Ahmedabad: At least 25 persons, including activist Mallika Sarabhai, were detained as 2002 Gujarat riot victims were on Sunday barred from protesting against Chief Minister Narendra Modi's fast for communal harmony.

READ MORE: BJP leaders pour in to support Modi’s fast

Post Godhra riot victims of Naroda Patiya area, Mukul Sinha of NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) and Sarabhai were among 25 people detained when they tried to protest against Modi's Sadbhavana fast in Naroda area, police said.

Naroda Patiya, about 8 kms from the fast site at Gujarat University Convention hall, had witnessed the worst ever riots incident in 2002, when more than 90 people were killed.

"Police tried to prohibit riot victims meeting at Naroda Patiya by denying permission today," JSM convener Sinha told reporters before being detained by the police.

He said that JSM and riot victims of Naroda Patiya would go ahead with their protest despite not getting permission from police.

Police have cordoned off the Naroda Patiya area to stop the riot victims from attending the meeting, Sinha claimed, adding, "The real face of Modi's Sadbhavana is now exposed."

A large number of people, meanwhile gathered at the venue of Modi's fast for peace, unity and harmony under 'Sadhbhavna Mission'.

At one point of time, police resorted to baton-charge to control the large crowds which tried to enter the Gujarat University Convention hall here.

The large turnout prompted BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain, who was among the several BJP leaders who descended at the venue, to say that Muslims in Gujarat have accepted Modi's governance.

While BJP leaders exulted, the riot victims in an open letter to the Chief Minister on Sunday said that, "No amount of power or arrogance gave Midas his glass of water nor will you
get your 'sadbhavana' with all your developmental publicity."

"If you were so great a Chief Minister as you claim today, why couldn't you protect these innocent, helpless Muslims? In fact, why did you fail to protect the innocent 58 passengers of Sabarmati Express who also died in the terrible fire on 27th February, 2002?," they asked and dismissed the fast as a publicity stunt.

Hussain, however, said Muslims in Gujarat are progressing with the rest of the state and they have shown their acceptance of the government by coming out in huge numbers to
support Modi's three-day fast.

"The perception of BJP and Modi being (anti-minority) is not correct. The fact is that Muslims in Gujarat are progressing. People have come here; spoke about their view and
acceptance of the government. People of minority community in large numbers at the fast in not a fabrication," Hussain told reporters on sidelines of the fast here.

"If Gujarat has initiated talk on brotherhood and harmony, why are others getting agitated. I am surprised," he said.

The counter fast of Gujarat Congress leaders Shankersinh Vaghela and Arjun Modhvadia against Chief Minister Narendra Modi's 'Sadbhavana Mission' also entered the second day on
Sunday.

Crores wasted in Modi's ‘drama': Congress

Stepping up its attack on Narendra Modi, Congress said the "sham and drama" have resulted in wastage of over Rs 100 crores and also spoiled the 'sadhbhavana' within
the NDA.

"Modi's current sham and drama have led to wastage of money to the tune of Rs 100 crores of the hardworking Gujaratis. Moreover, it has also spoiled the internal bonhomie within BJP and sadbhavana within NDA," AICC General Secretary in-charge for Gujarat Mohan Prakash said.

Referring to statement of Sharad Yadav on the issue, which gave the impression that JD (U) was distancing itself from Modi's fast, Prakash said, "Yadav is not only the president of JD(U) but also the NDA convenor. If convenor of NDA is giving such a statement, it means the alliance has begun cracking up."

"This very act of Modi has not only disturbed a chemistry within BJP but also within NDA," he said. On Saturday, Yadav had dismissed the publicity surrounding the fast.

"Seventy to eighty per cent of people make a living at Rs 20 a day. 80 per cent people fast daily. The majority of people of the country fast regularly whether they do it for half day or full day. Nobody talks about them but fasts by individuals are discussed," Yadav had said.

Describing Modi's fast as "diversionary tactic", Prakash said Gujarat Chief Minister was resorting to this action to deflect attention from the CAG report which has pointed out
irregularities of more than Rs 26,000 crore and the issue of Lokayukta in the state which has "tied BJP in knots".

"Modi's words have lost credibility and hence whatever his speech makes no sense. People of Gujarat don't trust his words and have realized his true face. That is why the expected crowd is not there despite all arrangements including air condition comfort," he said.

He, however, said the people on the contrary are gathering in large number outside Sabarmati Ashram and participating in the Congress programme.

AIADMK flayed for supporting Modi fast

The CPI (M) on Sunday criticized the AIADMK's decision to send representatives to Ahmedabad where Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi began a three-day fast for peace, unity and harmony.

"We disagree with the AIADMK's decision to send emissaries there. We think it is a wrong decision," CPI (M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury told reporters when asked about its Tamil Nadu election ally Jayalalithaa's decision to send party leaders M Thambidurai and V Maitreyan to Modi's fast venue on Saturday.

Criticising the Gujarat Chief Minister's fast for communal harmony, Yechury said, "In the recent political history of our country, we have not seen an enactment of such an irony" as Modi, he alleged, was the "person who presided over the worst communal genocide in the country that happened in Gujarat in 2002."There cannot be anything that is more ironical."

The CPI (M) leader said the BJP leader's fast is "an effort to distract public attention and to misinterpret the Supreme Court directive" in the Gulbarga Society case.

"The Supreme Court direction actually goes a step forward of what has been asked by the victims. The victims have been asking for filing of an FIR against Modi. The Supreme Court has ordered the trial court to proceed on a trial on the basis of a report filed by the amicus curie. So it has gone much beyond the stage of an FIR. And the trial has to proceed now," Yechury said.

He also alleged that Modi is sitting on fast to emerge as Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP which is facing "severe inner struggle" on the issue. "At present, everybody knows, the country knows there is a very severe inner struggle within the BJP as to who will be its Prime Ministerial candidate.... You have Advani's Rathyatra, you have this fast by Modi," Yechury said and added that various other leaders including BJP president Nitin Gadkari are trying "to be fit" for the Prime Ministerial post.

Yechury also criticised Modi for spending money for staging the fast saying that "all full page colour advertisements given on national media and amount being spent on electronic media" should have been utilised for the welfare of minorities in the state.

Modi's fast as 'tamasha': NCP

Meanwhile, NCP on Sunday said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's fast for peace and harmony as a 'tamasha' (farce).

"Modi has made a mockery of fast by converting it into a tamasha," NCP national general secretary Tariq Anwar told reporters here adding the people would never forget the 2002 riots nor forgive Modi.

Anwar also attacked JD(U) for 'washing its hands off Modi's fast' by merely saying that it has nothing to do with the event.

"People will not buy the JD(U) argument as the party is a part of the NDA," he said adding JD(U) and BJP have always come to each other's support over the years.

Anwar charged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with adopting double standards in his relationship with Modi and did not hesitate in sharing dias with the BJP leader but distanced himself when it came to protecting his secular image and minorities' votes in the state.

The NCP leader also claimed that Sangh Parivar had spread its influence in Bihar during the NDA rule and Kumar could not deny his role in it.

JPN/Agencies