III. HATE SPEECH

Mainstream Gujarati Newspapers and Local Television Channels played a role unbefitting of the Journalistic Profession, fanning hatred and inciting violence.

The Editor’s Guild Report, Rights and Wrongs, 2002 documents in detail how the ‘Fuse was Lit” by the Media. No Punitive Measures Against the Publications have resulted.

Editors Guild Report, 2002

Chief Minister of Gujarat

A number of attempts have been made by the Chief Minister and his coterie to distant him from the comment wherein he stated that “Every action has a reaction”. The CM claimed he never made the remarks nor did he give any interview to the correspondent that quoted the same.

But a transcript of the interview that the CM gave, wherein he clearly stated the above in reference to the attack of slain Congress M.P. Eshan Jafri unmistakably confirms that the CM made the remark.  

An excerpt of the interview with Chief Minister, Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar on March 1 2002, by Zee TV Correspondent Sudhir Choudhury is as follows:

 The Correspondent begins by asking Mr Modi about the Chamanpura massacre in which former Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri was killed along with others. The Chief Minister referred to reports that Jafri had first fired at the violent mob which infuriated the crowd further. They stormed the Housing Society and set it on fire.  

His exact quote is: “Kriya pratikriya ki chain chal rahi hai. Hum chahate hain ki na kriya ho aur na pratikriya”. 

He refers to Jafri’s firing as “action” and the massacre that followed as “reaction”.

(Source: “Rights and Wrongs” Ordeal by Fire in the Killing Fields of Gujarat: Editors Guild Fact Finding Mission Report- New Delhi, May 3, 2002)

Editors Guild Report, 2002

After a number of media reports on Narendra Modi’s inflammatory speeches against the minorities, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) asked the Gujarat home department on September 10, 2002, for a copy of the speech made by the CM at Becharaji, a temple town in Mehsana. Attempting to block such information, the Gujarat government claimed that it had been unable to trace a copy of the speech.

The state home department ensured that its stooge DGP, K. Chakravarti, endorsed the fact 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 of the NCM. He obtained a copy of the speech and forwarded it to the commission soon after. This proved to be a costly move for him. Sreekumar was immediately transferred out of the intelligence department to a relatively insignificant post.

In his speech of September 9, 2002, an unapologetic Modi makes several disparaging remarks about the minorities and offers indirect justification for the anti-Muslim violence. He further ridiculed the plight of the refugees and victims of the violence who still lived in relief camps.

The excerpts from the speech are as follows:

“…….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.”

“Tongue of Flame” by Teesta Setalvad in Communalism Combat: June, 2009 which outlines Modi’s inflammatory speeches demonising the Muslims before, during and after the communal violence in Gujarat can be accessed at http://www.sabrang.com/cc/archive/2009/may09/cover5.html