The pain, shame & gloom….

These thoughts that i had written during the Bombay riots in 1992-93. A lot happened during that time..visions that i still see, events that are vivid. My niece’s wedding was on Dec 6, 1992, when a BJP leader from Pune was ecstatic, “Yes, we did it padli amhi Babri Masjid..” I could feel the chill on my back coz i could envisage the events that would unfold in the next few days. Days? Seems the thread is broken forever..

i will be honest-i had NOT expected riots that would ruin a good community feeling for the rest of our lives…that Bombay was forcibly converted to Mumbai.

My father, sister & I left by train for Bombay the very next day & it was shocking- had to pull down shutters, fm Kalyan people had begun throwing stones at the trains, delays & people rushing wt fear in their eyes when we did reach VT. As we neared Girgaum there was not a soul on the streets..reminded me of the dark window days of Indo-Pak war.

I have a friend-Altaf, who’s name is a give away. So less said the better..it was tough for his family too that was uprooted from their home in Tardeo..life was not the same for all for few months. Years after normal life was restored, the Shaikhs could not put up their name plate! Apart from that being followed, prowlers making anonymous calls at midnight, 1.00am to create rift, threaten me, telling my father ‘keep that girl who goes out indoors…” there was nothing lesser than a war in Kolhatkar household. Where my beliefs, activities were not approved by most…

1.

The air is tensed & the skies rage with hues of fires
Little children, youth & adults are gripped in a mania
Reason, is visibly absent
All perform ‘acts of duty’ with utmost loyalty
For whom? As inexplicable as the acts of violence
Ironic, you see hatred more on faces of those who pulled down the Masjid
Revenge for whom?

They have sent fear down streets of ‘Bombay’
No bearded man or a burqua lady is being spared
Men are forced to pull down their pants
witnesses ensure there’s no one circumcised!
Majority indulgences in thrills to satisfy their sadism
Scared they will be out numbered soon

Is this the triumph of any religion?
Who are these victorious soldiers?
What medals should be conferred on them for merciless murders?
Children have died, women raped & riots on the streets
Arson, shooting and houses destroyed as clouds of smoke blur the horizon
Sounds of swords, bottles and tube lights ring in the air

Are we the same peace-loving Indians? Is this democracy?

2.

‘This is just the beginning,’ warn the hardened Hindus
The quiet tolerance has disappeared
They smirk devising heinous plans
These frenzied have become the voice of majority
But most civilians are mere mute participating in a vicious game plan
Do they realise they are being used?
A chill is sent down our spines as the commissioner orders shooting a baker’s family
While in the suburbs a politician is cleared of carrying arms & explosives

Blame game has begun whilst a gangster has initiated a new terror chapter
A blanket of fear has covered the faces of common people
Bombayites witness one of their worst nightmare
While our government turns a blind eye to all destruction
Gory visuals leave all benumbed, sadly not shamed
The world watches Bombay change from cosmopolitan to communal

3.

The war continues..Now even the middle class has taken to looting, killing & using force
Unfulfilled desires surface, as the rich too grab from the muck
Confusion surrounds the goals & motive for rioting, people look dressed for some Halloween
Except no sweets are asked at the door, they break-in to spread terror

Anger, pain, and isolation have embraced the scary souls
Haunting memories make them shiver
Lights are out in mohallas where all whisper in fear
Nameplates are missing from doors & many tip toe towards nearest city exits

The homeless huddle in clusters & cries of children echo across the over-crowded stations
Platforms have disappeared under sea of humanity, all look in stunned silence
Only heads are visible-caps or burquas, many have still retained their lost identity
For many the journey of migration to safety has begun, destination still unknown

4.

Are these crackers heralding a New Year or gunshots & blasts?
Shimmering sparkle have set the streets on fire
The epidemic of religious frenzy has spread wildly
Humanity has been thrown in a whirlpool of pain
Most have been uprooted, is this a war?

The markets are closed & goods vanished
Only ashes remain on the ground
Hunger is the last worry on their minds
Fathers are prevented from going to work,
Police arrest thousands from only one community

Leaders cry for strong action but the administration fails to deliver
Is this the city I was born in?
Everyone seems to have joined hands to claim their share of ‘power’
These are plain chess moves & the reins in the hands of conspirator
Madness continues as even noble attempts to restore peace seem superficial

The culprits are at bay, but rest live in a world of suspicion, hostility & revenge
All have been used & abused, but the conspirators sleep well
The crack is now evident, they have succeeded in dividing us
All we can now do is plaster & paint,
But we will never be able to hide our shame

5.

