M A I N   N E W S

2002 riots: Modi says did no wrong
Describes himself as Hindu nationalist, triggers storm in political circles
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, July 12
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday whipped up a major political storm by saying he had done "absolutely the right thing" during the 2002 riots.

In a interview to international news agency Reuters, the first since he was appointed the chief of BJP poll campaign panel in June, Modi also described himself as a “Hindu nationalist”. "I am nationalist. I'm patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So yes, you can say I'm a Hindu nationalist because I'm a born Hindu,” he said.

When asked if it was frustrating when many people define him by 2002. He responded by saying that he would feel guilty if he had done something wrong.

"Frustration comes when you think 'I got caught. I was stealing and I got caught.' That's not my case." Asked if he regretted what had happened, Modi said the Supreme Court had created a Special Investigating Team which in its report had given him a "clean chit.” To a question that had he done the right thing in 2002, he said: "Absolutely.” Modi’s controversial comments prompted the Congress to launch a vehement attack against the senior leader of the BJP, which, in turn, defended its potential prime ministerial candidate with equal forcefulness.

The Gujarat strongman's comment, when asked if he regretted the riots, that even if a "puppy comes under the wheel of a car, one felt sad,” created an uproar with the Congress, Samajwadi Party, RLD, CPM, CPI and JD(U) all insisting that he had compared Muslims to a “puppy” and should apologise for his “humiliating” remarks.

"Thousands of people lost their lives in the 2002 riots and in this backdrop the anology used by Narendra Modi needs to be strongly condemned. There is no place for such a comparison in civilised India," said Congress leader Ajay Maken. SP spokesman Kamal Farooqui said, "It is a very sad, very humiliating and very disturbing statement...What does he (Modi) think, that Muslims are worse than even puppies? He does not have a heart for them. He should feel sorry.”

Backing Modi, the BJP called the puppy analogy “unfortunate ”. “Please read the complete interview, don’t go by interpretations. What the Congress is alleging is a complete misinterpretation, intended at creating a controversy where none exists. What he meant was that he would be saddened even if a puppy comes under his car,” said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.

Sources said BJP’s top leadership first consulted Modi to understand what he had actually said to formulate a suitable rebuttal which was then aired by its spokespersons. Sensing the turn being given to his comments by his rivals, Modi also tweeted to clarify his point of view. "In our culture, every form of life is valued and worshipped," he said.

Shiv Sena hailed Modi’s remark. “We welcome Modi's stand. It was our strong belief from the time of Balasaheb Thackeray that the nation's leadership should be in the hands of a Hindutva leader. Modi's stand will benefit the NDA," spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.

Being Hindu

I’m nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I’m a born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist because I’m a born Hindu

Take on secularism

For me, my secularism is, India first. I say, the philosophy of my party is ‘Justice to all. Appeasement to none.’ This is our secularism.

Tackling riots

Up till now, we feel that we used our full strength to set out to do the right thing


If we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is. If I’m a Chief Minister or not, I’m a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.

Narendra Modi, Gujarat CM

Religion has no identity. Nation has an identity. Nationalism falls in a different category than religion.

Salman Khurshid, Union Minister

What does he (Modi) think, that Muslims are worse than even puppies? He does not have a heart for them. He should feel sorry.

Kamal Farooqui, SP

It is utterly shameful that he is justifying the genocide and using inappropriate examples to trivialise the enormity of it.

Brinda Karat, CPM

(with PTI inputs)





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |