Tongue of flame

Following reports in the media of Narendra Modi’s inflammatory speeches against the minorities, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) sent a message to the Gujarat home department on September 10, 2002, requesting a copy of the speech made by the chief minister at Becharaji, a temple town in Mehsana district, a day earlier. Modi’s hate speech formed part of the overall message of his gaurav yatra.

Attempting to block such information, the Gujarat government claimed that it had been unable to trace a copy of the speech and could not send it to the NCM. The state home department even got the then DGP, K. Chakravarti, to endorse that the state intelligence department, headed by the then ADGP, RB Sreekumar, was not required to provide such a report. But Sreekumar felt duty bound to comply with the request. He obtained a copy of the speech and forwarded it to the commission. This proved to be a costly move. Viewed for months as a thorn in the flesh of the Gujarat government, Sreekumar was immediately transferred out of the intelligence department to a relatively insignificant post.

In his speech of September 9, 2002, an impenitent Modi makes several derogatory remarks about the minorities, offers indirect justification for the anti-Muslim pogrom earlier that year and even ridicules the plight of the thousands of refugees, victims of the violence who still lived in relief camps. Despite efforts by CJP, no action has so far been taken against Modi for this blatant attempt to engender hatred and ill will towards Muslims and create a communal divide. Excerpts from the speech:

The gaurav yatra has now reached the holy land of Becharaji… blowing the bugle of Gujarat’s self-respect. This is the holy place of power (Shakti), the power to exterminate the asuras. We have resolved to destroy and stamp out all evil forces that are a threat to the self-respect of Gujarat.

We are accused of being Hinduwadis. Oh, brothers! Our government has allotted eight crore rupees for the development of Becharaji Devi temple. Have we committed a crime? Have we become communal by allotting eight crore rupees for the development of Becharaji?

Our Congress friends say Narendrabhai has brought Narmada water to the Sabarmati river and this man is so clever that he brought it in the month of Shravan. Let me ask my Congress friends a question: if water is brought during the month of Shravan, those mothers/ladies residing on the banks of the Sabarmati river can bathe in Narmada water and feel holy and blessed. So how does it hurt them? Since we (BJP) are here, we brought water to the Sabarmati during the month of Shravan, when you (Congress) are there, you can bring it in the month of Ramzan!

When we bring water in the month of Shravan, you feel bad. When we spend money for the development of Becharaji, you feel bad. What, brother, should we run relief camps? (At the time, tens of thousands of Muslims, rendered homeless during the carnage, were still living in relief camps.) Should I start baby producing centres there? If we want to develop Gujarat… we need to teach those people (Muslims) who are expanding their population a lesson.

In Gujarat, madrassas are coming up in large numbers. Children have the right to primary education. But a madrassa-going child is deprived of primary education. What will such a child do when he grows up? What if normal education was not available and only religious education was available; would this not be a burden on Gujarat?

We cannot permit merchants of death to operate freely in Gujarat. I may lose the chair but I will not allow those plotting to destroy Gujarat and harm the innocent to carry out their plans. The days of somebody like Dawood Ibrahim sitting in Karachi and playing games of murder and destruction are over.

Archived from Communalism Combat,  May 2009 Year 15    No.140, Cover Story 4



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