Shripal Sabnis, president of the 89th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan whose remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered a row before the start of the literary meet, on Wednesday reiterated that Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had failed to protect the lives of Muslims and win their confidence.
Sabnis, who was speaking at the Idea Exchange at The Indian Express on Wednesday, also said Dalits in the country were looking with suspicion at Modi’s “Gandhi-Buddha” model which he is parading worldwide.
“I do not agree with Modi who was the Gujarat chief minister. He had failed to protect the lives of Muslims and win their confidence. There has been no punishment. He has got the clean chit from the apex court, but the blot remains…, he had to face the prosecution,” Sabnis said, when asked to elaborate on his remarks.
The author, however, clarified that he was not alleging that Modi was behind the Gujarat riots.
Sabnis said BJP’s own senior leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee held a similar view. “Vajpayee had clearly said that Raj Dharma was not followed in Gujarat in the aftermath of the Godhra riots,” Sabnis said.
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Asked if Modi as chief minister of Gujarat owed an apology to the Muslim community, Sabnis said, “We cannot force anybody… it has to come from within. Maybe, doing so could have threatened his political existence… or his party’s Hindu vote bank could have been affected…”
Sabnis also had some praise for Modi. “There has been a ‘parivartan’ in Modi. He is carrying his development model worldwide. Whether it was on global warming or terrorism, Modi has a development vision. He is trying to ensure peace for humanity. His priority is to ensure India’s security. He has accepted the challenges of ensuring worldwide peace…,” Sabnis said.
Talking about the Hyderabad incident in which a PhD student has committed suicide, Sabnis said Dalits of India were still looking with suspicion at the “Gandhi-Buddha” model which Modi had been carrying world-wide. “In view of what happened in Hyderabad where a Dalit youth was forced to commit suicide and a BJP minister is under scanner, it is clear that Dalits in India are looking with suspicion at Modi’s ‘Buddha model’,” said Sabnis.
The author, however, said Modi’s development model was better than that of “Golwalikar model” “Savarkar model and “Deoras Model” of the RSS.
Sabnis once again rubbished the bid to construct a temple in the name of Nathuram Godse and slammed the “rising Nathuram tendencies” in the country. “Godse was a murderer. He had killed the Mahatma… if they are going to construct a temple in the name of a murderer, then there will be temples across the country in honour of murderers… This is dangerous for the democracy,” he said.