Salil Tripathi has a great piece on Narendra Modi’s summon by the SIT. This particular bit stands out in the summary :

If Modi appears before SIT, he could say: “It was my responsibility to protect all the residents of my state. I failed. I should have defended the vulnerable; my police turned them away. For that I am sorry. I should have prevented violence; I did not. But in the eight years since, I have learnt. I have created jobs, improved social development indicators, and there hasn’t been violence. I want to atone for what happened by making Gujarat peaceful and prosperous.”

Or he could say: “I had nothing to do with the deaths. It is sad that so many people died, but Gujarati Hindus were provoked, and they reacted. I have stood against forces of terror and destabilization. Look at Gujarat today—we represent what India is capable of doing. This is a politically motivated inquiry and the people of Gujarat have re-elected me twice since 2002.”

The same applies to Modi’s fans and haters. (Detractors and defenders are noble titles; fans and haters seem apt.)

There are some basic facts that everyone — haters and fans — can and should agree on : That the Modi government failed miserably in its responsibility. If you consider maintaining law and order as the primary function of government, then it failed in its primary responsibility. Both in the Godhra incident, and the aftermath.

To the fans, two rights and a wrong don’t add up to a right. They shouldn’t, not when law is concerned. People are conditioned to judging deeds by what happens in hypothetical heavens, and they find it easy to pardon a Modi because of his post-Godhra resume and Roman Polanski for his Oscar winning films. It is also arrogant to suggest that Modi did a favour by heeding the SIT summon when he could easily find loopholes to avoid it.

The Congress has been equally immature. Vir Sanghvi nails the Congress well for sidelining Amitabh Bachchan because he agreed to be the brand ambassador of Gujarat. I am hardly a fan of the current Amitabh Bachchan, but I will concede that it is none of my business to question his views and victimize him for disagreeing with me. As much as I dislike him, Amitabh Bachchan deserves respect and he has earned every bit of it. It is sad to see the way he and his family are repeatedly being treated by the Congress administrations in the state and center.

The mention of Modi seems to bring the worst in people. Both the far-right and left-of-center voices are hardly trying to be constructive. Right now, they are only aiding their own rhetoric.

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