My journey on the BEST began being seated on the last row
My serenity was broken suddenly by loud sounds of laughs and loose talks
The hooligans rushed to squeeze next to me What was the excitement?

After many days this travel was possible
The bus was full as my eyes searched for rescue from the taunts & jibes
Ahead sat a lonely man isolated from the rest
His beard was a give away, my saviour was right there!
He among the few had still not shed their respect

his fa� ‘ o����s uprooted from their home in Tardeo..life was not the same for all for few months. Years after normal life was restored, the Shaikhs could not put up their name plate! These are my thoughts…

1.

The air is tensed & the skies rage with hues of fires
Little children, youth & adults are gripped in a mania
Reason, is visibly absent
All perform ‘acts of duty’ with utmost loyalty
For whom? As inexplicable as the acts of violence
Ironic, you see hatred more on faces of those who pulled down the Masjid
Revenge is for those who saw their place of worship crumble

They have sent fear down streets of ‘Bombay’
No bearded man or a burqua lady is being spared
Men are forced to pull down their pants
witnesses ensure there’s no one circumcised!
Majority indulgences in thrills to satisfy their sadism
Scared they will be out numbered soon

Is this the triumph of any religion?
Who are these victorious soldiers?
What medals should be conferred on them for merciless muders?
Children have died, women raped & riots on the streets
Arson, shooting and houses destroyed as clouds of smoke blur the horizon
Sounds of swords, bottles and tube lights ring in the air

Are we the same peace-loving Indians? Is this democracy?

2.

‘This is just the beginning,’ warn the hardened Hindus
The quiet tolerance has disappeared
They smirk devising heinous plans
These frenzied have become the voice of majority
But most civilians are mere mute participating in a vicious game plan
Do they realise they are being used?
A chill is sent down our spines as the commissioner orders shooting a baker’s family
While in the suburbs a politician is cleared of carrying arms & explosives

Blame game has begun whilst a gangster has initiated a new terror chapter
A blanket of fear has covered the faces of common people
Bombayites witness one of their worst nightmare
While our government turns a blind eye to all destruction
Gory visuals leave all benumbed, sadly not shamed
The world watches Bombay change from cosmopolitan to communal

3.

The war continues..Now even the middle class has taken to looting, killing & force
Unfulfilled desires surface, as the rich too grab from the muck
Confusion surrounds the goals & motive for rioting, people look dressed for some haloween
Except no sweets are asked at the door, they break-in to spread terror

Anger, pain, and isolation have embraced the scary souls
Haunting memories make them shiver
Lights are out in mohallas where all whisper in fear
Nameplates are missing from doors & many tip toe towards nearest city exits

The homeless huddle in clusters & cries of children echo the over crowded stations
Platforms have disappeared under sea of humanity, all look in stunned silence
Only heads are visible-caps or burquas many have still retained their lost identity
For many the journey of migration to safety has begun, destination still unknown

4.

Are these crackers heralding a New Year or gunshots & blasts?
Shimmering sparkle have set the streets on fire
The epidemic of religious frenzy has spread wildly
Humanity has been thrown in a whirlpool of pain
Most have been uprooted, is this a war?

The markets are closed & goods vanished
Only ashes remain on the ground
Hunger is the last worry on their minds
Fathers are prevented from going to work,
Police arrest thousands from only one community

Leaders cry for strong action but the administration fails to deliver
Is this the city I was born in?
Everyone seems to have joined hands to claim their share of ‘power’
These are plain chess moves & the reigns in the hands of conspirator
Madness continues as even noble attempts to restore peace seem superficial

The culprits are at bay, but rest live in a world of suspicion, hostility & revenge
All have been used & abused, but the conspirators sleep well
The crack is now evident, they have succeeded in dividing us
All we can now do is plaster & paint,
But we will never be able to hide our shame

5.

My journey on the BEST began being seated on the last row
My serenity was broken suddenly by loud sounds of laughs and loose talks
The hooligans rushed to squeeze next to me What was the excitement?

