Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for the Central Bureau of Investigation's move to shift the trial of the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case outside Gujarat.
“It is an attack on the judiciary in Gujarat,” he said, and added that the Centre was “diverting its anger against him” to the judicial system in the State. “Now it is crossing all limits. After attempts to defame the State government, the State police and even the people of the State, it is now trying to defame and insult the judiciary in Gujarat. This can never be tolerated,” Mr. Modi said, at a function of the Gujarat University to launch its “van mahotsava” programme here.
Mr. Modi said the Centre was behaving as if Gujarat was not part of India “but an enemy nation.” He said the Centre could not tolerate Gujarat's progress and development with peace and co-operation from all and was trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the State. “What does the Centre expect Gujarat to do? Should we lock up all our courts, our lawyers, our law colleges, our law university and everything connected with the judiciary?” Mr. Modi asked.
Defending the State's police administration and the judicial system, he referred to the Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano 2002 communal riot-related cases which were shifted out of the State earlier. “What was the result?” he asked, and pointed out that the Best Bakery case was tried in the Mumbai court only on the basis of the investigations made by the Gujarat police. Though the CBI held a fresh investigation in the Bilkis Bano case and added a number of accused, “the Mumbai court found only those accused guilty who were arrested and charge-sheeted by the Gujarat police. Every one of those added as accused by the CBI, were acquitted by the court,” he pointed out and asked “Why is the Gujarat police still being defamed and discriminated against?”
He said the Centre with all its might and its investigating agencies had not been able to solve the cases of terror attacks in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Ayodhya, Lucknow and many other places, but the Gujarat police had not only quickly solved the Ahmedabad bomb blast and Akshardham temple terror attacks, they also made important contributions in solving the blasts in Jaipur and many other parts of the country. “Have the Gujarat police committed any crime by arresting the terrorists responsible for the serial bomb blast and Akshardham attack alive,” he said.
He said it was the duty of the government to annihilate terrorism, Naxalism and Maoism which were trying to disrupt the peace and prosperity in the country. “But when Gujarat is trying to fulfil its duty, why are the hindrances created in its way?” he asked. He said the Congress government for the sake of its vote bank politics was trying to “harm the patriots and protect the anti-national and anti-social elements.”
Pointing out that peace prevailed in the State for the last eight years without a single day of curfew in any part of the State, Mr. Modi said, those who were envious of the peaceful atmosphere and the good governance in the State were conspiring to destabilise the State. “If you don't like me, you are free to take any action against me but spare the people, the police and the judiciary of Gujarat,” Mr. Modi said. He also expressed the resolve that he would continue to fight for “Gujarat's rights, its pride and its interests, come what may.”
In reply, the state Congress president, Siddhartha Patel, wondered how Mr. Modi was making “such noises” when he should “feel ashamed” for the arrest of his Minister of State for Home Amit Shah and several senior police officers on such serious charges like extortion and murder. He questioned Mr. Modi for dragging in the “people of the State” and said the people had nothing to do with the “exposure” of the Home Minister and police officers. He believed that Mr. Modi was “making such empty noises” only because the people did not support the BJP's attempts to “take the fight to the streets” after Mr. Shah's arrest.