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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Godhra Train Blaze Was BJP’s Pre-planned Political Stunt

This is a news shocker and I hope to read counter narratives. Will this news get traction?

Mike Ghouse

Angry Patels Spill the Beans; Say Godhra Train Blaze Was BJP’s Pre-planned Political Stunt

in Big StoryIndiaWHAT'S HOT 4 days ago 7 Comments 66,935 Views
This February 27, 2002 photo shows the burning S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra. Credit The Hindu
Abdul Hafiz Lakhani | Caravan Daily
AHMEDABAD – The ongoing Patidar agitation in Gujarat has taken unexpected turns with Patidar Samiti leaders Rahul Desai and Lalbhai Patel lashing out against the governing BJP for its communal politics. “The BJP is fundamentally a communal party that has been planting its ideology of Muslim hatred for years now,” said Desai. “I can tell you with certainty that Modi would never have been re-elected as the chief minister in 2002 if it had not been for the Godhra train burning.”
In February 2002, a fire in the Sabarmati Express killed 59 commuters, many of them Hindutva karsevaks. Thirty one Muslims were later convicted of their alleged involvement in the fire. The Godhra blaze was followed by anti-Muslim pogrom across Gujarat in which more than 2,000 people died. Desai, who was in school at the time, remembers being shown videos of the Godhra train burning in class.
“They were doing it to propagate the idea that all Hindus need to come together or else the Muslims would kill us,” said Desai. “I don’t know if the men who burnt the train were Muslims or not, but I know that the Godhra train burning was a pre-planned political stunt by the BJP to win the state election later that year.”
When communal thinking takes root, says Desai, it is very difficult to get rid of. “Because of the BJP’s propaganda, all of us began to think communally, and I feel kind of cheated now,” he said. “Even today, people are afraid that Muslims will riot against them, but honestly, even if they don’t, the BJP will get it done.”
Desai acknowledges that he may not be speaking for all Patidars in Gujarat, but he is certain that all other members of the Patidar Andolan Samiti share his views.
In Mehsana, Laljibhai Patel could not agree more. “Of course, Godhra and the 2002 riots were orchestrated by the BJP. It is obvious to us now, but back then it wasn’t,” said Lalbhai Patel. “Last time they targeted Muslims. Now they are allowing the Patels to be persecuted. This is exactly the kind of politics that leads to the creation of Naxals.”
For now, Patidar leaders are in no mood to support the party they were once loyal to in the state Assembly election next year. But even as the community accepts help from the Congress to fight various cases against Patidar men, Desai and Lalbhai are firm that the Patel allegiance will not blindly bend towards the Congress this election.
“We will vote for whoever gives in to our demands – both reservations and justice for the police atrocities,” said Lalbhai Patel. “The Patidars are already now building connections with OBC Thakors and Muslims so you never know – even a third front might come up.”
On Congress’ improved performance in local bodies polls held in November, Lalji Patel admitted that their stir had helped Congress, as Patels had decided to teach BJP a lesson. The large-scale protests by Patidars last year had triggered violence in many parts of the state, culminating in the arrest of Hardik Patel and his aides under the charge of sedition.
Speaking about the Congress’ offer of giving reservation to Patels and other upper castes under the EBC (Economically Backward Class) category, Lalji was heard saying that other upper castes will reap maximum profits if the EBC reservation is accepted, while the Patels would not gain much.

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