The ‘worst ever’ anti-Muslim riot was not post-Godhra

The 'worst ever' anti-Muslim riot was not GodhraOne of the defining qualities of Indian ‘secularism’ in the last 10 years has been self-righteous chest-thumping in the name of safeguarding Muslim rights in Gujarat, where, in 2002, communal riots claimed 1044 lives. In the decade that followed, disproportionate amounts of media attention and NGO propaganda have managed to convince many that the post Godhra riots were the ‘worst ever communal riots’ in India.

What they don’t tell their listeners about is the Nellie massacre of 1983 which claimed the lives of more than twice the number of people who died during the Godhra 2002 riots. The Nellie massacre happened under a Congress Prime Minister’s rule, when the State was under President’s rule and the findings of the probe that was ordered into the massacre were never made public.

Following is a point-by-point comparison of the two tragedies to help put matters in perspective.

Nellie massacre in 1983

Gujarat riots in 2002


18-Feb-1983: 9 AM till 3 PM – Just 6 hours.

27-Feb-2002 till Mid June 2002 – 3.5 months.


Not clear. Maybe anti-Bangladeshi sentiments

58 Hindu pilgrims, including 25 women and 15 kids, were burned alive in a train, by Muslim mobs at Godhra station.

Violence Affected Districts:

1 District. 14 villages near the river Kopili. No one knows what triggered this horrible planned massacre.

151 towns and 993 villages in 16 districts out of the 25 districts of the state. All reaction to the train-burning at Godhra.

Number of Dead:

2,191 people. ALL Muslims. A case of suspected planned genocide. (unofficial figures run at more than 5,000)

790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. 223 more people were reported missing. (Unofficial counts well over 1500)

Places of worship damaged:

Not known.

298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches.

Ruling Party

Congress – President’s rule

BJP at State level and NDA at the Centre.

Administration In charge:

Indira Gandhi (PM) and Gyani Zail Singh (President). Asom was under President’s rule on the day of the riot.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (PM) and Narendra Modi (CM).

Convictions of Rioters:

Not ONE rioter or killer convicted till date.

Police filed 688 criminal cases, of which 378 cases were closed due to ‘lack of evidence’. 310 cases were charge sheeted, but Rajiv Gandhi dropped cases against ALL in 1985.

249 convictions till now in 19 cases. 184 Hindus. 65 Muslims. 31 for Godhra and 34 for post-Godhra.

Commissions and Probes:

600-page official Tiwari Commission report – Only 3 copies exist today. Asom’s Congress CM Hiteswar Saikia decided NOT to make it public.

Shah-Nanavati Commission, National Human Rights Commission, Banerjee Committee, Concerned Citizens Tribunal and finally Supreme Court monitored SIT. And of course 11 years of print and electronic media trials, including TV studio kangaroo court sessions.

Administration Probed:

Indira Gandhi and Gyani Zail Singh never probed. No SITs, no questioning by Supreme Court and no media trials at all. Indira got a Bharat Ratna too! Remember, not ONE person involved in the riot was convicted in 30 years.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi being blamed for 11 years. Even a state minister Maya Kodnani went to jail after being convicted. 249 people facing sentences, including many on death row, the most severe punishment. Still Modi termed “Merchant of Death” by Indira Gandhi’s daughter in law, even not ONE court finding Narendra Modi guilty on any charge in 11 years.


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Kiran Kumar S

Running commentary of thoughts and excerpts of what I read/absorb. More info, less bakwas.