India Uncut

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When Sharad Pawar misled Mumbai

In an astonishing confession, and one that vastly increases my respect for the man, Sharad Pawar admits that he lied to the people of Mumbai. The context: the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai. Speaking to Shekhar Gupta, he says:
I recollect on March 12, I was sitting in Mantralaya and at about 12-12.30 pm I heard a big noise, it was the explosion in Air India’s office. Within ten minutes I got a message that explosions had happened in 11 places, more than 365 people had died. I immediately realised that all these places were essentially dominated by Hindus. I guessed there must be some design, and that design must be that Hindus should react against the minority.


So I straight went on television and I misled people, deliberately misled people, instead of 11 bomb explosions I said 12. And one of the places that I mentioned was Masjid Bandar, an area dominated by minorities. So I spread the message that it’s not only in Hindu areas, it’s in a Muslim area also. I also said that I had seen - because I’d immediately visited the Air India building - and I said I’d visited it and the type of material that had been used was used essentially by some of the southern Indian side terrorist organisations. And I tried to (point a) finger at the Sri Lankan side...
Pawar then says that "[u]ltimately investigations established ki that was the design." It's a fascinating interview, though I don't quite agree with Gupta when he says later that upper caste Gujaratis were targeted in the recent bomb blasts. That's confusing correlation (upper caste Gujjus tend to travel first class) with causation (that's why those coaches were attacked). I'm sure many other groups of people travel first class on the Western Line, and how accurate would it be to say that MBA bankers or Advertising professionals or Himesh Reshammiya fans were the targets of the attacks?

Pawar also has a comment on why the system of having zonal selectors in Indian cricket will be hard to change:
If I have to change the zonal system, I have to amend the constitution. And ultimately if I have to amend the constitution, then I have to get support from zonal representatives. (Laughs).
So to kill the vested interests, you first have to get the approval of the vested interests. Doesn't sound terribly realistic to me.
amit varma, 7:03 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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