NATIONAL EXECUTIVE 12-14 April, 2002 - Panaji, Goa
Resolution on Godhra and its aftermath National Executive Meeting
The state of Gujarat has passed through extremely challenging moments in its recent history. Last year the massive earthquake disrupted the economic progress of the state. Massive rehabilitation work was undertaken and some was still in progress when the social harmony in the state was disrupted by the deplorable and ghastly burning of Ram Sevaks in the Sabarmati Express on the 27th February 2002. Innocent and unarmed people, mostly women and children, were roasted alive in what appears to be a premeditated attack intended to disrupt the peace and harmony in the state.
What happened in the aftermath of Godhra was equally reprehensible. Uncontrollable mobs took law into their own hands. The victims either on account of burning or stabbing were the innocent persons. The Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee correctly said, fire cannot be doused by fire.
What was needed at this stage was a national consensus towards calming and cooling down the anger of different sections of people in the state. What was witnessed unfortunately was an attempt to discredit the State Government, its political leadership, administration, police. Regrettably, no one looked at the real facts - hard facts that belie this campaign of calumny against the state administration.
The state police have arrested about 27000 persons - 11000 for criminal charges and 16000 as a preventive measure. Already 3400 F.I.Rs recording the involvement of persons in rioting, looting, arson and killing have been lodged. To prevent mobs from wreaking violence, the police have fired 7233 rounds across the state -- 139 persons got killed in police firing alone. In which communal riot in the history of India have so many arrests been made and such firm action been taken by the police that 139 persons got killed in police firing alone? Is this an example of police not doing its duty?
The total number of persons killed in the Godhra carnage and the subsequent riots from 27 February to 5th March, was 601. One hundred were killed in police firing till that day. By contrast, since then 68 have died in riots and stabbing, and 39 have lost their lives in police firing. In the last few days the situation in the state has become by and large peaceful, and conditions have been created for the persons to even return home from the relief camps.
It is to the credit of the state administration and police that he incidents of massive rioting were brought under control in the initial few days and thereafter only sporadic incidents have taken place. The police action has been aimed at the rioters irrespective of the religious community to which they belonged.
The firmness and promptitude with which the Government has acted contrasts sharply with the way earlier governments such as of the Congress responded: Shri Narendra Modi called the Army to assist civilian administration within sixteen hours; by contrast, the earlier Congress Government, faced with a similar situation, took five days, to call out the Army.
Relief camps have been set up all over the state. Several liberal Rehabilitation packages have been announced by the state government and improved upon by the Prime Minister. These rehabilitation packages are far larger than what has been given by any previous Government.
The state today needs a healing touch. Victims have to be sent back to their houses. Rehabilitation packages have to be implemented expeditiously. The administration and people of the state have been exerting their utmost to rebuild confidence. Instead of aiding this effort, the Congress and others have been exerting to undermine confidence of both the people and adminstration.
Violence has been brought under control, the situation has been returning to normalcy:
· From 18th to 28th March, 2002 the SSC and HSC Board examinations have been carried out smoothly. More than 9.00 lakhs students participated in the examinations at around 1000 centers. On an average the attendance was 98% which is at par with the previous records.
· 1700 village panchayats went to elections from 11th March and the election process was completed without even a single incident. In fact, 37% of these panchayats have been elected unanimously. Average polling exceeded 75 per cent.
· The observance of Moharram passed off peacefully and around 2000 Tazias were taken out.
· Holi also saw no problem in the entire State, and it was totally peaceful.
· Around 6000 Haj yatris returned to the State and they were welcomed in their villages.
The Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the state Government and the state police have endeavoured their very best to face the challenges. In addition they have instituted a Commission of Inquiry to pinpoint any lapses if these have occurred, and to suggest appropriate action.
In the best traditions of the Party, so as to assist the Party in discussing the happenings in Gujarat threadbare, and so that it may take a decision without any inhibition, Shri Modi offered to step down as Chief Minister.
In a democracy there is only one way to put the issue, and the calumny to rest: the people are the ultimate arbiters, and so the people of Gujarat are the ones who can and must decide.
Accordingly, the National Executive unanimously rejects Shri Modi's offer to resign his post. It is confident that Shri Modi can meet every challenge, that by effective action he can counter every canard.
Instead of accepting his resignation, the National Executive advises him to seek dissolution of the Assembly, go to the people, and seek their verdict.