Ahmedabad, Aug. 5: Chief minister Narendra Modi has written a strongly-worded letter to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to draw his attention to what he calls a “concerted attempt” to smear Gujarat’s image.
Modi said “some vested interests”, in league with external forces, want to “destabilise the democratic institutions by exaggerating and raising some stray incidents that have taken place in the state”.
He said these forces were raising these issues at international fora to “tarnish the image of peace-loving and progressive Gujarat”.
The letter has apparently been prompted by the action of non-government organisations and human rights groups which questioned the Best Bakery judgment in which a trial court acquitted all those accused of burning alive 14 people because of lack of evidence.
The National Human Rights Commission has since petitioned the Supreme Court to set aside the verdict and transfer some key riot cases outside the state after the main witness said she had been forced to lie in court which led to the acquittals.
Modi said these groups, by questioning the verdict, have cast aspersions on the judicial system in the state and were thus weakening the collective strength of democratic institutions in Gujarat.
The chief minister said group clashes occur all the time in all parts of the country and Gujarat was no exception. Then why was his state being singled out, he asked.
Modi urged the President to ask for details of such clashes since Independence. The fact on record, he argued, would unravel the truth, exposing the vested interests that are targeting Gujarat.
The compilation, he suggested, should include registered cases of terrorism and extremist attacks, group clashes and communal violence and also mention in how many of these cases have chargesheets been filed and the acquittal rate.
Modi underlined that Gujarat has made significant contribution to the nation’s economy. He pointed out that while the Planning Commission had fixed an 8 per cent growth rate for the country, for Gujarat it envisaged a 10.2 per cent growth rate.
This, he claimed, was a clear indication of the nation’s confidence in Gujarat and the state’s potential.
Unfortunately, he added, vested interested were obstructing the state’s development in the name of exposing stray incidents with the help of a section of the media and some external forces.
Without naming the rights commission, he said what was disturbing was that these groups did not bother to wait for the report of the judicial commission appointed to probe the Godhra train carnage and the subsequent communal flare-up.