“Pain can never be a belated reaction after 11 years of silence”

Union Minister Kapil Sibal on Sunday said Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s articulation of “pain and agony” over the Gujarat riots was 11 years too late; adding that the pain of the victims should be the focus, not that of the Chief Minister.

In his blog titled ‘Re [reply]: Modi’s Pain On Gujarat Riots’, Mr. Sibal said: “11 years is too late. This pain and agony reflected in Modi’s blog is for an audience whose sympathy will be vital in May 2014.” Stating that “this act of liberation does not connect us with the real Modi,” the Minister asserted that “Modi’s riots baggage will remain.”

“It is too late for him to express that he was shaken to the core. Had that been so, the core would have reacted in time, not belatedly just before the Lok Sabha elections,” Mr. Sibal pointed out after posing a series of questions to the Gujarat Chief Minister.

“Where was the pain when the State of Gujarat defended those who now stand convicted? Where was the pain when affidavits about their innocence were filed in courts? Where was the pain when lawyers were paid for defending the indefensible? Where was the pain when the State did not reach out to those who were crying for help? Where was the pain of those who were seeking justice but were left in the cold? Where was the pain when the State was collaborating with the accused to settle their affidavits, while they were being prosecuted in the court?”

Mr. Modi posted the blog ‘Satyameva Jayate: Truth Alone Triumphs’ on Friday, a day after a Gujarat court rejected a protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri against the closure report of the Special Investigation Team which said there was no prosecutable evidence against the Chief Minister.

“Pain is always heartfelt and spontaneous. Pain is an emotion that is expressed without calculation. Pain can never be a belated reaction after 11 years of silence. And a person who suffers in silence cannot remain silent for 11 years.”

Of the view that Mr. Modi dwelt more on his pain than that of the victims’, Mr. Sibal said: “It is the harrowing ordeal of the victims and not that of Modi that needs attention.” And in a reference to the quoting of scriptures by the Chief Minister, he commented that the wisdom of the scriptures should have dawned on him in 2002, not in 2013.