[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
India leader quizzed over riots
Gujarat chief minister questioned over 2002 riots that left 2,000 people dead.
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2010 09:05 GMT
At least 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, died
in the riots in Gujarat in 2002

The chief minister of India's Gujarat state, who is a senior member of the Hindu- nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has appeared before a panel investigating the 2002 riots that left 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.

It was the first time that Narendra Modi, long accused by human rights groups of turning a blind eye to the pogrom, has been questioned by investigators to establish if he had a role in the riots.

Modi, dressed in a loose white shirt and white trousers, briefly greeted reporters on Saturday before entering the office of India's supreme court-appointed special investigation team in Gandhinagar, Gujarat's administrative capital.  

"I shall respond to it, fully reflecting the law and keeping in view the dignity of a body appointed by the supreme court," Modi said while entering the office.

Supreme court order

The summons follows a supreme court order last year to probe a complaint filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of Ehsan Jafri, a member of parliament, who was killed in the riots on February 28, 2002.

Reports say Jafri, a former member of parliament from the Congress party, was hacked to death and burnt by Hindu extremists who stormed the Gulbarg Society, a residential complex housing Muslim families in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's largest city.

Previous investigations into the riots commissioned by the Gujarat government have absolved the state police and government of collusion or intentionally failing to stop the riots.

However, last March, Maya Kodnani, Gujarat's women and child welfare minister, was arrested on charges of leading a mob that killed more than 100 people during the riots, making her the highest-ranking state official to be detained.

The violence broke out after 59 Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive after train compartments in which they were travelling were torched. A Muslim group was blamed for the incident, but an inquiry later said the fire was accidental.

Modi is a prominent member of the BJP and has been touted as a future prime minister.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.
Taipei has sided with Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters as relations with Beijing continue downward spiral.