Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said on 27 March 2019: “When 2,500 Muslims were killed in Godhra, the TDP was the first party to raise it with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and I was the first to demand the dismissal of the Modi government in Gujarat. That is the reason behind his vengeance over me and my State,” he said.
This is of course, an outrageous lie. In Godhra, 2000 Muslims surrounded the train on both sides and burnt to coal 59 Hindus, including 25 women and 15 children (including babies and toddlers). Even THESE killings were not enough for Chandrababu to even condemn for lip service the act of Muslims of Godhra while talking of the riots. [WARNING: Gruesome Pictures]. 2500 Muslims were not killed in Godhra, instead the Muslims had killed 59 Hindus there. Even after Godhra, 2500 Muslims were by no means killed in the riots, this figure was a hyperbole, exaggeration by Chandrababu Naidu which is blatant violation of 153-A (needlessly infuriating a community) and 499-500 (defamation of a political party and individual leaders like Narendra Modi) by implying that the party and its leader(s) were responsible for 2500 deaths, ignoring the Godhra carnage completely which was the cause of the riots (which were also not one-sided).
As per figures given by the then Union Minister of State for Home Shriprakash Jaiswal, who belongs to the Congress Party, in Parliament on 11 May 2005, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots, 2548 people were injured and 223 people were missing. This was in a WRITTEN REPLY to a question asked by a Congress member on the religion wise casualties in Gujarat after Godhra. The report placed the number of riot-affected widows at 919 and the number of children orphaned at 606. To read the Rajya Sabha records click here.
The Tribune reported on 30 April 2002 that the death toll crossed the 900 mark on 29 April 2002. The riots had almost ended by that time and maximum 50 more would have been killed by 10 May 2002. And this was 2 months after the real violence of 28 Feb, 1st and 2nd March had ended, most of the bodies of the killings of these days had been found by 30 April. Thus there is no way at all that the toll could be anywhere close to 2,000. The 950-odd toll was exaggerated and inflated to 2000 by the liars some months after the riots.
952 people were killed in the Gujarat riots as per official figures by the time the Army left Ahmedabad on 21 May 2002. After all missing people were declared dead- the toll was revised to 1180 as per The Telegraph.
Actually, the figures given initially said 228 people missing (closely matched by the UPA Government also saying 223 people missing in Parliament on 11 May 2005) and later 101 people were found alive, so the final missing people’s figure is 127 only. The official statistics show that 101 people were found alive and 127 people are still missing and hence assumed dead after the 7-year period is over. [This information is official records, and was given to this writer by the Government after he asked for it.] Ex-gratia was paid to 1,169 people by the Gujarat Government. The UPA Government also paid extra compensation to Gujarat riot victims in May 2008. Even this UPA Government said ex-gratia was paid to 1169 people which shows that the death toll is less than or equal to 1169 since it is absolutely impossible that the UPA Government will fail to give ex-gratia to families of people killed in the riots when the riots have been politicized so much.
(And if the UPA government which was a staunch opponent of Narendra Modi claims that any more than 1169 people were killed in the riots, then it itself would be admitting that it did not pay compensation to some killed people’s families!) UPA’s figures in Parliament would amount to 1171 deaths- 790 Muslims, 254 Hindus and 127 missing people (after many missing were found alive), 790+254+127= 1171. This closely matches the ex-gratia figure of 1169, paid by both the Gujarat and the UPA Government.
Chandrababu Naidu ignored totally the killings of Hindus not only in Godhra but even after Godhra and lied that 2500 Muslims were killed as if not a single Hindu was killed. He of course, is not the first one to do so, nor will he be the last one. For example, Teesta Setalvad also lied that 2,500 Muslims were killed (as if not a single Hindu was killed) in one of her articles titled “What ails Gujarat” published in CPI(M) party weekly Peoples Democracy in its issue of 16 July 2006. And Tehelka reported in 2007 after its sting operation that 2,500 Muslims were killed in the first 3 days! This would imply that many more were killed in the next days of riots! But Chandrababu Naidu is the Chief Minister of a state, unlike Teesta Setalvad and Tehelka.
