September 27, 2020
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An Open Letter To Shri L.K. Advani

In the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage, you have often said that Gujarat will remain a blot on the BJP government and on your conscience -- that it was 'outrageous' and 'indefensible'. There is nothing to doubt your sincerity...

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An Open Letter To Shri L.K. Advani

I am writing this letter to you after considerable deliberation.  Ever since the deliberate targeting and killing of my father-in-law, the former Member of Parliament, Ahsan Jafri, during the Gujarat violence of 2002, my family is not the same.  His brutal and untimely death has taken the highest toll on my wife, Jafri’s only daughter, who continues to swing wildly between the extremes of faith and hopelessness; brotherhood and utter disbelief in humanity; our ancient values and wisdom, and the naked dance of immorality and violence in Gujarat.  She even confronts her roots and religion.

As you know, the Gujarat tragedy had all the signatures of a man-made catastrophe that was deliberately let loose by a few in their pursuit of power.  Those families who lost their near and dear ones have been the true sufferers.  It is not only the Muslims of Gujarat who have suffered the fallout of this immoral dance, as many Hindus have suffered enormously including the families of those innocent people who died in the Sabarmati coach and later in Akshardham temple. 

This pain is further compounded for the family members of many whose bodies could not be identified or found. There is no sense of closure for them. Financial assistance did provide some help, but only to a few and that too temporarily.  Families at large continue to languish in pain and misery, knowing their loss is irreversible and permanent.  As one who has suffered that loss, who is trying to cope with the pain, and still trying to help others in the community to move forward, I can tell you it is not easy. 

Under these circumstances, the issue of justice is very important to such families.  Since our loved ones were killed, the killers must be found and punished.  Proper justice alone can provide some closure to our loss.  Punishing the guilty will not bring back the dead, but there is a sense of discrimination even in death. At least, the families of Godhra and Akshardham victims do not feel that the guilty for those ghastly crimes are getting away with murder.  Any and every individual suspected of even an association with the crime, regardless of evidence, has been booked under POTA and these cases are being vigorously and relentlessly pursued, which is just the way it should be.

On the other hand, the course of law is deliberately being subverted in cases against the perpetrators of mass murder in the rest of Gujarat. It is not an individual case of stray abuse of law, as the tactics employed are a concerted effort that includes neglecting the available evidence,  fabricating statements, falsifying FIRs, misrepresenting testimonies, freeing the suspects on bail, and intimidating or influencing the witnesses through coercion or money. 

We all know about the disrepute brought to the credibility of the Nanavati Commission investigating Godhra and post-Godhra riots.  And now we know the fate of the Best Bakery trial, where all 21 accused in brutalising and burning of 12 to 14 innocent people, including women and children, in the bakery are set free. 

In the aftermath of  the Gujarat carnage, you have often said that Gujarat will remain a blot on the BJP government and on your conscience -- that it was "outrageous'' and "indefensible.''  There is nothing to doubt your sincerity when you say this.  We also know how you feel about what took place in your constituency.  Even if your feelings about communal integrity, unity and harmony were somewhat different in the days prior to forming the NDA government at the center, or before the extremists carried out this violence on innocent people in Gujarat, I think, the magnitude of human tragedy during these riots has severely impacted your conscience. You do feel sorry for the needless pain and misery inflicted upon the innocent people of your constituency and you do feel outraged at the Gujarat administration’s apathy in controlling the violence.  

This is the time to act on those human feelings. I appeal to you to ensure that justice is now done in Gujarat.  The communal bias shown by the Gujarat government has been obvious to all,  including perhaps you.  Whether it was the issue of denial of its involvement in the post Godhra carnage, or the issue of the amount of compensation declared for the Godhra victims and others, or the issue of justice for Hindu victims and the rest, the Modi government has shown consistency in its blatant bias and has come under severe national and international criticism.  This has also tarnished India’s image in the world.  Employing a communally divisive agenda even if pays some near term dividends, in a long run will produce more harm and damage to your government and the country.

You have the power to stop that.  You can and ought to stop that.  You should direct the Gujarat government to uphold the constitution that promises equality and human dignity to every citizen of India, regardless of race, religion, or colour. Ensuring this is also important if you have to succeed in your dream of bringing Ramrajya to the Akhanda Bharatvarsha.

Please direct the Modi government to stop subverting the judicial system and misusing the state machinery to deny justice to those who have already suffered so much and lost so much for no fault of their own. Please allow justice to take its course.  Please ensure that the perpetrators of the Gujarat violence are brought to justice or, as George Bush said, justice is brought to them. In any case, justice must be served. 

Thank you 

Dr. Najid Hussain

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