BJP president Nitin Gadkari has said it will not be entirely correct to say the 1984 anti-Sikh riots were initiated by the Congress government.

In an interview given to BBC's Urdu service and broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Gadkari said that the media had focussed intensely on the Gujarat riots of 2002 but let off the Congress governments lightly for other riots. He first said the Gujarat riots were a fact, but “the basic thing is nobody can manipulate such incidents. These were unfortunate reactions by the people at large.”

Asked if this applied to the situation in 1984 also and whether there was no manipulation involved then, he said: “Look, some people may be involved in those riots but it would be entirely incorrect to say that the riots were initiated by the government.”

As news agencies put out reports based on the interview, Mr. Gadkari denied having said this. From Nagpur, he told PTI that his comment was about the Gujarat riots and the Gujarat government, not about 1984 and the Congress government.

Amit Baruah, head of the BBC Hindi service here, told The Hindu that it had received no denial or clarification on the interview. It had been 24 hours since it was on air, and the tape recording of the interview, in its possession, made it very clear that the question was about 1984 and Mr. Gadkari was certainly talking about the 1984 riots and the Congress government.

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