The UPA Government said that 254 Hindus were killed after Godhra. Naturally, the question arises, who killed these 254 Hindus in Gujarat? Around 84 Hindus were killed in police firing, the rest mostly in violence by Muslims. As per the police records, some 157 riots in Gujarat after 3rd March, 2002 were started by Muslims. (Source: Article by Francis Gautier dated 11 March 2003).
When this writer talked to some people who call themselves secularists, on the attacks by Muslims on Hindus and Dalits in particular, he got interesting answers. In Muslim-dominated areas of Ahmedabad and other places, the Hindus living in minority (often microscopic minority), many of whom were Dalits, suffered horribly, were thrown out of their homes, attacked and killed by Muslims. Not only that, even in other areas like Sindhi market and Bhanderi Pole areas of Ahmedabad the Muslims attacked the Hindus. The Muslim backlash started on 1 March 2002, one day after 28 February when the Hindus attacked Muslims in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Patiya, Gulbarga Society and other areas. The people calling themselves as secularists, after listening to these facts of Muslim attacks said to me: “It is natural and inevitable. If Hindus attack and kill them in Naroda Patiya, they will obviously attack, kill, render homeless the Hindus living in minority in their dominated areas in the next days”. This response has 2 important implications:
1- When Muslims attack Hindus, they think it is ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’ because of attacks by Hindus on 28 Feb in Naroda Patiya. But the Naroda Patiya attacks were not ‘inevitable’ and ‘natural’ because of Godhra killings of Hindus!
2- They know and admit that Muslims attacked Hindus even after Godhra, when they say its ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’. If they know that its ‘inevitable’ that Muslims will attack Hindus in their areas and also other areas if riots last for weeks, then why do they lie that Muslims were massacred in one-sided attacks ignoring attacks on Hindus, in particular, Dalits?
Godhra happened on 27th February. On 28th February was retaliation from the Hindus. On 1st March, the second day of the riots, the Muslim counterattack began. The Hindu reported on 2nd March, 2002:
“But unlike Thursday (i.e. 28th February) when one community was entirely at the receiving end, the minority backlash (on 1st March, Friday) caused further worsening of the situation. Police presence had little impact on the two communities pelting stones at each other in Bapunagar, Gomtipur, Dariapur, Shahpur, Naroda (Muslim concentrated areas) and other areas from where incidents of firing had been reported. But there were no reports of casualty. Pitched battle was continuing between the two communities late in the evening. The official sources said timely arrival of the police foiled a retaliatory attempt to break into a prominent temple in Jamalpur locality in the walled city.”
As early as 5 March 2002, out of the 98 relief/ refugee camps set up in the state, 85 were for the Muslims and 13 were for the Hindus [Source: Official records]. As on 17 March 2002, as per the report of a newspaper as anti-BJP as The Times of India,more than 10,000 Hindus were rendered homeless in Ahmedabad alone.
India Today weekly dated 15 April 2002 reported:
“On March 13 (2002), the Supreme Court’s ruling banning any religious activity in Ayodhya proved a psychological setback to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its affiliates. It was also the day when some people in the Muslim-dominated walled city of Ahmedabad burst crackers in celebration and unfurled banners saying, “You darkened our skies. We will spill your blood on the streets.” The Hindu zealot had had his fortnight; it was time for his Muslim counterpart to reawaken. The next few days saw mayhem. In Ahmedabad, violence broke out on March 17 when Dalits in the Danilimda area were attacked by Muslims. On March 19, it was Modasa, a town in Sabarkantha district. A police officer’s son was stabbed and two communities went berserk. A local LIC building was attacked during office hours.
