Amit Shah In The Docks
Refer to ‘CBI chargesheets Amit Shah and 20 top cops for fake encounter’ on www.tehelka.com.
Anand Patwardhan, On Email
I am a fan of TEHELKA and I regularly read your articles. TEHELKA has managed to bring the truth behind the fake encounters in Gujarat that had forever been buried in memory. You deserve accolades for your tenacity and bravery in exposing the truth. Amit Shah’s arrest and proof of his guilt despite being a powerful minister and mafia is evidence that judiciary and justice will not elude those who have suffered. Such is the power of the pen. I extend my hearfelt gratitude on behalf of all peace loving, truth loving people to you. May God give you a long life and you deserve our prayers. With journalists like you I am sure that day is not far when Narendra Modi will also meet his fate.
Sumbul Subia, On Email
Great job again. Carry on the good work.
Prema Rajaram, On Email
Bravo. This one is for the power of the Fourth Estate. I've been following all your stories and investigative reportage. It is indeed heartening to know that media can indeed bring about social change. Your story has been an eye-opener. Thanks for exposing that these encounters were not just any encounter that take place in various states in India. They were well calculated planned encounters with political motives. Tough to believe all this could have taken place without the State government in the know. Guess that's for our Judiciary to figure out. This is a start and kudos to you for taking the first step. What happened in Gujarat is a shameful and painful reminder for every Indian. Hope we get the answers we are all seeking and the closure that is imminent.
Harneet Singh, On Email
Way to go Rana! I have been following your exposé on ministers in Gujarat. I am really happy to see that we still have some honest journalists who fight for a genuine cause. At least you had the guts to investigate such a complicated case, putting your life at stake. You are an inspiration not only for women but for the male folk indeed. I am so inspired by you. God bless.
Saba Firdous, On Email
Your role in unearthing the bloodiest massacre of the modern times has won many hearts, me being one of them. The honest endeavour and diligent investigation into the fake encounters brought out the true shades of development in Gujarat. It led to the exposure of the State’s complicit role in an orchestrated genocide. It is heartening to see such fearless and non-tabloid journalism being practiced for a change.
Nikhita Shrivastava, On Email
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Tehelka Magazine, Vol 9, Issue 38, Dated 22 September 2012
A Silent Spectator to the Loot
I wish to thank you for the excellent article. This is what I wanted to see in daily newspapers, a thorough investigative news report with detailed analysis. But I didn't find it anywhere except in TEHELKA. Please accept my sincere thanks for your hard work. I hope more journalists like you deliver honest journalism.
Sandeep Nagar, On Email
I went through your report and congratulate you for writing such a comprehensive report.
Ananda Mohapatra, On Email
Refer to ‘The Sting In The Story’ by Ashish Khetan, 8 September.
I am really very thankful and have no words to share my happiness after the Naroda Patiya verdict. You really did a fantastic job and I salute you, eternally. I want to thank you on behalf of the entire Muslim community and pray God fulfils all your wishes and protects you from all evils. Thanks a tonne.
Maroof Ahmad, On Email
I was moved to tears when I read this story. I always admired what you had done in 2007 but after I read this account, of what you went through later, I will not hesitate to say that you are my hero. You don’t need any journalistic awards. What you have achieved is far beyond that. Modi will not last forever. Some day — it may take decades because Modi has been able to blindfold a whole generation of Gujaratis — people will see the value of what you achieved. Yes, the future generations will see this as the darkest period in Gujarat’s history and you are one of the few — including Teesta — who struggled to let the light through. More power to you and your tribe.
Ketan Premani, On Email
Will you also investigate who killed Rajbala in Ramlila ground? Of course not, because you will not be paid petro-dollars for that. Will you declare your assets, and from where you got them.
Naveen Chandra, On Email
Ashish, your work has turned out to be really great for humanity.
Zakir Siddiqui, On Email
That is a very good piece. Thanks.
Amitava Kumar, On Email
The Naroda Patiya verdict is not only historic it is also heroic. Teesta Setalvad’s perseverance and determination in fighting for justice, after facing false allegations and humiliations with courage, was exemplary. The TEHELKA sting operation by Ashish Khetan was crucial in catching the killers, rapists and rioters. Life-term for Babu Bajrangi and 28 years for Maya Kodnani may be noticeable; but the question still remains whether the main conspirator will be caught or not.
