Yes, it’s that time of the year. This year it’s even more special because it’s the 10th Anniversary of Godhra and the Gujarat riots. Throughout Monday, February 27, you can expect newspapers with specials and TV news channels to carry on endless debates on Gujarat and Narendra Modi. Expect to see sepia toned images of violence, deaths, burnt train compartments. Expect to see special documentaries on the plight, anger and anxiety in certain pockets of Gujarat. Expect to see how muslims from adults to school kids to new-born are systematically being discriminated against in Gujarat. Mind you, some of these stories aren’t unique to Gujarat but exist in pockets of many states in India. But once again, you will be reminded that it’s only in Gujarat alone that sufferings are magnified and state-sponsored. For the record, some of the lies about the Gujarat riots spread through the last decade have been exposed enough for the propaganda to change course. This is particularly the number of people killed, fake rape and torture cases and fake affidavits.
Let’s go back to September 12, 2011 when the Supreme Court returned the Zakia Jafri case to the lower court. Here’s how one politician still holding Modi criminally responsible for the riots responded: Sitaram Yechury of CPM stated that it does not absolve Modi of the “communal ri…” and then he paused, thought for a second and said “communal pogrom”. That is one of the major lies that was being spread. 790 muslims and 254 hindus were killed in the riots; far from features you would associate with a pogrom. The communal riots were terrible but creating a political agenda out of them is just as bad. The second big lie were the numbers themselves. All the reporters and political activists like Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vir Sanghvi, Teesta Setalvad, Shabnam Hashmi, Sanjiv Bhatt, Arundhati Roy, Harsh Mandar and many more have consistently fabricated the numbers killed between 2000-3000. Some still and will continue to do so.
What to expect? Well, one of the reporters who was instrumental in spreading untruths about the riots, Rajdeep Sardesai, is already off the block with a blogpost “Modi's 'Sadbhavana' and the horror of 2002” on February 24 and he wonders if there’s closure and if Gujarat has moved on. Rajdeep continues the same refrain from the past of how muslims have become second class citizens in Gujarat. There is a major change though. In his post he doesn’t use the word “Guilty” for Modi and he doesn’t use the term “mass murderer” which he had frequently borrowed from his HT colleague Vir Sanghvi. But well, old habits die hard so Rajdeep does start his post with a lie: “Has Gujarat really moved on ten years after the terrible violence of 2002? The answer depends on who the question is asked to. Chief minister Narendra Modi, for example, claims to have moved on to the point where he refuses to take questions on the past”. Well, during the Sadbhavna mission in September 2011 Modi did speak to a lot of reporters including on the topic of the riots. T.M. Veeraraghav of Rajdeep’s CNN-IBN also got an interview with Modi. So you can expect Rajdeep to use newer, different lies to promote his sentimental clap-trap.
Fast off the block from Hindustan Times (whose former editor could have been in jail for slandering Modi as a “mass-murderer”) is another opinion from Shiv Vishwanathan. Like Rajdeep, he too, starts off with a bang and it’s pretty easy to miss his gentle twist. He states: “In recent times, we had a Special Investigation Team report into the Gujarat riots that claimed that Narendra Modi was not guilty of the riots. If the media were to be believed, the way is now clear for the BJP to anoint him unofficially as prime minister”. This when the SIT report is not even officially released. But that is not the point. The wording of Shiv’s line is “SIT CLAIMED”. Haha! SIT claimed? One should remember that the SIT is an investigative body appointed by the SC and they don’t make claims. They just submit reports on whether they have found evidence to prosecute someone. Claims are usually made by opinionated columnists or TV panelists. For them, unless some legal body or court finds Modi guilty everything is just a “claim”. And then Shiv goes on to wonder whether Modi will fit the bill as PM or not.
Isn’t it amazing? From calling him a criminal, mass-murderer, pogrom manager, Hitler, Nazi, fascist almost everyone in the media is now discussing whether Modi will make it as PM or not. Haha! During the last state elections in Gujarat these very people were wondering if he should even continue as CM. Now they don’t even have the remotest doubt if he will win another state election this year. The fake opinion polls for Gujarat election won’t be published anymore. They would be horrified if they looked in the mirror and noticed that Modi has silently led them up a path where they would be discussing his PM candidature.
Hindustan Times also published the transcripts of Modi’s deposition with the SIT in March 2010. That document contains all the responses of Modi to the questions raised by the SIT. None of the MSM appears to want to discuss or debate that. TV channels have been quiet on that front. The reason is pretty obvious. The answers contain many facts which were so far conveniently hidden from the public. That Modi had appointed Congress leaders to watchdog committees after the riots must come as revelation to the public. The number of times he had appealed for peace and called for the army in time is all facts that were twisted by the media. Having failed to politically or legally hang Modi the media crooks started a weird campaign seeking an apology.
What to expect? Well, I think one can also expect a special bout of ‘We the poodles’ by Barkha Dutt with the usual peddlers of the drug called ‘untruth’ on Sunday, February 26 or a special programme of some kind. After all, she and Rajdeep were the ones who fuelled the spectacular anti-Modi campaign which provided refuge for all kinds of liars. Arundhati Roy has more or less disappeared from her campaign of lies. Teesta and Sanjiv Bhatt are struggling to keep untruths alive. Vir Sanghvi has been mass-murdered by Radia. Barkha has been tainted by Radiagate, Barkhagate, Barkhabarks, shoddy 26/11. Barkha has now been reduced to a sorry mouthpiece of the Congress party and the Hurriyat (As Swapan Dasgupta jokes). To her credit she did manage to improve her wardrobe during this time though. Rajdeep, apart from Cash4Votes also got trashed for the fraudulent telecast of Sri Sri debate by his wife. Rajdeep has already announced a programme ‘Revisiting Gujarat and If Gujarat has moved on’ on CNN-IBN for the weekend. Expect another round of selective story-telling by him. And yes, Rajdeep will actually CRY!
They say truth is the first casualty of the war. Our media claimed Gujarat was different because it was the first time riots were on camera and on TV. That is only half the truth. The other half is that this is the first time a great campaign of lies and untruths was carried out by the media for political ends and sustained for the better part of a decade. Now the lies and the liars are falling apart. But brace yourselves – the ‘Hang-Modi’ weekend has just started and expect some new concoction to be served.