Many of us have a short memory. It is a convenient excuse for our fighters for human rights, dalit causes, and their foreign-funded organisations. But, when it comes Gujarat and Modi, it is a different story. Inmy case, as regular writer to news papers, especially in south India, I need a mine of information and documents/evidences because I cannot bluff my way thru in this inormation age. I have been provoked by Fr. Cederick's recent comments /writings on Gujarat. My main intention in posting a couple my of past newspaper writings is just to tell people that there are people all around whose memory is not at all short and they do not forget things fast. While I do not personally approve of any violence in the name of religion, all of us must learn to remove our blinkers and see things in the right perspective.
Here's one such article I wrote three years ago.
ENDURE CRIMES WITHOUT PUNISHMENT (Vijay Times, 2 Nov. 2005) By P.N.BENJAMIN On the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission, the Central Government last week asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riot complaints against senior Congress leaders, Jagadish Tytler, Dharamdas Shastri and Sajjan Kumar. In the week following Indira Gandhi's assassination on 31 October 1984 what Delhi witnessed were manslaughter, arson and loot. Incredible savagery wrought by man on man. The burning alive of people. The wives who watched their husbands and sons beaten up to death and burnt alive, saw their daughters raped, their homes looted and burnt! The crime itself was horrible. And the powers that be have added injustice to injury. The survivors have remained nowhere people. Cruelly yanked out of quiet life in decent localities by mindless mobs, they were dumped in filthy colonies, reeking of stagnant sewage. And they have had nightmares for company – the frightening vivid images of their dear ones being lynched and burnt alive! What happened in 1984 was neither India's first nor, regretfully, its last experience of communal violence, but in terms of sheer scale and intensity, it will find a place in a hall of shame anywhere. Men, women and children – nobody was spared. Age and gender were immaterial. Death and devastation came to many because of their physical profile. Every Sikh became a "terrorist" in the eyes of those who had decided that it was their beholden duty to avenge for one dastardly act by committing a thousand others of the same kind. Indira Gandhi's killing was the culmination of Delhi's political blunders; foremost among them was the Blue Star Operation. The late Prime Minister's advisers on Punjab were governed by a very narrow vested interest, and it has been subsequently established that many of them had directly or indirectly helped the rise of pro-Khalistani fundamentalism; in fact the elections that followed the assassination and the mayhem saw the Congress return with the most handsome mandate ever given to a party in any election to the Lok Sabha. No wonder, therefore, the seeds of rabid communal polarization that subsequently determined the terms of political discourse, sown in 1984. For 21 years, the victims of the anti-Sikh riots have been waiting for justice. Instead of providing much needed succour to those who survived the pogrom, successive governments have busied themselves with shielding the culprits. Of course, a number of inquiry commissions have been appointed. Some have been scuttled. Some have submitted their reports. But the law finds itself in a blind alley. Yes, the victims remain where they were, as the administration refuses to administer, the prosecution refuses to prosecute, and the courts close their doors. The Constitution of India, the Parliament, and the judiciary and, in an extended sense, democracy itself have failed them. Yes, for those who planned, organized and instigated the violence, the charming ambiguities of justice have helped. Many of them were and still are top-flight leaders of the ruling Congress. There are, of course, the seemingly interminable, wheels-within-wheels, processes of justice; the difficulty in obtaining direct evidence and a lack of political will which have all contributed towards a criminal judicial impasse. Not one person has been punished for the unspeakable horrors perpetrated on an entire community just because a handful of its members were responsible for the assassination. On the other hand most of the accused have been acquitted. What is more worrying is the continued inability of the Indian state and its remarkably free judiciary to provide justice to even those who become such blatant and innocent victims of sponsored fury and manufactured hate. Commissions of inquiry, as per the norm duly established, are set up. They take a long time to wind up their act, and even when they do that, there is no guarantee that the culprits will finally be made to pay for their misdeeds. When it comes to dealing with those who have no use for secular values, which are just another name for simple, civilized conduct, the impressive democratic principle becomes a licence to be abused. Every Indian knows what happened in 1984, or on several other occasions elsewhere; unfortunately, even the knowledge of unimaginable atrocities has not led to commensurate action. Why is that so? The secular brigade, which works itself up into just the right kind of outrage after every such carnage, could do with soul-searching on these allied issues. But can we afford to forget the Delhi riots? Can we afford to forget the way the government in power allowed the killings to continue for days on end? Can we afford to forget the way people were roasted alive or butchered by armed gangs that walked the streets of Delhi openly and defiantly, unafraid of forces of law and order? Or, were they protected, aided and abetted by these same forces? Is there any hope that we can ever solve this problem of communal and caste violence? I don't think so. Unless we have the will to do so. And not unless we can use every moral weapon in our armoury to make our governments more accountable, our law enforcing agencies more responsible. Slogans and pretexts have been the secret arms of a callous elite, which has rarely been seriously concerned about the welfare of those over whom it lords. It is this callousness we must fight. Otherwise, many more Delhi will keep occurring. (Haven't they already occurred during the last 21 years – Gujarat and Marad, for example?) Many, many more people will be killed on the pretext of religion, caste, and community. The violence will grow all around us, while its perpetrators walk the streets as free men, their chests puffed out, and their heads held high. It is time for us to be ashamed of our silence. It is also time for us to be angry. Angry with the men who commit such heinous crimes. And also with those who stand by and watch them. Watch them maim, murder, loot, burn, destroy. Only our anger may scare them. Only our anger may force the authorities to act. To see that such terrible things are not allowed to happen, again and again. Time has no discriminatory qualities. It heals even those wounds, which should not be healed. The tears of victims may have dried up with time, even though the residual hurt must have remained. At any rate Sikhs are a phlegmatic enough community that, has taken several hurts and prejudices in its stride. But this particular hurt is too hard to live down. Even if all the earthly courts or commissions of inquiry were to find these monsters not guilty of any crime and set them free, we can be assured, now and always, that the heavenly court will brand them forever with the curse of God. In case they are still alive, we can be sure, theirs is a life so-called that is a million times worse than death. "There is a higher court than the courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts"( Mahatma Gandhi).
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