Godhra's unanswered questions

Nafisa Ali


Is this the same Atal Bihari Vajpayee who made that

celebrated speech in Goa and protected Narendra Modi?

After the shameful petrol pump scam exposed by the

Indian Express, how come the prime minister acted so

fast, and with such conscientious statesmanship? 

Why did he not similarly act and dismiss Narendra Modi

when thousands of Indians were killed and raped? 

I want to blank out the horrors in Gujarat. I heard

the survivors convey their deep sense of betrayal.

Their FIRs are not being registered. If people want to

return to their homes, then it is with the condition

that the names in the FIRs be dropped. Be it Godhra or

after, you only feel shock and anger. I grieve for

all, irrespective of their religion, caste or status. 

All the guilty must be punished. Why is the Modi

government and the Centre shy of revealing the names

of the passengers in the Sabarmati Express on that

tragic day? Were they all kar sevaks who died, as the

VHP/BJP claimed? If not, who are they? Why have 19

bodies still not been identified? What about the

passengers in the adjacent bogies? Why have their

testimonies not been taken? 

Why is Advani so hurriedly trashing the forensic

report, without even allowing a transparent CBI

enquiry? How was the inflammatory liquid allowed

inside the carriage? The Modi government was quick to

declare the Godhra massacre as an ISI conspiracy. If

so, why were law-abiding Indian Muslims of Gujarat

punished in such a ghastly manner? 

If it was not the ISI, who are the real killers of


According to reports, the Godhra killing was not

premeditated but a result of a mob violence following

continuing humiliations at the hands of kar sevaks who

were mostly travelling ticketless in the trains. I was

told of some Muslims trying to board the earlier

Sabarmati Express train on its way to Ayodhya, but who

were not allowed to. Instead, they were stabbed with

trishuls by kar sevaks. The same train then returned

from Ayodhya. 

One report said a policeman registered a complaint

that kerosene cans and stoves were being carried by

the kar sevaks which perhaps helped in the mass

igniting of coach S-6. A magazine reported that a

handful of anti-social elements carrying jerry cans of

inflammables were trying to enter the train. 

Let the truth come out. The solution lies within the

problem. The answer lies in every question asked,

investigated and made public. Mere inflammatory

rhetoric for communal polarisation will not do. 

Those responsible for the Godhra killings should be

punished, as should those who organised the

post-Godhra carnage with direct support from the Modi

government. What happened after Godhra was

orchestrated genocide and Modi is now trying to profit

from this carnage. Is this possible in any civilised

democracy? Modi has become a challenge to the

Constitution of India and the secular, pluralist

foundations of the Indian State. 

That is why the horrors in Gujarat need to be

thoroughly probed by an impartial body. Why should

Hindus and Muslims be made sacrificial goats for the

vested interests of some politicians? 

The prime minister promised Rs 150 crore for relief,

but compensation has been a farce. Our image as a

democratic and liberal country has taken a beating. We

must reach out and help ordinary people who have been

devastated. Ninety per cent of Muslim homes have been

destroyed. Their material assets do not exist. Crores

have gone up in flames. More than 1 lakh people have

no home to return to. A father and a son recently

returned to their home, only to be murdered in their


The Gujarat government says that 1,000 people died.

But the truth is that 2,000 Indians are still missing.

Will they ever be located? Yet, the government wants

evidence of their murders. Can proof be found in their


Who do we blame? 

Industrialists do not want to speak out on Gujarat

because they fear that this may annoy the powers that

be. How will 12 per cent of defenceless Indians

rebuild their lives and come to vote if there are

early elections in the state? Or is it that the 12 per

cent do not count? 

What gives the BJP, the RSS and the VHP the right to

be custodians of the Hindu dharma? This is not Sarva

Dharma Samabhava. The reverence for god should bring

out the good in each one of us. We, the people of

India, have to take charge. Hinduism as a way of life

allows us to grow into good human beings. Those who

kill, burn and rape are not Hindus. Must liberal

Indians stand by in silence? 

Why has Vajpayee let the country down? I appeal to

President Abdul Kalam ? please help reconstruct the

riot ravaged victims' material and spiritual lives in

this land of Vedanta. The answer lies within each one

of us. Let us plant the seed of prosperity, hope and

right action.


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