Jacob Sahayam, On Email
I know how you must be feeling after the Naroda Patiya verdict. ‘Relieved’ cannot be the word and ‘victorious’ does just partial justice to the feeling, for there is a long way to go and this is just the beginning. But still, just to console ourselves, let’s hold on to the one good thing in every Indian’s life, something that really keeps us going — hope. Sir, I was in school when the Gujarat riots happened. Too young to realise the viciousness of the issue but old enough to not miss out on sympathising with the crying faces that dominated the TV screens. I wondered what kind of a wild mentality made a person kill another member of the same species. Though this is something that I still fail to understand, I often heard some of my relatives support the barbaric acts of the Hindu mobs. I also remember how, when my elder brother questioned their support, he was asked to shut up. He was retold the saga of the Babri Masjid demolition, and that we should refrain from befriending Muslims in school. Caught in a dilemma, I followed what I was asked to do — avoid Muslims. But with time and education, things changed and I am glad they did. But sadly, my relatives did not! My parents might not be so stringent but their ideas too are on the same lines. From my experience, I believe that the problem of communal hatred is intensely deep rooted. The anti-Muslim or anti-Hindu feeling is passed on from one generation to the other. Communal hatred is not an acquired trait, but an inherited one. A little bit of sense and sensibility can help, if not rescue us rapidly and entirely from this gory situation. I just wish my generation acts a bit more responsibly and refrains from sowing seeds of communal hatred in the minds of their children. I want every youngster to read your article and realise how lives are put in jeopardy and how once such a disaster hits, it’s impossible to get back to normal. If we are educated, let’s behave like literates. Let’s not tell future generations how the British ‘divided and ruled’. I hope the verdict in the rest of the cases also sees the light of day. I don’t even want to get started on the political system of the country. It’s a never-ending saga of lament. But I still congratulate you for all the hard work and toil that you have put in. You have indeed shown all the journalists a new direction. I wish the entire journalism fraternity learns from you. Thanks for inspiring me! I hope you keep the flame burning!
Shilpi Guha, On Email
There is no doubt that this judgement will repose the lost faith of people in democracy, but isn’t it a lost cause now, when even after a decade, the Gujarat government hasn’t offered a healing balm towards the victim’s families? There is no smoke without fire; hence Narendra Modi must accept that there was some gross error from his side during Godhra riots. That a BJP minister was found guilty says a lot about this whole issue. It looks from the outset that the BJP might have to pay for it, but the reality is somewhat different. Modi has been winning in Gujarat for the past decade due to his superb performance on growth and development. Hence, the BJP would not be too worried about this latest verdict.
Bal Govind, On Email
I just read the chilling account of your story of the spy camera episode, regarding the Gujarat riots. I really appreciate the huge risks you took, ignoring threats to your life, which has now resulted in a proper verdict on Kodnani and Bajrangi (these are demons in human form who should not even have names). I am an NRI and I was feeling sorry that our country would go into ruins because any place/country that denies its citizens justice will go to the dogs eventually. I have been following the Gujarat story from the very beginning, and had given up on justice, until last week. Being in Kuwait, I feel the implementation of law is where we Indians fail because of dishonest people in high places. The culture of a society/civilisation also includes their allegiance to truth and justice, and not just to the artistic, culinary or technological progress. I wish you wrote more on this topic (justice) to appeal to the Indian mentality towards justice. I understand how cynical and irresponsible our people are when you wrote of the many who told you to ‘forget’ the riots and move on. The demonic killings in Gujarat can never be forgotten; if we forget it, history will repeat itself, as you correctly mention. The orchestrated killings of fellow human beings connived by the state machinery and engaged in by the saffron parties is too much to accept as truth, but you have brought out the chilling truth. I congratulate you, the TEHELKA team and everyone else who stood by you in this tempestuous journey. Please continue the fight till all culprits, including Modi, are brought to justice. Thank you sir.
