Here’s listening to you, Mr Modi
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Narendra Modi, in an interview by Ross Colvin and Sruthi Gottipati (Reuters), has unwittingly revealed his mindset. Let us examine some of his statements.
He refers to the targeting of Muslims in the aftermath of Godhra with an analogy. He states: "... if... someone else is driving a car and we're sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not?... I'm a human being... it is natural to be sad."
In the context of the car analogy, during the course of the 2002 riots, the person sitting behind the driver's seat, we assume, was the chief minister of Gujarat. Only in two circumstances can a puppy be overrun by the car. First, the puppy is unwittingly run over, in which case, neither the driver nor the one sitting behind can be blamed. Second, the driver, rashly and negligently, seals the fate of the puppy.
The analogy is inapt in the context of the Gujarat riots. The members of a community cannot be unwitting victims of an accident. Therefore, in the best case scenario, the man sitting behind was aware that the driver was rash and negligent in snuffing out the life of hapless victims. What would a good Hindu have done? First, he would have immediately dismissed the driver. Then, he would have lodged an FIR for prosecuting him for rash and negligent driving, and thereafter directed the investigating agencies to expeditiously deal with the accused.
What did Narendra Modi do? First, he invoked Newton's law of motion; the state then ensured that the investigating agencies moved slothfully. Thereafter, the state attempted to derail the investigation.
The consequence: the Supreme Court and the Gujarat High Court had to intervene when the courts found out that the investigators were subverting justice. Some cases were shifted out of the state. Some others were handed over to the SIT or the CBI, as the case may be. The puppy analogy discloses a mindset that is duplicitous and uncaring. What is expected of a chief minister, in these situations, is not an expression of pity for the victims, but to bring the accused to justice. The analogy is also inapt since the chief minister is not a passenger, but the driver, guiding the state to vindicate the cause of justice.