The stories only got more macabre. In Himmatnagar, a young man who went to a Muslim-dominated area to do business was found dead, with his eyes gouged out. In Bharuch, the murder of a Muslim youth led to mass violence. Next the Sindhi Market and Bhanderi Pole areas of Ahmedabad, hitherto calm, were attacked by mobs. This phase, really, was one of Muslim mobs attacking Hindus.“
As on 25 April 2002, out of the 1 lakh 40 thousand refugees, some 1 lakh were Muslims and 40 thousand were Hindus. None other than Times Now channel admitted in 2009 quoting from Agencies that 40,000 Hindus were also rendered homeless in the Gujarat riots, i.e. Muslims threw out as many as 40,000 Hindus in Gujarat even after Godhra, just like they did in Kashmir where lakhs of Hindus left the valley.
The Indian Express devoted two full reports exclusively to Hindu victims of Ahmedabad in its reported dated 7th May 2002 and 10th May 2002. These Hindus were not only rendered homeless-they did not even have refugee camps to live in-and hence had to live in temples. Many others were forced to sleep on the streets.
The Hindus also suffered economically. As per the reports of none other than The Times of India, as many as 50 Hindus shops were torched in Revdi Bazaar area of Ahmedabad on 23 March 2002 by Muslims. The financial loss was as much as 15 crore rupees. Many more Hindu shops were looted in the rest of Gujarat too. The Tribune dated 30 April 2002 also reported that 36 Hindu shops were looted on 29 April 2002.
On 30 May, 2002 The Hindu reported: “In a chat with The Hindu, (CPM Politbureau member) Ms Brinda Karat, who was in Bangalore last week, shared a few thoughts on the hurdles in the rehabilitation of people affected by the riots, both Hindus and Muslims…When she did actually see a cheque for Rs. 22,000, it was at the Kankadia camp, which housed Dalits, and Hindus. There, Karat also came across cheques for Rs. 10,000, Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 22,000. “The government seems to be offering some substantial compensation only to the Dalit community,” Ms. Karat observes, emphasising the need to compensate everyone equally.”
None other than Marxist leader Brinda Karat also admitted that Hindus and particularly Dalits were also homeless. The compensation provided by the Government was equal for all, just that she ‘saw’ cheques of different denominations at different relief camps. While forcibly trying to imply that the Gujarat Government was discriminating Hindu and Muslim victims of riots, she admitted that there were Hindus also rendered homeless. Note here also that Dalits and Hindus are not separate, Dalits are Hindus only, but Brinda Karat forcibly tries to separate Dalits from Hindus as if they are different.
Chandrababu Naidu ignores completely the killings of Hindus both in Godhra as well as post-Godhra, and exaggerates the death toll of Muslims.
Chandrababu Naidu said: “I was the first to demand the dismissal of the Modi government in Gujarat. That is the reason behind his vengeance over me and my State.” Though it is a fact that the TDP had demanded Modi’s resignation or dismissal in 2002 at the time of the riots, it is also a fact that it did not withdraw support to the Vajpayee Government at the Centre on that issue. And of course, the TDP allied with BJP knowing that Narendra Modi is its Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014, and was a part of the Modi Government till 2018. In 2002, at least Modi was limited to Gujarat as the Chief Minister with Vajpayee being Prime Minister. But from 2014-18 Modi was the Prime Minister, who TDP supported! Chandrababu now claims to have opposed Narendra Modi for the post of Gujarat Chief Minister after the 2002 riots, which is true, but he conveniently does not explain how he supported Narendra Modi for the post of Prime Minister!
It will be no surprise that the self-proclaimed ‘Fact-checkers’ will not expose this lie of Chandrababu Naidu. Many of these so-called ‘Fact-checkers’ are serial fakers themselves.
The writer is author of book “Gujarat Riots: The True Story” which gives all details about the 2002 riots- Godhra and after, one of the admins of www.gujaratriots.com and one of the admins of the Twitter handle @gujaratriotscom