When the Godhra riots took place in 2002, I, like millions of many other people, was convinced that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was guilty. That was the thrust of the entire media and intellectuals, led by the TV news channels in particular.
I was sure that he would step down and would probably be found guilty in the subsequent enquiries. The media hardsell was just too strong. I was working in a Delhi newspaper at the time and that was the general mood of the media.
The climax was probably when the then Prime Minister AB Vajpayee seemed to rebuke Modi in public.
But it has been 11 years since that and in that manner at least, everyone has been proved wrong. If you have a strong belief that Modi is guilty, then there are dozens of straws that you can clutch on to. However, in terms of concrete evidence to nail Modi, absolutely nothing has come up.
The damage has been done. The media convinced millions that year that Modi was guilty and those millions still stick on to their beliefs till the present day.
That has been the consistent pattern for the last 11 years. Shrill reports keep resurfacing that Modi is just on the verge of being nabbed. When nothing of the sort happened, many more reports appeared saying that “he has got away” or he has got a “reprieve” or is merely on the “verge” of being proved guilty.
Reports said that Modi justified the Godhra riots saying “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” It now appears highly doubtful that Modi had ever quoted Newton, but again the damage was done.
Best Bakery case. Naroda Patiya massacre. Teesta Setalvad. Sanjiv Bhatt…
Whenever any revelations came, many people like me believed Modi was guilty. It’s a natural reaction. We have so little faith in our politicians that
whenever any breaking news comes against them, our first instinct is to believe it.
But there was never any concrete evidence presented in the curious case of Modi and in the end it all seems like a massive ideological witch-hunt. The so called intelligentsia leans heavily to the Left and Modi seems to lean sharply to the Right.
The same thing has now happened in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
One media publication said that the CBI could chargesheet an IB official who overheard one official tell the other that it had the okay of black beard and white beard. Black beard may mean Amit Shah and white beard may mean Modi.
That’s really stretching things too far in the court of law and even that “far stretch” did not appear in the chargesheet. Ironically, the media house still claimed victory.
It’s always a “Blow to Modi” and a “Victory to the media”. That much has been consistent in the last 11 years.