Skip to main content

In a fresh Opinion piece, New York Times calls Modi sectarian, unapologetically divisive

By Our Representative
Continuing with foreign newspapers’ barrage of attack on Narendra Modi, the New York Times’ Opinion Page has carried yet an article (April 18, 2014) regretting, “As candidate for prime minister, Modi has not given up his sectarian ways.” Written by Basharat Peer and titled “Being Muslim under Narendra Modi”, the article sidesteps the illusion being created around Modi being a tea seller who has grown to become “brave and just” (as pictured in a widely circulated comic book “Bal Narendra”). It underscores, “If anything Modi’s public record paints the picture of a leader unapologetically divisive and sectarian.”
Peer – who has authored “Curfewed Night,” a memoir of the conflict in Kashmir – recalls, “It was on (Modi’s) watch as chief minister that more than 1,000 people, many of them Muslims, were killed throughout Gujarat in 2002, when rioting erupted after some 60 Hindus died in a burning train in Godhra”, adding, “A Human Rights Watch report that year asserted that the state government and local police officials were complicit in the carnage.” Even so many years after the riots, “Modi has not visited the camps of the Muslims displaced by the violence or apologized for his government’s failure to protect a minority.”
Instead, the author states, Modi “has described the reprisal killings of Muslims that year as a simple ‘reaction’ to an ‘action,’ namely the deaths of the Hindu train passengers — and has said he felt as sad about them as would a passenger in a car that accidentally ran over a puppy.” He adds, Modi’s “only regret, he once told a reporter for this paper, was failing to manage the media fallout.”
Insisting that nor has the BJP -- termed as “Hindu nationalist” – tried to amend its ways, Peer, who was in India and Ahmedabad for an election watch tour, says, “Of the 449 BJP candidates now running for seats in the lower house of Parliament, all but eight are Hindu. The party’s latest election manifesto reintroduces a proposal to build a temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of a medieval mosque in the northern town of Ayodhya, even though the destruction of that mosque by Hindu extremists and BJP supporters in 1992 devolved into violence that killed several thousand people.”
Referring to Amit Shah, who is currently BJP in charge managing UP for the party, the New York Times commentary says, the former Gujarat minister is Modi’s “closest aide” and “is awaiting trial for the murder of three people the police suspect of plotting to assassinate Modi.” It adds, Shah has made “speeches inciting anti-Muslim sentiment among Hindu voters, including in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, despite an outbreak of sectarian violence there last September.”
Referring to Ahmedabad, which was affected by the riots, the author says, the city “ceases to swagger in Juhapura, a southwestern neighborhood and the city’s largest Muslim ghetto.” The way this Muslim ghetto has been treated suggests, according to him, that “a BJP victory in the general election would increase marginalization and vulnerability among India’s 165 million Muslims.” He also refers to the massive network of Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) which has grown all over, saying it is plying, ironically on “People’s Path.”
Pointing out that Ahmedabad that is Gujarat’s largest city, and has become a wealthy metropolis of about six million people and three million private vehicles, with office complexes, high-rise apartments, busy markets and shopping malls, which have replaced the poor villages that once dotted the land, Peer recalls how he rode around there last week on the back of a friend’s scooter to get a feel of the ghetto where 400,000 people live.
“On the dusty main street was a smattering of white and beige apartment blocks and shopping centers. A multistory building announced itself in neon signs as a community hall; a restaurant boasted of having air-conditioning. The deeper we went into the neighborhood, the narrower the streets, the shabbier the buildings, the thicker the crowds. The edge of the ghetto came abruptly. Just behind us was a row of tiny, single-story houses with peeling paint. Up ahead, in an empty space the size of a soccer field, children chased one another, jumping over heaps of broken bricks”, he says, guoting his friend, to say, this was The Border.
“Beyond the field was a massive concrete wall topped with barbed wire and oval surveillance cameras. On the other side, we could see a neat row of beige apartment blocks with air conditioners securely attached to the windows — housing for middle-class Hindu families. Modi’s engines of growth seem to have stalled on The Border. His acclaimed bus network ends a few miles before Juhapura. The route of a planned metro rail line also stops short of the neighborhood. The same goes for the city’s gas pipelines, which are operated by a company belonging to a billionaire businessman close to Modi”, the author says.

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.