2002, The Gujrat Massacre, was one of the most vicious communal violence in Indian history in which thousands of Muslims have been slaughtered while the present Prime Minister Modi ruled the state. Since then, the tension between Hindus and Muslims has worsened throughout the nation and it continues to be so under the supervision of Modi’s BJP government. The most interesting fact is, instead of disfavor, the violence changed Indian politics favoring Modi’s BJP until now.
On February 27, 2002, a train caught fire carrying Hindu pilgrims. In the incident, 59 Hindu pilgrims died in the town of Godhra in Gujarat. Because Hindu pilgrims died, Muslims were blamed and it triggered the slaughtering of innocent Muslims for a few days, in which the then Gujarat CM Modi was accused of inflicting the violence.
The radical Hindu mobs started attacking Muslim neighborhoods because of the train fire. They killed hundreds of innocent Muslims and wounded thousands. The brutality even went further, they gang-raped Muslim Women and destroyed mosques. But there were no actions from the then government and the police. Rather, the police and Modi’s government were accused of aiding the violence. Even a police officer confessed in the supreme court, that Narendra Modi allowed the slaughtering of Muslims. He also stated that Modi spoke about the riot at night before the day saying “Muslims need to be taught some lessons.” (Source: BBC)
Since that riot, many complained about Modi, but the courts never proved those accusations. On the other hand, this accusation did not harm his political career which was supposed to have happened, but so far, he has gained more popularity among the hardline Hindu population. Aftermath the anti-Muslim action, Modi went to get victories both in Gujarat and later in New Delhi. And until now he has been ruling India for two terms with absolute majorities in 2014 and 2019. Even he is expected to win the next term which will surely increase the RSS-led human rights violations.
So, what does this actually proves? Modi’s today’s position or achievement is due to his Anti-Muslim activities. At least it is clear that Modi is the Prime Minister of India today because of what happened in 2002. It means if there was no riot in Gujarat in 2002, He would never have become prime minister of India. If we put it in a different way, Modi and BJP gained power based on blood and dead bodies and the Indian population approved it, the majority even loved what he did.
Since then, the reality of the Muslim community there has worsened. And Muslims are now more isolated and alienated in Modi’s home state Gujarat than they were before. But in a broad context, segregation has taken a deeper root in its Hindu culture throughout the nation because of BJP’s propaganda and power lust.
Double Standard in the Judicial System
The judicial system of India has always favored corrupted politicians. And in the case of the Gujarat riot, it did not change — became worse. Since the conflict, even when Muslims need justice, the judicial system becomes pretty slow. On the other hand, when Muslims are on trial, things run faster.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the judicial process was very quick against the Muslims accused of the train fire killing fifty Hindu pilgrims. But the convicts of the massacres of Muslims killed thousands got a very slow process. Even most accused Hindu rioters were released a few years later despite the evidence.
During the trial in 2011 and 2017, thirty Muslims accused of the train fire were sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged participation. And this was justice against Muslims even though there was a lack of proper evidence.
On the other hand, it was confirmed that more than a thousand Hindu rioters were involved in killing thousands of Muslims including children, gang-raping several women, and wounding thousands more, but only 28 of them received life imprisonment in 2016. So, the trial for Hindu rioters is 5 years slower than that of the Muslims.
It is not to forget that one of the convicted was close to Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP party in Gujarat. She is none other than the former Minister for the Development of Women Maya Kodnani. During her trial in 2012, she also received life imprisonment, but she was released in 2018. It seems like she spent 7 years of her precious life in prison for the great Indian circus that made Modi the Prime Minister of India and the BJP the ruling party. Maybe Kodnani was behind something beyond Modi since she is the daughter of a former worker of the RSS. If that was the case, her sacrifice has paid off and RSS got back on its fit.
Regarding the Gujrat Massacre, many victims have described the horrific event of February 28, 2002. Hindu nationalists burned Muslim families alive in front of their eyes. Many victims have also witnessed how several young women were raped and murdered. But what was the role played by the police? They helped Modi, Kodnani, and the Hindu extremist by standing cross-armed. They did not just stand idle, they even threatened witnesses to keep their mouths shut.
