New Delhi: In Gujarat, campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the assembly polls, Union home minister Amit Shah on Friday, November 25, said perpetrators of violence were “taught a lesson” in 2002 – the year riots in the state saw over a thousand deaths, mostly of Muslims.
The news agency PTI has reported on Shah’s campaign speech at a rally in Mahudha town of Kheda district.
Shah began by alleging that Congress had incited communal and caste riots in Gujarat. The last time Congress had the government in the state was March 1995. The Shankersinh Vaghela government of the BJP splinter group Rashtriya Janata Party, however, had the Congress’s support. By 1998, BJP was in power.
“During the Congress rule in Gujarat, communal riots were rampant. Congress used to incite people of different communities and castes to fight against each other. Through such riots, Congress had strengthened its vote bank and did injustice to a large section of the society,” he said.
Shah has been speaking in rallies in Gujarati. The translation is PTI‘s.
Shah claimed that Gujarat witnessed riots in 2002 because perpetrators became habitual of indulging in violence due to the prolonged support they received from the Congress.
“But after they were taught a lesson in 2002, these elements left that path. They refrained from indulging in violence from 2002 till 2022. BJP has established permanent peace in Gujarat by taking strict action against those who used to indulge in communal violence,” the Union minister said.
Shah did not elaborate on who were “taught a lesson” or how. As mentioned earlier, most of those dead in the riots were Muslims. Unofficial estimates of the total number of those dead are as high as 2,000.
At the time of the Gujarat riots Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat. Along with several BJP and Hindutva leaders, Modi’s role during the riots has been brought under the scanner several times. Many countries, including the US, had earlier denied Modi visas over his alleged role in the massacre.
In June this year, in a judgment that has been called ‘questionable’ by former apex court judges and commentators, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Zakia Jafri, widow of Ehsan Jafri who was among those killed in the riots, against the court-appointed Special Investigation Team’s exoneration of Modi from his share of the responsibility, as chief minister, for the riots.
In October this year, the Gujarat government told the Supreme Court that 11 men convicted for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of 14 of her relatives during the 2002 riots were released after the Union home ministry – headed by Amit Shah – had approved the remission and premature release.