By Krishna Jha
We never had experience of loss of democracy…Living in our multiplicity, nobody has ever forced us to violate the cultural limits. We have never been isolated from the other, in fact it never had a separate identity. Yet, in the third decade of the twentieth century, there was the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, born in 1925. Those in the West, like Gobineau, Rosenberg and few others, as early as in the nineteenth century, trying to find ways to bring the ideology and culture of racialism in a wider domain, were busy trying to establish ‘Aryan’ theory, in an effort to create space for the writings of Manu Smriti, keeping up the traditions of a racialist script.
The myth that has been created around the Aryan concept, remains elusive, almost disappearing and then at some stage, coming into life of its own. It has discarded and pushed to one side whatever richness we achieved in our multiplicity. It has been Hitlerism in Hindutva garb. It has only one purpose for its existence, to absorb power, absolute power, to reconstruct India as a whole, politically, ideologically and also historically. It has to be fundamentalist, against multiplicity. The communal violence in Gujarat in 2002, is simply one glimpse of the extent to which the fanaticism could go. It left around two thousand dead, almost overwhelmingly Muslims. They came, tortured, burnt alive the victims. The threatening footsteps, blood curdling shouts sent death waves among the victims, as they collapsed.
Then came the original ‘clean chit’, to the crimes committed against the humanity and given by the SIT probing the killings and upheld by the Gujarat High Court. It was repeated on Friday, June 23, the day for Jumma prayers in mosques, when the Supreme Court confirmed the clean chit. Zakia Jafri had all the while kept up her struggle to get justice against the murder of her husband, Ehsan Jafri, committed heinously by none other than the rightist forces, but her entire complaint was thrown to pieces. Every word of the ‘clean chit’ pierced through her as the apex court said, “We don’t countenance the submission of the appellant (Zakia Jafri) regarding infraction of rule of law regarding investigation and the approach of the Magistrate and the HIgh Court in dealing with the final report”.
Zakia Jafri’s appeal was found “devoid of merits”, and deserving to be dismissed. The SIT had found no “prosecutable evidence”. Also, that petitioner No.2 Teesta Setalvad had “vested interests” and wanted to “keep the (Gujarat riots) pot boiling.”
It was just the reverse of what the experience showed till now, when the Supreme Court of India stood firmly getting to justice. It was the apex court that had said some time back while comparing the present with the past that it was like Nero fiddling with the music as Rome was burning. Those were the days when the several interventions that it made in the process had ensured that no deviation would be allowed, process would continue despite the interventions from those powerful. It refused to surrender to the powers that be and got itself almost immune from pressure by those above.
With these assurances, the court was firmly trying to protect those standing at the receiving end, that the victims and survivors could hope for a fair and just ending. In contrast to all this, soon there was a short spurt of arrests, on June 24, of former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar and the activist Teesta Setalvad. These developments were disturbing. The FIR registered is based on extensive quotes from the SC verdict and its annexures the day before. On Friday (June 23), the SC upheld the SIT’s clean chit in the 2002 riots to the then Gujarat government led by chief minister Narendra Modi refusing to accept the charges of keeping alive a larger conspiracy by high state functionaries. The entire endeavour to get the culprits on the dock failed. The failure was shocking but not unknown. Miracle could have surprised everyone if the case had completed the course in pinning up the charges, but obviously, it did not happen, had no way left to happen. Those awaiting the justice at the end were left to handle the tragedy on their own, bearing the cross of being alive.
In the same order, however, the Court continued further with a worrying reflection. Its verdict said, and the FIR lodged the next day faithfully quoted: “At the end of the day, it appears to us that a coalesced effort of disgruntled officials of the state of Gujarat along with others was to create sensation …to keep the pot boiling, obviously for ulterior design… all those involved in such abuse of process, need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law”. It is yet to be seen how far we can achieve with the reality of the slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”. (IPA Service)