Saturday, November 10, 2012

My house was destroyed in 2002. The mob leader has not been served a simple memo

Dear Lord Meghnad Desai,
I am J.S. Bandukwala, a retired professor of physics at M.S. University, Baroda. I have never met you, except on the occasion of Dr I.G. Patel’s 75th birthday celebration in Baroda.
I read your Sunday Express column regularly. It is thought provoking, though I often disagree with your views. But your column on Narendra Modi and secularists shocked me (‘Power shocks’, IE, August 5). Permit me to enumerate the reasons.
The tone of your piece is heavily pro-Modi. You cite the convictions so far at Ode, etc as great achievements, comparing them with the failure to convict anyone for the Mumbai 1993 and the 1984 Sikh riots and the Babri Masjid demolition. That comment itself is pouring salt on our wounds. Muslims have suffered periodic mob fury, which has gone unpunished by the state, since 1947.
The logic of the BJP’s existence appears to be hatred for Muslims, traced back to Savarkar and Golwalkar.
The Congress, on which we are forced to rely, is only interested in our votes. It has no interest in our socio-educational and economic uplift. The very nature of politics is such that a few Muslims — whether in the BJP or the Congress or even in socialist parties like the Samajwadi Party — act as agents for the community, and siphon off the benefits for their own selves.
The illiteracy and poverty (which have deep historical roots), combined with an absence of genuine community leadership, left the space open for the ulemas, who have only worsened the plight of the Muslims of India.
My own house was completely destroyed in 2002. The leader of the attacking mob was an officer of M.S. University, Baroda. My daughter, who is married to a Gujarati Hindu, and I barely escaped certain death. The mob leader was not even served a simple memo.
The Modi government has done everything possible to see that its saffron supporters are not touched by the post-Godhra Supreme Court activism. He got support from the SIT. Those convicted so far are outside the saffron band.
We are deeply grateful for support from activists like Teesta Setalvad who have fought for justice at great personal sacrifice. The English and electronic media have also been very supportive. Of the local language press, the less said the better.
So far, I have considered you a sympathiser. But my trust has been broken. You see Narendra Modi as a future prime minister, and would not want to be on his wrong side. Frankly I will do whatever it needs to protect my community from that menace.
With regrets,
J.S. Bandukwala, Baroda, Gujarat