New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday hit back at Rahul Gandhi for his attack on Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying his 'irresponsible' comments were condemnable and he should express regret for these.
The party claimed that the Modi government had tried to control the riots in 2002 as '190 rioters' were killed in police firing and in contrast, 'not a single bullet was fired' to check the 'state-sponsored pogram' in Delhi in 1984.
"The remarks are palpably wrong. We condemn these...It is a textbook case of speaking a lie. The people of the country will reply to this," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here. Prasad was reacting to comments by Gandhi that the Modi government was "abetting and pushing" the rioters during the 2002 violence.
"He (Gandhi) needs to take back his remarks. He must publicly express regret for making a palpably wrong statement," the BJP leader said.
Prasad said Gandhi's accusations against Modi, even after the Supreme Court-monitored probe gave a 'clean chit' to him and his government, are 'unfortunate' and 'irresponsible'.
Noting that Gandhi virtually considered Congress' Prime Ministerial candidate, the BJP leader asked, "How can he be so utterly irresponsible in making these kind of allegations."
Gandhi has not made a 'responsible' comment, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, adding the Congress Vice President is 'ill-informed' on the Gujarat riots.
Attacking Gandhi, BJP Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the 1984 'pogrom was state sponsored' and that the then Rajiv Gandhi government did 'nothing' to check rioters as Sikhs were being burnt alive.
In Gujarat, he insisted, police took strong action and fired 10,000 rounds of bullets and more than 190 rioters fell to the bullets.
"When Congress has nothing to show they broach the 2002 Gujarat riots. Here also he (Rahul) is factually wrong. Nobody has justified the unfortunate riots in Gujarat.
"On the other hand, his father Rajiv Gandhi justified 1984 riots against sikhs by saying that 'when a big tree falls, there are tremors in the earth'. The scientific truth is when there are tremors, the big tree falls," Javadekar said.
Jaitley said a slogan'"Khoon ka Badla Khoon (blood for blood)' started in the afternoon of October 31, 1984 at the AIIMS where Indira Gandhi's body lay and alleged that Congress leaders were seen leading mobs and Sikhs were massacred at thousands of places.
"Nowhere did the police fire a single bullet to disperse mobs. Cases were not investigated. A Commission of Inquiry was constituted which came with a sham report," he said.
The BJP leader said the Judge heading the Commission was subsequently made by Congress a member of the Rajya Sabha and 'justice evades the victims even now'.
In comparison, he said, thousands of people were arrested in Gujarat and the 'badly over-powered' police fired at several places killing rioters. Thousands of prosecutions were filed and hundreds of people sentenced, Jaitley said.
"The Chief Minister of the (Gujarat) state Government personally went through several inquiries including the Supreme Court constituted SIT and no evidence was found against him," he said.
"Where did Rahul Gandhi get this idea that in 1984 there was no participation of the State," the BJP leader asked.
Javadekar slammed Gandhi for the 'empty' interview that shows 'complete void of any ideas' for India and also signifies that Congress has nothing to offer to the country.
"He maintained silence as usual on inflation and corruption. He talks about RTI, but RTI doesn't operate for the first family of the Congress. Every attempt to get details of foreign travel of SPG-protectees has been foiled by the government," he said.
Next: Rahul's remarks on 1984 riots 'full of hypocrisy': Shiromani Akali Dal
Rahul's remarks on 1984 riots 'full of hypocrisy': Shiromani Akali Dal
New Delhi: Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday termed as 'full of hypocrisy' Rahul Gandhi's remarks that the Congress government tried to stop the anti-Sikh riots and accused it of shielding individuals involved in the "carnage" and delaying deployment the army.
"Total hogwash, full of hypocrisy. He says that Narendra Modi was responsible for Gujarat because he was the Chief Minister. Then what about Rahul Gandhi's father who was the Prime Minister when in Delhi the massacre of Sikhs was taking place," SAD leader Naresh Gujral said here.
He said that in Gujarat there were riots but in Delhi "it was carnage of the Sikhs which was done by the Congress party and the government of the day did not call the army out for three days". Gujral said his father former prime minister I K Gujral, General (retd) J S Aurora, Air Marshall Arjan Singh and others went repeatedly to the President and Home Minister.
"Both of them expressed total helplessness because clearly there were orders from the Prime Minister's house not to call the army. Meanwhile, poor Sikhs were getting massacred by the Congressmen," he said.
He said that in Gujarat there was police firing and Hindus as well as Muslims lost lives.
"In Delhi not one shot was fired. So what was he talking about," he asked.
Drawing a contrast with Gujarat riots of 2002, Gujral said that many people including a former Gujarat minister have been jailed for the 2002 riots but those accused of gruesome crimes in 1984 have been protected and even made MPs. He was reacting Gandhi's remarks that Modi government was responsible for "abetting and pushing" the 2002 Gujarat riots while the Congress government tried to stop the 1984 riots.
In Chandigarh, SAD chief and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal issued a statement saying, "The cat is finally out of the bag. After 30 years of denial by his party and family, Rahul has finally spoken what the entire world has always known as the truth that the Congress party and the Union government led by his father late Rajiv Gandhi had presided over the execution of the most beastly massacre of innocents in the streets of the national capital in 1984."
"Rahul Gandhi says that he was a child when the 1984 massacre took place. It is significant that even as a child, he (Rahul) was able to observe the involvement of his partymen in this massacre - so open, unashamed and widespread was the Congress party's involvement," Sukhbir said.
He said he was shocked by Rahul's 'stubborn refusal to apologise to the Sikhs and the nation'.
The Deputy Chief Minister also asked all Punjab Congressmen to resign en masse after Rahul's 'open admission that Congressmen were involved in the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in 1984'.
On Rahul's observation that Narendra Modi was responsible for the Gujarat riots because he was the chief minister of the state when the riots happened, Sukhbir said, "Unlike Modi, the Rajiv Gandhi government and the Congress party have not been given a clean chit by the courts."