Tehelka sting operation on 2002 Gujarat riots

From today’s Deccan Herald:

A sting operation backed by Tehelka magazine on Thursday claimed to have exposed the involvement of VHP leaders in the post-Godhra riots of 2002 with Chief Minister Narenda Modi “giving them free hand for three days” to attack minorities in the state.

The sting operation telecast by Headlines Today and Aaj Tak showed on record the VHP leaders like Baba Bajrangi, Anil Patel, Dhawel Patel as also Harsih Bhatt, the BJP MLA, Godhra, saying how they killed Muslims, made bombs and got “most helpful Gujarat police” facilitating their task. The television story had Gujarat VHP leaders as saying that apart from Modi it was VHP national general secretary Praveen Togadia who guided them in their operation.

Sevanti Ninan, of the Hoot (newly redesigned), has written a column about the sting operation which is worth reading. Excerpt:

The tepid issues of Tehelka which came out after it changed format and became a magazine, evidently constituted the lull before the storm. Earlier today India’s most celebrated investigative brand since the early 1980s Arun Shourie, regained some of its fire power and unveiled some potent election-eve ammunition, swearing all the while that the timing was just a coincidence. The magazine will come tomorrow, today Tehelka organised a TV trailer on Aaj Tak and Headlines Today. The latter took a break from being a movie and cricket channel to get serious, as well as it could.

A few days after Narendra Modi abandoned a TV interview with Karan Thapar after being asked if he had an image problem since he was being called a mass murderer, recorded images went on air showing Modi confidantes and allies in Gujarat confirming his direct complicity in the murder of Muslims in the riots following the Godhra fire. He had told people to do what they had to do in three days, he visited Naroda Patiya 2 days after the massacre there and garlanded those who had killed 91 Muslims in one day, he shielded the guilty, in one case in Gujarat Bhavan at Mount Abu.

Tehelka has the links to the stories of the investigation on their web page and in the next few days we will probably get to know how all this will play out.

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18 thoughts on “Tehelka sting operation on 2002 Gujarat riots

  1. My dear Indians, I appreciate the way tehelka has conducted the sting. over centuries to go behind, our country had been a symbol of inter religious and inter cultural unity. But to attain their selfish ends, certain anti-national elements, in the veil of their fake patriotism, are creating mass communal imbalances. some people may be shocked due to this sting. now they are raising questions over the dignity of tehelka. here the issue is not the dignity of tehelka. the issue is how to do justice to the victims of Gujarat riots. we shouldn’t be depressed off a sting conducted against those whom we love. our love towards them shall pe personal only. when it comes to the interests of the nation, we have set aside our personal affections and raise tones for justice. Then only these anti-national elements will be defeated in their attempts and justice can be done to the victims. I hope this sting will open the eyes of judiciary system and the culprits will be given the due punishments.
    Jai Hind.

  2. It all began with Godhra carnage. Reaction to Godhra is natural however demonical it may be particularly when criminal judicial system and political leadership is not able to address terror and there is justification of terrorist acts from secular press. The media is now trying to keep the wounds by digging up unwanted things. The media has forgotten to bring justice to those who were roasted alive by the “innocent misguided” elements.

    • By not acting strongly against killings on 1984 and2002, we have encouraged a Muzzafarnagar , ishrat, panda, sohabuddin and prajapati. Killers have no religon, caste etc, they are RAKSHAS, they will do again and hope to get away. Examples of corruption are there, once some CMs got away,others did corruption. Now after Chautala, Lallu,Mishra, Kanda, they will be careful.There are still several CMs like j..lalit ha, mayawti etc still at large.Hope law catches up with Sajjan kumar, tytler Modi, Shah if guilty. Maya Kodnani should say who encouraged her , a woman, a dr, a gynae…really her conscious must be DEAD.

  3. Manoharan: I don’t recall reading media reports justifying what happened at Godhra. Modi’s government was in power when the Godhra incident took place. What better way for the government than to do its job to find the culprits and bring them to book. The government’s job was to protect innocent people, no matter what religion they were from. Instead, people were systematically targeted and innocents were killed.

    It doesn’t matter from which party the culprits were or from which religion or caste–if they killed people or helped kill people, they should be brought to trial for their crimes. This applies to perpetrators of Godhra and the perpetrators of the riots.

  4. Moterio: Do you think Godhra is an accident? Why media is not trying to unravel the truth behind the carnage? Why godhra is forgotten. Is Gujarat riots an isolated incident or a revenge for godhra?

