|M.J. Akbar and Sushil Kumar Shinde
New Delhi, May 4: The BJP today hit back at the Congress for blaming Narendra Modi for the violence in the BTAD.
Party spokesperson M.J. Akbar said people in the affected areas are not blaming the BJP but the Congress government in the state for their woes.
“One does get angry considering such lies (of accusing Modi for provoking violence). Just ask the people of Assam,” Akbar told reporters this afternoon.
The ruling Congress has not found a solution to the problems in the area as it reaps votes by following the politics of divide-and-rule, he added. “It is the Congress administration that has failed to maintain peace.”
While Modi was campaigning in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal, “a chief minister” blamed him for the violence in Assam, said Akbar, referring to Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s jibes at Modi after the violence in Assam.
Akbar asked what was wrong if a prime ministerial candidate raised the question of illegal immigrants. Modi had raised the issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants during his rallies in Assam.
On the other hand, Modi has chosen to be silent over the attacks and the death of over 30 people. An active twitterati, Modi’s Twitter handle has maintained a stoic silence over the incidents for the past two days with not a single tweet on the massacre in Assam among his over 20 tweets since Friday.
The party chose to skirt the issue. “He is a politically conscious person and he is giving speeches so what is the need for a tweet?” asked Akbar when told about Modi’s silence.
The Centre in the meantime seems to have held its horses on the alleged political influence behind the violence in BTAD.
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today appealed for calm on the ground. Going a step ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who simply referred to the violence in a statement yesterday, Shinde’s statement today indicated the government’s apprehension about communal tension.
“The leaders of both Bodo and minority communities must see to it that things do not deteriorate,” Shinde said.
He said during the last few days there have been wanton acts of violence leading to 32 deaths, mainly women and children.
“Out of these 32 people, 31 belonged to the minority community,” the home minister said.
Suggesting the involvement of a militant group, Shinde said innocent lives were lost at the hands of cadres of a certain group whose objective seems to be starting a full-fledged communal conflagration.
“It is noteworthy these acts started only after the group started to lose its cadres either by surrender or were eliminated during counter-terrorism operations,” said Shinde, in a line far from involving Modi or even factors involving state politics for the violence.
Reports suggest the attacks came apparently in reprisal after the minority community allegedly did not vote for some Bodo candidates in the Lok Sabha polls.
Shinde said the Centre’s determination to fight the perpetrators was all the more important since these incidents were targeted at the minorities.
“I strongly condemn the acts of this group which targeted women and children,” he said. Additional paramilitary forces will be despatched to the affected area if needed, he added.