have been 32 years since the Moradabad riots, where more than 1500 were killed.

August would also be 45 years since the Ranchi riots happened, where close to 200 were killed.

In September, it would have been 43 years since the Ahmedabad riots, where more than 500 people died.

In October, it would have been 28 years since the anti-Sikh riots where more than 2700 were killed and an estimated 50,000 displaced.

October will also see 23 years since more than 1000 were killed in the Bhagalpur riots.

In December it would be 20 years since the 1992-93 Bombay riots, where close to a thousand were killed.

And on February 18, most of us missed the fact that it was 29 years since thousands were killed in Nellie, Assam.

That’s also not to forget the hundreds of riots where a lesser number of people were killed, but the pain was just the same.

And riots cut across all parties and leaders: Let us not forget that too.

The Congress cannot take the moral high ground on communalism since they are not very different from the BJP.

The BJP cannot take the moral high ground on corruption since they too are not very different from the Congress.

Therein lies the conundrum for the common voter.

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