    Innocent people should be protected. I agree. But the ideology behind the terror should be nipped. The Government, media, judiciary should be pro active in this. No government is able to find the culprits. They could find safe havens. How? Why? So the reaction would be like unguided missile. Reaction is not justifiable but inevitable.

    Modi gives three days time. His goons order pistols to be made in UP? How long it took to make pistols. How many were killed with pistol shot in three days? Bombs were used? Modi could cover up forensic evidences? Only Modi and his goons pepetrated the crimes. No other party workers?

  5. Manoharan: Please read my last comment again, it answers some of the questions you’ve raised.

    Contrary to your claims, reactions are not inevitable. We can’t go around killing people whenever we feel like it’s justified. We live in a civil society where there are laws and not in some barbaric hunting society.

    And about the modus operandi and cover ups, please. A government in power does have a lot of machinery and clout at its disposal.

    The bottom line is that whoever is guilty — it doesn’t matter what their religion, caste, party affiliations, position was or is — should be brought to trial and punished. This applies to the Godhra incident as well as riots that happened afterwards.

  6. Monteiro: Of course we should not take law into our hands. But, we must accept that the archaic laws and procedures are inadequate to deal with the present menace. We must question why there is delay in hanging Afsal (Parliament Attack Case) declared guilty by the highest court. The Government, judiciary and media should recognise that a war is being waged to destroy the civil society we live in. The media should report with responsibility. Remember Ishrat Jehan case? We should be wary of those elements within our civil society which share the ideology of the terrorists and provide hide out for terrorists. Godhra should always be juxtaposed with its aftermath. Justice is also a jealous god.

  7. Manoharan

    Get your fact straight, Guj govt has already booked people behing jail for godhra carnage.

    Second, you asked why media is not unraveling the truth behind the carnage? Why godhra is forgotten… I would like to tell you in straight way which you wont agree… because it is facilated by Guj govt. The whole godhra incident was facilated by guj govt… they created a plot in which muslims fell… it is well known that godhra is always been a problem area…. if you are an educated person you would ponder for a minutes on the news n pics of guj riots… all the attackers came in a planned way… everyone had a list of people or business to be burned down… which village has muslim community…. why only few shops in whole market where burned down (bcoz generally when there is riots everything is burned)… is it possible to compile all the data in one evening… not at all unless it was planned. There was magazine (i dont remember exactly by which NGO or editor) after guj riots, it had reports from sources as how VHP & gov facilated the whole godhra incident and by the way it also included testimonies of police officers or gov employees who saved muslim lifes or tried to save or spoke against gov and where fired for doing a noble cause…. I was there during the guj riots n have seen police facilating the attackers….

    how would you reply about the resignation of the DGP during the time of guj carnage after the riots… or how would you reply about this sting operation… dont say that media is trying to bring out the wounds by digging up unwanted things… they are trying to bring the truth out and helping the people to get justice.

  8. HK:why godhra has always been a problem area?
    The incendiary acts of muslims have a long history. You will not accept it. But if you are straight forward and if you see their acts not only in the context of India but all over the world you will trace it to their religious teachings. (Remember Iranian President asking Americans to convert to Islam). Muslims fell in the plot created by Guj.govt. is a good joke. That shows the level of education you had and I have not had.
    It is not difficult to identify the establishments owned by Muslims. It doesn’t require CBI’s services.
    Do you think godhra happened spontaneously? What is the explanation for the death of so many non-muslims in police firing?
    If you think the media is doing yeoman service so be it.

  9. i would clearly dis agrre to all those who address this riot as a massacre.if the terrorist who kill people can get “JANNAT” after killing than hindus too get swarg n attain the place of god.i would ask all the muslims n people that its why only muslims who are terrorists? i know the answer coz this is the only religion which hinders the progress of indian nation. the act done by VHP n BJP is fully legal n correct. if m not wrong the ramjanambhumi was earlier a ram temple which was demolished by muslims n constructed a masjid. it is a born right of every hindu to go n put a brick to construct a hindu temple. JAI SHREE RAM….

  10. @rahil Jain:

    mas·sa·cre (ms-kr): 1. The act or an instance of killing a large number of humans indiscriminately and cruelly.

    big·ot (bgt): One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

    Via The Free Dictionary

  11. Monterio,

    I think rahil means genocide. What happened in godhra was genocide which invited retaliatory violence.

    Bigot also means “a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinion differing from his own”(Wordweb online dic).

    Bigot is a person who obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, belief, opinion…(webster).

    I would add “even when there is ample and sufficient facts to verify”.

