Rahul Gandhi should express regret for comments on Gujarat: Bharatiya Janata Party

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 29 2014, 00:15am hrs
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today hit back at Rahul Gandhi for his attack on Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying his "irresponsible" comments were condemnable and he should express regret for these.

The party claimed that the Modi government had tried to control the riots in 2002 as "190 rioters" were killed in police firing and in contrast, "not a single bullet was fired" to check the "state-sponsored pogram" in Delhi in 1984.

"The remarks are palpably wrong. We condemn these...It is a textbook case of speaking a lie. The people of the country will reply to this," Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

Prasad was reacting to comments by Gandhi that the Modi government was "abetting and pushing" the rioters during the 2002 violence.

"He (Gandhi) needs to take back his remarks. He must publicly express regret for making a palpably wrong statement," the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.

Prasad said Gandhi's accusations against Modi, even after the Supreme Court-monitored probe gave a "clean chit" to him and his government, is "unfortunate" and "irresponsible".

Noting that Gandhi virtually considered Congress' Prime Ministerial candidate, the BJP leader asked, "How can he be so utterly irresponsible in making these kind of allegations."

Gandhi has not made a "responsible" comment, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley said, adding the Congress Vice President is "ill-informed" on the Gujarat riots.

Attacking Gandhi, BJP Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the 1984 "pogrom was state sponsored" and that the then Rajiv Gandhi government did "nothing" to check rioters as sikhs were being burnt alive.

In Gujarat, he insisted, police took strong action and fired 10,000 rounds of bullets and more than 190 rioters fell to the bullets.

"When Congress has nothing to show they broach the 2002 Gujarat riots. Here also he (Rahul) is factually wrong. Nobody has justified the unfortunate riots in Gujarat.

"On the other hand, his father Rajiv Gandhi justified 1984 riots against sikhs by saying that 'when a big tree falls, there are tremors in the earth'. The scientific truth is when there are tremors, the big tree falls," Javadekar said.

Jaitley said a slogan "Khoon ka Badla Khoon (blood for blood)" started in the afternoon of October 31, 1984 at the AIIMS where Indira Gandhi's body lay and alleged that Congress leaders were seen leading mobs and sikhs were massacred at thousands of places.

"Nowhere did the police fire a single bullet to disperse mobs. Cases were not investigated. A Commission of Inquiry was constituted which came with a sham report," he said.

The BJP leader said the Judge heading the Commission was subsequently made by Congress a member of the Rajya Sabha and "justice evades the victims even now".

In comparison, he said, thousands of people were arrested in Gujarat and the "badly over-powered" police fired at several places killing rioters. Thousands of prosecutions were filed and hundreds of people sentenced, Jaitley said.

"The Chief Minister of the (Gujarat) state Government personally went through several inquiries including the Supreme Court constituted SIT and no evidence was found against him," he said.

"Where did Rahul Gandhi get this idea that in 1984 there was no participation of the State," the Bharatiya Janata Party leader asked.

Javadekar slammed Gandhi for the "empty" interview that shows "complete void of any ideas" for India and also signifies that Congress has nothing to offer to the country.

"He maintained silence as usual on inflation and corruption. He talks about RTI, but RTI doesn't operate for the first family of the Congress. Every attempt to get details of foreign travel of SPG-protectees has been foiled by the government," he said.