Under renewed attack over the post-Godhra riots, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said he was opposed to violence and still denounces them.
Joining the battle with Congress over its attack on Amitabh Bachchan for endorsing Gujarat as its brand ambassador and questioning him on the post-Godhra violence, Modi wrote in his blog, "Friends, Modi himself has opposed the riots and still does. Every citizen must oppose riots.
"Whether it is 1984 Delhi riots, 1992 Mumbai riots, 1985 Gujarat riots or atrocities committed in Kashmir or Godhra-related riots. There cannot be different standards to judge riots."
Analysts see significance in his condemnation of the post-Godhra riots which hardly found any mention in his public utterances in the last eight years. However, Modi recalled that he had denounced the riots in the assembly in 2002.
He was apparently reacting to Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari's poser to Bachchan about whether he endorsed Modi's role in the communal conflagration or condemned it.
"Does he (Bachchan) condemn the role of Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom or he endorses it? What does he say about the Gujarat massacre and fake encounters that took place since Modi took over," Tiwari had asked at a media briefing in Delhi yesterday after Modi hit out at the Congress, saying those opposing the film icon were "Taliban of untouchability".
"After the 2002 riots I had made a statement in Vidhan Sabha in March 2002 that was, 'Are we not supposed to soul- search ourselves? Whether it is Godhra incident or post-Godhra it does not enhance the prestige of any decent society. These riots are a stigma on humanity and do not help anyone to hold his head high. Then why is there a difference of opinion." He said, "Since then my painful appeal has not been heard by those who are bent upon defaming Gujarat nor do I foresee that it will be heard by them now.
"Any unsubstantiated criticism of the land of Gandhi, Sardar (Patel) can never be tolerated. Gujarat will give a befitting reply again, and again and again come what may." He went to write "Yesterday, I had written in my blog about the new 'Talibans of untouchability'.
I firmly believe that in the society, there should be no place for untouchability," he said apparently referring to the way Congress leaders were shunning Bachchan after the party high command reportedly took exception to Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan sharing dais with him at the opening of the carriageway of Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai recently. Modi said what he wrote in the blog was not with reference to any party or individual and expressed surprise over the sharp reaction it had drawn from the Congress party.
"Yet parties like the Congress have taken it personally and felt offended. Why has the Congress reacted in such a way as it did!!! People have to understand the reasons behind it," he said. "I would not like to waste my time in reacting to the friends of Congress who have angrily reacted yesterday," Modi added. PTI