AHMEDABAD: All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi has hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah over his "BJP taught perpetrators of violence a lesson in 2002" remark, saying nobody stays in power forever.
Owaisi also accused Shah of being intoxicated with power.
Addressing an election rally in Gujarat on Friday, Shah had said that anti-social elements stopped indulging in violence after they were "taught a lesson" in 2002 and that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) established "permanent peace" in the state. Parts of Gujarat had witnessed large-scale violence in 2002 following the train burning incident at Godhra railway station in February that year.
Owaisi, who was speaking at a rally in Muslim-dominated Juhapura area in Ahmedabad on Friday evening, hours after Shah's remarks, said the lessons that the BJP leader taught was that "rapists of Bilkis Bano will be freed".
"I would like to tell you that the lesson that you taught in 2002 was that you will acquit the rapists of Bilkis Bano; you taught the lesson that you will acquit those who murdered the three-year-old baby of Bilkis Bano in front of her," the AIMIM chief said.
"Along with this lesson, you taught that Ehsan Jafri will be murdered. You taught the lesson of Gulberg Society and Best Bakery," he said, invoking the post-Godhra riots cases in which several Muslims, including Jafri who was then a Congress MP, were killed.
All 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 post-Godhra Bilkis Bano gang-rape case walked out of the Godhra sub-jail on Augusts 15 this year after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. In 2008, a special court in Mumbai had sentenced the 11 accused to life imprisonment on charges of Bilkis Bano's gang-rape and murder of seven of her family members during the communal riots triggered by the torching of a coach of Sabarmati Express by a mob near Godhra station on February 27, 2002.
Owaisi further said that one should not forget that power does not stay with one forever.
"You talk about teaching a lesson, but people in power forget that power never remains with anyone forever...it will not stay with anyone forever, it will be snatched some day. Drunk to power, the home minister talks about teaching a lesson," the Hyderabad MP said.
"What lesson did you teach that brought disrepute to the entire country? Amit Shah, what kind of lesson did you teach that caused riots in Delhi?" he further asked.
He said peace becomes stronger when justice is meted out to those who are wronged.
"During the Congress rule in Gujarat (before 1995), communal riots were rampant. Congress used to incite people of different communities and castes to fight against each other. Through such riots, Congress had strengthened its vote bank and did injustice to a large section of the society," Shah had said in his election rally at Mahuda in Kheda district.
"But after they were taught a lesson in 2002, these elements left that path (of violence). They refrained from indulging in violence from 2002 till 2022. BJP has established permanent peace in Gujarat by taking strict action against those who used to indulge in communal violence," the Union minister had said.