07 September, 2012


Similar Conduct, Dissimilar Fate

Look at the picture on the right side of the frame: Ajmal Kasab, the butcher of Bombay. Stare at his photo. What do you feel? Repulsion. A strong feeling of revulsion, anger, hatred. Surely so if you are life-loving, peace-loving, Indian. Most certainly if you are a Mumbaikar. And if you are a Hindu Mumbaikar you will in all likelihood have him hang by the noose tomorrow. And justifiably so.

Why? Because he mercilessly killed innocent people on 26 November 2008. He was part of a group that hated Hindus in particular, and the idea of India in general. Driven either by personal mercenary motives or by an outmoded inhuman ideology of hate. They together killed 166 people and injured even more.

What is the evidence against Kasab? Some policemen and civilians saw him shooting, some audio tapes of his conversation with the foreign handlers exist. Circumstantial evidence corroborates his involvement.

This group claims to be retaliating against such and such grievance, it may have a long list of justification for their acts, but can there be any doubt that they resorted to the most brutal and barbaric acts? Ajmal Kasab is a ruthless killer – a proven criminal – and is undoubtedly a very hateful person. Kasab was rightly declared a terrorist, and swiftly tried and in three years handed a death sentence. Now the country’s highest court has also confirmed that sentence as the rarest of rare crime. Kasab will go to the gallows any time now, hopefully bringing some sense of closure to some of his victims.

But do you believe that millions of Pakistani Muslims in general, and Pakistani fundamentalist Muslims in particular do NOT get any of those repulsive feelings looking at this picture? On the contrary, they may even see ‘heroism’ in him. Some fanatics adorn his photos as the champion of Muslim jihadis. Don’t you suspect the sanity, sense of fairness, the very humanism of such people? Can you ever wish to have anything to do with them, of your free will?

Now, look at the picture on the left of the frame. This man, the Chief Minister of a state that prides itself for prosperity, for producing the messiah of non-violence, for global citizenship, presided on a most heinous genocide of its helpless minority. In a disproportionately large, completely orchestrated reaction to a ghastly crime at Godhra, whose perpetrators are yet to be proved beyond doubt, over 2,000 completely unconnected, innocent Muslims were brutally burnt and butchered with lathis, trishuls, swords, firearms and fire, at their homes, factories, shops, on the roadside and in the farms and the fields. Men, women, children; Old, and young; unmarried, married, and pregnant. Dozens of women were gang-raped. Thousands of houses and work places were looted and destroyed. All of this with tacit support and sometimes involvement of the state machinery.

And this CEO of the state did everything to incite the people – from displaying the corpses of Godhra victims, to inviting ‘reaction’ – contrary to his oath of office and in naked subversion of the constitution that put him in the office. He directed the police to keep off and let the Hindus take revenge. He honoured the heroes of this carnage like Maya Kodnani in his ministry, and felicitated and protected barbaric killers like Babu Bajrangi for months.

Leaving no one in doubt, he also took out a Gaurav Yatra, and castigated the Muslims in myriad remarks in public with derogatory expressions like “panch ke pachees”, “bijli-pani-chor”, “Babar ki aulad”, “Miyan Musharraf” etc. To date he has not apologized, nor owned up his failure to protect the minority for which he was duty bound.

From time to time thereafter – ostensibly at his bidding – his henchmen in Gujarat police frequently killed innocent Muslims in fake encounters in broad daylight, to boost his political acceptance. Some of these are in jails while others are on the way.

Driven by a Hindutva ideology of hate, of exclusion, of cultural purification, of revenge, the man grew up with abiding dislike for Muslims. His Jihad was to fix the Muslims, to avenge the alleged Ram Mandir destruction and Mehmood Ghazni’s invasion. Schooled in hate, he piloted the infamous Rath Yatra of L K Advani that produced many a riots and quite a few blood baths almost threatening a civil war. Personally he aspired for political power by every possible manipulation, shamelessly climbed up the shoulders of his seniors, ruthlessly emaciated his rivals within the party, effectively marketed himself to build the perception of a messiah.

What is the evidence against him? Despite large scale destruction of vital evidence and in spite of bullying and buying out bureaucracy and cops, his close lieutenants have now been convicted of conspiracy and heinous mass murder. Dedicated, senior and reputed police officers working directly under him have charged him of these offences. Numerous CDs, videos, press cuttings, affidavits and testimonies exist to prove his culpability.

What is Modi’s fate? No, he is not hanging by the neck. Not any time in the near future. He has never been arrested. Indeed, he has not been convicted, never been questioned in any court of law. He is yet to appear even before his own hand-picked ‘commission of inquiry’. He remains an ‘honourable’ man in the eyes of the law, protected and pampered by the state exchequer. He is hailed by millions of misinformed Hindus as the king of their hearts, as the macho Hindu who taught the ‘miya’ a lesson. Thousands of Hindus sounding politically less obnoxious, sing his praises for his hyped up ‘developmental’ work, post genocide. And this includes some Muslims bereft of a conscience.

Did it ever occur to you that for a large number of conscientious Hindus, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, and Muslims world-wide in general, and the Muslims of Gujarat in particular, this photo evokes just the same, or even harsher feelings?

And when the victims of his genocide find you extolling his virtues they suspect your humanity, your good sense, your fair play, your sanity. They suspect your goodwill for them and your tolerance of their existence. And when the judiciary discharges 2,500 cases without even a decent hearing, when the state fails to rebuild their lives effectively, they suspect the state’s will to protect them, to secure their interests.

Kasab’s victims numbered a few hundred, Modi’s a few thousand. Kasab’s victims were foreigners; Modi’s were his own compatriots, nay, his own state’s citizens. Modi's crime happened in 2002, Kasab's in 2008 - and purportedly in retaliation against the former. Kasab owed no duty to Mumbaikars at law. Modi was duty bound to protect his citizens. Kasab was tried and sentenced to death in four years, Modi is yet to be questioned by a court. Kasab is going to hang, Modi is aspiring to be the Prime Minister of India. Kasab was a small time killer belonging to a splinter group of Jihadis and effectively disowned by his country. Modi is a big time politician commanding political and money power sponsored by powerful NRGs.

Ajmal Amir Kasab and Narendra Damodardas Modi: two persons, very similar crimes, very similar motives but completely dissimilar fates. Clearly the law of the land has failed to nail Modi. Now, will you be the judge? Can you bring a sense of closure to these thousands of your own Muslim friends?


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