Politics of pogroms and propensity of power

By Raj Dixit

Indira Gandhi

I take you back down the memory lane although a tragic one….. On 31 October, 1984. At about 10.00 am, I was sitting on the second floor of reading room of Jawaharlal Nehru University library at the down campus when a friend informed me that Mrs Indira Gandhi ,the then Prime Minister of India had been struggling for her life at All India Institute of Medical Sciences after being  shot by her security guards.

What happened in the next few days had never been witnessed or seen on the streets of Delhi at least in our life time. What a mayhem , death and destruction that ensued gave us a cruel reminder,   as was told or narrated in the stories and  what we had read about partition of the country, when police officers on the roads of Delhi turned into silent spectators. The organised gangs of hooligans and violent crowd led by then so called alleged workers of a political party that indulged in the looting and arson especially in the south Delhi and later engulfed the rest of the city. These incidents later on spread to the other parts of the country.

In 1985,the then Prime Minister of India Mr Rajiv Gandhi accepted the demand of Sikh Community for a Enquiry Commission to examine the alleged involvement of political workers  of his party and  constituted an enquiry commission headed by Justice Rang Nath Mishra, then Sitting Judge of Supreme Court of India .However, in its final report, he exonerated  Mr .H.K.L .Bhagat  the then Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, whose name was mentioned in the number of affidavits submitted to the Commission. Mr Rang Nath Mishra not only rose to become the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India but also was later elected to the (Rajya Sabha) upper house of Indian Parliament. Mr Dipak Mishra is the nephew of Mr Rang Nath Mishra who has recently retired as the Chief Justice of India on Oct 2, 2018.

Mr Narasimha Rao was the then Home Minister.  He was considered to be a very cultured and erudite person who later on became the Prime minister of India after the death of Mr Rajiv Gandhi.

Hardly any question was asked from the then Home Minster of India or from the political leadership about the failure of law and order by the police administration.

As per the news reports, more than 3000 Sikhs had been killed and thousands of houses were burnt and businesses destroyed.

It was a coincidence that Mr Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister of India when the demolition of Babri Masjid  was allowed to happen on 6 December 1992. Although the sources claimed that a solemn promise was made by the then Chief Minister of Utter Pradesh Mr. Kalyan Singh that in all circumstances the so called disputed structure of Babri Masjid would be protected. The required number of Central Paramilitary Forces were deployed at Ayodhya to save and protect the structure of  Babari Masjid. However, despite all the intelligence inputs, the Kar Sevaks were allowed to gather at Ayodhya and its surrounding districts such as Faizabad. What had happened later is a violent and gruesome fact of history- known to the whole world.

For the benefit of the readers, let me quote from the Book -AYODHYA THE DARK NIGHT-THE SECRET HISTORY OF RAMA’S APPEARANCE IN BABRI MASJID  written by Krishana Jha & Dhirendra .K. Jha ”22 December 1949: A Conspiracy that began with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 culminated in the execution of the Ayodhaya Strategy. Late that night, a little Known Abhiram Das and his followers entered the Babri Masjid and planted an idol of Rama inside it.” Mr.Gobind Ballabh Pant was the Chief Minister and Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Home Minister of the first Congress Government of United Province of independent India .This was a time when Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru banned Rashtriya Sawyamsevak Sangh (R.S.S) and Hindu Maha Sabha for their alleged involvement in the communal incitement in the province.

Justice M.S.Liberhan of Allahabad High Court who was appointed as a Chairman of Single member commission to examine and investigate the circumstances which led to the demolition of Babri Masjid, submitted his final report after 17 years on 30 June 2009 to Mr Manmohan Singh the then Prime minister Of India. Mr Narasimha Rao and Mr. Kalyan Singh both along with other responsible for it, appeared before the Commission.  However, no criticism was made in regard of the role of Mr Narasimha Rao and his Government. Mr. Narasimha Rao completed his tenure as a Prime minister of India (1991-1996) and left this world for his heavenly abode, where as Mr Kalyan Singh is still enjoying a gubernatorial position as a Governor Of Rajasthan.

Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a leader of Bhartiya Janata Party made a controversial comment on 5 December 1992, a day before the demolition of Babri Masjid. He said,” (translated to the effect of) a lot of sharp stones have come out of Masjid that needs to be transformed in to a smooth surface.” Mr. Vajpayee, later, not only became the Prime Minister of India but faced with the dilemma of sacking Mr  Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat,  who was allegedly considered to be responsible for the omission and commission for mayhem and violence caused at the backdrop of Godhra train Fire incident/Accident. He not only failed in performing his duty to protect the life and property of its countrymen but also proved to be fatal for its own political party of which he was its founder member. It won’t be out of place to mention that Mr. Nitish Kumar, now the Chief Minister of Bihar, was then the Union Railway Minister when the train was allegedly burnt.

Thousands lost their life and property as a result of organised violence and looting followed on the night of February 28, 1992 and thereafter.

Lt. Gen, Zameer uddin (Zoom) Shah

This had been a proven indictment and mentioned in the recently published book by Lt.Gen. (Retired) Zameer Uddin (Zoom) Shah titled –“SARKARI MUSSALMAN.” He was the Army Commander sent for curbing the violence at Ahmedabad on the night of February 28, 1992. When he arrived on the Ahmedabad Airport on the said date, he enquired from his Deputy GOC Brigadier Mehra about the Civilian contact details and their whereabouts and was told that the Chief Secretary of the State was out of the country. On being asked about the Officiating Chief Secretary, he was told that even he was also not reachable. Despite of his meeting with the then Chief Minister he was not provided with the required transport and logistics to his 3000 troops who were left stranded at the Ahmedabad Airport .That was made available to the Army after a delay of more than 24 hours of their arrival by the state administration.

The above fact of dereliction of duty/failure on the part of State Administration, as  alleged by Lt.Gen Shah, were either not reported or ignored by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) chief Mr. R.K.Raghvan,  a former Director of Central Bureau of Investigation, who was assigned to investigate the  cases of Godhra Incidents /Accident.  Mr. R.K.Raghvan was, later, appointed as India’s High Commissioner to Cyprus on 30/8/2017.

It won’t be out of place to mention that political leaders who are allegedly behind this organised violence and bloodbath are thriving because of the system around them. It’s not only the leaders alone who are behind the violence, it is the system around them that is making it happen. We have to guard against the system that is allowing it to happen.

It is not a sheer coincidence that the leaders of different political hues that are involved in the kind of activities which are detrimental to the growth of a peaceful and prosperous society. It is the organised systems that exists within the political process which not only encourages them to play with lives of its citizens but also protects their interest and the interest of the political class and make them survive and thrive. So they reach up to the pinnacle of political power.

Think before it is too late………….?











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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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