Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “endured false allegations” linked to the 2002 Gujarat riots silently for 19 years because the legal process was on, a day after the Supreme Court confirmed the then Chief Minister’s exoneration.
“Modi ji endured false charges in silence for 19 years, nobody did a dharna,” Mr Shah told news agency ANI in an interview, taking a swipe at the Congress which has been demonstrating for days over the interrogation of senior party leader Rahul Gandhi in a money laundering case.
“I have closely seen Modi ji enduring this pain, facing the allegations despite being on the side of truth and because the judicial process was underway he did not speak. Only a man with a strong heart can do this,” Mr Shah said.
“In a democracy, PM Modi presented an ideal example of how the Constitution should be respected by all political persons. Modi ji was also questioned, but nobody protested, and (BJP) workers from across the country did not gather in solidarity with Modi ji. We cooperated with the law. I was also arrested. There was no protest or demonstration,” he said.
The Union Home minister denied that there was a delay on the part of the Gujarat government in calling in the army to deal with riots and noted that former Punjab Police chief KPS Gill, a celebrated top cop, had termed the state government’s action “prompt and neutral”.
He also attacked Congress over anti-Sikh riots in 1984, saying that so many Sikhs were killed “but nothing was done for three days”.
“The Gujarat government did not delay in anything. When the Gujarat Bandh was declared, we called the Army. The Army needed some time to reach. There was not even a day’s delay by the Gujarat government and this was also appreciated by the court,” Mr Shah said.
An appeal against a clearance to PM Modi in the case by the wife of a Congress MP killed in the violence is “devoid of merits” and filed “to keep the pot boiling”, the Supreme Court said on Friday, dismissing a petition filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was among 68 people killed in what came to be known as the Gulbarg Society massacre on the first day of the three-day riots.
The plea was filed “to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design”, the court said, in strong comments that, it added, were borrowed from arguments made by the Special Investigation Team or SIT that had cleared PM Modi.
“All those involved in such abuse of process need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law,” the judges said, surmising that the appeal was filed under “dictation of someone”.