On eve of fast, Modi ‘regret’ over 2002 riots

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, being positioned by the BJP for the top slot ahead of the 2014 general election, has for the first time expressed regret over the 2002 communal carnage in the state.

Mr Narendra Modi, who is held responsible by several political parties and large sections of civil society for the horrific riots in the state that followed the Godhra train attack, said in an open latter released Friday evening: “Gujarat became the victim of communal violence. We lost innocent lives, suffered devastation of property and endured a lot of pain. One can visualise what all we have gone through.”
This move by Mr Modi, who plans to begin a three-day hungerstrike termed a “Sadbhavana Mission” on Saturday, is being seen as an attempt to position himself for the national stage and win over the BJP’s NDA allies, who still have reservations about accepting his leadership in 2014.
Mr Modi wrote in the letter addressed to the people of Gujarat: “The pain of each and every citizen is my own pain.”
The chief minister, who has till now sought to evade any responsibility for the communal outbreak which erupted during his rule, went on to say: “Those were very difficult and trying days.
Gujarat has come out of these difficulties and leapfrogged on the path of development.”
Mr Modi added: “Casteism and communalism have never done any good to society.”
He said he was also “grateful to those people who pointed out my genuine mistakes during the last 10 years.”
The CM announced his fast after the Supreme Court recently declined to pass any order on Mr Narendra Modi’s alleged inaction on containing the 2002 riots. Mr Modi said his fast is “totally dedicated to society and the nation” and was aimed at “unity, harmony and brotherhood among all”.

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