The Tension Between Hindus and Muslims Keeps Growing
Since the partition of India, millions of Muslims as well as Hindus died in communal clashes. But in the last decade, the scenario has radically changed. India once a nation of religious harmony, is today a hotbed of communal violence. The events like the Kashmir issue, Gujarat, and the Babri Mosque conflict made India a nation of discrimination. It is not only about Muslims, under BJP’s rule, Christians along with other religious minorities have been tortured, bullied, and segregated. And Gujarat massacre is one of the largest influencers of all.
Since the beginning of its independence, India remains a secular country, constitutionally. According to its 2011 census, 79.8% of the population is Hindu while only 14.2% is Muslim. (Source: Wikipedia)
But the fun fact is, that the Hindu majority feels threatened by the minority Muslims according to RSS ideology and BJP’s propaganda. Since the partition, Hindu Muslim conflicts have taken place repeatedly. But Gujarat massacre laid the foundation for BJP’s success all over India. And this is one of the most referenced violence propagated by Modi’s ruling party.
In February 2020, 53 people died in a group of communal violence in Delhi of which 40 were Muslims and this riot was caused by Hindu mobs. The cow vigilante violence in India is another common communal violence against Muslims taking place very often. According to reports by Reuters, from 2010 to 2017, more than 64 attacks have taken place against Muslims in the name of Cow protection killing 24 Muslims and 4 Hindus. But since 2014, cow-related violence has radically increased because of the BJP’s anti-Muslim ideology and the rise of Hindu nationalists.
The most recent anti-Muslim act took place at the beginning of January 2022 when Muslim students were denied entry to school wearing hijabs. And things got more serious with a viral video showing a group of Hindu students in Saffron scarves (represents RSS dress code) chasing, bullying, and threatening a Muslim student in hijab. Since India is a secular country, all have their religious freedom but the government of Karnataka which is ruled by Modi’s BJP bans hijab in school despite no mention in the constitution or the state law.
If we take a closer look into this, young Hindu students are carrying out such vile acts of human rights violations and nobody is there to prevent them since Modi’s government is in favor of anything anti-Muslim. It is a clear sign of growing religious intolerance in the presence of the Modi government.
2002 Gujarat Massacre: A Big Victory for the Hindutva Ideology
Modi and BJP’s ideology is firmly based on RSS which promotes hatred of Islam and Muslims. Since Modi’s BJP rule in Gujarat, he has used the ideology to create a stronger Hindu-Muslim line which already existed for decades. On the basis of Hindu-Muslim riots, they have also been propagating anti-Muslim rhetoric ever since. Moreover, they have been trying to prove that Muslims are not part of India, they are foreigners destroying Hindu culture.
We can relate this behavioral function of discrimination, vilification, and RSS-isation of India to the earlier period of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Arundhuti Roy, India’s leading writer, and political commentator rightly said “Indian Muslims facing genocidal climate” in 2020 while BJP accused Muslims of spreading COVID-19.
However, this whole Anti-Muslim scenario was not visible to this extent until the Modi government took control of India. But Modi’s victory was mostly dependent on the Gujarat riot. And it was also a victory for the Hindutva ideology. Now Modi’s BJP is implementing everything according to the RSS rulebook. Especially, they are applying their extremist doctrine that believes Hindus are the center and minorities are subject to them. Even, BJP has started using Bollywood films like The Kashmir Files as a tool to propagate its ideology.
Therefore, the 2002 Gujarat Massacre is the most important event that changed Indian politics favoring the Hindu nationalist party BJP. Moreover, BJP’s greed for power and RSS’s desire for the Hindutva project are winning while India as a nation is sinking into a dark paradigm of racial conflict. The poison of RSS and BJP is like a nerve agent already spread in the ideology of Hinduism where Yogi Adityanath, the militant monk is playing a big role today. So, even if Modi’s BJP loses the next election, it is going to exist and cause damage to India’s cultural and religious harmony.