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The real whitewashing – how the crime of burning 59 Hindus alive was covered up

This morning, the following tweet by an assumed journalist of the New York Times, who is the newspaper’s South Asia bureau chief based out of New Delhi, caught my attention:

NYT journalist tweets about Gujarat 2002
Update: The above tweet, originally posted in the morning of Saturday, was deleted a few hours after this article was published.

She terms a correction in the textbooks as “disturbing whitewashing”. And calls Gujarat riots of 2002 the worst communal riots since Independence.

Perhaps the foreign correspondent, who most certainly is fed information about India only by the ‘liberal’ Lutyens journalists of India, is not aware of  the Godhra carnage of Feb 27, 2002. She could be reminded of this if she talked to the unwashed masses, but that will be so uncool. But let me remind her that Godhra is part of Gujarat and that Gujarat riots started on an anti-Hindu note, so that change in textbooks is correction not whitewashing.

If she really wishes to educate herself about what constitutes a “disturbing whitewashing”, she should read about victims of Godhra carnage. But as we will discover later, she does not need to, for she is part of this disturbing whitewashing.

In case you too have forgotten, 59 Hindus were burnt alive in a single incident of Gujarat 2002 riots. You know, those stepchildren of Indian history. Even if you are guilty of the crime of being aware of this gory anti-Hindu massacre, perhaps you are not aware of how the ‘disturbing whitewashing’ of this crime happened.

Do you remember how the left-liberal complex tried to implicate the victims of the Godhra carnage in their own murders?

Outlook story
click on the image for larger view

This was published in the Outlook. It’s supposed to be a “Report to the Nation” by an “independent fact finding mission”.

As many as 59 human beings perished in the fire on that fateful day in February 2002. The left-liberal complex did not hesitate to spread rumors about these unfortunate victims. Some said they didn’t pay for tea, some said they had pulled a Muslim man’s beard, some even spread rumors that they were assaulting women.

59 human beings are burned to death and the liberal “fact finding mission” reports that some of them may have unpaid debts of Rs 5. Just FIVE rupees.

In the eyes of a liberal, that’s how cheap human life, nay, a Hindu’s life can get. You must be familiar with the name of a JNU Professor called Kamal Mitra Chenoy; he was one of the members of this “independent fact finding mission”, who now appears in TV debates and newspaper columns giving lectures on equality and justice.

Some of the lies spread about the victims were even more fantastic in nature, appearing to defy even physical notions of time and space. Here is Arundhati Roy explaining that the kar sevaks in 2002 were on their way back from demolishing the Babri Masjid in 1992!


Anything… absolutely anything to tarnish the unfortunate victims.

No liberal went to interview the family members of the Godhra victims. No liberal “fact finding mission” wanted to know who these people were and what were their hopes, dreams and aspirations that were burned inside the S-6 coach on Feb 27, 2002. Did anyone want to tell their stories and know them as fathers, daughters, mothers and husbands?

You know Bilkis Bano, you know Zakia Jafri, you know Zahira Shaikh, you know Qutubuddin Ansari, you know many more such names from Gujarat 2002. Do you know the name of a single person who was burnt alive in Godhra? They are forgotten. They are reduced to numbers. Heck, they are reduced to criminals who deserved this punishment.

The dignity and courtesy that is denied to the victims of Godhra is ‘liberally’ extended to Kashmiri stone pelters shot by security forces, Lashkar operatives like Ishrat Jahan, dreaded criminals like Sohrabuddin, and shockingly even Osama bin Laden!

The inconvenient victims of Godhra were supposed to be lumped into a corner and forgotten. Almost literally, because there was even a lot of liberal heartburn over an allegation that some of the dead bodies had been displayed in Ahmedabad. I don’t know if this actually happened, but so what if it did? Why is it so important to liberals that these victims be denied their one last chance to rock the conscience of the nation? Will the liberals who later took selfies outside Akhlaque’s house in Dadri let me know?

