At a lunch meeting suggesting an end to a decade-long boycott, the European Union has told Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that "accountability" for the communal riots that tore his state apart in 2002 is important. The Congress has said it is "ignominious to be reminded by foreigners".
Joao Cravinho, Ambassador of the European Union to India, said yesterday that Mr Modi had accepted a lunch invitation on January 7, and a range of issues, including the Gujarat riots were discussed. Mr Cravinho said the EU stressed on accountability for the riots, the reason they had boycotted Mr Modi for 10 years.
"The accountability of what happened in 2002, I think is the matter that is of interest to Indians and is of interest for people around the world," he said.
Manish Tiwari, who is minister of state for information and broadcasting, tweeted this morning, "EU says accountability for Gujarat Pogram must be fixed. Does buck not stop with their lunch guest? Ignominious to be reminded by foreigners."
Mr Modi is accused by many, within India and outside, of not having done enough to prevent the Gujarat riots in 2002 in which 1200 people were killed while he was in office. Mr Modi has since tried hard to rid his political career of this one stain. In recent years, he has attempted an image makeover to project himself as an ambassador of good governance and a leader with a global vision.
Mr Cravinho said the EU was following Gujarat riots cases closely and observed that Indian justice, while slow, was delivering. He was referring in particular to last year's verdict by a Gujarat court convicting BJP legislator Maya Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi along with 30 others for their role in the Naroda Patiya riots in Ahmedabad.
In October last year, Britain, which is a member of the EU, ended its decade-long boycott of Gujarat when its High Commissioner to India, James Bevan, met Mr Modi to mark what was described as a "cordial beginning to fresh ties, with the two discussing opportunities for greater economic cooperation".BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS