07, Jun 2017
On February 28, 2002 Ahmedabad’s civil hospital (Sola Civil Hospital) received the bodies of the kar sevaks at 8 a.m. The venue became the scene for sharp and focussed anger that quickly progressed into the raising of hate-filled slogans. The VHP organised a religious ceremony where its Vice-President, Acharya Giriraj Kishore said that the day’s violence was ‘a natural outburst’. He also said that ‘Islamic terrorism was responsible for the Godhra incident and that Hindus had acted with restraint.’
(Source: The Times of India, 1 March, 2002)
In a recorded video, Praveen Togadia, VHP International General Secretary, said (00:42:28)
“It will be asked, who was shouting the slogans Did the father-priest of America say it Against Mohammed, they were only shouting words, slogans. Were they abusing Muslims Were they doing good publicity for Muslims Then they will say, no, they were not saying this, then which slogans were they shouting, they were shouting slogans of – Jai Shri Ram. Are if the slogan of Jai Shri Ram cannot be shouted in Godhara, then will we go to Mecca-Madina to shout them And who are you to stop my slogan of Jai Shri Ram, we will thrash those who stop the slogan of Jai Shri Ram and send them to Pakistan.”
On 17th December 2002 speaking at a meeting at Delhi Praveen Togadia said the following: “The Muslims here will enjoy the same place or status as Hindus enjoy in Pakistan, may be even slightly better status.”
(Source: The Hindu, 18 December, 2002)
In a press conference held on 14th December, 2002 at Jaipur, Togadia stated:
“We will make a laboratory of the whole country. This is our promise and our resolve. If madrasas, the jehadi laboratory, are allowed to educate, to kill non-Muslims. Why can’t we have our own laboratory I cannot waste even two days in building the laboratory? Rajasthan has already become the laboratory of Hindutva…The people of Gujarat have paid their tribute to the Ram Bhaktas of Godhra. Gujarat has become the graveyard of secular ideology and we will extend it to Delhi via Jaipur.”
(Source: Hindustan Times, 16 December, 2002)
In an interview to rediff.com on 12, March, 2002, Professor Keshavram Kashiram Shastri, Chairman of the Gujarat unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, made a startling revalation. He said that the list of shops owned by Muslims in Ahmadabad was prepared on the morning of February 28 itself. He stated: “In the morning we sat down and prepared the list. We were not prepared in advance.” Asked why they did it, he responded, “Karun j padre, Karun j padre (it had to be done, it had to be done). “We don’t like it, but we were terribly angry. Lust and anger are blind.” He said the rioters were “kelvayela Hindu chakra” (well-bred Hindu boys).
He stated the reasons of the deliberation inaction of the Police on the rioters. He said “They feared death.” “And some of them were Hindus who thought, let the mob do whatever it wants.” He also admitted that people had been burnt, mosques razed, and shops looted, but argued that all that had been done in a “frenzy”. The complete interview can be accessed on http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/mar/12train.htm
Another method that was adopted by the VHP to spread propaganda and hate against the minority community was by the distribution of leaflets and pamphlets instigating the Hindus against the Muslims. “Pamphlet calling for boycott of Muslims causing concern in Ahmedabad,” rediff.com, March 12, 2002, http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/mar/12train4.htm
The pamphlet refers to Muslims as “anti-national elements” who molest Hindus’ sisters and daughters and who use money earned from Hindus to buy arms. It calls on its readers to institute a complete boycott of goods and services proffered by Muslims, adding that Muslims should not be hired in Hindu establishments and should not be allowed to rent property. It also cautions Hindus to be “alert to ensure that [Hindus’] sisters-daughters do not fall into the `love-trap’ of Muslim boys” and calls on Hindus to vote, but “only for him who will protect the Hindu nation.”
An analysis of the vernacular Gujarati Media has indicated the role played by medium to incite the communal violence and spread propaganda. A case in point is Sandesh, a Gujarati paper published from Vadodara. It published inflammatory throughout the period immediately after the Godhra attack. For The front page of February 28, 2002 issue read: “AVENGE BLOOD WITH BLOOD.” Another headline during the first week of March, when Gujarati Muslims were returning from Haj “HINDUS BEWARE: HAJ PILIGRIMS RETURN WITH A DEADLY CONSPIRACY.”
On 4th September 2002, Mr. Ashok Singhal, President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad made a statement at Shivala Bhaiyan Temple in Amritsar, wherein he stated “People say that I praise Gujarat. Yes I do. Gujarat has been a successful experiment. Godhra happened on February 27 and the next day, 50 lakh Hindus were on the streets. We were successful in our experiment of raising Hindu consciousness, which will be repeated all over the country now.” By further stating that terming the communal carnage as “a successful experiment” shows the malafide intentions of Singhal. By further stating “We were successful in our experiment of raising Hindu consciousness, which will be repeated all over the country now.” Singhal issued a grave threat to the peace, unity and integrity of India. His statements clearly violate S.153-A, 153-B, 505(1) and (2) of the Indian Penal Code.
As shameful as these utterances is the fact that there has been no prosecution of this hate speech.
Veteran activist from Ahmedabad Valjibhai Patel has launched a legal campaign against Sandesh that was partially successful until once more, the brazen Gujarat government influenced the local police to go back on its own findings.