Friday, April 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Put end to violence: PM
Makes veiled attack on Modi government

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee enters the charred bogie
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee enters the charred bogie of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra on Thursday. — PTI photo

Ahmedabad, April 4
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today made a veiled attack on the Narendra Modi Government for the unabated communal violence in Gujarat, saying it was high time the “political leadership and officials” took immediate steps to stop the killings.

“Aman kayam rakhna rajneetik neta aur adhikariyon ka zimawari hai (it is the responsibility of political leadership and officials to maintain peace)”, he told the victims lodged in the biggest Shah Alam camp where about 8,000 Muslims have been lodged.

Asserting that the communal violence should not be allowed to spread to other parts of the country, Mr Vajpayee recalled how Lord Shiva had contained poison in his throat and was described as “Neelkanth”.

“The poison of hatred should not be allowed to spread to the entire body”, he remarked.

The Prime Minister referred to yesterday’s killings in rural Ahmedabad and told them “Main yahan lashe ginane nahi aaya hoon (I have not come here to count the corpses)”.

“Jaan nahin to jahan nahin” (if there is no life, there is no world), he said taking strong exception to the unleashing of violence in revenge to Godhra killings.

“I have come here with a broken heart to share your tragedy,” he told the gathering, adding they were not alone at this hour of crisis and the entire country was behind them.

Asserting that it was high time to put an end to the insane rage of hatred, he said the poison that has spread should be contained forthwith.

Referring to hundreds of incidents of torching of people alive, an angry Mr Vajpayee said it appeared the people had deviated from the path of humanity.

He said the condition in relief camps needed to be improved.

About 10 riot survivors, including three women and two children, met the Prime Minister in the relief camp and presented their points of grievances.

Naimuddin Iqbal of Naroda, whose five members of the family were killed in the violence, said he had asked the Prime Minister to direct the Gujarat Government to take action against those responsible for it.

Another riot surviver, Nanu Rasool, said he had submitted a written memorandum demanding action against local BJP and VHP leaders for allegedly instigating the violence which resulted in the killing of his family members.

At the Shah-e-Alam Roza camp the Prime Minister wondered how people could burn other human beings. ‘’Both Godhra and its aftermath are equally condemnable,’’ he said.

“I wonder what image the world will have about India,’’ he rued.

Mr Vajpayee arrived by helicopter from Godhra. When he reached a relief camp at 1 p.m., he was greeted by a crowd raising slogans against the administration and Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Later, the Prime Minister visited another relief camp at the Municipal School premises at Kankaria, where the opposite happened — crowds on rooftops raised slogans praising Mr Modi. Cries of “Gujarat ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho’’ rent the air.

Mr Vajpayee’s eloquence found expression in both the relief camps. His speech at Shah-e-Alam, which lasted more than 10 minutes, invited many claps.

The Prime Minister started his speech by mentioning the recent death of his elder sister. He said he was well aware about the gravity of death and shared the grief of those who had lost their near and dear ones in the violence.

Deploring the incidents of the past few weeks in the state, Mr Vajpayee said, “With what face will I go abroad?”. He was referring to his scheduled visit to Singapore and Cambodia next week.

He said the Godhra carnage was condemnable. “If somebody has indulged in madness, it is equally condemnable to answer it with further madness,’’ he remarked.

In his eight-minute speech at Kankaria, he expressed almost the same feelings, adding that the government would take stringent action against the culprits. He also asked the government and police to be alert.

The Prime Minister saw the Sabarmati train compartment in which ‘Ram sevaks’ were burnt by a mob on February 27.

Mr Vajpayee, who arrived here by a helicopter from Ahmedabad, examined the completely burnt coach before meeting senior railway officials, including General Manager of Western Railways V.D. Gupta, Divisional Regional Manager B.D. Maudagil.

He met representatives of the two communities, who described in detail the tragic event that triggered large-scale communal violence in the state that is yet to be fully checked.

Prominent Hindu leader Jagdishbhai Pathak said “the Gujarat reaction was the result of the coverage given by the electronic media”.

Maulvi Umerji of Godhra Muslim relief camp said “the problem of rehabilitation of 4000 persons require immediate attention. Action needs to taken against the offenders”.

They also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, who was accompanied by the Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Union Ministers including Law Minister Arun Jaitley, Health Minister C P Thakur, Sports Minister Uma Bharati and Textiles Minister Kanshi Ram Rana. PTI, UNI


PM’s relief package for violence victims

Ahmedabad, April 4
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today announced a package of relief measures for the riot-hit people of Gujarat, including free ration for two months to below the poverty line families living in affected areas.

Announcing the package at the end of his day-long visit to Godhra and Ahmedabad and some relief camps sheltering violence victims, Mr Vajpayee told reporters here that each affected family the below poverty line would be provided with 35 kg of foodgrain.

This measure has been taken as these families were suffering economically and they had no jobs, he said. Mr Vajpayee said the expenditure on foodgrain provided in relief camps would be borne by the Centre.

Each bereaved family would be paid Rs 1 lakh as ex-gratia from the PM’s Relief Fund, Mr Vajpayee said, adding this would be in addition to Rs 50,000 each being given to these families by the state government.

Those who had suffered permanent disability in the violence would be given Rs 50,000 each, he said.

The Prime Minister Vajpayee said the Centre would bear the entire cost of rehabilitation of all orphans and widows. He said all children in relief camps would be provided one set of text books and school uniforms free of cost.

Referring to the rehabilitation of affected people in the rural areas, he said Rs 50,000 would be given to those whose houses had been fully damaged while Rs 15,000 would be given to those whose dwellings suffered partial damage.

In the urban areas, reconstruction would be undertaken after carrying of a comprehensive survey, he said. PTIBack


One shot dead, indefinite curfew in Modasa

Ahmedabad, April 4
On the day Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee came to assess the situation in riot-hit Gujarat, one person was killed in police firing and seven others injured at Modasa in Sabarkantha district today, forcing the authorities to impose an indefinite curfew there.

The police said three persons were injured when acid bulbs were hurled at them at Modasa, while three others were wounded in stabbing incidents and one person in police firing.

Fresh violence broke out around 4 p.m. An uneasy calm prevailed here since last night after the death of eight persons and injuries to 15 others in Ahmedabad and Anand districts.

An indefinite curfew continues in Gomtipur and Khadia. UNIBack

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