Ten questions that Arnab Goswami should have asked Narendra Modi

09 May 2014

After watching one more disappointing interview of Narendra Modi, this time by Arnab Goswami, it seems clear enough that it doesn’t matter who the interviewer is, what matters is the set of questions posed to Modi. On this score, every interview of Modi during this campaign has been a failure. While it is unlikely that Modi will agree to an interview with The Caravan, I do believe the ten questions listed below need to be asked. The Gujarat model of development requires another set of ten questions on its own, but it is best to begin with these. Perhaps Modi, or anyone speaking on his behalf, can consider answering them in writing if they are unwilling to face tough questions followed by counter questions?

Question 1. Mr Modi, while it is true that no court has convicted you for the 2002 violence, it is also true that no chief minister has been ever indicted in such a case since Independence. That can be no answer to some inconvenient facts. In the post-Godhra violence, 697 Muslims and 177 Hindus were killed, and in addition, another 170 people were killed in police firing. The numbers clearly suggest that, on the streets, Hindu mobs outnumbered any Muslims indulging in violence. Yet, of the 170 killed in police firing, 93 were Muslims. How did your police manage this incredible feat of selective killing?

Question 2. Let us for a moment assume that this was not done on directions by you, or anyone close to you, and that the police was acting on its own. Then it would only be proper that, as the chief minister, you would work to set right a police force that had become communalised. Instead, what did you choose to do? Officers such as Rahul Sharma, then SP of Bhavnagar, and Vivek Srivastava, SP of Kutch, who ensured that their districts remained immune to this kind of communal policing, were transferred out in the immediate aftermath. Senior officers who seem to have been themselves guilty of communal violence through the police have since been continually rewarded. What was your intention in doing so, Mr Modi?

Hartosh Singh Bal is the executive editor at The Caravan.