Jacob KMJ, On Email
I was moved by your narration of the sting operation carried out by TEHELKA. I felicitate you for your matchless courage and persistence in bringing the perpetrators of Gujarat riots to book. It is only because of a few people like you that the victims of the riots have seen justice — at least to some extent. Your efforts and courage might not have earned any rewards, but they have brought justice to the victims, and offered hope to millions of poor and uninfluential people that no matter how powerful their oppressor is, there will always be people of conscience who will stand up against oppression. I think that is greater than any award. As you mentioned, if you as an individual and a common citizen could peel off so many layers and get the confessions on record from the perpetrators themselves, then the SIT with all its powers, could have brought every single culprit to book. It is a different story that it has chosen not to do so. When I see journalism of this sort amidst all the ruckus of ‘breaking news’ I am reminded that true journalism is still alive. I once again congratulate you for your dogged persistence in pursuing the truth, and pray for your health and prosperity.
Syed Mudassir, On Email
Thumbs up for your guts! I have been reading your articles for a long time. You are one of the best investigative reporters I have ever read. I clapped my hands after reading your latest piece, ‘The Sting in the Story’. I was wondering what would have happened to you if they had caught you. It was brilliant that you laid the truth bare in front of the people. Hats off to you.
Mubashir Bukhari, On Email
Before I write anything, I want to tell you that may the almighty God bless you abundantly and protect you! Though what you have done could be explained away lightly as ‘doing your job’ or ‘earning your livelihood’ I am sure that it went much beyond that.If I were to decide, you are definitely worthy of a national award for exemplary dedication to journalism and duty. After reading this article, my eyes welled up with tears, to say the least. I have also faced these issues while dealing with local politicians, police, bureaucracy and courts, though in very small measures, both as a common citizen and probably because I also belong to another minority community. Though we claim to be humans, we often resort to the law of the jungle: might is right. So I can perfectly understand the moments of truth you would have encountered while dealing with the police, politicians and even the biased judiciary. All I can say is, please persevere and continue to do good work. Though I definitely identify with you and the cause, I must admit that as a normal citizen who needs to attend office everyday, who needs to ensure home loan EMIs are paid regularly, who wants to see his kids and family, I do not have the courage like you to stake it out. But rest assured, that me, my family and my church will definitely pray for honest and truthful people like you, Tarun, Teesta etc. May your tribe increase!
Sunil, On Email
The victims got justice because of your efforts. Definitely you are the sacred and rare soul of Almighty God. The same goes for Teesta Setalvad. May mankind never forget your efforts.
Faran Ahmad Faridi, On Email
I salute you, sir. You have done a great job for our democracy.
Ziyaull-Huq Patel, On Email
Thank you for your fight against the enemy of peace and mankind.
Afzalur Rahman, On Email
I must say you’ve done very good work. You have a lot of prayers on your side. More power.
Aliasgar Chandra, On Email
We really appreciate your work and dedication towards the Naroda Patiya verdict.
Faruk Kureshi, On Email
Just want to say one thing. Hats off to you. I wish you the very best for the years ahead.
Abbas Hafeez, On Email
Thank you, sir, for your kind support.
Ajaz Siddiqui, On Email
Thanks to your bravery, you helped the victims of Naroda Patiya massacre get justice after a long wait. I have no words to express my gratitude towards your courage and your steadfastness. I hope your work will inspire more people and help India remains secular. Thank you, and may god bless.
Vijay K D’Souza, On Email
I would like to say thanks a lot for your continuous effort for justice. Though you deserve much more then this. But this is the least I can offer. May God bless you and grant you lots of happiness and peace.
Mohd Hashim Khan, On Email
Thanks. I don’t know how to express myself. Hope to meet you some day and hug you to express my gratitude because you are simply superb. Thanks again.
Abdul Nassar Palliyal, On Email
We — the Indians — are very proud of you for your courage and your compassion to stand with the victims who suffered the brutal communal riot. You have shown what the purpose of journalism is. Thank you. God bless you, and we are with you.
Rasack N, On Email
You made us believe in Indian Democracy. Against all odds some sort of justice has been delivered. This justice would not have been possible without the support of the likes of you. Thanks Ashish. With people like you around it’s such a wonderful feeling to be an Indian.
Khurram Iqbal, On Email
I don’t know how to thank you. Your work puts you at the zenith of journalistic pursuit. You’ve renewed my faith in the judiciary. You are awesome!
Saquib Raza, On Email
I salute Ashish Khetan.