Then 2004 happened. Under UPA rule began one of the most shameful chapters of Indian history, where the government got actively involved in the effort to deny justice to the victims of Godhra. Then Railway minister Lalu Yadav created a special “U C Banerjee Committee” to “investigate” the Godhra incident, the result of which was a foregone conclusion.

the cover up
click on the image for larger view

The last bits of humanity and decency were shredded when Lalu Yadav went ahead and waved copies of the Banerjee panel report at his election rallies in Bihar:

Hindus live don't matter
click on the image for larger view

There was no uproar in the liberal press at this attempt to deny justice to Godhra carnage victims. No intellectual returned any award. Perhaps they were waiting for BJP to come back to power to show their spirit of “dissent”. No eminent persons signed any open letters. Perhaps they were saving their energies to lobby for leniency to Yakub Memon years later.

And I can say with confidence that the U C Banerjee panel was malafide. I have the words of the Honorable Gujarat High Court to back me up. Yes, not only did the High Court find the Banerjee panel to be illegal, but it also said this:

the indictment of Banerjee panel on Godhra

Don’t forget to read the last sentence. The UPA did not withdraw in shame when their intentions were exposed by the High Court. The UPA was so determined to deny justice to Godhra victims that it actually went ahead and challenged the decision before a division bench. And so deeply compromised was our liberal intelligentsia that we did not hear a single voice of “dissent”.

In case you are wondering, this shameful appeal was finally withdrawn in Aug 2014 by the Central Government after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India.

But it never really mattered that the Banerjee panel was found to be illegal and malafide. The lie had been seeded and it was now left to the liberal establishment (both in India and abroad) to make sure that the lie lives on forever. Here’s the BBC:

BBC insults Godhra victims

Here is the New York Times in 2016, incidentally written by the same bigoted ‘journalist’ whose tweet I quoted in the beginning of the article, as many as 11 years after the UPA seeded the lie:

NYT insults Godhra victims

Of course, it will never matter that the courts actually convicted the accused in the Godhra carnage:

Godhra was conspiracy

Didn’t you hear Arundhati Roy in the video above saying “the train caught fire; nobody knows who set fire to the train?”

That’s the way it is always going to be. This is what came out in the Hindustan Times on February 27, 2017.

Hinduphobic propaganda

Yes, they’ll go soft even on Osama bin Laden on his “death anniversary” and tell stories of him as a father and husband. But the Godhra carnage victims deserve nothing. They are to be forgotten at best and condemned at worst. Here is what they will get, as the HT article goes on:

Hindustan Times covers up Godhra carnage

Yes, the liberal complex has gotten more and more diabolical with its theories over the last 15 years.

Back in 2002, the theory was that the kar sevaks were responsible for their own deaths because they provoked Muslim vendors at the railway station. But this explanation left the liberal  argument vulnerable. It is difficult to sustain the case that 59 people deserve to be burned to death because someone didn’t pay Rs 5.

So, somewhere between 2005 and 2010, this theory was discarded in favor of the accidental fire theory patronized by the UPA government. The advantage of this theory is that there is no moral responsibility to fight for justice to the Godhra victims.

But the liberal establishment didn’t stop there. As you can see, the new theory in town is that the carnage was a “a classic agent provocateur operation that went out of hand”. This time the liberals not only get to deny justice to the Godhra victims, they actually get to put the blame on a whole new bunch of innocents from the political parivar they despise.

It’s called having your cake and eating it too.

We know what happens next. Hopefully, at least some of the death sentences of the Godhra accused will be confirmed by the Supreme Court at some point in the future. The mercy petitions will then come up before the Union Cabinet. That’s when the liberal ecosystem will reactivate and tell us touching stories of the lives of these convicts as devoted sons of headmasters, fathers and husbands. Should any of these death sentences be carried out, some liberal newspaper will come up with a headline like “And they hanged…”.

As you can see, there is more humiliation in store for the Godhra victims. I am reconciled to this truth.

I have only one little appeal for our ecosystem of eminent liberals : now that you have decided that the fire was an accident or a conspiracy by the right wing, you no longer need to create a justification for the actions of any Muslim mob. That means you no longer need to smear the long dead victims with the accusation that they didn’t pay Rs 5, which made them responsible for their own deaths. So, why don’t you let this one rumor go? See if you can find it in your hearts…

But perhaps my appeal will have no effect. Because our “liberals” have graduated from “A good Hindu is a dead Hindu” to “Even a dead Hindu is not a good Hindu”.

Disturbing whitewashing someone said.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

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