February 26, 2009

The good doc

"She was a leader of the mob and ... instigated the mob to commit the crime and therefore was in the main role.

"[S]he had fired from her pistol and it was further revealed that she came in her car and distributed swords to the mob.

"[The mob killed] 95 people ... 38 were injured and three are still missing. ... [A]nticipatory bail cannot be granted in a serious offence of mass murders."

These were just some of the lines from an affidavit submitted to the Gujarat high Court by the Gujarat government, quoted in this news report.

Question: What was this mass murder?
Answer: The killing of "at least 95" of your fellow Indians in Ahmedabad in 2002, by "a mob of 15,000 to 17,000 rioters."

Q: Who was this lady the affidavit refers to, who led this murderous mob?
A: 53-year-old Maya Kodnani.

Q: What does Ms Maya Kodnani do for a living?
A: She is a gynaecologist (a doctor, yes) and currently Gujarat's Minister for Women and Child Development ("child development", yes). She is currently carrying out those elected ministerial duties, probably attending the Gujarat Assembly as I type these words.

Last November, a team of terrorists launched an attack on Bombay. They carried guns and fired them. By the time they were done, they had killed about 170 of your fellow Indians. All of the terrorists were themselves killed, except one by name Kasab.

Question: What is the difference between, on the one hand, this Kasab who fired his guns and, with his pals, slaughtered 170 of your fellow Indians; and, on the other hand, this Kodnani accused of firing a gun, distributing swords and leading a huge mob that slaughtered about 100 of your fellow Indians?
Answer: Your guess is as good as mine.


Update: Chandru Krishnan of Toronto, Canada, who sometimes also refers to himself as Varun, had a response to this post. Since he sent it to me by email and since I believe it is an important contribution to this debate, I am pasting it here, in full and verbatim.

From: Chandru Krishnan
Subject: Gujarat and Mumbai( The Gyenacologist)
Date: 28 February 2009 12:56:43 AM GMT+05:30

Just read that bit in your blog comparing some killing in Gujarat with the recent Mumbai massacre. YES, there is a big difference between the two incidents. One is a quasi- act of war, with a degree of official support, from a neighbouring country, which itself is bigoted, fanatical and military dominated, and was in fact born in, and sustained by, anti-India, anti-Hindu and anti-secular hatred. The Gujarat killing was the response to an horrific terror attack, and the result of years of experiencing frustration at Islamic terrorism and rioting. Just a few months before, India's parliament had been attacked, if you remember or care to remember.

I've noticed, and you are a prime example- other notaries are Ammu Joseph, Ashley Tellis, John Dayal etc- that however much Moslems and Christians have hated each other historically, to the extent of indulging in the most sadistic mass killings, when it comes to India, they find they have a common opponent, namely of course the wicked Hindus, who are not 'people of the book'. Ah yes, that 'book', which delineates believers in the one, true, monotheistic, prophetic, historical, authentic 'religions', from the believers in false Gods and false books of the devil. The Hindus qualify.

I can see through that,

Chandru K


Rahul Siddharthan said...

I'm more intrigued by the fact that Modi's government is putting its own minister in the dock and arguing against anticipatory bail. What's going on? Belated justice? Or protecting someone else?

Anonymous said...

Well, we all know justice in India takes a long time to come through, if it comes through at all. Maybe this is just part of a long process of justice, and there's no need to read too much into it?

Anonymous said...

Let me recount 3 events and please let me know the difference:
Event A
In 2001, parliament is attacked by terrorists, people lose their lives defendng it. The prime accused is sentenced by court. 'Certain people including typists' have problems with the verdict. Some prominent authors write books with questions. The chief minister of the state warns of blood on the street if the sentence takes place and the
entire process is in limbo.

Event B
Gujarat riots - No need to document 'certain people including typist reactions' Just leave it at that - or maybe look up the archives. Never forget is the motto.
BTW - When these horrific riots are going on, there are no comparisons by typists and others about a similar event 12 years back in J & K when a certain community was driven out and their conditions are the same today as it was 20 years back.

