Ahmedabad: The verdict in Gulberg Society riot case on Thursday sparked a war of words between BJP and Congress in Gujarat with the ruling party terming the judgement as a "clean chit" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Opposition accusing the then state government of "inciting" people to kill minority community members during the riots.
Welcoming the judgement, state BJP president Vijay Rupani said the verdict is a "clean chit" to Modi and BJP President Amit Shah as the court has refused to accept the "conspiracy" angle in the case.
On the other side, senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela expressed dissatisfaction over the judgement and alleged people were killed during the 2002 riots at the "behest" of the BJP government of that time.
"This judgement is a clean chit to Modi and Shah, as the court clearly stated there was no conspiracy in the Gulberg Society case. This judgement has put paid to all attempts made by Congress to malign the image of Modi and Shah all these years. It is now clear Congress conspired against BJP and its leaders by dragging their names in such cases," Rupani said.
"In Gujarat, various courts have given their verdicts in riot cases and many people had been convicted. However, that is not the case with Congress-ruled states, where such cases never see the light of the day. The whole world knows no Congress leader has been convicted yet in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 (in Delhi)," Rupani said.
Vaghela, however, alleged it was BJP and its leaders, including then chief minister Narendra Modi, who "fanned" the riots and "whipped" up anti-Muslim sentiments after the train burning incident at Godhra on February 27, 2002.
"Not many people are happy with today's verdict. But, we have to accept it. However, we should not forget that one man's ambitions pushed Gujarat into the darkness. Instead of stopping the riots, the BJP government at that time incited people to attack and kill Muslims," alleged the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly.
"Instead of preventing the riots from spreading, the then chief minister incited people by making an irresponsible statement that 'every action has a reaction'. BJP acquired power by creating a rift between Hindus and Muslims. Instead of protecting people, the BJP government became a mass murderer," Vaghela, a former chief minister, said.
Reacting strongly to the statement, state minister and spokesperson for the Gujarat government Nitin Patel said it shows Congress has no faith in judiciary.
"Vaghela's statement has exposed the real face of Congress leaders. Looking at Vaghela's statement, I feel Congress does not have any faith in judiciary," said Patel.
A Special Court today convicted 24 people and acquitted 36 others in the Gulberg Society riot case.