(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 12, 2013
SIT Concealed Evidence of
Modi Govtís Complicity in Pogrom
On May 7,
Safdar Hashmi Memorial trust (SAHMAT) and Communalism
Combat together organised a discussion on the protest
petition filed by Mrs
Zakia Jafri. She has been assisted in her legal endeavours
by the Mumbai-based
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP). The interaction with
representatives of the political class and journalists was
held at India
walks of life participated in the discussion and put forward
viewpoints on the issue of communalism in general and in
happened in 2002 in the state of
AGAINST MODI REGIME
Ram Rehman initiated the proceedings by giving a short introduction that was one in a series of public hearings, protests and discussions organised by SAHMAT along with Communalism Combat and CJP since 2002.
the discussion, giving a brief outline of the evidences that
were available but
ignored by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). She then argued that
upon the wider communalisation of the polity and
AMPLE EVIDENCE OF
Zakia Jafriís and her familyís courage of conviction for
waging a legal battle which
is both significant and a rallying point for secular forces
in the country. The
absence of professionalism in the SIT investigation into the
widespread communal violence in
Kamaal Farooqi raised the issue of finding ways to expose the SIT, and also of taking the initiative given by this interaction to involve larger sections of the people. He said it was surprising that Headlines Today did an expose of the SIT investigation the day the protest petition was filed (April 15, 2013) but this story was largely ignored by the media in general. He also wondered whether there was a possibility of filing a public interest litigation (PIL) against SIT chairman R K Raghavan for the unprofessional and biased role he has played in the investigation by concealing evidence and manipulating it.
MODI: PAST MASTER
debate Teesta Setalvad expressed her anguish at the mediaís
to the serious issues of misgovernance and communal
mobilisation, stating that
it appeared to have been party to promoting Modi as the
future PM of the
country, consciously ignoring exposures to his role in
thanked Setalvad and CJP for the support extended to him in
his fight against
CONGRESS: NO PRINCIPLED
POSITION ON SECULARISM
parliament and former union minister, Mani Shankar Aiyer,
began by saying that
very little in our politics is issue based. He talked about
his visit to Porbandar
before the defeat of Congress in
Zakia Jafri spoke with powerful clarity about the horrors she and her family had to go through during the harrowing days from February 28, 2002 onwards. Commenting on recent remarks by Modi that he stood for both Hindus and Muslims, she said in response, ďwho were the mobs that attacked us that day, at Gulberg?Ē That is my only answer to him. She and other families who lived at Gulberg had also been affected in the 1969 communal violence and had to spend four to six months in relief camps. She described in detail the incident which eventually led to Ahsan Jafriís death. In her speech she brought to light the gruesome details of his killing. Listening to her, a cold shudder went up oneís spine. She said that her husband was confident that nothing would happen to him as he had cordial relations with everyone living in that area. (Ahsan Jafri was a renowned trade unionist and lawyer.) But subsequent pre-planned developments showed how wrong he was. Before ending, Mrs Jafri spoke about the manner in which she left her home and went to safety that evening with fellow residents. She said that the commissioner of police never came to meet them when she reached his office at night that day after escaping from the horrors.
Intervening at this point, Teesta Setalvad said that killing of Ahsan Jafri was no mere vendetta against Muslims in general which was orchestrated in 2002 in several districts of Gujarat; his killing had also to do with Modiís personal vendetta against Ahsan Jafri as he had campaigned against him in Rajkot on February 21-22, 2002, when Modi had won the bye-election with a narrow margin of 14,000-odd votes, The minority community, especially women, had responded to Ahsan Jafriís campaign. This point has been raised in the protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri.
A CRUCIAL BATTLE
AT VARIOUS LEVELS
Tanvir Jafri talked about his father. He reminisced about his childhood at his home and his relations with his father. He also thanked everyone present for being with them in their struggle for justice.
Sitaram Yechury congratulated Zakia Jafri and Teesta Setalvad for forcing the court to reopen and sustain this case. He pointed out that that this was merely a personal fight of the Jafris but a crucial battle at various levels; one being the conservation of the countryís secular fabric when the state of Gujarat has failed to provide protection. The failure of deliverance of justice whether it is in Gujarat or anywhere else in the country would spell doom for the republicís secular ethos. He himself recalled what happened on February 28, 2002 in Delhi when the parliament was on. Little news of what had been happening in Gujarat had percolated through as it was the budget day. Media attention was on budget and little on Gujarat. He recounted his experience of his visit to Gujarat on March 1 as part of a four member delegation which comprised Amar Singh, Shabana Azmi and Raj Babbar. (Yechury was then not a member of parliament).
Yechury also narrated his experience of his interaction with Modi when he spoke to him on the phone during his visit. Yechury who had known Modi since his sojourn in Delhi asked him what he and his administration were doing. ďSabak sikha rahe hain (teaching them a lesson),Ē was the chilling reply. He brought out the details of the atmosphere which was prevailing when he visited the state during those days in 2002. When he visited the police commissionerís office on March 1, the situation he saw there was a revelation for him as he had not seen such a situation anywhere in peace time. He said that the gravity of the violence in Gujarat is still not known to the people. But it is due to people like Setalvad and Mrs Jafri that truth came through in bits and pieces and is still coming in the public domain. History taught us lessons through the coincidences of dates, he said reminding us that it was on February 27, 1933 that the Reichstag (German Parliament) was set on fire and it was on the same date that Godhra (2002) had happened. January 30, 1948 was the day Gandhi was killed and January 30 was the date when Hitler assumed power.
The delivery of justice is crucial, said Yechury. There is deeper struggle between the three visions of India, viz secular, secularism with social justice and theocratic state; and the result of this battle would determine what our country would be like. He stressed that one cannot even think of isolating secularism from social justice and equality and that both go hand in hand.
Wrapping up the proceedings, Prabhat Patnaik argued that genuine secularism demanded neutrality from identity by the state; an absence of riots did not mean everyone was secular. Communalism is a long term process that can assume the form of extreme Hindu domination if wings of the state, especially the judiciary, get affected by denominations and narrow identities.