In 2002, Gujarat burnt and the violence lasted for months, yet an unrepentant Chief Minister repeatedly claimed in his interviews that there was no failure of the State Government as they had brought sanity within 72 hours.
One such claim of Gujarat’s Chief Minister was captured in an interview given to Ranjit Bhushan printed on March 18th, 2002 in Outlook Magazine. On being queried as to whether he was playing fiddle while Gujarat was burning, Modi responded as follows:
Were you playing the fiddle while Gujarat burned?
No. Contrary to what is now being projected, I brought sanity within 72 hours of the violent outbreak. It would take months before communal rioting during the previous Congress governments could be brought under control and a semblance of normalcy could be restored. This is for the first time that a communal riot has been controlled in record time.
A simple sampling of news headlines in the months of March-July 2002 would show what a diabolical lie Modi’s claim is. We are presenting here a chronologically ordered set of headlines (click on them to go to the original articles) from rediff.com website starting from March 2nd, 2002 till April 12th, 2002 in the first set and April 16th, 2002 to July 20th, 2002 in the second set.
In the first set shown above, it can be easily seen that the violence continued much beyond March 3rd, which marks the 72 hours since the start of the outbreak of violence starting February 28th, 2002. In the second set of articles from rediff.com website, one can see that there was widespread violence till mid-May with people getting killed almost everyday and sporadic incidents of rioting continued till end of July.
Even though, Gujarat saw riots in the 1990s, the violence was usually limited to the bigger cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodra and Surat. However, in 2002, BJP and RSS’s gameplan was to spread the violence to smaller villages and towns thus pulverizing the minority community and spreading fear throughout Gujarat.
The same man who presided over the most bloody pogrom that lasted for months and blatantly lies about the extent of violence, dreams of becoming the Prime Minister of India today.