The BJP claimed that the Modi government had tried to control the riots in 2002 as "190 rioters" were killed in police firing and in contrast, "not a single bullet was fired" to check the "state-sponsored pogrom" in Delhi in 1984. "When Congress has nothing to show they broach the 2002 Gujarat riots. Here also he (Rahul) is factually wrong. Nobody has justified the unfortunate riots in Gujarat. On the other hand, his father Rajiv Gandhi justified 1984 riots against Sikhs by saying that 'when a big tree falls, there are tremors in the earth'. The scientific truth is when there are tremors, the big tree falls," Javadekar said. (JPN/Agencies)
"The remarks are palpably wrong. We condemn these...It is a textbook case of speaking a lie. The people of the country will reply to this," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Prasad was reacting to comments by Gandhi that Modi government was "abetting and pushing" the rioters during the 2002 violence.
"He (Gandhi) needs to take back his remarks. He must publicly express regret for making a palpably wrong statement," the BJP leader said.
Prasad said Gandhi's accusations against Modi, even after the Supreme Court-monitored probe gave a "clean chit" to him and his government, are "unfortunate" and "irresponsible".
Noting that Gandhi virtually considered Congress' prime ministerial candidate, the BJP leader asked, "How can he be so utterly irresponsible in making these kinds of allegations."
RAHUL ‘ILL-INFORMED’ ON GUJARAT RIOTS
Gandhi has not made a "responsible" comment, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, adding the Congress vice-president is "ill-informed" on the Gujarat riots.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that the 1984 "pogrom was state sponsored" and that the then Rajiv Gandhi government did "nothing" to check rioters as Sikhs were being burnt alive.
In Gujarat, he insisted, police took strong action and fired 10,000 rounds of bullets and more than 190 rioters fell to the bullets.
Jaitley said a slogan "Khoon ka Badla Khoon (blood for blood)" started in the afternoon of October 31, 1984 at the AIIMS where Indira Gandhi's body lay and alleged that Congress leaders were seen leading mobs and Sikhs were massacred at thousands of places.
"Nowhere did the police fire a single bullet to disperse mobs. Cases were not investigated. A Commission of Inquiry was constituted which came with a sham report," he said.
Jaitley said that that the Judge heading the Commission was subsequently made Rajya Sabha MP by Congress and "justice evades the victims even now".
In comparison, he said, thousands of people were arrested in Gujarat and the "badly over-powered" police fired at several places killing rioters. Thousands of prosecutions were filed and hundreds of people sentenced, Jaitley added.
MODI GIVEN CLEAN-CHIT BY SIT
"The Chief Minister of Gujarat personally went through several inquiries including the Supreme Court constituted SIT and no evidence was found against him," he said.
"Where did Rahul Gandhi get this idea that in 1984 there was no participation of the State," the BJP leader asked.
Javadekar slammed Gandhi for the "empty" interview that shows "complete void of any ideas" for India and also signifies that Congress has nothing to offer to the country.
RTI DOESN'T OPERATE FOR FIRST FAMILY
"He maintained silence as usual on inflation and corruption. He talks about RTI, but it doesn't operate for the first family of the Congress. Every attempt to get details of foreign travel of SPG-protectees has been foiled by the government," he said.
Attacking Gandhi for his comment that he was against the concept of dynasty, Jaitley said, "You don't expect India to believe you on that.”
Jaitley also questioned Rahul’s silence on the issues of corruption - be it the 2G scam or coal block allocations or allegations against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh or former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad while differentiating between the role of governments during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and in 2002 in Gujarat said, "The simple difference is that in 1984, the government was involved in the massacre of people. In Gujarat it was not."
On Rahul's interview, he said, "It is a command performance of evasion, lies and unfortunately also of rank ignorance.”
Prasad also questioned the "silence" of Rahul Gandhi on corruption and said the loot of public money has happened despite RTI.
"RTI could not prevent the loot of public money.... Why you could not answer this question," he said.
RAHUL AGAINST DYNASTIC RULE
On Gandhi being against dynastic rule, Prasad said, "It seems very ludicrous that the very rationale of your authority is your dynasty and you talk about freeing the nation from dynastic rule."
On his claims that Gandhi wants to change the system and make the process more open, Prasad said it sounds "laughable" as people of the country are entitled to ask as to what he did in the last ten years when his own party has been ruling the country and brought the entire system into serious disrepute.
He said Rahul Gandhi also appears to have forgotten the history of his own family which has ruled the country for almost 90 percent of the time in post-independence India, with Jawahar Lal Nehru ruling for 17 years, Indira Gandhi for 16 years, Rajiv Gandhi for 5 years and effectively led and controlled himself with Sonia Gandhi for 10 years, "in compromising the system and concentration of power".
"In this light his whole emphasis repeatedly on empowerment, decentralization almost looked like reducing it to slogans only," Prasad said.
CONGRESS DEFEAT UNAVOIDABLE
He said Gandhi is aware of certain defeat hence the reluctance to contest as a prime ministerial candidate of his party or even engage with Modi in a debate.
When questioned about alliance with RJD whose leader has been convicted in a corruption case, he curiously replied that it was an alliance with an idea but did not explain.
"You totally forgot that the idea which that party represents is one of rank corruption, utter lawlessness and non-development which Bihar suffered so long,” Prasad said.
Prasad said Gandhi came as a leader "unsure of himself, displayed his inadequacies and also at times ignorance”.
"Yet he was selective, keen to monopolies the claim for Lokpal and RTI legislations and evading the accountability of the ills of his government. Rahul Gandhi rarely raised hope and in his first formal press interview he could not give any indication that he is indeed capable of creating any hope for the country,” he added.
The BJP claimed that the Modi government had tried to control the riots in 2002 as "190 rioters" were killed in police firing and in contrast, "not a single bullet was fired" to check the "state-sponsored pogrom" in Delhi in 1984.
"When Congress has nothing to show they broach the 2002 Gujarat riots. Here also he (Rahul) is factually wrong. Nobody has justified the unfortunate riots in Gujarat. On the other hand, his father Rajiv Gandhi justified 1984 riots against Sikhs by saying that 'when a big tree falls, there are tremors in the earth'. The scientific truth is when there are tremors, the big tree falls," Javadekar said.