For immediate release
16 May 2014
NARENDRA MODI – CEO for INDIA, Inc.
Secular, pluralist and democratic Indians in the country and abroad are mourning the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their ‘star’ candidate, Narendra Modi, the ‘Butcher of Gujarat’, as Prime Minister of India for the next five years.
As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi grounded his power on the corpses of over 2000 Muslims who were killed in the genocide of February-March 2002. Before that, he had a tenuous hold on the state. Post-genocide, he skilfully used spurious, disproved and at worst contested evidence of a train fire in which 58 Hindus were killed — the ‘trigger’ for a genocide that had been a long time in the making – to win a landslide electoral victory.
Despite strenuous efforts for justice for the victims of the Gujarat genocide, Modi was able to ensure that nothing stuck to him. Diligent police officers were harassed and transferred out; there was witness intimidation; there were false ‘encounter’ killings of Muslim youth, framed as ‘terrorists’, to build the case that Modi was their intended target.
Members of his government like Maya Kodnani were less fortunate. She got convicted. Many of those involved directly in the genocide have boasted on and off camera of their horrific deeds — torture, dismemberment, burning and hacking to death. Especially targeted were Muslim women, who were sexually tortured, gang-raped in front of their families and then slashed to death. Pregnant women were not spared, their wombs were split open and their foetuses torn out . Victims who called the police to come to their assistance as the killing mobs rampaged through the streets were told “We have no orders to save you.” Instructions had come down from the highest level.
In a federal system, which India has, at moments of crisis such as this, the central government (in Delhi) is constitutionally permitted, nay obliged, to intervene. Unfortunately for Gujarat’s Muslim population, the government at the centre was also a BJP government – committed to Hindutva, making India a ‘Hindu’ nation – one of whose activists assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. And they did nothing!
It is this man, the ‘Butcher of Gujarat’, who is now poised to have the highest and most powerful post in the land, who will now not only have fascist, Hindutva militias and gangs doing his bidding, but will use the entire nation’s resources to do so – including a huge security force.
In 2005, the US government revoked Modi’s visa on the ground of alleged violations of human and religious rights in 2002 and after. President Barack Obama now faces the prospect of having to congratulate Modi for his victory – and even of welcoming him to the US as Head of government.
How does one explain that such a man and his party have come to power so massively? Like most realities, it is complex. And the full story will eventually become clearer. However the obsession of the Indian elites with ‘growth’ above all else and the role of the media that is controlled by the same elites made a mantra of Modi = development = growth so ubiquitous, that it became ‘the truth’.
Modi’s success is the result of the marriage of corporate capital with Hindutva forces. We have learnt from history the terrible consequences of focussing on economic growth and employment while being oblivious to the persecution of minorities and the deepening of inequality.
However, even a cursory examination of the actual record of Gujarat state under Modi, the so-called “Gujarat Shining”, shows how dismal human development indicators have been – malnourishment and under-nourishment, education, access to water, gender gap, etc. The destiny Modi and his party have for India is terrifying – growth for the elites, degradation for the masses, genocide for India’s Muslims, targeting of Christian minorities, and suppression and intimidation of dissent.
This is a victory of the far right – political, economic, social and religious. Never before have the causes of pluralism, human rights, social justice and fight against poverty in India needed our global support and solidarity as they do now.
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