'Mr. Vyas and his Liberal Interlocutors'
Dr. Vijaya Rajiva
The witchhunt against Shri Narendra Modi continues apace. The motley crew of the beautiful people, discredited Communalism Combat members, the liberal media and the so called Leftists (who team up with them on the slightest occasion because of their ideological anti Hindu convictions) have never been able to accept the reports of the SIT (Special Investigative Team) set up by the Supreme Court of India to look into allegations (by the above mentioned motley crew) that the Gujarat government headed by Narendra Modi was complicit in the Hindu Muslim riots of 2002, reports which clear the government of such complicity. The latest report came out on May 10, 2012.
Predictably, Nidi Razdan, anchor of NDTV ran a program 'Illegal orders within a room no offence : SIT' (May 10, 2012). The program opened with the allegedly controversial statement made in the Report that even if Shri Modi had made a comment within the four walls of a room, even had he said that (and this is in doubt because it is based on hearsay from the now discredited IPS officer Sanjay Bhatt) it does not constitute an offence. The comments ostensibly is that Hindus should be given a free rein, after what happened at Godhra, to go after the Muslims.
This presumably controversial statement was put before a panel by Nidi Razdan in her best shrill manner. The participants were, in alphabetical order, Javed Anand of Communalism Combat, Renuka Chowdhary ( Congress spokesperson), Dushyant Dave, Advocate of the Supreme Court, Siddharth Varadarajan, journalist and editor of The Hindu (a misnomer, if ever there was one!), Narayan Vyas, lawyer and advocate for the Gujarat government. Mr. Vyas had no difficulty in standing his ground amidst the den of critics. His position was strictly legal. This was indeed the proverbial lion in a den of . . . . !
The others were in varying degrees using wild speculations. Mr. Dave was the most blatant of them all and went over the top in his criticism not only of Shri Modi but also of the SIT, and by implication the Supreme Court. Renuka Chowdhary now mercifully sparing us her hysterical laughter and simpering at the camera ever since she became chief spokesperson of the Congress, put on a hypocritical air of sadness. She averred that the whole world knew of Narendra Modi's guilt and how is it that the Gujarat government continues to deny this ? Ofcourse, the fact that a person remains innocent until proven guilty is beyond her somewhat limited intellectual and spiritual horizon. Javed Anand stolidly talked about the Indian Penal Code which makes it an offence that anyone even within the four walls of a room is guilty of an offence. He too had assumed that Shri Modi had actually said the words attributed to him : Hindus should be given free rein. But then his companion in arms is the shrill discredited Teesta Setalwad.
Siddharth Varadarajan seemed by contrast to be subdued in his pronouncements but in actuality was quite pejorative. He talked darkly in low polished tones (unlike Vyas's desi accents) about how the prosecutors were RSS and VHP people. By this one statement his prejudice against these desi organisations who are also Indian citizens and who too have the right to hold office in the various state government, becomes clear. Mr. Varadarajan is reported to have given a biased report in favour of the Taliban when he visited Afghanistan in 2001 ! He reported in Times of India, it is alleged, that the Taliban never gave orders that Hindus should wear yellow bands ! Subsequently, owing to the investigative journalism of an intrepid journalist (currently a columnist at DNA) Varadarajan was forced to retract this report. This incident does not cast a favourable light on his impartial reporting !
What is striking about the interlocutors is that none of them showed remorse at the gruesome roasting to death of some 59 Hindu men, women and children in the train at Godhra, by some Muslims, and which led to the riots thereafter, riots which are the legacy of the Partition riots instigated in 1946 by no less a person than Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Revisionist history attempts to whitewash this event but it has to be mentioned. Dushyant Dave made a hypocritical statement about how he condemned this 'incident' (which is how the liberal media usually refers to attacks on Hindus) and then with indecent haste moved on to the SIT Report.
Razdan appeared to be 'baffled' by the SIT's statement and she falsely and hastily compared it to the case of Hafiz Sayid (alleged author of the Mumbai attack 26/11) who also may have plotted something in the four walls of the room and did it make any sense to say that it was not an offence ? Mr. Vyas had no difficulty with this peculiar question. He invoked the primary principle of jurisprudence : mens rea.
Mens rea in Latin stands for " guilty mind". In criminal law this must be established by due process if a person is to be held accountable. The Latin phrase actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea can be translated : " the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is also guilty."
What Mr. Vyas was trying to say was what there is no link between the riots and the Gujarat government's intentions, none at all.
He continued to uphold this valid principle of law. Whereas by contrast, there is only a presumption of guilt by the above motley crew. When quizzed by Razdan as to whether the Gujarat government funded the trip by SIT chief Mr. Raghavan to London, again Narayan Vyas explained that all terms of reference were laid out by the Supreme Court. Hence, all expenses of the SIT are to be borne by the state government. He declined to comment further, stating that it is not within his domain to do so. Razdan was unable to break into his impassive and just arguments, whatever the moral posturings of his interlocutors.
To Dushyant Dave's ravings and rantings he made the sensible suggestion that Dave being a lawyer should know that a media trial is not enough. He should take the proper legal recourse against the Gujarat government and why was he not doing that, instead of simply making noise on television channels ? There was no reply. Siddharth Varadarajan dismissed the Report as shoddy, even though he admitted that he had only read large chunks of it, and will stand corrected if proven wrong. However, he then went on to say that the Gujarat government facilitated the violence, and is not interested in prosecutions.
This sort of speculation is shocking coming from a supposedly responsible editor of a newspaper and sounded eerily like Renuka Chowdhary's "the whole world knows it" !
The silver lining in the dark cloud of liberal motivations in witch hunting Shri Narendra Modi is that the country has a remarkable judicial system. Shri Modi used to be an RSS pracharak and his patriotic loyalties cannot be doubted. His governance for the past ten years in Gujarat has indeed been superb, not merely for its prosperity, but because there have been no riots there since 2002. Whereas, under the previous Congress riots were a common phenomenon.
The people of India are increasingly seeing through the efforts of the motley crew. They will wait for the due processes of law.
( The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university)