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Home Fact-Check BBC's whitewashing: Paints Sanjiv Bhatt as a 'whistleblower' victim while lying about 59 Karsevaks...

BBC’s whitewashing: Paints Sanjiv Bhatt as a ‘whistleblower’ victim while lying about 59 Karsevaks burnt alive by Muslim mob

One wonders why BBC would bother citing a debunked report just to assert that Hindus were burnt alive by "accident" just to shield a Muslim mob that has been convicted and in turn, shield Sanjiv Bhatt who has also been convicted in an unrelated 30-year-old case.

Prime Minister Modi has been the thorn on the ‘liberal’ side ever since Gujarat and the media, especially foreign media like BBC has been trying tooth and nail to demonise not just him but even the Hindu community of India ever since. To that end, after tainted cop, Sanjiv Bhatt was awarded a life sentence for a 30-year-old custodial death case, BBC seems to have gone on an overdrive to shield Bhatt. While reporting the ruling in the Sanjiv Bhatt case, BBC not only put out an extremely confused report but also lies profusely about the Godhra case where 59 Karsevaks were brutally burnt alive.

The BBC article at the very outset tries to confuse its readers.

Part of the BBC article

Firstly, the case in which Sanjiv Bhatt has been convicted has nothing to do with Prime Minister Modi in the first place.

On October 30, 1990, Bhatt detained around 150 people following a communal riot in Jamjodhpur town after a ‘bandh’ call against the halting of veteran BJP leader L K Advani’s ‘rath yatra’ for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

One of those arrested, Prabhudas Vaishnani, died in a hospital after his release by the police. Subsequently, his brother lodged an FIR accusing Bhatt and six other policemen of killing his sibling by torturing him while he was in police detention.

In 1990, Narendra Modi was moving up the party ranks and became the CM of Gujarat only in 2001.

Why the BBC or any other media outlet conflate the two without giving a proper explanation about which case Sanjiv Bhatt has been prosecuted for, is a mystery.

Further, BBC calls Sanjiv Bhatt a ‘whistleblower’, which would be absolutely incorrect. Perhaps BBC either fails to recall or are unaware that the Supreme Court had basically said that Sanjiv Bhatt had pressurised his driver to file an affidavit that suited him, testifying that Bhatt was present at the 27 February 2002 meeting where Modi, according to Bhatt, had said that Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger against Muslims.

Bhatt’s driver had earlier confirmed his version but later recanted. In fact, Bhatt had insisted that the SIT examine the driver under his supervision and the court had held that this amounted to pressure tactics.

Firstly, the records had established that constable KD Panth (the driver) was not even in Gujarat between 25 February and 28 February 2002. Not only that, when Bhatt wanted Panth to testify that he drove Bhatt to then CM Modi’s residence, Bhatt took Panth to the then President of the Gujarat Congress and Chairman of the Legal Cell for the preparation of his affidavit.

There are email exchanges between Bhatt and a Gujarat Congress leader showing receipt of a “package”, of Bhatt being “underexploited” (in the case) and him asking the Congress member to “try to mobilise support/pressure-groups in Delhi to influence him (the Amicus Curiae Raju Ramachandran) in a very subtle manner”.

Then there are email exchanges between Bhatt and a journalist, wherein Bhatt tries to have the journalist mention that he had met Bhatt on 27 February when he was “about to go to the disputed meeting”. Bhatt later emailed a TV channel member that he had filed an affidavit stating that the journalist was with him when he had to leave for a meeting at Modi’s residence and that the channel member should “confirm through your sources in SC”. Bhatt even asked the journalist whether he would be comfortable with another media person. The Supreme Court had held that Sanjiv Bhatt was trying to ‘recreate’ the events of the night.

In fact, the Supreme Court had found that as alleged by Sanjiv Bhatt, Haren Pandya was not present at this alleged meeting at all. His cell phone location showed that he was exposed Bhatt’s lies completely. The court had held that Bhatt had not come to the court with clean hands and that he was ‘catering to interests elsewhere’.

