When political leaders use metaphors to describe a scenario, it is often an amusement. Rahul Gandhi used ‘Beehive’ to characterize India. Little did he know that a beehive has a queen bee at the Centre and when she dies, the beehive actually falls into disuse. He received a lot of flak as it implied that if Sonia Gandhi gives up political career, India may well face a tough situation.
Similarly, Amit Shah opined, ‘Till now there was a wave of Modi and the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. But now, as he has filed his nomination, this wave has turned into a Tsunami’. I hope he knows that a Tsunami does not leave behind anything else other than agony, misery, and destruction. But to think of the events taken place with Narendra Modi’s rise, the portrayal by Amit Shah is not off the mark, even though he most probably did not mean it the way I am perceiving it.
People often speak about the 2002 pogrom in Godhra but very few talk about the cover-up and the botched up investigation that followed. In a recent article, Aakar Patel manifested how the brave IPS officer, Rahul Sharma, was made a bali ka bakra because he tracked the BJP and VHP bigots abetting the riots. Rahul Sharma exposed Modi’s minister for women and child development, Maya Kodnani, who was involved in the murder of 97 Gujaratis, among them 33 children and 32 women in Ahmadabad. However, Sharma was made to pay for being honest.
Modi charged him under the Official Secrets Act for not handing over this data, instead giving it to a commission of inquiry. As Aakar Patel asks, ‘Why on earth would Sharma give such vital evidence to the people trying to conceal it?’
Rana Ayyub, in her article for DNA, shared a personal experience of how she was threatened while reporting in Gujarat. She wrote, ‘In June 2010, I was threatened by several BJP leaders (documented in Tehelka), and a bag stashed with money was couriered to my hotel to get me implicated in a criminal case right after I published Amit Shah’s call records in the Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter case which led to his arrest. This, right after I had published investigative articles with internal documents on the involvement of your (Narendra Modi’s) office. Text messages were sent to my phone, suggesting that my location was known.’
Apart from that, many activists voicing their words against Modi have been attacked or ensnared. Medha Patkar was attacked twice during the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Teesta Setalvad, who devoted everything for the justice of the harassment of Gujaratis when the TV channels had moved on, is now being persecuted. Gujarat’s crime branch has been ordered to verify her credit card statements and she is accused of buying alcohol from the money donated for her activism.
Moreover, journalists reporting for Times of India carried a few stories against Modi’s Gujarat government for the way it dealt with the riots. In 2008, they were charged with sedition. Yes, you read that right. In 2012 though, the high court said that it was not even a case of defamation. Even Ashis Nandy was charged with sedition but the Supreme Court traduced the decision and Nandy escaped the arrest by Gujarat police.
Critics and antagonists do not fit in Modi’s regime. As the Modi wave has seen an upward graph, Arvind Kejriwal has been attacked four times; stones were pelted at his car as he lambasted Modi’s governance in Gujarat and Somnath Bharti was beaten up black and blue by alleged BJP workers in Varanasi. Even though Modi claims to have moved away from the traditional agenda of Hindutva, his colleagues have made sure that it is alive and kicking.
Therefore, a liberal can only hope that this Tsunami (Amit Shah’s description) does not quash the freedom of expression and the destruction so grave that a rearguard action would prove too little too late.