Hang me if I'm guilty: Modi

Gujarat chief minister pleads innocence in post-Godhra riots

Hang me if I'm guilty: Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appears to have perfected the art of recalling the Godhra riots when it suits him politically.

Modi, who has never apologised for his government’s alleged role in the pogrom, told an Urdu newspaper that he will prefer to be hanged if found guilty. Instead, the media should apologise for hounding him for the last ten years, he claimed.

The Congress was quick to respond. “Narendra Modi is a leader in the state of Mahatma Gandhi and is known for his arrogance and ego. We don't expect any apology from him,” said Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.

“You can check whatever I had said at that time. In 2004, I had given an interview in which I questioned why should I apologise. Had my government done this, I should be hanged in public so that it remains a lesson for the next 100 years and nobody dares to do it,” Modi said in an interview to the Urdu weekly “Nai Duniya.”

In the interview, Modi reiterated his stand on the riots. However, what has drawn attention is that, this time, Modi chose the vernacular media to rewind  his views. “Nai Duniya” is edited by former MP Shahid Siddiqui who had quit and rejoined SP, after a brief stint in BSP.

Siddiqui said Modi was answering questions on whether he was willing to apologise for the post-Godhra riots that claimed around 1,000 lives.

Criticising Modi’s statement, the Congress dared the Gujarat chief minister to allow lodging of FIR against him. Senior Congress leader and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said Modi made the statement keeping the ensuing Assembly elections in mind.

“I was surprised to see the statement because there are certain procedures to be followed before somebody is held guilty. In the last 12 years, not a single FIR has been registered against Modi. Who will hold him guilty when there is no FIR against him ? Who is going to hang him?” Sibal wondered.

In Modi’s defence

Speaking in Modi’s defence, former BJP president Rajnath Singh said: “There is an attempt by this government to defame Modi and the Gujarat government. It is a well-planned conspiracy...to malign the BJP government which succeeded in projecting Gujarat as a model state.”

Siddiqui said he agreed to interview Modi only after the chief minister assured that it will be a “free-wheeling chat” where he will be allowed to ask questions related to the 2002 violence.

Modi-Keshubhai spar may intensify

In an election year, amid allegations and counter allegations, the war between rebel BJP veteran Keshubhai Patel and Gujarat BJP is all set to escalate further, reports DHNS from Ahmedabad.

The state unit of the party for the first time has officially reacted to Keshubhai’s anti-Modi moves in the editorial of party mouthpiece - Manogat.

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