Day 2 of Modi's fast: Sarabhai, riot victims detained
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 on the second day of his fast for communal harmony.
Post-Godhra riot victims of Naroda Patiya area, Mukul Sinha of NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch 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 km 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.
"The 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.
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Image: Around 25 people were detained by the police
Police have cordoned off the Naroda Patiya
The 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, the police resorted to baton-charge to control the large crowds, which tried to enter the Gujarat University Convention hall in Ahmedabad.
The large turnout prompted Bharatiya Janata Party 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.
Image: Mallika Sarabhai was among those detained
Riot victims pen open letter to Modi
While BJP leaders exulted, the riot victims in an open letter to the Chief Minister 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, 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.
Image: Modi wears an traditional Indian turban as he gestures to his supporters on second day of his fast
'Perception of Modi being anti-minority is not correct'
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.
"If Gujarat has initiated talk on brotherhood and harmony, why are others getting agitated? I am surprised," he said.
Image: Members of the Muslim community at the fast venue
'Modi's fast an exercise of image makeover'
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.
"This fast by Modi is an exercise of image makeover for him to enter national politics but he is not going to succeed in it," Vaghela said.
The Congress leaders are observing their fast on the footpath in front of Sabarmati Ashram.
"We have taken the common man and party workers along with us in this fast. It is unlike the five-star fast of the Gujarat Chief Minister where several crores of public money has been spent on the arrangements draining the state exchequer," Vaghela said.
"They have spent several crores on the fast using the state machinery to organise it... we are sitting here to expose the black side of BJP government before the people of Gujarat," he said.
The two Congress leaders spent the night on a cot, covered by a mosquito net, placed on the footpath. An air-conditioned van, equipped with modern amenities and a toilet, has also been stationed at the venue.
Image: Gujarat Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela
Modi a national figure: Prakash Javadekar
As BJP leaders flocked to the state to express support for Modi, party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar described the 61-year-old chief minister as a national figure.
"He is a national figure. Let us not forget, he is a successful chief minister. At the same time, he is the demand of people from all over the country," he said.
"I think he is on the national seat..,(He is) dedicated to work on a mission to develop Gujarat, because that is the mandate today.... If he gets a different mandate, he will prove himself then too," he added.
Among the BJP leaders who arrived here to extend support to Modi's fast were Karnataka Chief Minister Sadanand Gowda, senior leader Ananth Kumar, party's Delhi chief Jitendra Gupta, Jammu and Kashmir BJP in-charge Jagdish Mukhi, party's Bihar president CP Thakur, BJP Mahila Morcha president Meenakshi Lekhi, besides Vijay Goel, Ashwin Chaubey, Ajit Khatri and Arun Singh.
Image: BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar