Reacting strongly to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's statement that those opposing Amitabh Bachchan were “ Talibans of untouchability,” the Congress on Monday asked the actor to clarify whether he endorsed Mr. Modi's “role” in the 2002 anti-Muslim riots or condemned it.

Party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters if Mr. Bachchan was sensible and right-thinking, he would clarify his connection with Mr. Modi and come out strongly against the 2002 pogrom.

He said Mr. Bachchan “should not build the Chinese Wall between Mr. Modi and the sands of Rann of Kutch by justifying” the brand ambassadorship of Gujarat. “What does he say about the Gujarat massacre and fake encounters that took place since Modi took over,” Mr. Tewari asked.

He said the Congress' Gujarat unit had raised these important questions and the central unit endorsed those concerns.

Earlier, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni lashed out at Mr. Modi for dubbing Mr. Bachchan's opponents as Taliban, saying he was a “frustrated” Chief Minister after his marathon questioning by the SIT in connection with a post-Godhra riots case.

Denying charges made by the Bachchans that the Congress tirade was not against him as a person but his entire family, Mr. Tewari said the Congress followed the policy of secularism and did not support anyone who went against this basic ideology. He, however, denied that Abishek Bachchan's posters were removed from a function in the national capital where he was to share the dais with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Mr. Tewari said the function was organised by a non-governmental organisation and the government or the party had no role to play.

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