Congress did not initiate anti-Sikh riots in 1984: Gadkari
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Last Updated: Monday, April 26, 2010, 12:06
  
New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari says it's not entirely correct to blame the then Congress government for initiating the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

In an exclusive interview to BBC Hindi Service, Gadkari said: "Some people might be involved in those riots but it would not be entirely correct to say that the riots were initiated by the government.

"Nobody can manipulate or organise such incidents; these are unfortunate reactions of the people at large."

Gadkari was replying to questions on the alleged involvement of the BJP and its government in the demolition of the Babri mosque and the 1992 Gujarat riots.

"Gujarat riots were unfortunate. But when riots take place in other states, why aren't governments and chief ministers blamed for that?" the newly elected BJP president asked.

"Why don't you corner Congress governments and their chief ministers for riots which took place in Congress-governed states, the way you are cornering Modi and the BJP? Riots took place in Mumbai in 1992 and the way Sikhs were killed in Delhi..."

He also said the BJP was not anti-Muslim, and shot back, "If our party were against the Muslims, why would we nominate Dr. Abdul Kalam as the president of the country?"

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

BBC: Can you assure the Muslim community that your party is not against them?

Gadkari: If our party were against the Muslims, why would we nominate Dr. Abdul Kalam as the president of the country?

BBC: Dr Abdul Kalam was surely made the President but how would your party wash the blemish of Gujarat riots?

Gadkari: More serious riots took place in Mumbai (in 1992) but why wasn't the government (in the state) blamed? Why wasn't a Special Investigating Team set up against the then chief minister of Maharashtra?

BBC: Do you think Muslims will forget the Gujarat riots and the demolition of the Babri mosque?

Gadkari: Gujarat riots were unfortunate. But when riots take place in other states, why aren't governments and chief ministers blamed for that?

BBC: Can Muslims forget Gujarat riots and the demolition of the Babri mosque?

Gadkari: This is only a section of the media and certain individuals who write or say unfounded things about us.

BBC: Are you saying that Gujarat riots and the demolition of the Babri mosque never happened and these incidents are media's creation?

Gadkari: Both these incidents did happen. I am asking you why don't you corner Congress governments and their chief ministers for riots which took place in Congress-governed states, the way you are cornering Modi and the BJP? Riots took place in Mumbai in 1992 and the way Sikhs were killed in Delhi...

BBC: But the Congress party is answerable for that…and the media has been questioning the party...

Gadkari: The basic thing is that nobody can manipulate or organise such incidents. These are the unfortunate reactions by the people at large.

BBC: Do you think '84 riots were also a reaction of the people and there was no manipulation involved?

Gadkari: Look, some people might be involved in those riots but it would not be entirely correct to say that the riots were initiated by the government.

IANS


First Published: Monday, April 26, 2010, 12:06


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