Fact: 2000 is the number of Muslims who roasted to coal 59 Ram sevaks in Godhra, including 25 women and 15 children, on 27 February 2002, not the number of Muslims killed in the subsequent Gujarat riots.
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. The UPA government gives these figures, and hence they themselves may be inflated. To read the Rajya Sabha records click:
The editorials of the national English dailies, and the articles published from the freelancers on the newspapers’ editorial pages are nothing but a pack of lies, akin the autobiography of former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, “In the Line of Fire”. Newspapers like The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, etc. continue to publish articles saying, “Win in Assembly elections of December 2002 does not whitewash Narendra Modi’s sins of the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 when 2000 innocent Muslims were butchered” or “The Gujarat pogrom of killing thousands of Muslims did not help the BJP in the long term” etc. etc.
All these numbers again came into the picture when Narendra Modi was denied a US diplomatic visa in March 2005 by the USA and his earlier tourist visa, issued in 1998 was revoked just one day before his scheduled visit to the USA. Why the USA took as many as three years after the Gujarat riots to revoke Modi’s earlier visa is not told.
But these numbers are nothing but a pack of lies. Let us see the interview given by the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to Aaj Tak’s Prabhu Chawla, excerpts of which were published in the weekly India Today, dated 4 November 2002
“Q – Your opponents call you ‘Jinnah of the Hindus’.
A- I am hearing this for the first time though I still don’t consider you as an enemy.
Q- You are held responsible for the killing of 1,100 innocent people in the riots.
A- In our last interview, you said 900 people. Now you are saying 1,100. Are you adding all the people killed in other states like Maharashtra and Bengal to Gujarat’s account?(Narendra Modi is talking of the Solapur riots of 10 and 11 October 2002 in Maharashtra and other petty riots which occured long after Godhra and had nothing to do with Godhra and post-Godhra).
Q- So what is the correct toll?
A- There would have no riots in Gujarat if there had been no Godhra…
Q- Do you accept that you failed to provide security to the people of the state?
A- 98% of Gujarat would not have had peace if we had failed to fulfill our duties. We managed to control the riots in 72 hours…
Q- Why don’t you accept that Gujarat is being defamed because of Narendra Modi?
A- If that is true, give the people of Gujarat a chance to pronounce their verdict through elections.”
As we see, the number of people killed in the riots jumped from 900 to 1100 after Narendra Modi’s previous interview, i.e. within 4 months! Now it has jumped from 900 to 2,000. May be after 10 years, at this rate it will jump to 10,000! Already it is being said that, “thousands of Muslims were killed in Gujarat” and “3,000 innocent Muslims were butchered in Gujarat”. The death of a single innocent person, whether Hindu or Muslim or belonging to any other religion, is highly unfortunate and cannot be justified. That more than 1,000 people were killed is highly unfortunate and reprehensible. But that cannot a justification to exaggerate and inflate the number of people killed to 2,000 or any higher figure.
What these lies have done to well-meaning people
It is generally believed, even in the Sangh Parivar, that the post-Godhra riots were one-sided. Even a correspondent of RSS weekly Organiser once believed the bluff that 2,000 Muslims were killed in the riots. He actually reported- “Over 2,000 Muslims were killed in Ahmedabad”. This when the correct number of Muslims killed for the entire state of Gujarat (including Ahmedabad) was 790, along with 254 Hindus.
Most leaders of BJP seem to be blatantly ignorant of the truth of the Gujarat riots. Whenever Congress leaders or anti-BJP journalists raise the issue of the Gujarat riots on TV, the BJP leaders generally fail to give befitting reply. They falter in speech. They merely try to point out that the Gujarati electorate gave a huge mandate to the BJP and to Narendra Modi in the December 2002 Gujarat Assembly polls, and mention the Godhra incident as a cause of the riots. None of them ever points out any instance of Muslim aggression, sufferings of the Hindus in the riots, police firing deaths, or the fact that only 60 places out of 18,600 saw riots. This is because of ignorance and blind belief on media lies.
In March 2005, the Pakistan cricket team was on a tour to India. It refused to play a Test match in Ahmedabad on ‘political’ grounds, i.e. for ‘the killings of Muslims’ in that city. All this is clearly the result of stark lies concocted by the biased media, which it itself may have started to believe by now. All these lies and myths need to be thoroughly exposed.
That the UPA government, with Congress President and Italian-born and staunchly anti-BJP Sonia Gandhi as the UPA chief, and Communists as outside supporters, gave the figure of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus killed in the Gujarat riots inside Parliament is something worth pondering about. These figures themselves may well be exaggerated given as they are by a Congressman, who works under Sonia Gandhi.
India Today weekly reported in its issue dated 20 May 2002, when the riots had almost stopped that “Total dead- 972” (For details, see page 122). Out of these 972, India Today included 57 people killed in Godhra. If anyone sees the English newspapers of those days, i.e. between 10 to 21 May 2002, no riots took place in Gujarat in those 10 days at all, and the Army left Gujarat on 21 May. A maximum of 20 more deaths might have happened in Gujarat after that. The death toll in Gujarat riots would thus be 935.
The Tribune reported on 30 April 2002 that the death toll crossed the 900 mark on 29 April. 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.
Central India’s English daily The Hitavada also reported that 936 people were killed in the Gujarat riots after the Army left Ahmedabad on 21 May 2002. The official figures before the missing were declared dead were 952. After missing were declared dead- the toll was revised to 1180.
Let us, for argument’s sake, assume that the figures given by the UPA government are correct. Does that give anyone the reason to believe that more than 790 Muslims were killed in Gujarat? Why should the English dailies and the 24-hour news channels lie through the skin of their teeth that 2000 Muslims were killed in Gujarat?
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.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 is 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.
Despite this NDTV reported many times during the Lok Sabha elections of April- May 2004 that, “2000 Muslims were killed in Gujarat” exaggerating and as if not a single Hindu was killed and implying that the riots were one-sided.
2,000 is the number of Muslims who carried out the massacre and gruesome roasting alive of 59 Hindus-including 25 women and 15 children in Godhra. It is not the number of Muslims who were killed in the subsequent riots. There is no justification for violence and of even a single death, be it in Godhra or after Godhra. But why lie? Who gains by these lies? And it is everybody’s duty to correct the figure. The point is, what should be reported is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And it is this mentality which is responsible for them exaggerating the number of Muslims killed in the riots to as much as possible. When the total number of people killed in the riots- Hindu as well as Muslim- is 1,169, they lie that 2,000 Muslims were killed in the riots just like former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf did in the United Nations in September 2002. Teesta Setalvad increased this number to 2,500 Muslims (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!!!