Mr. Narandra Modi is perceived as one of the leading Prime Ministerial candidates of the BJP. He is projected as a good administrator and a strong nationalist. Either his administrative skills failed him or his communal bent of mind got the better of him when he allowed Muslims to be butchered in a communal carnage after the Godhra Train fire in 2002. The mystery of the train fire remains unsolved. The identity of the victims of the train fire was never established. Circumstances suggest that they were poor migrant labour and not VHP activists. Only four of the 58 who died were reserved passengers.
Seven years later in 2009 VHP leader Jaydeep Patel accused in the Naroda Gam massacre case was handed over by the Gujarat government 54 charred bodies of whom only three were identified. He was unauthorized to receive the bodies but the police refused to interfere. The Gujarat government immediately after the Godhra tragedy accused Pakistan of conspiring to set the fire. One accused was named and allegedly fled to Bangladesh. Later the government became mum. Years later the court judgment on the fire confirmed there was a conspiracy behind the fire. One of those accused by the court is now residing in Pakistan.
Mr. Modi in his wisdom transported the bodies of the victims to Ahmedabad and paraded them through the streets. Inevitably riots followed. Statements by credible sources claimed at that time Mr. Modi in a meeting with police officers had advised them to go soft with Hindu rioters. Gujarat police officers who attended that meeting had reportedly told this to Mr. KPS Gill. Currently allegations by former police officers about Mr. Modi’s complicity in the Gujarat riots are being heard in court. Despite all this, Mr. Modi because of his administrative skills is being projected by his admirers as a strong man deserving to become India’s Prime Minister.
A foretaste of how strong Mr. Modi might prove himself to be as a future PM was revealed during his current visit to China. Mr. Modi went to China to attract investment. This in itself was surprising. No economic imperative exists for him to desperately seek Chinese investment. Gujarat is not investment starved. In fact it is exceptionally well served by big investors. Tata, Ford, General Motors and others are all queuing up to invest in Gujarat. Mr. Modi’s China visit therefore could have political overtones. That became clear after his statements made to Chinese leaders in Beijing. After ritualistically expressing the empty routine concerns about Chinese maps and suchlike that Indian leaders do while enhancing trade with China, Mr. Modi went one better.
He advised the Chinese that Pakistan “was using” them, and therefore China should not allow itself to be misused by Islamabad. This must have really worried the Chinese. After they had given Pakistan its nuclear bomb, after they had given Pakistan powerful missiles for possible use against India, after they had illegally in violation of a UN resolution acquired part of Kashmir, after they had stationed soldiers in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and built infrastructure to link Kashmir with Xingjian, after they had built and taken control of Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port in Baluchistan, they must have been truly alarmed to learn that Pakistan was manipulating and misusing them. Mr. Modi’s unspoken message was clear. Doubtless he would like China and India to make a strong alliance in order to deal with mighty Pakistan. All that is fine. Mr. Modi is entitled to his views about safeguarding the security of India. What one would like to know, and what the public has a right to know, is whether Mr. Modi reflects the policy of the BJP vis-à-vis China.