Ziaul Haq Ansari, On Email
Your story has left a deep impression on me. I salute your courage. I thank God and many like you, who fought so that the truth may prevail. I wish you very well for the all the challenges ahead.
Siddharth Sharma, On Email
Raju Quazi, On Email
Amazing story in this week’s TEHELKA; just wanted to congratulate you. You may not have got the praise you deserve in India, but you do the profession proud.
Simon Denyer, On Email
I am a great admirer of TEHELKA’s journalism of courage and an avid reader of all its fearless exposēs. I read your firsthand account titled “A historic Verdict” and was inspired by you standing up to the diabolic forces all these years like a true soldier of truth and justice, in spite of all the hardships, threats and humiliations. You are a true hero. It is because of people like you — the unsung heroes — that faith in human goodness still persists. Institutions might not have recognised your work, but the verdict and the joy of the victims who find solace in it is one of your greatest rewards. You are an inspiration to so many people like me. Thank you once again as an Indian citizen who believes in humanity for your great contribution to the country. I wish you and your colleagues at TEHELKA all the best.
Manish Mudaliar, On Email
Whole hearted thanks for your efforts to bring the truth. May the almighty bless you!
Shaikh Badr, On Email
I heartily thank you and entire team at TEHELKA for doing this sting operation. Specially Ashish Khetan for putting his life in danger and for doing all sting operations.
Taslim Shamshir, On Email
I read your first person account, and could not help appreciate your sincerity, courage and calm. And to think that so many journalists grovel at Modi’s feet makes me feel disgusted! Don’t bother too much about getting journalistic recognition in a world of (largely) slinky and sleazy media. Keep up the good work. I’m nobody to advise or criticise you, but as a fellow citizen and writer, the idea and upholding of justice is way too dear to me — as it is, I can guess, to you. Hence this message, which is the least I could do.Keep going and best,
Sanjay Gupta, On Email
I live in San Jose (California) but I was living in Gujarat in 2002. I know about the riots. I moved to the USA in 2003. I congratulate you for your work.
Dilawar Husain Sheikh, On Email
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Jabir Choksi, On Email
Your article shook me up pretty badly. Though, the recent Naroda Patiya verdict is a milestone, the major perpetrators, those who supported and directed the foot soldiers from the top are still beyond the reach of law. And your essay tells us precisely why it is so. Your story is educative in more than one way. It tells us how law-enforcing authorities systematically harass the witnesses. It tells us how the judiciary covers up things. It tells us how deep political influences can go. It tells us how and why it takes such a long time to get a just verdict. For this reason, your story needs to be told and retold.
Marudhan Gangadharan, On Email
It may sound flattering, but believe me; I have not read a better investigative report than yours. For your dedication and zeal to reveal the truth, disclosing so many hidden and fabricated stories; the coolness you maintained in front of the communal judges & investigating officers, overpowering the frustration caused by corrupt & maligned remarks by politicians and few human rights activists, you deserve a lifetime achievement award in journalism. No matter what media attention your article gets, how the government responds to your work, I can say with 100 percent assurance that the kind of work you have done will always bring a smile to your face and a kind of satisfaction which is absolutely priceless.
Monis Khan, On Email
I have been a regular reader of TEHELKA from the very beginning. The 29 August judgement on the Naroda Patiya massacre is your victory. I congratulate you. Hats off to you!
Thilaknath Manjeshwar, On Email
I read your story and it reconfirmed my belief that justice delivery system in Gujarat has been heavily compromised. It was quite revealing — the extent to which even SIT was gamed. It is also a mystery why Congress didn’t use your exposé to hound the BJP — either they assessed that it will not make good politics (as there could be a backlash) or they were too dumb to realise that the sting operation was genuine. Hats off to TEHELKA and you for doing an ingenious sting operation, at great personal risk, that ultimately helped nail the accused people.
Anil Srivastava, On Email
I salute you for your work on the Naroda Patiya case. I read the whole stuff on Tehelka.com and could not stop myself from sending this email. I congratulate you and whole TEHELKA team for doing this operation.
Masud, On Email
Artist Of Memory
Refer to ‘Editors Cut’ by Tarun Tejpal, 8 September.