After many days this travel was possible
The bus was full as my eyes searched for rescue from the taunts & jibes
Ahead sat a lonely man isolated from the rest
His beard was a give away, my saviour was right there!
He like few had still not shed their respect.

Politics of riots

August 11, Saturday was the date fixed by several Muslim organizations to join the call to protest the killings of Muslims in Assam riots & Myanmar. Raza Academy and SamajWadi Party Legislator Abu Asim Azmi gave the call for protest. The venue was Azad Maidan, the only place for protests as issued by the Bombay High Court.

Obviously like all politically backed protests, this too entailed filling trains, buses, truckloads of Muslims from every nook and corner. None of this being wrong, because that is how a success of any political rally is determined. And mind you has been done, whether it be Balasaheb Thackeray rally, a Sonia Gandhi rally or in support of Muslims. Hence the call to join the protest was given long before.

We journalists were already aware that messages were doing rounds for nearly eight days before the rally. These smsz were doing rounds and were forwarded by one and all. Obviously if the journalists and ‘khabris,’ or police informers had got them, the police and home department wouldn’t have missed it.

We are all being watched, is something a top police officer had told me eight years ago. “With every new development in our technology, tapping, tracking will only get easier,” were his words. Obviously when sending out messages like telling people they want justice for Muslims attacked would be tracked, is our basic presumption, in case for some odd reason our Mumbai police, slated to be second only to the Scotland Yard would be told by khabris. Moreover the khabris from media would surely have forwarded these messages to the Home Minister and many a police officer.

We were expecting heavy police plus additional security deployment and presence. With each passing day information coming in was the rally would be getting immense response. Meanwhile there was a video doing rounds, which was circulated among the youth especially. It was a video showing the alleged atrocities of Muslims. This video was incriminating, we journalists exchanged information on it. This information we got much later post-riots. But surely those who were close to the organizers knew the video doing rounds.

Meanwhile many developments had taken place in our Parliament and outside. The Prime Minister visited the riot-affected areas and so did Congress High Command, Sonia Gandhi. Across the border, Pakistani newspapers reported that the alleged atrocities inflicted on Muslims in Myanmar were not erroneously reportedly. However the protest was finalized. Meanwhile, there was a lot of hue and cry on twitter, newspapers alleging that the television channels had IGNORED covering Assam riots and killings of Muslims. There was a simmering anger against the television news channels.

On the other hand, NCP had issued ultimatums to Congress on many issues and as an ally of UPA at the centre and DF govt in Maharashtra was upset. The NCP president was said to have tendered his resignation and had refused to be part of the UPA2 government. NCP holds key portfolios in Maharashtra, which includes the home ministry. The tussle between NCP and Congress is constant, part of their co-existence that each party can’t live with the other peacefully and can’t live with the other.

So while the protest was being seen closely, the Home Minister didn’t give orders to the police officials to preventive measures, make arrests before the rally or deploy additional force. The protest was obviously against Congress, for the lop sided policies, a criticism that NCP didn’t have to brave.

On Saturday morning itself people had begun coming to Azad Maidan. By afternoon crowds in hordes began taking different modes of transport to gather at Azad Maidan. In fact, interestingly, after Kasab’s terror attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008 Mumbai city had seen more security measures being taken, especially at our railway stations. So one would’ve thought that these security measures would have been tightened on the day of protest. Sadly, that was not to be.

By the time the rally began, inside the venue speeches were made and a memorandum was drawn-up to be signed by all Muslim organizations for certain measures to be taken to avert such violent incidents in future. This is the irony.

When the leader a senior Maulana gave his speech and came out of the venue, the television news reporters asked him to speak what transpired inside Azad Maidan, as media was not allowed to enter or cover it. The reporters there obviously were under pressure to report the details and all channels had deployed their OB vans

The rally was given more coverage by the regional channels. As the reporters began demanding some reaction, few youth around the Maulana got angered. They pointedly told the media to mind their own business and if they were so concerned about what was said inside, they should have been more concerned about the Muslims dead in Assam. The youth implored the media for their lack of initiative in reporting the Assam riots. It was a heated conversation, with media obviously being outnumbered. As the argument got more heated, some youth headed towards the OB vans and torched them. 3 channels incurred a huge loss as their vans were torched.