Event C
Nov 2006 - A horrific attack and comparisons are immediately made to event B asking what is the difference between these 2

Of course - typists are always asking for equal justice for all and there is ' no different strokes for different folks here'
True impartiality

Dilip D'Souza said...

Three names here:
Event A: One Afzal.
Event B: One Kodnani.
Event C: One Kasab.

Please tell me without any handwaving, if that's possible: of these three which one has not had to face any kind of justice at all?

Please then tell me about different strokes for different folks.

This typist wants all three to face the process of justice. This typist makes no distinction between them.

Please tell me, again, about different strokes for different folks.

Anonymous said...

No handwaving - my reply was there

Afzal Guru face justice ---- after opposing a supreme court ruling??

Dilip - this is contradicting everything you have written so far.

THe other cases are still going on. Let us see the outcome.

Event B accused has not yet been proven guilty. There is an accusation. Let it go through the due process of investigation and if found guilty - she should be sentenced as A and C.

A and C have been proved guilty - Actually C has been caught in the act.

BTW did you make any comparisons when you reported on Gujarat 2002 -How people were ethnically cleansed out in J & K and ask what is the difference.

Oh and Events A and C are justified- Lack of justice for some people due to events and warnings of more to come unless justice is delivered.

Event B is bloodthirsty Hindu mobs.

This is true impartiality.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

Nikhil: last I checked, Afzal was very much in custody. If he is not facing justice, please provide a link to the news item of his release.

The Gujarat riots happened seven years ago. So it is entirely to say that Kodnani (if she is guilty) has not faced justice. Maybe she will, maybe she won't.

Dilip D'Souza said...


this is just part of a long process of justice, and there's no need to read too much into it?

Well, let's turn this around, shall we? Suppose Kasab remained free for 7 years. Suppose he even became a minister of women and child development in the government of the state where he committed his crimes. Suppose he continued his earlier vocation -- just for argument's sake, let's say that vocation is gynaecology.

Suppose after 7 years, an affidavit is filed in court listing his crimes. Suppose he continues as minister even after such filing.

Would you say "this is just part of a long process of justice, and there's no need to read too much into it?"

Or are you as revolted reading those hypothetical "supposes" as I was writing them?

Well, that's what I am getting at. That feeling of being revolted.

Nikhil: Are you seriously trying to say Afzal Guru did NOT face justice? What was that trial, may I know?

this is contradicting everything you have written so far.

Fine, so let me ask you what I've asked many times without ever getting an answer: please show me this contradiction. Please show me exactly what I've written that has been contradicted by what I've said here. Please. I'm waiting. No evasions or handwaving now.

As far as I'm concerned, killing anywhere is the same. I can see no difference between, for example, these three atrocities: the slaughter of a Kashmiri Pandit friend's father in 1990; the slaughter of a baker's young son in Dharavi in 1993; the slaughter of the sister and the sister's 6 kids of a woman I met in a relief camp in Ahmedabad in 2002.

Please tell me, again, about different strokes for different folks.

I can make no sense of your last three sentences, not that it matters much. Would you care to explain?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip,

My comment was actually a response and follow up to Rahul's first comment about belated justice, not a response to your post.

I was trying to ascertain if this particular case is in fact part of the normal phenomena of belated justice in India, even if belated justice itself is revolting.

If not, then as Rahul asked, is this a case of protecting someone else? Maybe the powers that be decided to let justice have a few scapegoats?

But to respond to your comment - yes, if she's guilty, of course it's revolting that the process took so long.

To respond to your post itself, the difference between the two is the huge support base for Kodnani, IMO.

And you left out the 'maybe' when you quoted me, making it seem (to me) like I'm defending the good doc :-)

Anonymous said...
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Blueshift said...

Hindutva leaders in India are skewing justice and using it in favour of hindus, obviously minorities will (already lost) loose hope in Justice system of India and one day may decide to find their own justice.

