In his first interview to an Urdu weekly after the 2002 Gujarat riots,Chief Minister Narendra Modi has said that he should be hanged if he is found to be responsible for the post-Godhra violence.
If any government is responsible for the riots,it should be hanged in a public square. It should be hanged so that for the next hundred years,no ruler should attempt this. And if I am responsible,I should be hanged, says Modi in the interview to Nai Duniya.
In 2004,I had said in an interview,why talk of forgiveness,those talking of forgiveness are only exacerbating the crime. Now,if you want to abuse Modi for political reasons,despite his sincere efforts,then I have no answer, he adds.
Saying that some mediapersons choose to forget that February has 28 days,he says: Trouble started on February 28,I called the Army on March 1. I didnt delay for three days. Gaali dene se pehle kuchh soch to lijiye… If we hadnt acted (to save Muslims),who would have survived?
While Modi has spoken on similar lines in the past as well,his interview is significant as he has chosen to address the Urdu-speaking population. Besides the timing of the interview the Gujarat Assembly elections are due later this year,it is interesting that Modi has chosen Nai Duniya,which is edited by SP leader Shahid Siddiqui and has readership in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi.
Asked what he has done for the Muslims in Gujarat,Modi says he helped the kite industry and those who live on the coast,pointing out that they are almost all Muslims. Using statistics he claims to have drawn from the Sachar Committee,Modi says: Gujarat has 9 per cent Muslims,but 12 per cent in government jobs; Bengal has 25 per cent Muslims,but only 2 per cent in government jobs. Who is secular?
Siddiqui said the next issue would carry a post-mortem of the Modi interview. This has nothing to do with the Samajwadi Party. Even when I was with the Congress,I had written against Narasimha Rao, he added.
Meanwhile,the BJP leadership in Delhi came out in Modis support on Thursday. Nobody has found him guilty. No court has convicted him. There is no question of hanging, said former BJP president Rajnath Singh.
Modis remarks carry additional significance in the wake of the recent controversy over Bihar CM Nitish Kumars remarks that NDAs prime ministerial candidate must be clean and secular.
On Akhand Bharat: My dream is that from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,people should be ek and nek (one and good)… It is the imperialists in Pakistan who are running a campaign for Akhand Bharat,so that Pakistan,India and Bangladesh can become one and this can be a Muslim-majority country… These people want to place Indian Muslims on the frontline and create tension.
On POTA,TADA: Nobody has been sentenced in any riots,including the 1984 riots. But in Gujarat,sentencing has happened in 50 cases.
On encounters: Before the elections,Mayawati boasted that she has restored peace after 393 encounters. In my state,there have only been 12 encounters… The NHRC has said there were 400 fake encounters in the last decade… Why are only Gujarat encounters being probed?
On whether he is in the race for the PMs post: I am an organisation man who became the CM in special circumstances… My target is six crore Gujaratis,and if I do good work,a few people from UP and Bihar will get jobs. If Gujarat makes good salt,the entire country gets to eat Gujarat salt. I have eaten Gujarat salt,and fed it to the rest of the country.