Essentially, Sanjiv Bhatt had fabricated the entire meeting and that he was present. He had also lied that Prime Minister Modi had made the comment about Hindus venting their anger against Muslims.

In the face of all of this, one wonders how BBC, without getting their facts straight as mentioned by the Apex Court itself, called Bhatt a ‘whistleblower’ thereby trying to insinuate that it is the Modi government that has a vendetta against Bhatt.

The lies of the BBC do not stop there.

Part of the BBC article

The BBC report says that “The cause of the train blaze was never clearly established. Hindu groups allege that the fire started by Muslim protesters, but an earlier inquiry said the fire was an accident”.

Referring to the Godhra train burning, it is staggering that the BBC has managed to peddle several lies in two short sentences.

Firstly, BBC itself, in 2011, had reported that the Sabarmati Express was attacked by a Muslim mob and that 31 people were convicted in the case.

BBC article from 2011

All the 31 people who were held guilty of burning Karsevaks alive were Muslims.

A report from 2011 reads:

Additional sessions judge P.R. Patel held 31 persons guilty of a “pre-planned conspiracy” and setting fire to coach S-6. In the incident, 59 people, mostly Vishwa Hindu Parishad kar sevaks, were killed. Of the 31 found guilty, the court sentenced to death 11 convicts, particularly those it believed were present at a meeting, held the previous night, where a conspiracy was hatched, and those who, it agreed, had actually entered the coach and poured petrol before setting it afire. The other 20 convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment.

According to some of the observations made by the judge, the court believed that had there been no pre-planned conspiracy, “it would not have been possible to gather Muslim persons with deadly weapons within five to six minutes and reach near “A” cabin on the railway track” after the train was made to stop by chain pulling a second time.

The judge also accepted the prosecution theory of the perpetrators having collected petrol the previous night, after the meeting at the Aman Guest House. Had petrol not been kept ready in loose form in carboys the previous night near Aman Guest House, “it would not have been possible to reach with carboys containing petrol in a huge quantity immediately, that is within 5 to 10 minutes, near coach S-6.”

Thus, the courts while convicting 31 people, some of whom got life imprisonment and some got the death penalty believed that it was a pre-planned conspiracy to burn Karsevaks alive. In fact, even the petrol was bought the night before.

The Nanavati Commission which was held by Justice G.T. Nanavati and Justice Akshay H. Mehta had also concluded that the train burning was no accident and was in fact, the work of a Muslim mob.

Part of the Justice Nanavati Commission report

BBC peddles another dangerous lie.

In trying to prove that the Sabarmati Express was not set ablaze by a Muslim mob, it alludes to an “earlier inquiry that said the fire was an accident”.

The inquiry report that the BBC was alluding to was the UC Banerjee report that was deemed unconstitutional and illegal by the Courts.

The Banerjee Commission was a one-man commission that was formed soon after the Congress government came to power under the instruction of Lalu Prasad Yadav, the then Railway Minister.

The High Court had held that the Commission was illegal since the Nanavati Commission was already probing the matter.

In fact, Justice K.G. Shah of the Nanavati Commission had alleged that Justice Banerjee had not even examined officers of the Gujarat police or forensic science experts. He had also vehemently contested the motivations of the commission and the conclusion it reached.

The Congress party had insisted that the report be tabled immediately, as, at the time, it was busy creating the theory of “Saffron Terror”.

The High Court had held that the constitution of the UC Banerjee Commission was a “colourable exercise of power with mala fide intentions”, and its argument of accidental fire “opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record.” The High Court also directed that the report should not be tabled in the Parliament.

One wonders why BBC would bother citing a debunked report just to assert that Hindus were burnt alive by “accident” just to shield a Muslim mob that has been convicted and in turn, shield Sanjiv Bhatt who has also been convicted in an unrelated 30-year-old case.

BBC has a long history of peddling fake news and motivated agendas against India and Hindus in general.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had recently released a shoddy research branding Nationalists as the driving force behind fake news only to later retract the generalisation slyly. It had also recently handpicked anti-India interviews for its documentary on Kashmir and deliberately left out pro-India views.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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