ET: ‘Every action,’ Narendra Modi once quoted Newton’s third law of motion, ‘has a reaction.’ Modi was referring to the murder of parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri. As blood flowed in the streets of Gujarat in 2002, a Hindutva mob had surrounded Mr Jafri’s home in Gulbarg Society.
They were armed with kerosene and, more damningly, lists of Muslim voters and Muslim-owned properties provided by the state. Using gas cylinders to blast through a wall two inches thick, they made their way into Gulbarg. Mr Jafri called the police, he called the politicians, and he called Narendra Modi. None came.
Mr Jafri fired at the rioters to disperse; they ended up storming his house. Muslim women taking shelter there — hoping the ex-Congress MP would protect them — were raped. When they got to Mr Jafri, they hacked off his hands and feet before severing his head. A pyre was improvised, and his body set on fire.
Ten years later, a Special Investigation Team concluded its findings — and they found for Modi. The report confirmed Modi used the word ‘action’ for Mr Jafri firing first, and ‘reaction’ for what followed. That proved nothing on Modi’s part, said investigators; Ehsan Jafri was to blame. Having called Mr Jafri’s firing ‘self-defence’, it changed the story a few pages later to say he in fact ‘provoked’ a ‘violent mob’, the same that would maim and murder him. File closed.