Friday, 5 August 2016

Intellectuals’ fatwa against Narendra Modi

Intellectuals’ fatwa against Narendra Modi*


     On April 10, 2014 the Guardian published a letter signed by 27 persons (Indians as well as foreigners) – artists, authors, university professors, etc. – to warn Indian voters that Narendra Modi as PM “would bode ill for India's future as a country…” 13 days later, the Independent published a letter signed by 75 university professors (25 of Indian origin) of the UK to express their deep concern “at the implications of a Narendra Modi-led BJP government for democracy, pluralism and human rights in India.” Separately, Amartya Sen issued a similar warning. Not to be left behind, on May 5, a group of public personalities including economist Jean Dreze, activist Setalvad met at Varanasi to warn voters against the imminent “threat to India’s plural culture” from “fascist” forces, namely Modi and the Sangh Parivar. All gave the same reason: Chief Minister Modi was responsible for the massacre of large number of Muslims in 2002 riots in Gujarat.

Do these warnings not remind readers of fatwas issued by Islamic clerics from time to time? For example, a fatwa issued by Darul Uloom Deoband in August 2010 declared: ‘appointment of a woman as judge is near haram because it is mentioned in hadith (a compilation of statements or actions of Prophet Muhammad) that a nation that makes a woman their ruler will never succeed, hence women should not be appointed as judges.’

Those who issue fatwas consider themselves repository of all wisdom and knowledge. It is another matter that neither history nor wisdom of others may support them. There is no evidence that male judges are always good and women judges are always bad. Similarly, contemporary historical records and subsequent court orders do not substantiate charges against Modi. In fact, he did everything possible to control riots and punish the guilty. Within two hours of train burning incident at Godhra on February 27, 2002, he had given shoot-at-site orders to the police (at least 98 persons were shot dead by the police in the first three days); by afternoon curfews had been imposed in sensitive areas, entire police force of the state had been deployed and 827 persons arrested; in response to Modi’s frantic calls for deployment of army, airlifting of troops began at 11.30 PM on February 28. Next morning, troops staged flag march in Ahmedabad. By all contemporary accounts the situation was very difficult to control. By the time the situation was brought under control, 790 Muslims and 250 for Hindus had been killed. Arrests continued even after the situation became normal. In all, about 27,000 persons (including 19,200 Hindus) were arrested. As per official records 332 Hindus and 111 Muslims, found guilty of riots, were convicted.

Contrast it with what happened in October-November 1984. In retaliation of Indira Gandhi’s murder by 2 Sikh armed guards, at least 3874 (more than 2300 in Delhi alone) Sikhs were killed. It was not Hindu-Sikh riot, though that might have been the hidden agenda. It was mass murder of innocent Sikhs, organised and carried out by some Congress leaders. Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi and Home Minister Narasimha Rao did nothing for three days. For three days, the police was conspicuous by its absence and the army, even though available locally, was not called. No one was shot dead by the police or the army. The victims are still waiting for justice. But the so-called secularists and intellectuals have not uttered a word against Rajeev Gandhi or Narasimha Rao.

Devendra Narain

*Written under a pen name and published by news portal on May 13, 2014.


When the so-called intellectuals were attacking Modi for political reasons, they mus not have imagined that He would turn out to be a real Prime Minister, capable of taking decisions like demonetisation purely in the interest of the country. He does not gain anything personally.

Devendra Narain
November 25, 2016