Modi's Sadhbavna shunned

Modi's Sadhbavna shunned

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s Sadhbhavna mission reached Godhra on Friday, where an attack on a train here in 2002 set-off one of the worst communal riots in the country’s history.

Even as the chief minister tried his best to change his image as a champion of ‘inclusive growth’, local Muslims in the area went about with their business paying little or no attention to the attempt by BJP workers to get people at the venue.

The Sadhbhavna mission has been getting media attention and also its share of criticism for the choice of venue.

Social activist Shabnam Hashmi who heads Anhad was detained en route Godhra for wanting to hold a peaceful convention, which, the ruling BJP thought, would be an embarrassment. “We were detained en route and there was no plan of violence it was just a peaceful demonstration that we wanted to hold but we were not even allowed to enter the city,” Hashmi said.

Undeterred by the events, the Modi used the larger gathering to score his political points.
“I do not blame (the Congress) for their present behaviour,” Modi said, taking a dig at the opposition in the state.

“They have lost everything in the state and have been out of power for so many years and so they have nothing else to do apart from criticising me.”

Realising the enthusiastic crowd, Modi further said people should make a choice between the party that believes in divide and rule and the one in genuine inclusive growth.

He announced Rs 1,490 crore for the development of Panchmahals district.

Criticising the Prime Minister, Modi said he would appreciate Singh’s “shocked” statement about malnutrition. “But if he comes to know about malnutrition as the country’s prime minister managing its administration for so long, it’s shocking,” Modi said.

But the shadow of fear still looms over the Muslim community in the area. “How can we be part of the Sadhbhavna, the community still feels marginalised, it still leaves under a shadow of fear,” Said Syed Umarji, son of Maulana Umarji who was acquitted recently and cleared of the charges of being the key conspirator in the Sabarmati train carnage.

He said that the community wanted to hold a simple convention on Friday and did not get permission for that.

The venue which was close to Polan bazar, a Muslim dominated area, too wore a deserted look and people seemed to be busy with their daily namaz, it being a Friday.

Congress campaign in-charge and senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela who was sitting at a counter fast in Godhra, said that this was a government neck deep in corruption.

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