External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has defended Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress vice-president’s remarks at a rally in Indore on Thursday were “a wake-up call based on tragic and serious incidents.” “It should be seen in a historical context so that what is said you will understand,” Mr. Khurshid said.

Mr. Gandhi had said an intelligence official told him that Pakistan’s ISI had made contact with a group of 10 to 15 Muzaffarnagar Muslims affected by the recent riots.

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s speech at Jhansi comes in the context of a campaign where he has sought to reach out to Muslim voters sceptical of his secular credentials because of the 2002 events. In past years, several arrested members of terror networks like the Indian Mujahideen have attributed their radicalisation to the violence.

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