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Home > News > Report

Sohrab remarks: Modi responds to EC notice

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 08, 2007 17:48 IST
Last Updated: December 08, 2007 18:25 IST

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Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] on Saturday replied to the notice issued to him by the Election Commission over his remarks about the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

In his letter to the Commission, Modi said: "I am in receipt of your notice dated December 6, 2007 wherein on the basis of the media reports and a complaint dated December 5, 2007 filed by Teesta Setalvad, I am alleged to have made an open exhortation to violence and misused of religion for political ends.

"The Election Commission has further stated that by linking the name of Sohrabuddin to terrorism in my speech amounts to indulging in activity, which may aggravate existing differences, creating mutual hatred and causing tension between different communities .I deny this charge in its entirety."

The Gujarat chief minister's reply was faxed to Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy.

Asking the Commission to withdraw the notice served to him, Modi denied that he ever justified the extra-judicial killing of Sohrabuddin and alleged that the line, which created furore, was a figment of imagination of the reporter in question.

"The last sentence of the report of the Times of India has generated controversy in the whole nation. Television channels and newspapers have made comments to the effect that I have stated that 'Sohrabuddin got what he deserved,' or that 'it is a confessional statement by me' or that 'Modi has justified a murder.' All other newspaper cuttings, which the Commission has taken into account, are dated December 6, 2007, which do not report my speech delivered on December 4, 2007 but are comments inspired by false imputation in the Times of India. This last sentence is not reflected in the CD as having been used by me," he pointed out in his reply.

He charged the Hindustan Times reporter who had put out an identical report on Decemeber 6 where in Modi was quoted as saying that Sohrabuddin got what he deserved had never been part of the story.

"I have since received the copy of the CD on the evening of December 7, 2007 at 5.45 pm. I find none of the above statements are contained in my speech as recorded in the CD. The EC notice is issued on the basis of unverified and false media reports," he said.

The BJP leader said India is governed by rule of law and he is entitled to freedom of speech. Free and fair elections mean there should be an opportunity to discuss political issues in an open manner.

He wondered how the Commission could have different yardsticks -- one for him and other for Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images] and Digvijay Singh, whose speeches could have attracted punitive action for breach of model code of conduct.

"On December 1, 2007, Sonia visited Gujarat and referred to me by suggesting 'those who are ruling Gujarat are liars, dishonest and merchants of fear and death (Maut-ke-Soudagar). On December 3, 2007, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh visited Gujarat and referred to it as a state, which has unleashed "Hindu terrorism." The newspapers reported these statements extensively. Separate complaints with regard to the violation of the Code of Conduct were sent to the Election Commission by BJP's Gujarat unit. No action has been taken against those responsible for these statements. I am sure the Election Commission would at least now proceed to take action on those reports," he wrote in his reply.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said Modi had been quoted out of context from his speech allegedly justifying the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin. He also said that the Commission should also have sent the notice to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Digvijay Singh for their controversial remarks about Modi and Gujarat.