Shaken to the core but Modi does not offer apology

Shaken to the core but Modi does not offer apology

Shaken to the core but Modi does not offer apology

Narendra Modi today spoke of "pain" and "anguish" over the 2002 Gujarat riots, but did not proffer any apology over the killings.

In a 1000-word blog containing his most detailed comments on the riots, the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate said that he felt "absolute emptiness" on witnessing such "inhumanity".

A day after a magistrate's court  upheld a clean chit given to him by a Supreme Court-appointed probe panel in the massacre of 68 people in Gulberg Housing Society here during the riots, Modi said he did not see the judgement as a personal victory or defeat.

He began by stating that with the judiciary having spoken, "I felt it important to share my inner thoughts and feelings with the nation at large."

Modi then referred to the devastating Gujarat earthquake of 2001 causing widespread loss of life and property before he moved on to the riots the following year.

He stated wrongly that the riots had happened "within a mere five months" of the earthquake.  The earthquake happened on January 26, 2001 and the riots took place in March 2002.

After referring to the two tragic events, Modi said, "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."

Modi said on the one side was the pain of the victims of the earthquake and on the other the pain of the victims of the riots.

"In decisively confronting this great turmoil, I had to single-mindedly focus all the strength given to me by the almighty on the task of Peace, justice and rehabilitation; burying the pain and agony I was personally wracked with," he said in an apparent effort to reach out to the Muslims ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

"This is the first time I am sharing the harrowing ordeal I had gone through in those words at a personal level," he said in the blog.

Modi had  over the last decade consistently refused to express regrets or apologise  for the riots that had killed over 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

"The Gujarat government had responded to the violence more swiftly and decisively than ever done before in any previous riots in the country.

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

Thanking the people who stood by him in these "trying times" through the "facade of lies and deceit", the chief minister said "with this cloud of misinformation firmly dispelled, I will now also hope that the many others out there trying to understand and connect the real Narendra Modi would feel more empowered to do so."

Emerging from "this journey of pain and agony", Modi said he prayed to God in all humility that no bitterness seeped into his heart.

"I sincerely do not see this judgement as a personal victory or defeat, and urge all - My friends and especially my opponents - to not to do so as well," he said.

Modi, who has the image of a hardline Hindutva proponent and describes himself as a Hindu nationalist, said those who derive satisfaction by perpetuating pain in others will probably not stop their tirade against him.

"I do not expect them to.  But, I pray in all my humility, that they at least now stop irresponsibly maligning the 6 crore people of Gujarat," he said.

He said he fasted 37 days for Sadhbhavana (harmony), choosing to translate the positive judgement into constructive action, reinforcing unity and sadbhavana in society at large."

"I am deeply convinced that the future of any society, state or country lies in harmony.  This is the only foundation on which progress and prosperity can be built. Therefore, I urge one and all to join hands in working towards the same, ensuring smiles on each and every face," he said.

"Once again," Modi said, "satyameva jayate" (truth alone triumphs).

Recalling the events of those days  in the aftermath of the Godhra train burning, Modi said he fervently urged for peace and restraint to ensure lives of innocents were not put at risk.

"I had repeatedly reiterated the same principles in my daily interactions with the media in those fateful days of February-March 2002 as well, publicly underlining the political will as well as moral responsibility of the government to ensure peace, deliver justice and punish all guilty of violence.

"You will also find these deep emotions in my recent words at my Sadbhavana fasts, where I had emphasised how such deplorable incidents did not behove a civilised society and had pained me deeply," he said.

In fact, Modi said, his emphasis has always been on developing and emphasising a spirit of unity with the now widely-used concept of "My 5 crore Gujarati brothers and sisters' having crystallised right at the beginning of his tenure as Chief Minister itself from this very space.

"However, as if all the suffering was not enough, I was also accused of the death and misery of my own loved ones, my Gujarati brothers and sisters.  Can you imagine the inner turmoil and shock of being blamed for the very events that have shattered you," he said.

For so many years, they incessantly kept up their attack, leaving no stone unturned.  What pained even more was that in their overzealousness to hit at him for their narrow personal and political ends, they ended up maligning the entire state and the country.

"They heartlessly kept reopening the wounds that we were sincerely trying to heal.  It ironically also delayed the very justice that these people claimed to be fighting for. May be they did not realise  how much suffering they were adding to an already pained people," he said.