BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi greets the crowd at an election rally in Dhanbad on Tuesday.(Bijay/HT Photo)
Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday rejected the view that he had kept silent on the February 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.
"I was not silent; I answered every top journalist in the country from 2002-2007, but noticed there was no exercise to understand truth," Modi told Asian News International, the news agency.
He said he believed unknown entities gave rise to a number of conspiracies that allegedly linked him to the tragedy.
"I have said what I had to say. Now, I am in the people's court, and I am waiting to hear from them, and their verdict," Modi said when prodded further on his role in the 2002 riots.
According to official figures, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, about 2,500 people injured and 223 reported as missing.
The BJP leader maintained he was committed to democracy and "if the media had not worked to malign Modi, then who would have known about Modi today?"
Responding to a question on AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal's comment that editors of newspapers would flee if he (Modi) became the next prime minister, the BJP leader replied: "For 14 years, we (the BJP) has run the government in Gujarat. I ask you, has any editor left or, has any reporter left?"
In 2012, Modi was cleared of complicity in the 2002 violence by a Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court of India.
In April this year, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over the SIT's investigations in nine cases related to the violence, and rejected as "baseless" a plea contesting the SIT report.
In December last year, after a Gujarat court upheld the clean chit given to Modi in Gulbarg Society killing case, the BJP PM nominee had blogged at how he was "shaken to the core" by the riots.
"As if all the suffering was not enough, I was also accused of the death and misery of my own loved ones, my Gujarati brothers and sisters. Can you imagine the inner turmoil and shock of being blamed for the very events that have shattered you!" he wrote in the post.