Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has ruled out an apology for the 2002 Gujarat riots. In an interview to The Wall Street Journal, Modi said the guilty in the riots case did not deserve forgiveness through an apology, but a punishment.
"One only has to ask for forgiveness if one is guilty of a crime. If you think it's such a big crime, why should the culprit be forgiven? Just because Modi is a chief minister, why should he be forgiven? I think Modi should get the biggest punishment possible if he is guilty. And the world should know there isn’t any tolerance for these kind of political leaders," Modi said in the interview.
The demand for Modi's resignation as the Gujarat Chief Minister has grown after BJP MLA Maya Kodnani was convicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case of the 2002 riots.
The Congress did not waste any time in grabbing the opportunity to attack the BJP. Lashing out at the main Opposition party, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that it was "evident" that in the riots, BJP leaders and officials were involved.
"It all happened with Narendra Modi's consent," said Digvijaya. "Kodani or any other person... who would have done it without Chief Minister's permission? Investigative agencies must think of it and see how much is the Chief Minister answerable. The justice should be delivered as soon as possible. It is clear that the minister and others acted under the behest of the Chief Minister because no minister would get involved in mass crime until they have the consent of the chief minister."
Welcoming the verdict, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that he was glad justice had finally been delivered. "These things take time but I am glad that justice has finally been done."
The minister, however, was guarded in his criticism of Modi. "I don't want to mix politics with this... but this raises question on the morality issue that is often raised," he said.
However, his government in Gujarat ruled out his resignation. Gujarat government spokesperson Jai Narayan Vyas said the party will go through the judgement and take appropriate legal advice. "We will read the judgement and take appropriate legal advise, can't link everything to the party," Vyas said.
"Maya Kodnani was not a minister when the incident happened. We are not denying that she is an MLA from the party now. But an MLA is not a state government functionary," Vyas said.