Friday, April 05, 2002

Angry and Ashamed, Indian Prime Minister Tours Riot-Torn State

Great story from the NYT on Indian PM Vajpayee's first trip to riot torn Gujarat .

"People were burned to death just yesterday," he said angrily. "I can't imagine such a thing. In our country the funeral pyre is used after death. But a person being burned alive is beyond my imagination. Have we forgotten our human qualities? Are we human beings? Have we become shameless?"

The rest of the country, especially the majority Hindu's, need to heed his words. All Indians should feel shameful of the way communalism has enthralled Gujarat. India is for Indians, not just Hindu's, not just Muslims, nor is it solely for Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Jews, Zoroastrians, Tribals, whatever. The Idea of India, to steal Sunil Khilnani's book tititle, is so much more than one religion. So of course PM Vajpayee's statement is long overdue and welcomed, but he has not yet done enough: he should have condemned Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and he should have banned the VHP under the <">Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance,
but I am glad that he is offering compensation to the victims and their families. I just hope it doesn't turn into a scandal, and I hope the money actually gets distributed to the people who need it.


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