Bilkis Case: Fiddling Nero Reminded of Original 2002 Sins; How 'Proud Hindus', Thin-Skinned Maldivians Caused Spat Between Malé, Delhi
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Snapshot of the day
January 8, 2024
Here’s a reminder of Narendra Modi’s abysmal handling of the 2002 Gujarat riots and its aftermath that can’t be blamed on the BBC, George Soros or sundry ‘anti-nationals’: The Supreme Court today said that the Gujarat government did not have the power to grant premature release of 11 convicts who had been sentenced to life for gang-raping a pregnant Bilkis Bano, other members of her family, and also mass murdering at least 14 of them in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The court said an earlier SC judgment which allowed Gujarat to decide was obtained by fraud and suppression of facts and has ordered the convicts to surrender within two weeks.
The Gujarat government – under the same Bharatiya Janata Party which was in power during the riots – had controversially granted the 11 convicts premature release on August 15, 2022, and its decision to do was counter-signed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under Amit Shah. Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan said that the state of Gujarat had “acted in complicity with the convicts” and noted that “it was this very apprehension which led this Court to transfer the trial out of the state”, to Maharashtra. When a certain Nero-like leader as Gujarat CM was “looking elsewhere when innocent children and women were burning, and … probably deliberating how the perpetrators of the crime can be protected”, it might have been added.
Modern diplomacy and power projection is as much about official statements as about the unofficial amplification of implied political messages by ‘non-state actors’ affiliated to a government and its ruling party. The release of carefully curated images of Modi on the beach in Lakshadweep over the weekend led to a flood of social media messages aimed at targeting Maldives, whose new government has asked Indian soldiers deployed there to leave. On January 4, a Twitter handle whose bio reads
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