Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has only once subjected himself to questioning in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. That was in March 2002 when he faced officials of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT). But what Modi told SIT has been a secret -- till now.
Hindustan Times has accessed the transcript of Modi's deposition before the SIT. He strongly denies allegations that he failed to protect riot victims or encouraged rioters. Read the document.
Selected quotes from Modi's deposition
On allegations that he directed the state police to allow Hindus to "vent their anger" against Muslims for the Godhra train carnage.
Modi's statement: It is a baseless allegation. On the other hand, I had given categorical and clear cut instructions to maintain peace and communal harmony at any cost. A similar appeal had earlier been made to the people at Godhra through media.
# Did he know Ahesan Jafri, a former Congress MP who was burnt to death by rioters in Gulberg Society in a suburb of Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002. Did he take phone calls from Jafri that night?
Modi's statement: I had not known Jafri--I would like to add that no such phone call had been received by me.
# Did his ministers lead mobs and attacked Muslims?
Modi's statement: This is absurd. No such incidents had ever taken place. This is absurd.
# Did he tell a TV channel in March 2002 that the riots against Muslims were a "reaction" against the train carnage and that people of Godhra had "criminal tendencies"?
Modi's statement: Those who have read the history of Gujarat would definitely be aware that communal violence in Gujarat has a very old history. Since long and even before my birth, Gujarat has witnessed series of incidents of such communal violence. As per available history, from 1714 AD to up till now, in Gujarat, thousands of incidents of communal violence have been recorded.
# So far as the Zee TV interview of 1st March 2002 is concerned, today, after a period of eight years, I do not recollect the exact words. But I had always appealed only and only for peace. I had tried to convey to the people to shun violence in straight and simple language.
Modi's statement:: If my words cited in this question are considered in the correct perspective, then it would be evident that there is a very earnest appeal for refraining from any kind of violence. I deny all the allegations leveled against me in this regard. ( Download PDF from here )
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