Closure was the theme of chief minister Narendra Modi’s blog on Friday, as he finally spoke about the 2002 post-Godhra riots a day after a court in Ahmedabad said there was insufficient evidence to charge him with larger conspiracy.
Although Modi stopped short of offering an apology, he came closest to offering regret for the communal conflagration marked by large-scale anti-Muslim violence. His earlier attempt at expressing regret attracted large scale criticism because of the use of puppy analogy.
“This is the first time I am sharing the harrowing ordeal I had gone through in those days at a personal level”, Modi said. In a carefully worded post with key words like “mindless violence” in bold, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections spoke about how the killings had “shaken and shattered” him “to the core”.
He said, “Yesterday’s judgment culminated a process of unprecedented scrutiny closely monitored by the highest court of the land, the Honourable Supreme Court of India. Gujarat’s 12 years of trial by the fire have finally drawn to an end. I feel liberated and at peace.”
Earlier, the Gujarat CM had spoken about the riots in detail at the launch of the Sadbhavana fasts on his 61st birthday on September 17, 2011. This was after the SC had refused to monitor the conspiracy case further.
“‘Grief’, ‘Sadness’, ‘Misery’, ‘Pain’, ‘Anguish’, ‘Agony’ — mere words could not capture the absolute emptiness one felt on witnessing such inhumanity,” Modi wrote.
He expressed anguish for being accused of the killings. “Can you imagine the inner turmoil and shock of being blamed for the very events that have shattered you?” he asked in bold.
“On one side was the pain of the victims of the earthquake, and on the other the pain of the victims of the riots. In decisively confronting this great turmoil, I had to single-mindedly focus all the strength given to me by the almighty, on the task of peace, justice and rehabilitation; burying the pain and agony I was personally wracked with,” he wrote.
Modi also addressed the criticism for dodging the issue of riots on his charge despite persistent allegation that they were facilitated by deliberate inaction on the part of state administration. “During those challenging times, I often recollected the wisdom in our scriptures; explaining how those seating in positions of power did not have the right to share their own pain and anguish. They had to suffer it in solitude. I lived through the same, experiencing the anguish”. Modi: My govt responded more swiftly than ever done before
In an obvious reference in the blog to the charge that he deliberately did not move fast enough to riots which broke out in the wake of killings of karsevaks at Godhara, Narendra Modi said that “as if all the suffering was no enough, 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”.
The attempt to reach out to Muslim victims through the reference of “my Gujarati brothers and sisters” ran through the blog.
Without mentioning the Congress, he claimed his government had responded to the violence “more swiftly and decisively than ever done before in any previous riots in the country”.
In an apparent reference to some NGOs, Modi wrote his critics targeted him to achieve their personal and political ends, and “ironically delayed the very justice that they claimed to be fighting for”. Modi added he did not expect the “tirade” against him to cease.
Modi signed off saying, “I am deeply convinced that the future of any society, state or country lies in harmony. This is the only foundation on which progress and prosperity can be built. Therefore, I urge one and all to join hands in working towards the same, ensuring smiles on each and every face. Once again, Satyameva Jayate!”