    All those media reports of provocative slogans by karsevaks, molestation of young muslim girl by ram sevaks etc leading to godhra carnage have been given a quietus in Nanavathy’s findings. It is evident that it was a pre planned attack.

  12. I think rahil means genocide.

    You’re a mind-reader now?

    What happened in godhra was genocide which invited retaliatory violence.

    Yes, you can justify anything with the “retaliatory violence’ argument.

  13. Monteiro,

    I am not a mind reader. It was only a presumption. Leave alone the semantics, he is articulating a point in his own way. I think if you first want to understand him, you will catch the point he is making. The point is, if somebody thinks killing a person belonging to another religion will take him to Paradise, then retaliatory violence is legitimate.

    You cannot prevent the targeted person getting angry, loosing his mind and reacting to the situation. I am not justifying retaliatory violence. If the institutions in our country do their job such situations cannot happen. Retaliatory violence in a godhra-like situation is an extenuating factor. I don’t want the majority community to take that way.

    But those followers of “I am-the-only-God” do not understand what freedom and justice means. It is a fashionable for the apologists of those loonies to put up a facade of secularism and neutrality at the cost of truth and condemn the victims just because they belong to majority community and politically divided. The whole world is against jihadi violence. Just by exaggerating the retaliatory violence the cause can not be addressed.

  14. The point is, if somebody thinks killing a person belonging to another religion will take him to Paradise, then retaliatory violence is legitimate.

    Retaliation against whom? If there was a retaliation against the terrorist(s), you can probably understand that. Here, the retaliation was against innocent people, so the question of legitimacy does not arise. Furthermore, the argument about retaliation is a ridiculous one and it’s one that often leads to vigilante justice or mob violence.

    You cannot prevent the targeted person getting angry, loosing his mind and reacting to the situation. I am not justifying retaliatory violence.

    First sentence -> Justifying a reaction. Second sentence -> Not justfiying violence. Overall effect –> confusing.

  15. Monterio,

    “The point is, if somebody thinks killing a person belonging to another religion will take him to Paradise, then retaliatory violence is legitimate.”

    Whose point it is? Please read again.

    I have been saying that reaction to Godhra is natural however demoniacal it may be particularly when criminal judicial system and political leadership is not able to address terror and there is justification of terrorist acts from secular press. Yes, I have also said that you cannot prevent a targeted person “loosing his mind”. “…the reaction would be like unguided missile”. Am I justifying retaliatory violence by saying all these. When we condemn only retaliation we are not fair. Condemnation of “godhra” and “retaliation”should be equally strong. “Godhra should always be juxtaposed with its aftermath”.

    Where is confusion?

    You say retaliatory violence is “probably understandable” if it is against the terrorists. So, if people take law into their hands and retaliate against the terrorists, is it ok? If the terrorists happens to be not a terrorist , but an innocent person after all..?

    Monterio, I feel if the institutions including media do their duty well and restore their credibility there will be no question of vigilante justice or mob violence.

  16. I have been saying that reaction to Godhra is natural

    While I have been saying that it was not. We’re not three-year-olds to argue “he started it”, so “I did this”. And neither are we living in a lawless society. Last time I checked we are supposed to follow the country’s laws.

    You say retaliatory violence is “probably understandable” if it is against the terrorists.

    Maybe I didn’t explain myself properly there. I mean that if there is a situation where a terrorist is caught in the act and if people react at that point, you can “probably understand” their reaction. And, by reaction, I’m talking about if the people rough the guy up and hand him over to the police, most people would let that go. But there is a line, implicitly understood by most civilized people, that you don’t cross.

    Like if the reaction involves killing people or even committing extra-ordinary acts of violence, then most civilized people would be horrified and rightly so. (Remember the case where a person was beaten up mercilessly by a crowd when he was caught stealing something and the police looked on. Why were we horrified? Because that’s not how things are done in a civilized society. We do have laws and a judicial system in place.)

    So, no, killing people in the name of “reaction” is not okay. Neither is reacting with extreme violence, which is why if people “react” in such ways, they are liable to be prosecuted.

    I feel if the institutions including media do their duty well and restore their credibility there will be no question of vigilante justice or mob violence.

    And who gets to decide if the media or the other institutions are doing their job — you? Also, this argument is again based on the “if so and so did this”, “we wouldn’t have to do that”. Sorry, not buying the repackaged argument.

    If you want to rectify something you have the option of writing letters to newspapers, writing to politicians, going to the courts–there are options available that don’t involve killing people.

  17. Modi must repent, Supreme Court should take suo motu notice file cases under its umbrella. If SC does not act on it, there will be several more muzafarnagar and 1984 killings

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