Uncovering The Truth Behind India’s Serial GenocidesS. R. PRAVEEN
When he describes himself as an ‘equal opportunity offender,’ Manoj Mitta seems to be unmindful of the trivialisation of the rigorous investigative work that went behind uncovering the political complicity and impunity which characterised two of the biggest communal mass murders this country has witnessed – Delhi 1984 and Gujarat 2002.
He has authored “When a Tree Shook Delhi” on the former and “The Fiction of Fact-finding” on the latter.
But being such an offender has its advantages, for no one side would use his book to target the other, for that would mean exposing themselves.
No would ask him, “What about 1984?” or “What about 2002?”, when speaking of the genocide. That also perhaps explains the silence that surrounds his books, which are shocking indictments of the governments of the day as well as the inquiry commissions.
“I have been approaching these pogroms from a completely human rights perspective. By 2007, I had finished the book on Delhi massacres and started working on the second one as an extension of it. I had reported from the ground in Gujarat during the killings. I was keen on bringing it out before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls because I wanted people to know about what has been said about the complicity of the Modi regime in the official fact-finding reports,” says Manoj Mitta on the sidelines of the Kovalam Literary Festival held here recently.
He has depended completely on official records, of fact-finding reports, commissions of inquiries and the Special Investigation Team (SIT), using it to indict the investigators for letting the perpetrators off the hook.
The wilful omissions are brought forward. For instance, the book mentions the entire question-answer session that the SIT had with Narendra Modi, and points out how no counter questions were asked.
“The question I ask is on how clean is the clean chit that has been supposedly given to Modi. Without any counter questions, the SIT seemed to be pursuing a pre-determined agenda. The tone and tenor of questioning was meant to put on record his side of the story rather than confront him with the facts, as in any normal investigation. The Nanavati Commission did not even call him for questioning,” he says.
He shoots similar holes into the investigations conducted in the 1984 genocide. He also points at how no large-scale pogrom over a period of several hours or days can happen without the State closing its eyes.
“After any major incident which causes public anger, there can be a violent outpouring, but these will be sporadic. No sustained attack by a mob in a uniform manner over a large area can happen unless there is a conscious attempt by the State to support it,” says Mitta.
Mitta is currently working on the third book in his trilogy on mass violence in the country. This time, it is much bigger in scale, chronicling all the caste violence that has happened across the country over the past many decades.
Has he got any threats yet?
“They have even stayed away from criticising the book. None of the perpetrators or their supporters would dare attack my book, for it would rebound on them,” he says, with a confident smile.
[Courtesy: The Hindu Newspaper. Edited for sikhchic.com]
November 2, 2016