Friday, October 12, 2012

Mr. Modi and British Government


In the week of 9th Oct, 2012, government of United Kingdom decided to initiate business relation with state of Gujrat, in India. Why is this important? There is a history. 

In 2002  a train was set on fire in Godhra station of Gujrat. It is believed that prepetrators were mostly Muslims. People that died were mostly Hindus and also included cadres of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a member of a conglomerate of right wing Hindu organisations called Sangh, whose political face, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), was ruling Gujrat state in 2002. Incidentally, BJP was also in power in New Delhi as leading member of National Democratic Alliance. As a result of the train burning, a day of mourning or bandh (closure) was announced by VHP in the state, which culminated in a riot. In the riot, many innocent muslims were killed by rioting mobs of Hindus. Mr. Narendra Modi was chief minister of the state that time till today. As chief minister Mr  Modi is expected to be neutral and protect his citizens irrespective of his personal likes and dislikes. However, many allege riot happened with tacit support of Mr. Modi and his administration, although administration claimed that riot was spontaneous. Police stood as mute spectator and did not do much to help the victims. 

Since that time for more than 10 years till today , social activists are demanding justice, which include sacking and imprisonment of Mr. Modi. A limited succes was observed when one sitting minister of Mr. Modi's cabinet was sentenced to 33 years in jail. However, long arm of the law has not reached Mr. Modi. It is generally believed, it is unlikely to ever reach Mr. Modi because an intelligent person like Mr. Modi, if he is actually involved, will not leave behind any trail. Many secular democracies like US and UK had termed the mass killing of muslims as genocide. Mr. Modi was not allowed to travel to US. UK also decided not to do business with Mr. Modi and his government.  

However, Mr. Modi has turned out to be an efficient administrator of the Gujrat state for last ten years. He is generally believed to be incorruptible. To prove his point Mr. Modi, a confirmed batchelor, does not even let his mother stay in his government allotted residence. Mr. Modi claims he does not see people through the prism of religion and faith, he sees them as citizens, farmers, businessmen etc. Mr. Modi has created a good infrastructure on the ground and good business atmosphere in Gujrat that is attracting foreign investors and governments to the state. 

Unlike Gujrat, most of India is too bureaucratic and business unfriendly. It takes too long to get permission to get licence and approvals, which will be accompanied by threat of militant trade unions. All these have made Gurjat a preferred destination of business houses. As Indians, we should be happy UK is willing to do business with Gujrat, in the process Indians also get job and revenue generated in the country increases. Given the grim global business scenario, it makes sense to invest and doing business with a state that has good business climate and growing above national average consistently.

However, many intellectuals and human rights organisations are upset. According to them nothing less than punishment of Mr. Modi will suffice. Should we keep Indian people jobless and hungry till Mr Modi is punished? Should India with huge population and poverty not look for oppurtunities to improve her citizens lives. By the way, with respect to state sponsored atrocity, other ideologies in India and aborad are not very different when it suits their objective. It is important to note that British Government is not doing any favor to Mr. Modi or Gujrat or India by lifting business embargo. Business scenario world over is grim. Every state wants what is good for their people and their interest, British Government is no exception. We can be idealist and decide not to do business or be pragmatic, do business without forgetting the real issue when time emerges.

If and when Mr. Modi is found guilty, he will be prosecuted in the court of law. Cases are still ongoing. British government has not asked to withdraw cases against Mr. Modi as a precondition to doing business. Also, by getting business, Mr. Modi is not absolved of his perceived guilt. It is agreed that as Chief Minister of state of Gujrat, if Mr. Modi could not or did not protect minorities, he should have at least said sorry to his citizens. That would not have made his achievements any lesser.

Finally, I find it hyprocritical and double standard of BJP at state and central level, that it rejoices prospect of doing business with Britain. However, the same party tries to block central governments reform measures, most notably FDI in retail.


timesofindia.indiatimes.com
What on earth possessed the British government to reach out to Narendra Modi when it has been treating him as an

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