Saturday, August 13, 2005
Return of the past
Shekhar Gupta, a journalist for India Today during the 1984 riots, writes in the Indian Express:
[T]hose of us who covered the riots, and many more who carried out relief or citizens’ investigations subsequently, generally believe that what we saw over those murderous 72 hours were not Hindu-Sikh riots but Congress-Sikh riots. Or, rather, Delhi Congress-Sikh riots. Too many small time Congress politicians, who had built their careers organising crowds for Sanjay and then Indira Gandhi, decided revenge was naturally expected of them. So what is the difference between collecting an Emergency-type crowd to chant slogans in support of the 20-point programme, or a pogrom of the Sikhs which also brought the promise of loot.Yes, but there is a difference between haunting and punishing. The ghost may hover, but will it strike? Jagdish Tytler may be a bit spooked now, but I don't imagine Narendra Modi, the architect of a more recent genocide, is too worried about his past catching up with him. It'll be great if it happens, but I'm cynical about it.
If there is one thing that has emerged with the Nanavati Report and its aftermath, it is that political parties have to accept their past will continue to come back and haunt them.