M A I N   N E W S

2002 riots: Modi says he was ‘shaken to the core’
Breaks silence, blogs his ‘pain, agony, grief’ but stops short of apology 
Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, December 27
Just short of tendering an apology, Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday bared his heart to say how deeply hurt he was at the “mindless violence” of 2002 and the “inner turmoil and shock” he suffered at being accused of complicity in the riots that “shattered” him.

Writing on his blog after being given the clean chit by the Ahmedabad metropolitan court in the Zakia Jafri protest petition case upholding the SIT’s closure report against him and other 62 accused of complicity in the 2002 riots, Modi said it was the first time he was sharing with the people of the country the “misery, pain, anguish and agony” he suffered over the outbreak of the communal riots “killing innocents, rendering families helpless and destroying property built through years of toil”.

Replying to accusations of criminal negligence in his handling of the riots, Modi claimed his government had responded to the violence “more swiftly and decisively than ever done before in any previous riots in the country”. He said after 12 years of “trial by fire” he was feeling “liberated and at peace” at yesterday’s order by the metropolitan court rejecting all charges against him.

“Yesterday’s judgment culminated a process of unprecedented scrutiny closely monitored by the highest court of the land, the Honourable Supreme Court of India. Gujarat’s 12 years of trial by fire have finally drawn to an end. I feel liberated and at peace,” he wrote.

In a subtle reply to the then prime minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s advice to him to “perform his Raj Dharma” by showing impartiality to all sections of the population, Modi quoted from the scriptures to justify why he preferred to remain silent and refrained from joining issue on the riots in the face of piling accusations against him. He said he had learnt from the scriptures that those in power did not have the right to share their own pain and anguish. “They have to suffer in solitude. I lived through the same, experiencing this anguish in sharp intensity only praying to God that “never again should such cruelly unfortunate days come in the lives of any other person, society, state or nation,” he said.

Modi made no reference to the Godhra train carnage or to justify the riots in terms of “action and reaction” but instead only expressed his “pain and anguish” at the “mindless violence” that followed the Sabarmati train fire incident. He began with the trying situation he was in when he took over as Chief Minister in September 2001 following the January 26 killer earthquake. Before his government could come out of it, the riots dealt a “crippling blow to already shattered and hurting Gujarat”, he said.

He said the riots shook him to the core and no words could explain the agony and anguish he was suffering at the “mindless violence”. “Mere words could not capture the absolute emptiness one felt on witnessing such inhumanity,” he said. Sharing with the people the “harrowing ordeal” he was going through at that time while suffering in silence, Modi said it was from “these very built-up emotions” that he had “fervently urged” the people of the state on the day of the Godhra train burning itself “for peace and restraint to ensure lives of innocents were not put at risk.”

Apparently replying to the charge that he had issued “instructions” to the police to “allow Hindus to vent their anger against the Muslims” in the aftermath of the Godhra carnage, Modi said he had repeatedly reiterated the same principles in the daily interactions with the media “publicly underlining the political will as well as moral responsibility of the government to ensure peace, deliver justice and punish all guilty of violence.” He pointed out that during the ‘Sadbhavana fasts’ also he had emphasised how such “deplorable incidents did not behove a civilised society.”

‘I feel liberated & at peace’

  • The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate said he felt “absolute emptiness” on witnessing such “inhumanity” during the Gujarat riots
  • Modi claimed his government had responded to the violence “more swiftly and decisively than ever done before in any previous riots in the country”
  • He said after 12 years of “trial by fire”, he was feeling “liberated and at peace” after the court rejected all charges against him

I was shaken to the core. Grief, sadness, misery, pain, anguish, agony -- mere words could not capture the absolute emptiness one felt on witnessing such inhumanity.
—Narendra Modi, bjp pm candidate





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