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Pakistan flames Gujarat fires

Pakistan flames Gujarat fires

Author: Dina Nath Mishra
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 12, 2002

I would like to begin my column this week with a quotation from a collection of articles of Mahatma Gandhi from Young India of 1928, named 'to the Hindus and Muslims'. This is to explain tradition of Hindu-Muslim relations in certain parts of Gujarat even in those days when there was no RSS presence barring in the city of Nagpur. The question of VHP, Bajrang Dal, BJP presence etc did not arise. In fact Godhra with half of its population being Muslim had a long history anti-Hindu offensive.

It was also a strong hold of Muslim League prior to partition. Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Young India in an article titled 'What are we to do?' in the issue dated October 11, 1928. "Two weeks ago I wrote in Navjivan a note on the tragedy in Godhra, where St. Purshottam Shah bravely met his death at the hands of assailants. the heading of my write-up was Hindu-Muslim fight in Godhra. Several Hindus did not like the heading and addressed angry letters asking me to correct it (for it was one-sided fight). I found it impossible to accede to their demand. Whether there is one victim or more, whether there is a free fight between the two communities, or whether one assumes the offensive and the other simply suffers, I should describe the event as a fight if the whole series of happenings were the result of a state of war between the two communities. Whether in Godhra or in other places there is today a state of war between the two communities. Fortunately, the countryside is still free from the war fever, which is mainly confined to towns and cities, where, in some form or other, fighting is continually going on.

Even the correspondents who have written to me about Godhra do not seem to deny the fact that the happenings arose out of the communal antagonisms that existed there.

"If the correspondents had simply addressed themselves to the heading, I should have satisfied myself with writing to them privately and written nothing in Navjivan about it."

But there are other letters in which the correspondents have vented their ire on different counts. A volunteer from Ahmedabad who had been to Godhra writes: "You say that you must be silent over these quarrels. Why were you not silent over the khilafat, and why did you exhort us to join the Muslims? Why are you not silent about your principles of ahimsa? How can you justify your silence when the two communities are running at each other's throat and the Hindus are being crushed to atoms? How does ahimsa come there?"

After seventy-four years, today when we are confronted with the situation of continued violence triggered by Godhra carnage in the year 2002, we have to take into account new factors. Firstly, after partition Gujarat has become a border state. Only last week Home Minister, L K Advani informed about some intercepts from across the border, which convincingly proves Pakistan's intentions in prolonging communal riots in Gujarat. Intercepts in fact, hint for providing financial and other required help, to keep the fire burning in Gujarat. As yet Godhra carnage investigations have not come to the conclusions that Pakistan was directly involved in triggering the violence through Godhra. But SIMI has been very active in places like Godhra, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mehsana etc.

It is well known that SIMI has connection with international Islamic fundamentalist organisations. Only on May 9, 2002, the ban on SIMI was confirmed by the tribunal headed by Justice SK Aggarwal. Additional Solicitor General KK Sud, who argued on behalf of the Union Government, submitted before the Tribunal said that SIMI aims to utilise students and youths in the propagation of Islamic religion and mobilise support for 'Jehad'.

For the last six weeks what we are witnessing in Gujarat seems to be the determined efforts of India's enemies. In the latest issue of Time magazine, a report on Gujarat talks about civil war in Gujarat. Gujarat has been the target of Pakistan's ISI, which has been routing arms, drugs and counterfeit money through Gujarat. One can't rule out the apprehension of a Jammu & Kashmir type situation developing in Gujarat especially after this week's seizure of sophisticated arms and ammunition in Ahmedabad. Godhra triggered violence in Gujarat may not be the biggest in Independent India.

The 1969 riots of Ahmedabad continued for more than six months. But restlessness caused by the recent riots in the country in general and Gujarat in particular is unprecedented in the history of independent India. There are reasons for it. In the background of BJP's defeat in state assemblies, Gujarat riots provided great opportunity to unite the Opposition and divide the NDA. The Parliament was in session from the beginning of the Godhra itself till date.

This provided a big platform. Media added fuel to the fire with half truth and total lies. Gujarat being ruled by BJP inspired its opponents in politics and media to work overtime towards it's avowed objective of removing Gujarat CM, Narendra Modi and destabilising the Central Government.

The destabilising drive was subdued only after defeat of Opposition motion in Lok Sabha by 94 votes despite the abstention of the TDP and National Conference etc.The imperative of Gujarat situation is to work for political consensus so that tempers cool down. If the situation of Gujarat has to be brought to psychological normalcy one has to realise Pakistan's game plan and the benefits it is deriving out of continued violence in Ahmedabad and in few other places. One has to understand the real intention of Pakistani media's glowing tributes to the secularist Indian media.

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