Jack Straw, who was Britain’s foreign secretary in 2002 when the Gujarat killings happened, has confirmed that the British high commissioner in India sent a report to the Foreign Office in London which said “Narendra Modi is directly responsible” for the killings in 2002 in Gujarat. “That was the feeling of those on the ground,” he said.
Straw has also said that “the allegation and belief at the time (2002)” was, as the British High Commission report put it, “Narendra Modi met senior police officers on the 27th of February and ordered them not to intervene in the rioting”. Straw has also confirmed that the report he received said the killings in Gujarat “has all the hallmark of ethnic cleansing”. He said he was “very concerned indeed about that”.
In an interview to The Wire, Straw said after receiving the High Commission report, “I did talk to the Vajpayee government and the foreign minister (Jaswant Singh) … I’m certain I did.” However, 21 years later he could not recall their response. Straw added that he was in pretty frequent touch with Singh over the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, which he both then and in the interview condemned.
Straw, who knows India well and spent both his honeymoon and his 40th wedding anniversary in this country, said he is aware of India’s history of communal troubles and was, therefore, “dismayed but not particularly surprised” by the 2002 troubles in Gujarat.