Anti-Corruption

Pained Anna: Modi’s Gujarat Better Minus 2002 Riots

BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter

Ahmeadabad: ‘Pained’ at repeated explanations of praising Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘developmental work’, anti corruption crusader Anna Hazare today sought to clear all air. Hazare said that he is “opposed to any form of communal disharmony.”

In a press conference in New Delhi after he broke his fast on the issue of Jan Lok Pal bill, the Magsaysay award anti-graft campaigner had praised the “developmental works done by Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar in rural areas.” He today clarified that he had simultaneously and “equally opposed to any form of communal disharmony.”  He further added, “I am completely opposed to any kind of communalism or discrimination on religious or caste lines… (and) at the same time I had condemned 2002 riots and communalism.”

Anna Hazare at jantar Mantar during his fast (Courtesy: AP)

Maillika Sarabhai, the danseuse and social activist from Gujarat, who supported his tirade against corruption, had written an open letter criticising his praise for Modi. She wrote, “We are deeply shocked by your endorsement of Narendra Modi’s rural development.” She had further added, “Your endorsement is apalling and we will be forced to distance ourselves from the Lokpal movement unless it is irrevocably retracted.”

The Gandhian today wrote a letter to her from his native village Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, “Let me at the outset say that I am totally apolitical and strongly against communalism.”

Hazare further wrote: “I am pained that I have to explain myself on Mr Modi. I was asked about Gujarat and Bihar Chief Ministers’ development work in the press conference held in Delhi, and based on media reports I said Bihar and Gujarat have done good work in rural development.”

He also added, “I have focused on rooting out corruption in life. This is a long struggle and I trust people like you (Sarabhai) who have fought for people’s right will understand the spirit of the movement.”

When the issue had flared up after his media interaction, Hazare had issued a statement on Sunday: “I strongly condemn and oppose any kind of communal violence. People from all faiths and religions are founders, supporters and participants in this movement. This includes, Arch Bishop of Delhi, Mufti Shamoon Qasmi and others.”

While the anti-corruption activist has not retracted his statement, he clarified again: “I am with no party, I stand for no party. I am totally apolitical and focus on rooting out corruption in my life.”

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