Monday, September 12, 2011

It is neither redemption nor deferred damnation for Narender Modi

It is understandable that Gujarat chief minister Narender Modi should have tweeted his thanks to God. But it is surprising that his party should think that Modi has been exonerated. Of course, lawyer and BJP's leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was careful enough to say that the Supreme Court followed the right legal procedure, which is what the court had done. The court's decision is debatable. The fact that Mrs Zakia Jafri had approached the apex court implies that she was seeking relief and she does not have confidence in the lower courts. The Supreme Court's decision seems to imply that it does not want to take up an issue which ought to be decided at the trial court level. But the apex court could have judged the merits of the argument. But it has done nothing wrong.
But this does not mean that Modi is out of trouble. Even if the trial court hears the case and comes to a conclusion in favour of Modi, Zakia Jafri will have the option of appealing against the verdict to the high court and from there to the Supreme Court. The last word has not yet been said.
Where Modi's critics go wrong is when they deem him to be guilty which he is not until the courts of law say so based on evidence. It might be the the case that the evidence does not suggest his guilt.
Modi is morally responsible for the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. That is the issue. Neither Modi nor the BJP have the courage to accept this plain truth. Atal Bihari Vajpayee for a short-lived moment showed his moral sense when he visited the camps of riot victims -- Muslims -- in Ahmdedabad accompanied by Modi. And he told the TV reporters when asked what his advice to Modi would be, he said he (Modi) should do his 'raj dharm'. But he did not show moral consistency because soon after at the party meeting in Goa he lashed out at the Muslims for being a problematic community. Advani did not comment on the riots at the time on the plea that he was way visiting Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Ever since, the other BJP leaders have been wiggling and wriggling to defend the indefensible political immorality of Modi.
This does not of course give any advantage to the secularists because the lack intellectual honesty.

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