Immediately after that some of the youth present had also been carrying weapons. Meanwhile the police on duty were helpless and equally at risk like the media. The angry mob targeted the media and police. The police obviously had to take some stern steps. The fact is there wasn’t any fire brigade, in case they needed to throw water on the protestors, no tear gas at that time. The police seemed under-prepared and lesser equipped to deal with the riot-like situation. The word of torching reached across the city; soon some of protestors resorted to violent means and pelted stones at the media and police.

Meanwhile the media persons on duty obviously were at risk but fulfilled their responsibility of extensive coverage. They were helpless, attacked now from both sides, the mob and police. By then the situation had reached a peak. The legislator Azmi even defended this anger, along with Raza Academy, whose leaders that seemed to have vanished from the spot.

Meanwhile a minister from the DF government too had supported this rally and this included instructions that no protestor shall be touched. But as the situation got out of hand, the state government was caught off-guard and more over came across as spineless. The violence was condemned by all. Suddenly the police commissioner, home minister, other ministers and importantly the chief minister swung into last minute cover-up action. Extra rapid action force, riot-combat force were rushed and within 40 minutes the situation was brought under control. By then over 40 were injured, 3 reported dead and extensive loss of property. OB vans worth lakhs of rupees torched and many a BEST buses damaged.

Moreover the saddest was that few politicians tried to hold the city to ransom for petty political gimmicks. Now while Raza Academy, Abu Azmi and the DF government needs to be accountable for their complete failure to tackle this protest, the fact is time and again EVERY political party has reaped benefits in a riot.

Beginning with 1984, Congress failed to protect the Sikhs after the assassination of former PM, Indira Gandhi. Many a riot thereafter, which we can remember, coming to the 1992. Deliberate pogroms that were instigated against the Muslims after the December 6, 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid. Even resorting to taking help of the underworld elements was reported in then Bombay. The Sena –BJP was responsible for them. Again later few times riots were reported. A deliberate instigation by certain politicians of all political parties has been the usual ploy to create a rift in an already vulnerable society.

Petty politics in the fragile alliances have dictated thought and action, rather than wisdom or caution. A Congress minister who wanted to show his domination over the city demanding no obvious police presence as a deterrent also speaks poorly of the Home minister and his party, the NCP. This is lowest politics in Maharashtra has reached. It is time the government becomes accountable. They have promised an inquiry, but we read reports of how the commissioner of police pulled up a ACP for making arrests after the riots. The complete lack of administrative response to a festering situation is seen and obvious question was this decisively allowed by the government, police and politicians concerned?

After the 26/11 attacks at CST, security scanners are put in place. There are CCTV cameras and the station is being monitored. According to reports, the cctv camera footage shows that some youth were seen carrying petrol cans, some others seen carrying weapons. Now common sense dictates that those monitoring this camera footage have some sense of security.

There must be a mechanism and steps to be followed if any breach of security is seen. What are these steps? Were they followed? Were any calls for help, security cover made by anyone from the control room to RPF, police or even to Azad Maidan police station? If not, why? Were the scanners working? Why did they not give out beeper sounds if weapons were carried through? There are police constables near these scanners, did they force open bags, identify the weapon carriers and take them aside? Was anyone questioned? There is only one answer for all above question a NO.

The biggest flaw, which is why it makes me believe this politicization of a fragile situation was deliberate, is because NO preventive action was taken. The smsz were NOT tracked, the source still isn’t known. Who circulate them, why no preventive arrests were made? Why wasn’t Azmi’s movements restricted? Why was Raza Academy people not taken for questioning? Pathetic collapse of administration and policing resulted in more police getting injured. The complete lackadaisical approach only reiterates that the whole incident wreaks of political conspiracy.

I do hope the investigations are conducted honestly and those responsible for this riot are put behind bars. This politicization of sentiments has aided in polarizing a community that already has faced immense atrocities in this city and country.

Time and again playing on religious sentiments, the ramifications are such that we will see them spurt at different times across the country. Moreover the complete distrust people have in the politicians can only lead to more chaos, as the greed for appeasing for vote banks has long cost this nation a lot.

http://blogs.halabol.com/2012/08/17/politics-riots

A different story of the Gujarat riots

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the  burning of Godhra express & the horrifying riots in Gujarat. This is a real-life incident that now needs to be told, that which can instill faith & hope…that a young Muslim boy’s determination to live made others want to help him live.

