The buck stopped with Modi in 2002, and it stops with him now

24 July 2022

We are not yet at the point where a Galileo has to kneel and apologise for claiming the earth moves around the sun. But we are getting there. A sinister silence is being imposed on public discourse. People are being made to think twice before they express the most ordinary of statements, the act of pointing out the errors of those in power is being deemed a crime, straightforward tweets are becoming the basis to lodge multiple first-information reports, and hatred is fomented in social media against those who question the current dispensation.

Meanwhile, people I have known to be unctuous cowards under previous regimes have learnt to sound bold when they echo this government. We need to heed them only because long before this government falls, their silence will inform us of its coming demise. For now they forget that there will be a time when they will be called to account, not for failing to speak the truth, but for echoing and propagating the falsehoods of hate, which this regime thrives on.

Among the truths they ask us to forget is the truth of what happened in 2002 in Gujarat. I go back to this because under previous governments it was necessary to reiterate the truth of what happened in the country in 1984. But those of the Congress, even at their worst, in their denials and their excuses, in their intellectual vacuity, were never as threatening as those in power now.

Hartosh Singh Bal is the executive editor at The Caravan.

Keywords: Caravan Columns 2002 Godhra riots Narendra Modi 1984 Sikh pogrom BJP RSS Rajiv Gandhi