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BJP counters Rahul Gandhi’s claims, says 1984 riots were ‘planned genocide’

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Large space where land acquisition is possible: Rahul Gandhi
Large space where land acquisition is possible: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi –  The BJP has dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s declaration that while the 2002 riots in Gujarat were abetted by the state government, the Congress government in Delhi tried its best to check the 1984 riots in Delhi.  Mr Gandhi’s remark was an accusation levelled against Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat who is running for Prime Minister.

Mr Gandhi, tapped to lead the Congress party’s campaign for the national election, sought in a television interview last night to distinguish between what transpired in Gujarat, where hundreds of Muslims were killed, and the communal violence that erupted against Sikhs in Delhi after his grandmother Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards while she was Prime Minister.

“The Gujarat riots were unfortunate but 1984 riots were a genocide. 1984 was a genocide and pre-planned, it was executed by the ruling government,” said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, challenging Mr Gandhi’s version of events. “Rajiv Gandhi justified the genocide,” he added, referring to Mr Gandhi’s father who became the prime minister after Indira Gandhi was assassinated. He was killed by a suicide bomber in 1991.

Though Mr Gandhi, 43, has not been named as the Congress’ choice for Prime Minister, the election is being seen as a direct contest between him and Mr Modi.

“The difference between the 84 riots and the riots in Gujarat was that in 1984, the government was trying to stop the riots… in Gujarat, the opposite was the case. The government in Gujarat was actually abetting and pushing the riots further,” the Congressman said last night.

When asked if he agreed with the Prime Minister, who recently held Mr Modi responsible for “the massacre of innocent citizens,” Mr Gandhi said, “The Gujarat riots took place, people died, Mr. Narendra Modi was in charge of Gujarat at that point,”

A Supreme Court investigation has cleared Mr Modi of charges of complicity in the riots, and a court recently upheld that report.

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