In 2002, I was comfortably placed in the Times of India, in fact was making all plans to go on US Ambassador’s exchange programme. Seems too long back to remember, yet I think this is one story that now needs to be told. Because I owe it to the one friend who is no more in the midst of us -Ajay Chaudhary.

One late evening my colleague Gita Rajan asked me if she could talk to me. We were rivals yet there were certain core points that each independently had. She needed some help & that was to do with law authorities she said. She had a cousin inGujaratstudying engineering & his friend had called him in panic the previous night. The male cousin had NO clue how to deal with this issue & since G was in the media-though she handled features only, he had given her a SOS…it was urgent.

The colleague in G’s cousin class was a young Muslim boy, he lived in a village which obviously was Muslim dominated & they had been told that a mob of Hindus was on its way to attack their village. The boy was courageous, more so young, wanted to live his life not cut it short because some loony, violent people thought so. He had run a long distance to a STD booth & called his friend. “I want to live, I don’t want to die, please help.” G’s cousin had repeated the words verbatim. G asked if I could help. “You’re the only one I know who has the contacts, please see if you can do something.” G had said.

The boy’s honesty & his absolute will to live had moved me, but I lived in Mumbai. The first call I placed was to my BJP politician, friend. I called him few times & dropped an SMS. NO response. I was really agitated, “but this is something you should have expected,” was what I told myself.

I told another friend, who told me “it would tough Neeta to do anything.”  Then I remembered one person who was my senior & a dear friend. Ajayda as he was popularly know, Ajay Chaudhary, was the senior journalist I called. He continued to work with Aaj Tak although some of us had quite long since then. We would keep in touch & many said he was right-wing ideology person. So what? For me it did not matter, what was important was that person was my friend. I called & told him & gave all details.

It so happened, G’s cousin was given my number & I got his, however he said his Muslim friend would call me, but I couldn’t call him. The boy call me few times… I was ok with it, but I needed to give some number to Ajay & we had G’s cousin who ensured he communicated with Ajay. Ajay asked me to give him the details & any contact number. I didn’t know what happened thereafter. Though I asked G a couple of times. She said she hadn’t heard & would ask her cousin.

Later the BJP friend called & asked what it was, I was slightly miffed & said its ok wanted some police help, he was like, “My cell was in the car & I saw it late….” An old excuse. It however stayed in my mind always, that when needed this ‘connected’ politician wouldn’t help. And could I hold it against him, because the riots inGujaratwere result of his party’s devious plans.

It kept eating my mind was the boy saved? It was a fervent plea to want to live…I only hoped it had happened. One evening G came smiling & said aloud, “Neeta, you’re a real life hero in the village..” I was shocked, and asked her what was she saying? G’s cousin had called to tell her that she should thank me because not only the boy but the village was saved. Her cousin was happy & relieved his friend was saved, the friend because his wish was fulfilled. I told G it wasn’t me, I must find out from Ajay what he did, because he needs to be thanked.

I called Ajay & asked him to tell all, he was initially evasive. He was happy to know the boy was safe & his village was saved. I persisted & asked him what had he done. Congratulated him & he was like, “Neeta you’re a friend, you called asking for help & I will never refuse. That is enough i did what was required.” For me that was important, but I asked him not to downplay his role. Ajay was always the low-profile sorts, who would not flaunt his credentials. So when I finally said he deserves the accolades I was ONLY the messenger & as a friend he needs to tell me, then Ajay said he had called the BSF & asked them to send one unit to the village. He had taken all details from the cousin of G. He also was immensely moved by the Muslim boy’s plea to want to live.

I told him he will always be the real hero. He said the next time we’d meet I owed him a treat to some good food-something we enjoyed, eating . That never was to be, because Ajay died in a terrible accident driving back toDelhi. I don’t know why for 10 years I didn’t write about this. I don’t keep diaries, but in the media planner of 2002, I had jotted the name of G’s cousin. When i’d discussed with Ajay later he said such things will always test us commitment to our profession & that we fulfill was more important. However, I owe this to Ajay but moreover I owe to his amazing & strong wife Rupa, and to his grown-up son who should know his father was a real-life hero. He saved lives of villagers with his good deed.