What an amazing read — heartfelt with clarity that allows one to ‘see’ the feelings. When I was 22, I visited the remnants of Dachau. They had a plaque with ‘ne jamais’ ‘never again’ written on it. As Kenya comes up to our elections, first after our post election violence, I do hope that our ‘book’ is open to the page of collective penitence and redress.
Arlene, On Email
Read your editorial and could not resist writing to you. It is indeed true that the road to justice in Gujarat has been an agonising wait for ten years. Despite the delay, it needs to be appreciated that justice was finally granted. It is a positive step that reinforces faith in the Indian judiciary. In any case, we need journalists as keepers of faith and it’s not a responsibility we can pass on. I would like to congratulate Ashish Khetan on his immense help for ensuring justice. It is true that we need more journalists like him that would help stir up public opinion.
Akshay Iyer, On Email
In an earlier piece, you had written about the need for a national memorial for instances of our collective injustice. Your magazine is precisely that. It's a reminder that we still have institutions to be proud of, and individuals to be inspired of. It is a beacon of hope for all the ideals on which this country is based.
Godwin Martin, On Email
Hard Won Victory
Refer to ‘Editor’s Cut’ by Shoma Chaudhary, 8 September.
Why don’t you write about the Sikhs who were killed in Delhi? None of the culprits are in jail. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Shashi Desai, On Email
I appreciate the articles published in TEHELKA. At the same time, I feel, when BJP comes in the equation your editorial team can’t recover from the hangover of incidents that happened in 2001. You forget everything else and start sharpening your attack on BJP. Having said this, I also feel, many times, you criticism of BJP is in the right place. It just goes a little overboard.
Nihar Ranjan, On Email
It was after reading your story that I realised the extent of your hard work and the difficulties you faced during the operation and after - wards. You have really worked for society as a true Indian. I really feel that as long as there are people like you in our country, no saffron power or green power can go unchecked. I really appreciate it and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Zameer Shaikh, On Email
Refer to ‘The Broken Idea of India’ by Jay Mazoomdaar, 1 September.
It was an excellent piece! I think the role of an author is fulfilled when he writes his ideas and makes his reader whisper 'Precisely my thoughts'. Looking forward to read more.
Refer to ‘The Sky Divers’ by Sunaina Kumar, 18 August.
I recently read your brilliant and inspiring article on Satyamev Jayate and wish to express my sincere thanks for your efforts!
Manjeet Sabharwal, On Email
Refer to ‘The Darkhorse for 2014?’ by Rana Ayyub, 1 September.
Loved your Nitish Kumar interview and I could see your diplomacy in getting him to talk about his bête noire, Modi. I write to you as I see this bold splash on TEHELKA on its latest achievement. Have been reading your continuous reports on fake encounters. This must be your moment. Hats off to your perseverance and fight for justice.More power to your pen and fearlessness.
Shweta Dogra, On Email
Refer to ‘Why This Hot Wind Blows’ by Jay Mazoomdaar and Ratnadip Choudhury, 8 September.
When heated debates were raging on the riots in Assam, I was just wondering why nobody pointed out that violence in BTAD is nothing new. I remember my Bodo friends fleeing Gosaigaon when Bodos targetted Santhals. The law and order situation in Kokrajhar is such that despite being from Dhubri I have never visited that place. I’m glad that your piece brought out issues that people tried to sideline. Targeting illegal immigrants has often been used to justify any and every act of violence — be it Nellie or Udalguri or Kokrajhar at present. But nobody bothers to question how far the BTAD solution has worked, how extortion has become institutionalised. I was glad to read a piece that tried to give a holistic picture in an era when we are flanked by partisan media.
Parvin Sultana, On Email
Refer to ‘Why this hot wind blows’ by Jay Mazoomdaar and Ratnadip Choudhury, 8 September.
The story read, “In the 46-member BTC, six are government appointees, 30 seats are reserved for Bodos and the remaining 10 divided equally between general and non-Bodo members. Competing with other non-Bodos for this limited political opportunity, the Muslim politicians of the BTAD soon realized that they would never find a voice against the overwhelming Bodo majority in the council”
In fact, in the 46-member BTC, six are government appointees, 30 seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes including the Bodos and the remaining 10 are for general category seats where the Bodos can also compete. The story, also, erroneously refers to ABMSU as the All Bodo Minority Students Union, instead of the All Bodoland Minority Students Union.
The errors are regretted.