Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

August 2004 - Rajab 1425 H
Volume 17-08 No : 212
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Editorial


Silver Lining from Gujarat

Silver Lining from Gujarat

The BJP’s loss of more than half the seats in Gujarat has not gone unnoticed. But what has remained from being analysed is what brought about the rollback of the Hindutva juggernaut in a state that constituted the ideal laboratory of the Hindutva in India for over a decade. A responsive judiciary which refused to be brow-beaten did the wonder. While the common news reader in the country had only been fed with accounts of suppression of evidence, witnesses turning hostile and meddling with the process of investigation, the fact that nearly 6,000 rioters were chargesheeted for murder, mayhem, vandalism and loot in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage has not been sufficiently highlighted. And ultimately, the BJP incurred the wrath of the very rioters who had been promised – but denied— impunity for their kill-burn-rape-loot mission during the cataclysmic week following the train tragedy. The no-nonsense judiciary saw to it that the victims received the legal relief due to them regardless of their affiliation to any faith, caste or colour. Eye-witness reports had said that communal activists had used public address system in interior villages to incite the people on violence against hapless and innocent members of the minority communities no way related to barbaric perpetrators of Godhra carnage. Not alone this.

At least 15 rioters from Ghodasar have been sentenced for life. In another case residents of a village paid huge compensation to Muslims victims of riots in an out-of-the-court settlement. All these have left a salutary impact on rioters who would no longer be amenable to fake guarantees of impunity from political instigators of communal violence. The announcements on February 27, 2002 evening had expressly instigated the people to attack members of the minority communities promising them impunity against arrests, imprisonment, filing of cases and sentence. A map of Lok Sabha constituencies would reveal that the BJP suffered its worst reverses in those areas where a determined set of victims were able to take the rioters to courts, keep an eagle’s eye over investigation and pursue the cases to the logical conclusion and judiciary executing its task in the most impartial manner expected of it, quite contrary to the State’s role in pursuing the Zahira Shaikh and Best Bakery case.

This is indeed a silver lining for Gujarat’s Muslims and the riot victims among them who refused to be demoralised by the all round helplessness that had enveloped them in the wake of riots. It is a reminder that in the democratic polity of India, all doors of justice are not slammed shut at once. Somewhere, someone awaits the cries of the victims to be heard through doors left ajar. There is an important lesson to be drawn from it. Post-communal riot action has thus far been concentrated on relief and rehabilitation. This only emboldens the rioters to return with greater ferocity. Henceforth, the priorities must include legal remedy which is the surest guarantee of denying a sense of triumphalism among the rioters. Killings may snuff out lives of people, but trials in courts leave a psychological scar on the perpetrators. Fear of law would deter them from the deadly course of murder and mayhem. Sentences and compensation would further reduce the scope for recurrence of violence. And for this, the victims merely need to be vigilant, knock the doors of the justice and act within the Constitutional parameters available for the oppressed ones.

In other words, the victims must learn to doggedly pursue the course of justice and inflict demoralisation on the perpetrators.

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News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Missions and Machines What's New Trends Insights Community Initiative Issues
Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Religion Question Hour : Dr. Zakir Naik Our Dialogue Back to The Past Quran and Science Women in Islam Living Islam Just for the Young Reflections Journey to Islam Sould Talk Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us


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