Anonymous said...

Hindus have accomodated Islam and given space for Islam for the past thousand year. As a gesture can't Muslims agree to a temple for Lord Ram in Ayodhya?.


Anonymous said...

I'm amazed how people think ( including the likes of Dilip) that Gujarat violence was when all the evil in the world started and that it was all ticketyboo before 2002.

If these learned men think it is still the case then I suppose Modi should be hauled before the coals and it will all be ticketyboo thence.

I'm not a fool.

Blueshift said...

Anonymous SK
Hindus forget soon that India was ruled by Muslims and christians. As for your thnking, Muslims and christians given space for hinduism else it would have been muslim country first and then a christian one. Why do hindus want to claim India as if they were victorious and won this country in some great war. India after Independence belongs to all religions If you cant take this, you better understand the consequences. Hindutva should be ashamed of claiming this country which it did not won in any war, its like a free goddie, just happened that hindus were in majority does not mean Hindus have absolute right to this country.

Anonymous said...


You have exactly provided the raison d'ĂȘtre for extremists and terrorists...that things have to won by war and the spoils go to the victor.

By you won logic Babri was 'won' in 1992. So it 'belongs' to the victors. So why bother. Why can't the 'losers' let it go.

I'm hoping Dilip will wade into this argument breaking his 'studied' silence.

Blueshift, is there a place for battle of ideas in your scheme of things?

You've acknowledged that Islam and Christianity spread by violence not on the weight of intellect... exactly what Hindutva forces have been saying.

I can't speak for the spread of Islam as I don't have a first hand account but certainly Christianity spread in peace atleast where I come from.


P.S Despite centuries of foreign rule Hinduism has survived and is well and truly intact.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Daniel, I didn't mean to make out that you were defending the lady. Sorry about that. But I wonder why we all tolerate the "long process of justice" when it comes to the Kodnanis of this world. What justice is it anyway? The families of the Sikhs who were killed in 1984 have been waiting a quarter century for justice!

SK: what Muslims might do as a gesture about Ayodhya is one thing. What does that have to with a woman accused of horrendous crimes?

This I agree with: Despite centuries of foreign rule Hinduism has survived and is well and truly intact.

So why then do I hear the Togadias and others telling us that it is in danger?

Anonymous said...

Dilip, I just trying my best to do some root cause analysis that led us into the present situation..Maybe I'm stupid to try it in social situations where the truth and facts are buried very deep to the point of being invisible.


Anonymous said...

I strongly believe that these kind of grand gestures is what that sustained human civilisation...not the wars that Blueshift speaks about...only such acts can resolve otherwise irreconcilable situations...Happens in our families quite often isn't it.

When you're deprived of the oppurtunity to point fingers at others, there is only one way you can point it at...yourself.

Anonymous said...

Many of the so called Hindutva supporters are scared that without a counterbalance, Islamic extremism will go unchecked as an idea in our country. Appeasement politics will be practised to such an extent that India may break up along sectarian lines. Many of Congress 'secular' allies are there in it for themselves. If they are so 'secular' why not they give a blank cheque to Congress and finish off BJP?. The third front is a joke. They vouch for secularism only to scoot for 'best bargain' post elections.

The ability of secular forces and Muslim community to stand upto Islamic extremism is suspect.

Many of the secular forces are reluctant to quell extremism (of any sort) due to electoral compulsions. They want to be nice to people and win votes, which is fine but you cannot be nice to anti-national elements. After all it took a 26/11 for Congress to remove Shivraj Patil and press for internal security reforms. Others like Arundhati Roy even question the need for nationalism. They don't offer any other practical alternatives, just articles and blogs for their one minute of fame.

I'm afraid Muslim community have remained prisoners of their leadership and have electorally boxed themselves into a corner. Nationalism is the last in the list of a majority of the Muslim leadership. They have failed to reach 'across the aisle' as it were.