This is the 10th anniversary, I do hope the Muslim boy who now must be a fine man will remember that there was someone who heard his plea to live & that he hopefully will carry forward this good deed in his life. Hope this spirit will instill in all, the faith & belief that otherwise has been eroded in those riots. Today, Ajay is no more, G is inDubai, working with Khaleej Times…..The horrifying stories of riots should not be erased, but this story too should never be erased-what I do know is that the Muslim boy’s sheer will to live & courage to call to tell he doesn’t want to die, will always be remembered, as much as Ajay’s faith in my call for help, more importantly, Ajay’s timely help that saved an entire village. Just as a fine thread of society is broken with heinous acts perpetuated, this incident has left deep impression on my mind. There is hope..there is faith..there are good people always…thanks ajay.

A Sadbhavna to wash away the blot of riots

This is a shocking poster I saw…shocking because the image of a secular, founder of our constitution, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s image being put next to Narendra Modi’s was far too shocking for me…self promotion was the mantra of the 3 days Sadbhavna…an attempt to wash away the blood of riots from his hands…

I was on the 3 days visit to Gujarat for official coverage of Sadbhavna anshan of CM Narendra Modi & Satyagraha fast by ShankarSingh Waghela. This was my first trip to Guj since post-riots. Was I floored? No. Though I did think BRTS works well for Ahmedabad. I saw changes & did think the changes are good for that city. Considering there was no development, these changes have made people in Gujarat fans of Modi. I don’t think Modi can white wash his sins & blood on his hands by now focusing on development.

Development is the new magic mantra. Journalists & many so-called learned senselessly harp on how Modi’s govt is non-corrupt, works fast, take decisions fast. They compare Maharashtra to Gujarat & how that state is a lesson for us all to learn. He has made Guj load-shedding free. Sure that is good, but that’s NOTHING to do Maharashtra’s load-shedding issues. Our governments, including Sena-BJP have been complacent, moreover public that has been even more indifferent- for not holding govt accountable.  Why are we buying power from other states at v expensive price, why not even 1 Megawatt has been generated in over 10 yrs by this state? This is about lack of political will & complacency, from a power-excess state to power hungry one. Guj was simply powerless…so obviously any progress thereafter will be considered as fantastic.

Some facts that bureaucrats, journalists & people told me – Modi has blanket order –“Don’t Speak to the media.” No one from his ministry will speak like they do here in Maha. If they do speak out of turn, god forbid, they will need help. Babus can’t give paper,s documents, leak information to the media or opposition. Modi has RSS youth deployed across the gally, by lanes of every city & villages. Like the village where Modi’s 2-hour old bride lives. Yes, they were married for 2 hours & thereafter Modi just pursued his ambitions.

Modi also has a strategy, he snoops on private conversations in his state. He has got dozens of kids who he has ‘hired.’ These kids are equipped well, with latest cell phones, lap tops, gadgets by which they communicate with him ‘directly.’ There is NO person in between. They are Modi’s eyes & ears. So you won’t find people talking anything against this man. Most look like they hero-worship him, and women & girls of all age groups look like they have got orgasm seeing him…they think he is saviour. Sure.

There are few voices of dissent, but so low & hushed whispers, you actually feel bad for them. They are NOT Muslims, but Gujaratis, who have witnessed too closely Modi’s heinous unleashing of terror & violence on the streets of Gujarat, which was state managed & controlled by him. They have suffered, have been helpless & till today these voices will not speak up. Remember true stories will never be heard….

I am always grateful to be born & working in Maharashtra, a state that may lag in development graph right now. The reason I have hope, since people can protest & fight for rights-farmers in Raigadh gave a vote & they rejected the SEZ. Even though it may take its toll on the economy & development, they have a say in the democracy & this right the state still upholds. The state is leading where scholarships for Minorities is concerned. This is state is a pioneer in social uprisings & movements & we are seeing impact. Yes, the likes of famous Anna too are allowed to nurture here. Maharashtra despite the riots & bomb blasts has a positive secular life.

I don’t think the 10 years ago history of Gujarat should & can be forgotten. 2 entrepreneurs, X a Hindu & Y a Muslim. They were successful, had leading brand names & designer collections in their store. One fine day Y was attacked by rioters. All Hindus. The post-Godhra riots had broken out & both the entrepreneurs ensured that right at the beginning, all workers were  sent away to their homeland. While Y was attacked, X used all contacts & family influence to save the partner. X was categorically told by the top cops, they have been asked NOT to help a single Muslim. Y was badly injured, would have died, had the 3 persons who knew X not risked their lives to save Y.

