2002 Gujarat riots: Amit Shah lauds SC verdict, takes jibe at Congress' satyagraha over ED questioning Rahul Gandhi

Lauding the Supreme Court verdict which dismissed a plea challenging the clean chit given by an SIT to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots case, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took a jibe at Congress’ ‘satyagraha’ over ED questioning Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case and said that Modi appeared before the SIT in relation to probe over violence but the BJP did not resort to “drama or dharna” during the questioning.

Shah said that those who levelled “politically motivated” allegations against PM Modi should apologise for it. He noted that Modi presented an ideal example for all political persons of how to respect the Constitution.

“In a democracy, PM Modi presented an ideal example of how the Constitution should be respected by all political persons. Modiji was also questioned, but nobody protested, and (BJP) workers from across the country did not gather in solidarity with Modiji. We cooperated with the law. I was also arrested. There was no protest or demonstration,” the Union minister said in an interview with news agency ANI.

“This is not the first clean chit to PM Modi. Nanavati Commission has also given a clean chit. Still the SIT was formed. And Modiji did not appear before the SIT doing drama… come in support from every village if not then call MLAs, MPs and ex-MPs, hold dharna,” added Shah, while taking a jibe at Congress party’s decision to hold demonstrations in the national capital during Rahul Gandhi’s questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald case.

“We believe that we should cooperate in the judicial process. There was a Supreme Court order, and an SIT was there. If the SIT wants to ask questions from the Chief Minister, he himself said that he is ready to cooperate. Why stage a protest? No person is beyond the law… No protest is justified against any judicial process because our view is considered right when the judiciary says so. I was put behind bars. I used to say that I am innocent. But when the court said that a fake case was filed against me and there was a politically motivated conspiracy by the CBI to frame me, then my words proved right,” Shah said.

He added, “I am feeling good that today those people who leveled allegations against Modiji… if they had an inner conscience then they should apologise to Modiji and BJP”.

On Friday, the Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by Zakia Ehsan Jafri challenging the clean chit given to Modi by the SIT in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The apex court said that there was no evidence to suggest “larger criminal conspiracy” on part of the State which led to Gujarat riots of 2002 that ensued the Godhra train massacre. “We uphold the decision of the Magistrate in accepting the final report dated 08.02.2012 submitted by the SIT as it is and rejecting the protest petition filed by the appellant (Zakia Jafri)”, Justice Khanwilkar said reading out the operative portion of the judgment.

Also Read: No evidence of ‘larger criminal conspiracy’ on part of State in 2002 Gujarat Riots, says SC; rejects Zakia Jafri’s plea

Congress leader and former MP Ehsan Jafri was among the 68 people killed at Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Society during violence on 28 February, 2002, a day after the Godhra train burning. Zakia Jafri had challenged the SIT’s clean chit to 64 people, including Modi who was Gujarat chief minister in 2002.

The Union Home Minister further said there was no delay on part of the then Gujarat government in requisitioning the Army to deal with post-Godhra 2002 Gujarat riots. He noted that former Punjab DGP KPS Gill had termed the state government’s action as “prompt and neutral”. He also attacked Congress over anti-Sikh riots in 1984, saying that so many Sikhs were killed “but nothing was done for three days”.

“The Gujarat government did not delay in anything. When the Gujarat Bandh was declared, we called the Army. The Army needed some time to reach. There was not even a day’s delay by the Gujarat government and this was also appreciated by the court,” Shah said.

“The Army headquarters is situated in Delhi and there are a lot of armymen in the city but despite that so many Sikhs were killed (during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots) but nothing was done for three days. How many SITs were constituted then? An SIT was constituted after our government came to power. How many were arrested?” Shah said while questioning the Congress led government during the 1984 Sikh riots.

He went on to add, “I think PM Modi did everything because I was observing the situation very closely. I think no CM would have dealt with the situation in this way. For example, there are 100-150 cops in one police station, if we put additional force, then it amounts to only 400. If there is a gathering of around two lakh people it takes time to control the situation in the state. Every action including lathi-charge, firing etc was taken to control the riots in Gujarat riots, 900 people were killed in firing”.

Amit Shah said Prime Minister Modi had endured pain for the last 19 years without speaking a word and followed “Lord Shiva who swallowed poison and held it in his throat.”

“The Supreme Court has dismissed all allegations, it has said why allegations were levelled. You can say in a way that allegations are politically motivated, this has also been proved. It was a battle of 19 years, such a big leader without saying a word, endured pain like Lord Shiva drank poison and continued to fight (sabhi dukhon ko bhagwan Shankar ke vishpan ki tarah gale mein utarkar sehen karkar ladta raha). Now in the end when the truth has come out like glittering gold, it has come out with full shine, then it is natural to feel joyous (anand hi hoga),” he said.

“I have closely seen Modiji enduring this pain, facing the allegations despite being on the side of truth and because the judicial process was underway he did not speak. Only a man with a strong heart can do this. The interview we are doing today, I could have done in 2003 as Gujarat Home Minister and later as party chief. But till the judicial process was completed, Modiji did not say anything so that there was no influence. He endured all this silently,” he added.

Shah also said that Teesta Setalvad-run NGO gave baseless information about the Gujarat riots. “I have read the judgement very carefully. The judgement clearly mentions the name of Teesta Setalvad. The NGO that was run being run by her – I don’t remember the name of the NGO – had given baseless information about the riots to the police,” said Shah.

(With inputs from ANI)

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