Raking up yet another controversy on the Godhra carnage issue, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has termed the government's proposal to pay Rs 7 lakh compensation to the victims of the 2002 riots as “malafide”. He demanded similar relief to all riot victims since 1984.
On Monday, Modi used the platform of a religious congregation to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the Bochasan temple in Anand district to lash out at the “double standards” of the Centre. “If the Prime Minister and the Centre are so concerned about the riot victims, why compensate only the post-Godhra riot victims,” he asked. The chief minister wanted an answer as to why similar compensation could not be paid to the victims of the terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple in September 2002.
Sources in Delhi had on Sunday said that the Centre was likely to grant compensation of Rs 7 lakh each to the victims of the post-Godhra riots following the train carnage. The amount — Rs 7 lakh — was decided as a benchmark after a similar amount was decided for the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims.
Modi also demanded that the government release the list of 5,000-odd riot victims who will get compensation. Calling the Centre’s move appeasement policy, Modi reminded his audience that there could not be different yardsticks to measure death.
Modi's outburst against the Centre is being viewed as an attempt to rekindle Hindutva sentiments in the state ahead of next year's assembly elections. Speculation is rife that he may go in for an early poll to cash in on victory tide the BJP rode in the local body and civic elections.
Congress leader Narhari Amin, who was also present at the function, called the chief minister's political speech ill-timed. Addressing the same gathering soon afterwards, Amin said Modi had lost his conscience and thus desecrated the religious function with his political speech.