Several people- unable to understand the sufferings of the Hindu society- have asked- “Why did riots occur only after Godhra? Why was nobody targeted after the Akshardham temple attack- or after the attacks on Mumbai on 26 November 2008?”
Well- the answers are many. The terrorist attacks in many parts of India- such as Mumbai, Jammu, New Delhi etc are done by terrorists- and they are acts of terrorism. Whereas Godhra was not terrorism- but communalism and barbarism. Terrorism is momentary. One bullet hits- and after a momentary pain- the tragic loss of human life occurs. But in Godhra- it was not that. The pain was not momentary. It was the brutal roasting of 59 people-whose bodies were charred to death beyond recognition.
The attackers also differed. Terrorists are people who are considered to have no religion. Those who attacked the Akshardham temple were called ‘terrorists’ by the media-and rightly so. 2 foreign terrorists killed more than 30 people in the attack. It was not done by local Muslims. Nobody said in the media-“Muslims kill 30 Hindus in Akshardham”. It was said- “Terrorists attack the Akshardham temple”. Had the Indian media- the TV channels in particular and the non-BJP politicians who came on TV on 27 February 2002 called the incident as a ‘human tragedy’ and reacted exactly like they did after terrorist attacks in Mumbai or Akshardham-maybe the riots which occurred could have been avoided.
Godhra was done by local Muslims-not by terrorists trained in terrorist training camps. They were not armed with AK 47 rifles- but simply used petrol bombs, acid bombs and swords. Also- the mob in Godhra numbered well over 1,000-and as per the report of Tewadia Committee –the mob was 2,000 in strength. Since only 35 people were arrested for the attack on February 27- as reported by various English newspapers the next day- it was found to be grossly inadequate by the masses. M. M. Singh-one of the finest police officers Gujarat has ever produced- also said that the police should have cordoned off the area in Godhra after the massacre-this in his opinion-would have pacified Hindu sentiments to some extent at the very outset.
Since it was done by local Muslims and most of the culprits went scot-free and the media kept insulting the dead karsevaks and condemning the VHP and the Sangh Parivar –the angered masses exploded in Ahmedabad on February 28. What was most shocking about this massacre was that not a single person was allowed to escape from the train by the 2,000 attackers. The 2,000 fanatics surrounded the train from both sides-poured petrol- set on fire the train.
“After pelting stones they started pouring kerosene in our compartments and set them afire. Only a few of us managed to come out of the broken windows. The adults and the old people were stuck inside. The old women were pleading, ‘don’t kill us’ but they just didn’t listen,” says Gayatri Panchal (16), who says 3-4 people ran after her as soon as she jumped off the train.
(The Indian Express, 28 February 2002)
Sixty-five-year-old Devika Luhana was trembling with anger as she alighted from the ill-fated train. “It was vandalism at its worst. They did not even spare old people like me and pelted stones indiscriminately. They will all go to hell for this act of malice,” said Devika, who could not even retrieve her bag as she ran for her life.
“They stormed inside the women’s bogey, and before we could react they set the entire bogie on fire. Some of us managed to escape, but a number of our sisters got trapped… it was horrifying,” said Hetal Patel, a member of Durga Vahini.
Terror still haunts 13-year-old Gyanprakash as he bursts into tears from time to time. “I cannot forget the sight of people burning in front of me,” he says while recuperating at the Ahmedabad city hospital.
Gyanprakash was on the S2 coach of the Sabarmati Express when it was set ablaze in Godhra on Wednesday. His family was returning to Ahmedabad after attending a relative’s funeral. They had boarded the train at Kanpur. Gyanprakash recalls the horror: “The train had just left Godhra but stopped a little way away from the station. Suddenly, stones were being thrown at the train. The pelting continued for almost an hour. Then something was hurled into our coach and there was smoke everywhere.
“It was so suffocating I could hardly breathe. I heard my father telling me to get off the train. I went to the door but saw that people trying to get off were being stabbed. I went to the other side and jumped off.”
(Mid-day, 6 March, 2002)
That is-old women were pleading- “Don’t kill us” but the attackers did not spare anyone- neither children-nor old people- and certainly not the women. Most horrific was the attackers act of not allowing anyone to escape- and watching with their eyes- 59 Hindus roasting to death- crying with pain-pleading for mercy. Had the 2,000 attackers shot dead these 59 people with bullets- it would not have been so horrific. Had they set afire the train-and ran away- it would not have angered the masses so much. But these attackers were indescribable barbarians. They watched- pushed back into fire the victims-including 15 children- and roasted to death in a horrific manner 59 Hindus returning from Godhra.
To know why the masses retaliated- look at the photos of the victims. These pictures were shown on TV channels on Feb 27-and in Gujarati dailies the next day.
WARNING: Gruesome pictures.
Anyone who understands human sufferings- will realize the cause of the retaliation in Gujarat after looking at these pictures. However- our politicians and pseudo-secular media people are blind to Hindu suffering. But for some people Hindus in general-and VHP supporters in particular- are not even considered human beings. Vir Sanghvi says in his earlier quoted article-“Why have we dehumanized these karsevaks to the extent that we don’t even see the incident as the human tragedy which it undoubtedly was…”