The charges levelled against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, in the 2002 riots are based on “falsehood,” Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said on Tuesday.
In a statement issued here, Mr. Jaitley said it was now time to put to rest “propaganda” against Mr. Modi as the “falsehoods” about the Godhra train fire, his reported remarks that the 2002 riots were a reaction to it and alleged orders to let Hindus vent their anger have been “exposed and rejected”.
He also dismissed the findings of the Justice U.C. Banerjee Committee report by describing it as “scandalous”.
“The report alleged that the fire could have started inside the compartment. This report carried no credibility with the people and has been consigned to the dustbin. The judicial verdict proved every fact of this report to be false,” Mr. Jaitley said. There was evidence that compartment number six of the Sabarmati Express was set on fire. “A fraudulent attempt was made by a section of the media and certain NGOs to allege that nobody set the fire from outside; that the fire started inside the compartment,” he said.
Mr. Jaitley also rubbished claims that Mr. Modi in an interview had described the riots as the reaction to an action.
“Mr. Modi maintained that he had not given any such interview. The Gujarat government wrote to the newspaper alleging that no such interview had been given since nobody from the newspaper had ever met him. The statement was not published in the next 20 days. Thereafter, it appeared as a letter in the Letters to the Editor column with a clarification that in fact no reporter had met Modi or had interviewed him.”