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Read how Siddharth Varadarajan of The Wire whitewashed the Godhra Massacre and spread propaganda regarding Gujarat Riots

GujaratRiots.com recently in an article for the myvoice section of OpIndia.com elaborated on the manner in which Siddharth Varadarajan, the founding-editor of leftist propaganda outlet The Wire, attempted to whitewash the Godhra Massacre where dozens of Hindus, including women and children, were murdered by Radical Muslims.

GujaratRiots.com, which has been telling the truth about the Gujarat riots that the mainstream media wishes to suppress, recently in an article for the myvoice section of OpIndia.com elaborated on the manner in which Siddharth Varadarajan, the founding-editor of leftist propaganda outlet The Wire, attempted to whitewash the Godhra Massacre where dozens of Hindus, including women and children, were murdered by Radical Muslims. In fact, Siddharth Varadarajan had implied that the post-Godhra riots would have occurred even without the massacre of Hindus.

In an article for Outlook in August 2004, Siddharth Varadarajan wrote, “Far from being a spontaneous mass reaction to the attack on the Sabarmati Express at Godhra the day before in which 58 Hindu passengers died, the killings across most of Gujarat seemed scripted. So well chosen were the targets that it is almost as if there was already in place a plan to do something dramatic as part of the ongoing Ayodhya agitation, probably in order to polarise the state on communal lines in the run-up to state elections that the BJP might have had some difficulty winning on the basis of its actual performance.” Varadarajan did not stop there. He went on to say:

“If Godhra hadn’t happened, would it have been necessary to invent it? I don’t know, but the Godhra incident itself is so shrouded in mystery that it is almost as if the official narrative which emerged within minutes and hours of the train being consumed by fire is an invented one, conveniently conjured up to provide the “rationale” for the pogrom which had simultaneously been ordained.”

Siddharth Varadarajan concluded in the article, “Had Godhra not happened, would Naroda Patiya have burned, would Ehsan Jafri have been killed, the Best Bakery been destroyed and Bilkis Bano been raped? These questions are deeply problematic because they are tainted by the bankruptcy of the Sangh parivar’s moral arithmetic. When you have an organisation like the VHP whose cadres are capable of the most horrific violence, when you have a police force that is willing to let innocent citizens be attacked, and when you have chief ministers and prime ministers who offer post-facto justifications for genocide, it is a dangerous delusion to believe the Gujarat violence occurred because of Godhra. The Gujarat violence happened because the government wanted it to. Godhra was just the excuse.”

In another article the same month for The Hindu, Siddharth Varadarajan made similar assertions. He wrote, “…Based on eyewitness testimony, what is indisputable is that a mob consisting of residents from the nearby Muslim locality of Signal Falia, as well as individuals who might have run after the train from the station, stoned S-6. Several passengers also testified that burning rags were flung at the coach.”

Then, consistent with his intended narrative, Siddharth Varadarajan proceeded to say, “…If the eyewitness testimony is correct and no one from the mob boarded the train to pour petrol or any other flammable liquid, how did the fire start? Could the burning rags have ignited the fire, a possibility that the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report discounts? And what accounts for the thick, black, acrid smoke which many S-6 passengers remember more than the fire? Is there a design flaw in the construction of Indian railcars that makes them fire prone? Was some flammable material already present in the coach, like gas or kerosene, which caught fire inadvertently? Was there an agent provocateur on board bent on causing maximum damage?”

Siddharth Varadarajan wrote another article in January 2005 where he has made similar narrative points to tarnish the reputation of Narendra Modi, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He wrote, “Nevertheless, the burden of evidence gathered so far definitely does not seem to support the pre-planned conspiracy theory of the police. Mr. Justice Banerjee and the Hazards Centre experts aver that the fire was most likely caused by an accident, though there is no doubting the fact that coach S-6 was stoned by an angry mob.” He added, “That there was an accidental fire at the same time an angry mob was throwing stones from outside might seem like something of a coincidence. Perhaps it was the panic induced by the stoning which made an accident more likely — a half-smoked cigarette thrown down carelessly, a stove used for making tea not turned off properly.”

Even in the immediate aftermath of the Gujarat Riots, Siddharth Varadarajan was busy fueling propaganda against Narendra Modi and the BJP Government in Gujarat. He did so in the 1st March 2002 edition of Times of India. He wrote:

“While official enquiry will establish the extent to which the attack on the Sabarmati Express was pre-meditated, there can be no doubt about the planned nature of the violence directed against Gujarat’s Muslims on Thursday (28th February)”.

Since then, there have numerous convictions in the Godhra Train Burning Case and a planned conspiracy has been established in the matter. A Special SIT court in Ahmedabad convicted Yakub Pataliya in March 2019 and sentenced him to life imprisonment earlier in the day in 2002 Godhra train burning case. Pataliya was arrested by Godhra Police in January 2018. He was accused of being a part of the mob that set the two coaches of Sabarmati Express on fire near Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002 that led to communal riots in Gujarat. The Special SIT court had also sentenced two other accused Farukh Bhana and Imran alias Sheru Batuk to life imprisonment in August 2018.

The Special SIT court had convicted 31 people in the case on March 1, 2011 while acquitting 63. The court had also accepted the Prosecution’s theory that there was a conspiracy to burn the coach S6 of Sabarmati Express. 11 out the 31 convicted were given death sentence while the remaining were granted life imprisonment. The verdict of the Special SIT court was challenged in Gujarat High Court. In 2017 the Gujarat High Court commuted the death penalty of 11 convicts to life imprisonment while upholding the sentence of the remaining 20.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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