“I was surprised to see the statement because you have to follow a procedure before being proved guilty...the statement has been given keeping Gujarat elections in mind. The reality is justice was not delivered in this (2002 riots) case,” HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said.
Law Minister Salman Khurshid was more caustic. “We don’t believe in kangaroo justice. Whatever the law is in the country will prevail...I don’t think that we in the streets can decide or Modi can take a decision by himself.”
Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily said statements like this were “highly irresponsible”.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said this showed Modi would never seek an apology. “In the state of Mahatma Gandhi, there is a CM who is known for his ego and arrogance. Modi is fully arrogant. Even his partymen feel it. We don’t believe he will ever seek an apology,” he said.
The BJP in turn accused the Congress-led Centre of conspiring against Modi and making repeated attempts to malign him during the past decade.
“There is an attempt by this government to defame Gujarat Chief Minister and the Gujarat government. It is a well-planned conspiracy...to malign the BJP government which is doing good work (in Gujarat) and has put forth Gujarat as a model state in the country,” BJP leader Rajnath Singh said here.
In an interview to Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, Modi had said, “...why should I apologise. If my government had done this, I should be hanged in public in such a way that it remains a lesson for the next 100 years so that nobody dares repeat it.”
In Gujarat, Catholic human rights activist and director of NGO Prashant (tranquility) Father Cedric Prakash said the interview was aimed at deflecting the attention of the people from Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 riots.
Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat’s chairman Dr Shakeel Ahmed also dismissed the contents of the interview as “absurd”.