Congress, SP, CPI(M), CPI and JD(U) demand apology for his ‘humiliating’ statement

A political uproar erupted on Friday over certain comments by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the 2002 riots, with the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the CPI(M), the CPI and the Janata Dal(United) saying he had compared Muslims to a “puppy” and should apologise for the “humiliating” remarks.

The BJP, which was put on the back foot, insisted that Mr. Modi’s remarks were “misinterpreted” with the aim of “appeasing a particular community.”

In an interview to Reuters, Mr. Modi, replying to a question whether he regretted what had happened in 2002, said: “Any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will be painful or not? Of course, it is.”

Taking strong exception, SP spokesman Kamal Farooqui said: “It is a very sad, very humiliating and very disturbing statement... What does he [Modi] think, that Muslims are worse than even puppies? He does not have a heart for them. He should feel sorry... He should apologise.”

Mr. Modi “should be ashamed for using such a language,” the SP leader said, adding, “the earlier he apologises, the better it will be. Otherwise, there will be dangerous consequences.”

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said, “The expression of regret just doesn’t come to Modi ... There is something wrong fundamentally what he is saying.”

Mr. Modi “has been justifying that genocide in different ways. Whether it is genocide, whether it is a cold-blooded murder, whether it is in the name of encounter, whether it is hushing up those cases and trying to promote those who were involved in it from beginning to end... It is a governance that has in it certain components which are against the Constitution of India and against basic human principles,” she said.

CPI leader D. Raja described Mr. Modi’s comments as a “desperate attempt to deceive people and hoodwink the Indian masses.”

Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Mr. Modi was “gradually becoming his own worst enemy.” If he felt he was “misinterpreted,” he should talk less.

Comments misinterpreted: BJP

Shivanand Tiwari, leader of the JD(U), which recently snapped ties with BJP, said “psycho-analysis should be done on him [Modi].” It would be a “very dangerous situation” if such a person became Prime Minister.

However, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said Mr. Modi’s comments were “misinterpreted” completely, resulting in a “controversy where it does not exist.”

‘Votebank politics’

She said, “Clearly this is done with an intention to appease a particular section. It is part of the Congress vote-bank politics. It is part of the Congress strategy before elections.”

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