A day after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by Zakia Jafri challenging the SIT’s clean chit to Narendra Modi and others in cases related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said he had seen PM Modi suffer through the “19-year-long battle against the case”.
In an interview to news agency ANI, Shah said, “Only a strong-willed person could’ve taken stand to not say anything as case was sub-judice,” adding that Modi, who was then the chief minister of Gujarat, always believed in the law.
“I am happy that Modiji has set an example that no matter the allegation, he always believed in the law and upheld the Constitution,” Shah said.“NGOs constantly sought more dates in the case so that the blame on Modiji continues… The NGOs working with Zakia, and political parties funding these NGOs, and media groups supporting these NGOs, wanted political gain,” he said.
Referring to the protests against the questioning of Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case, Shah said, “This is not the first clean chit given to Modiji, he did not do any drama to appear before the SIT. We believed in the procedure of law, and Modiji agreed to cooperate.”
When asked if the riots were advantageous for BJP rule in Gujarat, Shah said, “If riots were beneficial for the BJP, we would’ve been inciting more riots.”
On the contention regarding the delay in calling in the Army during the riots, Shah said, “As far as Gujarat government is concerned, we were not late. The day Gujarat bandh call was given, we called in the Army that afternoon itself. The Army takes some time to reach…There wasn’t even a day’s delay. Court appreciated it too.”
Shah also said that it were the political rivals of the BJP, ideologically-driven politically motivated journalists, and various NGOs who publicised the allegations against the Modi government in Gujarat. “They presented it as such that everyone started believing in lies as the truth,” he said.
Shah said Teesta Setalvad had an NGO which had submitted applications to police stations against BJP workers and they were sought as truth. “Teesta Setalvad’s NGO was doing this,” he said.
“Take up any five years of governance under Congress and BJP, and see how many hours for curfew was there, how many people died, how many riots took place, and what was the duration of the riots, see and you’ll know riots under which government have been more. The major reason for the 2002 Gujarat riots was Godhra train burning incident,” the home minister said.
“People (officers-administration) had done a good job. But there was anger due to the incident (Godhra train burning), and nobody had an inkling – neither the police, nor anyone else. Later it wasn’t in anyone’s hands,” he added.