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Riot amnesia

Why Amnesia Surrounds Mumbai 1992-93

 

SUTANU GURU/ DANISH REYAZ | Issue Dated: April 29, 2012, New Delhi
Tags : Riot amnesia | why Amnesia Surrounds Mumbai 1992-93 | Mumbai riots |
 

The secular brigade is cheering Gujarat convictions. Why have they forgotten Mumbai? Sutanu Guru 
with Danish Reyaz

 
It took more than 15 years for some semblance of justice to be seen to be delivered. On July 9, 2008, Shiv Sena leader and former MLA and MP Madhukar Sarpotdar was convicted by a local Mumbai court. The case was related to the 1992-93 Mumbai riots in which about 1000 citizens died gruesome deaths. But wait. Sarpotdar was given a one year sentence and immediately granted bail and walked out a free man to file an appeal against his conviction. In 2010, Sarpotdar passed away and the case against him died along with him.
 
That just about sums up the obvious double standards of the Congress, the so called liberal media, the die-hard secular fundamentalists and similar carpetbaggers. This becomes even more poignant after a court in Ode, Gujarat gave life sentences to 18 alleged rioters. Thanks to a determined Supreme Court – and of course activists and the media – many rioters in Gujarat are getting convicted. There is little doubt that many more will. People chasing justice for the 1992-93 Mumbai riots can only be wistful about this. Says Saeed Akhtar, senior advocate in Mumbai High Court, “If you compare the 1992-93 riots with the 2002 Gujarat riots, you will find that in Gujarat, the Supreme Court has taken action and formed SIT for investigation. But in Mumbai riots we have seen that not a single decision was taken by the Apex Court.”
 
Just in case you have forgotten, the Justice Srikrishna Commission of Enquiry was appointed in 1993 to get to the bottom of the Mumbai riots. Even as the Commission was doing its controversial job, the Shiv Sena-BJP combine was voted to power in Maharashtra. It promptly decided to disband the Commission. A huge outrage across the country forced the government to let Justice Srikrishna continue. But it rejected the Commission Report that was submitted in 1998 by terming it politically motivated. The Commission had severely indicted Shiv Sena leaders and workers and also recommended stringent action against 31 cops. Till date, virtually nothing has happened despite the Congress and the NCP together ruling Maharashtra continuously since 1999. Activist Ram Puniyani, who has been tracking the Mumbai riots cases, has this analysis to offer for the lack of concrete action, “The Congress while claiming to be secular has been very opportunist when the issue of communal violence has come. It has let things happen as in the case of Mumbai riots in 1992-93. The Congress chief minister had no interest in controlling the violence. The Congress is not very forthright in these cases so it either lets things happen or looks the other way”. Do remember, two of the most ‘active’ Shiv Sena leaders of that era, Chaggan Bhujbal and Narayan Rane are now NCP and Congress leaders and ministers in the government. Of course, Puniyani also strongly believes that the BJP is out and out communal.
 
That double standards and hypocrisy abound when it comes to the Mumbai riots becomes very apparent if you take the time and trouble to look back at what happened after the Congress and the NCP together formed a government in Maharashtra in 1999.
 
As mentioned earlier, strong action was recommended against 31 cops for their allegedly dubious role and behaviour during the Mumbai riots. Out of the 31, 11 were outright exonerated by the Congress-NCP government. This despite many testifying in front of the Srikrishna Commission about their role. One constable, who was indicted for handing over a deaf and dumb Muslim boy to a mob that killed him was given just a reprimand. Some others had their pay frozen for a few years. The most significant were charges against R.D Tyagi who was ACP during the riots. In a charge sheet filed in 2001, R.D Tyagi and his team were accused of indiscriminately opening fire on workers of Suleiman Bakery on January 9, 1993, killing nine of them on the spot. They were accused of murder and there was a hue and cry in the media about how such charges would demoralise the police who was trying hard to battle both the mafia and terror. After the riots, R.D Tyagi had been promoted to the coveted post of Commissioner of Mumbai Police. In 2003, Tyagi and his team were discharged by a sessions court which was of the opinion that the cops were doing their duty. Contrast this with the ruthless determination with which the secular brigade is persecuting cops accused of similar crimes in Gujarat.
 
There is more to it. On August 14, 2007, the Congress Parliamentary Party held a general body meeting. Addressing it, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi stated that definite action must be taken on the findings of the Srikrishna Commission. This was eight years after the Congress-NCP combine came to power in Maharashtra. Five more years have passed since then and nothing much has happened despite the best intentions and exhortations of Sonia Gandhi. A few weeks after the Congress meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid a visit to Mumbai. A Congress leader Naseem Khan met the PM and submitted a memorandum on behalf of a delegation. The memorandum demanded that victims of the Mumbai riots get the same compensation that was given to victims of anti-Sikh riots in 1984. According to Khan, the PM promised to “look into the matter”. Says Sarfaraz Arzoo, editor of the daily Hindustan, “After the Mumbai riots of 1992-93, most victims got a compensation of Rs 1500 while Rs 1 lakh was given for those who were killed. If you remember, victims of the Delhi riots were given Rs 30 lakh”.
 
What can you and me make out of all this? The first is a feeling of optimism because a mixture of media, NGO and judicial activism is ensuring that rioters are getting punished. It is happening in Gujarat. It happened in Bihar for the Bhagalpur riots of 1989 after Nitish Kumar came to power. And it happened in Odisha soon after the Kandhamal riots – arguably the fastest convictions for riots in modern Indian history. Yet, as the disgraceful chapter of the Mumbai riots shows, there is cause for pessimism too because the secular brigade and most activists are so blinded by their hatred for Hindutva that they prefer amnesia when it is time to put other parties, organisations and institutions in the dock.
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Posted By: Krish | Bombay | December 13th 2012 | 22:12
Appreciate your article. And no, not everyone has forgotten.




Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017