“Remark made with an eye on Gujarat Assembly elections”
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s provocative comment that he should be publicly hanged if anyone could prove that his government was complicit in the communal riots that ravaged his state in 2002, has drawn fire from the Congress. Union Ministers on Thursday said Mr. Modi’s remark was made with an eye on the Assembly elections due in Gujarat at the end of the year. They pointed out the difficulty in delivering justice, given that no FIR had ever been lodged against the Chief Minister even though a decade had rolled by since the state-sponsored pogrom had taken place.
In an interview to Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, edited by the Samajwadi Party’s Shahid Siddiqui, Mr Modi said: “ ... why should I apologise? If my government had done this, I should be hanged in public in such a way that it remains a lesson for the next 100 years so that nobody dares to do it [such a crime].”
Responding sharply, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said: “If an FIR has not been filed against the Chief Minister of the State for the last 10 years, how do you hold him guilty? Who is going to hang him?” Mr. Sibal said Mr. Modi had made this statement keeping the forthcoming Gujarat elections in mind.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid told journalists: “I don’t think that we, either in the streets can decide, or Modi can take a decision by himself. I don’t know about him, but we all have faith in the courts of the land that they will do what, they believe, is the right thing to do.”