Narendra Modi's re-election can't be dismissed as a 'black mark' for Gujarat (Economic times )
1 JAN, 2013, 06.00AM IST, RAGHU KRISHNAN
If voting the Narendra Modi government back to power for the third time in a row is considered "a huge black mark for Gujarat" by University of Chicago professor of law and ethics Martha C Nussbaum because of what she terms as his complicity in the 2002 pogrom against the minority Muslim community (refer to 'Interactive', The Economic Times, December 24, 2012), one wonders how many black marks could be awarded to the United States of America for re-electing, in November 2004, President George W Bush who invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the pretext of pre-empting the use of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
While it was George W Bush who took the decision to wage war on Iraq (he even stood on a battleship under a banner saying 'Mission Accomplished' when theSaddam Hussein regime was toppled a few months after the conflict started in March 2003), there is no conclusive proof as yet of Modi's involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots despite serious allegations that the CM had asked the police not to intervene when members of the minority community were being attacked in the wake of the torching of the Sabarmati Express in which 58 members of the majority Hindu community were killed while returning from the disputed Babri Masjid/Ramjanmabhoomi site in Ayodhya. A Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court and headed by the former CBI director RK Raghavan has concluded in its report, which was submitted earlier this year, that Modi took all possible steps to control the riots.
The official death toll in the Gujarat riots was 1,267 while it was unofficially estimated at almost 2,000; the overwhelming majority being members of the minority community. Estimates of the death toll in Iraq since the USA's intervention through Gulf War Two vary from the WikiLeaks classified Iraq war logs figure of 1,09,032, (including 66,081 civilians, for the period January 2004 to December 2009), AP's figure of 1,10,600 (March 2003 to April 2009), and the Iraq Family Health Survey figure of 1,51,000 violent deaths (March 2003 to January 2006) at the lower end of the spectrum to the Lancet survey's 6,01,077 violent deaths (March 2003 to June 2006) and the Opinion Research Business survey figure of 1,033,000 deaths as a result of the conflict (from March 2003 to August 2007) at the higher end.
And yet when George W Bush was re-elected as President of the USA in November 2004, there were no prominently publicised reports of black marks being awarded to the USA by jurists in Chicago or elsewhere in America. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is currently trying Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic for war crimes committed during the 1995 siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenicamassacre in which 8,373 Muslims were killed.