The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Riot tears parivar apart

Ghaziabad/Delhi, March 8: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today termed the Gujarat riots a “blot” on the government’s Shining face, drawing a sharp rebuke from the VHP that it was now a “fashion” to pile blame on the majority community.

“During our government’s rule, the country has been by and large saved from riots. Gujarat was an aberration,” Advani said at a function to mark the 35th raising day of the Central Industrial Security Force in the run-up to the general elections.

“Had Godhra not happened, the subsequent riots would not have taken place.”

Although this is not the first time Advani has made such a statement — but he used “blot” for the first time today — the VHP was quick to jump on him. Firebrand leader Praveen Togadia said: “Blaming Hindus has become a fashion in the country. There is a fashion in India to blame Hindus and hide the names of jihadis who are aggressors.”

Equations between the VHP and Advani had taken a dip last week after it dubbed his Bharat Uday yatra a “political stunt”. Togadia today stoked the embers, saying: “It is unfortunate that roasting 47 Hindus alive in the Godhra station is not a blot for Advaniji.

“The attack on Raghunath temple (in Jammu) and Akshardham and the attacks on the Amarnath pilgrims and Parliament, the temple of democracy, are not taken as dark spots.”

As Togadia spewed fire, Advani contrasted the riots with the “feel-good” factor in the country. But for those “unfortunate developments”, there had been “some improvement in the internal security”, he said.

The country has “seen so much of development recently that there is a feel-good feeling everywhere and India is shining”, he said.

The Muslim Personal Law Board said Advani’s statement was nothing more than “shedding crocodile tears”. Ahmed Ali Kazmi, a member, said: “Had they been serious about taking action against those responsible for the riots, Narendra Modi would have been removed long ago. But he still remains a hero.”

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