A day after a court in Ahmedabad rejected a petition against him in a case relating to the 2002 communal riots, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said it was not a "personal victory or defeat" but a triumph of truth.
Buoyed by the clean chit given to him by the court, Mr. Modi broke his silence over the issue, which he claims left him shaken to the core and rendered him with “grief, sadness, misery, pain, anguish, agony on witnessing such inhumanity.” In a post on his blog, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said he feels "liberated and at peace."
Referring to the 2001 earthquake that left Gujarat devastated, Mr. Modi said even as he was struggling to help his people find their feet, the State was rocked by “mindless violence of 2002”.
Leaning on the scriptures which saw him through the “challenging times” and helped him understand how “those... in positions of power did not have the right to share their own pain and anguish”, Mr. Modi said that he too suffered in solitude, "experiencing this anguish in searing sharp intensity."
Mr. Modi who has been accused of not being able to control the riots that led to the loss of lives and property, clarified that he fervently urged for peace and restraint to ensure lives of innocents were not put at risk. "I was also accused of the death and misery of my own loved ones, my Gujarati brothers and sisters. Can you imagine the inner turmoil and shock of being blamed for the very events that have shattered you!," he wrote. His 37-day Sadbhavana fasts, he said, was an example of his constructive action, reinforcing unity.
BJP demands apology from Congress
Meanwhile BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar demanded an apology from the Congress for carrying out a “personal vilification” campaign against Mr. Modi for over a decade.
“For 12 long years this vilification campaign and persecution of an individual has gone on. But the Congress has to learn that this hate campaign will backfire,” he said. He criticised the Congress for “constantly focusing” on the 2002 Gujarat riots while refusing to acknowledge several other riots.
An exercise in hyprocrisy: Tewari
Asked for his comment on the exoneration of Mr. Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, at his press conference, declined to reply. However, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari dismissed it as "an attempt to try and burnish his image for the 2014 elections." The Congress leader said: "no expression of remorse changes the reality that thousands were massacred. There has to be closure, justice. Lot of sanctimoniousness, humbug being propagated through a blog. This is an exercise in hypocrisy to say the least."
US adopting a myopic stance: Jaitley
In a separate development, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely accused the U.S. of adopting a “myopic” stance over Mr. Modi.
Cautioning that such an outlook has the “potential of recoiling back at them”, Mr. Jaitely, in a statement, said: “It is time the Americans reflect on how they have boxed themselves into this untenable situation.” Even as he advised Mr. Modi against applying for a US visa, Mr. Jaitely questioned the U.S. decision of not granting visa to him, despite a clean chit given to Mr. Modi by the court.