These 3 individuals will remain silent heroes/heroines. They don’t want to ever speak of this, as they fear the consequences even today. The 3 are Hindus but prefer to be forgotten today. The story doesn’t end here. Y couldn’t get medical treatment, since doctors & medical professionals were told they will not attend to any Muslim or given any sort of medical treatment. Doctors oath trashed, is it?

Meanwhile, citizens realised the attackers had pages of lists of names. People of which religion & caste, with their addresses printed on these sheets which they held onto. They went from mohalla to catch the ‘musalmans.’ People saw  it that the govt supported those went on a rampage.

The incident uprooted their lives completely. The partnership of X & Y ended for all reasons. Meanwhile X’s family would get calls from govt/cops/officials demanding the papers be shown to prove X is now the sole owner of that business. These ‘official’ calls weren’t just once, but a weekly drill. Till the person is mentally fatigued to say or compelled to spill something wrong. The partners had to shut shop. 1 went abroad & the other, Y learnt to get lost in the compelling circumstances. But all have to return to reality.  People have now got used to living with their demons. Both living separate lives with no business deals & piecing together individual life, yet again.

Today these 2 & others have learnt that the informers are around. They say the youth eves drop & listen to private conversations. Citizens’ phones are tapped & opponents of Modi are tormented. Excise officials, sales tax officials, home dept make enquiries & people are plagued with issues that compel them to battle for small things in their lives.

One such is a Muslim rich businessman. He & his brother’s business was attacked, they were harassed business was made to shut down for few months & suffered physical, mental & financial losses. The family are fighting till date. Except now, they have given up on some battles. M had filed petitions against the Guj govt & miscreants, who attacked him & his family & tried to destroy their business. He hired the best of lawyers & has spent upto rs 3 cr on legal fees.

In the interim between court hearings, he resurrected his business & over a period of time realised he is battling on many fronts. Permissions, lincences, taxes, inflation, fuel price increase, impact of all this on business & family issues and court hearings. Now he has finally reached a conclusion of giving up on the court cases. He says he realises he has been fighting just too many battles & when he had prioritise, he reached a conclusion of sticking to his conscience, and gave up on fighting the legal cases. He correctly told me he didn’t want to get isolated. Why should his family suffer because of his fight for justice. “Is there justice? And what will I get at the cost of what?”

Today M has disappeared in the crowd of a mass…M concentrates on his family, business & keeps low profile. He has a lot of stories to tell, wants to talk, but still fears repercussions. He isn’t bothered about it on individual, but now he has a family & would rather let his story die with him.

These are just some of the many persons I met. 1 man spoke of Modi’s qualities & when asked what according to him was his CM’s biggest flaw, “He doesn’t listen to anyone.” Modi is ambitious & it is evident from how he conducted a 7-star mockery of a fast. In this very land was born Bapu, Gandhiji. While Anna went on his countless fasts unto death (Anna has out-scored), Modi on all fronts. Modi wooed & paid Bhaiyyu maharaj a bomb to get him to share the platform. A CM who has set his eyes on becoming a PM. That he is undeserving, I’m NOT the only one saying.

His total disregard for seniors, leaders other himself, arrogance & tremendous along with being vicious & vindictive (which BJP leaders bitch behind him), won’t at all get him to his destination. Hitler had similar qualities, so did many a megalomaniac ruler. His immense hatred for the Muslims was evident from the fact he returned the minority scholarship. More over in his speech, which fortunately was aired live by all channels & witnessed by the whole nation, when Modi he spoke about Muslims, was sad…it was pathetic…”Aur woh Musalman…(biting his teeth), followed by a pause…” that a few Muslims in the auditorium spoke in hushed whispers, “Kitni nafrat karta hai who hum se….”

I’m glad I’m in a state where the CM has to brief the media every week & tell the public what decisions were taken in the cabinet. Whether the ministers like it or not are analysed, dissected & compelled to talk. Where the citizens’ rights are upheld & they can go to courts, which are reasonably balanced & pull up the erring govt. Development as a process where the weakest voice is heard. Yes there is ghettoisation in Maharashtratoo, but at least the stories are being told….a true picture is told & a justice BN Srikrishna could put the SS-BJP govt in dock & made them answerable…here in Gujarat the CM desperately tries to wash away his sins