In these circumstance a vast majority of nationalist minded people ,including myself, have no alternative but to vote for BJP. That we unwittingly get clubbed and journey with extreme Right is a another tragedy better left untold.

I think we are in need of nationalist parties that are not secular just for electoral purposes. Only one party comes to my mind , the Swatantra party but unfortunately it is defunct. If we had such a party there may not have been Babri issue, no 84 Sikh riots, no 1992 Bombay bombings and riots, no Godhra train carnage and the riots that followed it, Shah Bano would have got justice and we might just have avoided 26/11...and Dilip's blog might have had a different title .

Only if....


Blueshift said...


"Appeasement politics will be practised to such an extent that India may break up along sectarian lines"

Do you think hindutva politics are now uniting people and not breaking on religious lines?

"Many of the secular forces are reluctant to quell extremism (of any sort) due to electoral compulsions."

Do you think hindutva will be able to quell extremism? using force?
US is trying to do this since long time and with trillions of $ i dont see any success.

Why cant citizens live in a country peacefully without someone defining nationalism and forcing on minorities?

First nationalism defined and practiced by hindutva gang is not in the interest of nation but in the interest of hindu majority?

I dont think that is nationalism, its fundamentalism.

Ofcourse you think hindu fundamentalism is best for you just as muslim think muslim extremism is in the best intrest of muslims.

In this clash of ideas where is real nationalism? which thinks about the interest of nation.

There is a huge problem with nationalism defined by hindutva gang, i dont think its nationalism since its not in the interest of all of the nation.

"secular just for electoral purposes"

If congress was just secular for electoral purposes and rest of the time it acted irresponsibly

which party will be secular for real secular purpose?

We know BJP is for communal purpose.

Anonymous said...


Nowhere I have mentioned that Hindutva is the panacea of all evils. In fact in para 5 of my rather lenghty post, I have expressed my dilemma regarding the kind of cavalry I'm forced to ride with. So please don't jump the gun...

Agree with you that Hindutva is not the answer...also believe that competitive secularism as practiced currently is neither.

Agree with you that BJP is communal ...Also believe that Congress and other 'secular' parties are communal in a different way.

Hope you agree with me regarding the need of genuine secular nationalist parties. Genuine secularism - to hold India together well and develop a sense of citizenship; nationalism - to marshall existing resources to build a safe, self reliant and better India that we all can be proud of.


P.S :- I'm a strong proponent of Uniform Civil Code. Leaving politics aside, what do you think about about this idea...is it secular or communal.

Anonymous said...

The Hindu, it its editorial dated the 6th of March, refuses to call the killing of 300,000 Christians in Darfur as genocide. However it was quick to term 2002 Gujarat riots as genocide.

Pseudo secular hypocrisy at its best.


Sidhusaaheb said...

India's government, its agencies and a large percentage of its people act differently during and after communal riots and terrorist violence, some of which is reflected in the comments on this blog-post.

I, too, have tried to examine the contrast in the blog-post at http://sidhusaaheb.blogspot.com/2008/12/stark-contrast.html .

Sidhusaaheb said...
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Sidhusaaheb said...

I have a question for Chandru Krishnan alias Varun of Canada.

If any person who claims to be a Hindu kills a Muslim anywhere in the world, is it all right for the victim's co-religionists to attack and try to kill Chandru Krishnan and his family, just because they happen to be Hindus (in accordance with the justification he has put forward for the killing of 2000 innocent Muslims in Gujarat)?

I would say that the answer should be "No.", but then I do understand that when a crime is committed, it is the criminal who should be punished and not any one who happens to follow the same religion as the one that the criminal claims to follow. Chandru and millions of others like him do not seem to.

Chandru Krishnan said...

In reply to Sidhusaheb's comment, may I ask, why must Mr. Sidhu be such a simpleton? I'm not talking about just one riot or terrorist attack, but many. India is under ideological attack, from Moslems, who are getting support from Pakistan. Gujarat was an agggressive response to years of frustration at having experienced Islamic ideological terror.