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Published in the 16-28 Feb 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Gujarat riots handiwork of Modi 

The Milli Gazette Online

Ahmadabad: Vithal Pandya, the octogenarian father of slain Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya who was killed a few months before the assembly elections in Gujarat in 2002, while deposing before the Nanavati and K.G. Shah Commission on February 3 said that his son who was home and revenu minister in Modi cabinet during riots, had told him that Narendra Modi had masterminded the Godhra train fire incident and the subsequent riots. He added that Modi government manipulated riots for political gains. He told the commission that his son had talked to him on February, 27-28, 2002 and told him these things. Haren Pandya had also told him that Hindus considered Modi as their messiah.

He said that his son had told him that Modi called a meeting in the evening on 27 February 2002 at Lunawada in Panchmahal district and nearly 55 hardcore BJP functionaries attended the meeting. When the riots broke out, he instructed the police and other authorities that justice should be done to those who were burnt to death in Godhra train fire and that the rioters be allowed for taking revenge. He ordered them to go slow in controlling the riots and and have a soft corner for the karsevaks and rioters. After the meeting he sent the participants to diffierent places in the state as per the planning to instigate riots. 

Speaking about his slain son, Vithal Pandya said that he was a man of moderate views. He was of the opinion that Godhra like incidents should be allowed but the hawks in the party did not agree with him and he was asked to keep quiet. He added that some BJP leaders agreed with Haren, but the hawks in the party prevailed upon them. The Commission has asked Vithal Pandya to appear before it on February 23 to complete his deposition.

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