1984 riots not comparable with post-Godhra violence: Amartya Sen
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Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said the Gujarat riots of 2002 are not comparable with the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984, rejecting Infosys chief N R Narayanamurthy's view that the post-Godhra violence should not stand in the way of Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister.
While describing as "absolute shame" the fact that those responsible for the 1984 riots had not been brought to judgement, he sought to differentiate between the 1984 riots and those that occurred in Gujarat under the watch of Chief Minister Modi.
Sen argued that Congress leaders, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, who were fighting elections today, were not the people responsible for the anti-Sikh riots. No one had accused them of that, whereas Modi was the Chief Minister when the riots took place.
Moreover, he said that the anti-Sikh riots were not something that fitted into the Congress philosophy. "There is no philosophy of killing Sikhs in the Congress," he told NDTV in an interview.
On the other hand, he said that treatment of Muslims in Gujarat raised the question as to whether they were treated as second class citizens. "That is a continuing problem," he said, adding Narayanamurthy was a great friend of his but he did not agree with him on this issue.
Asked whether the recent Assembly poll results showed that there was a Modi wave or more of an anti-Congress wave which he was riding, Sen replied, "I would tend to think that there is an anti-Congress wave perhaps in the sense that the party is exhausted.
"Perhaps, in a sense, one of the big things about Modi is that any firm leader has an advantage when the leadership problems in Congress remains unresolved."
Asked if he thought the Congress should formally declare Rahul Gandhi as prime ministerial candidate, Sen said, "They have to have a game strategy. Election is not won by promising to win elections. I don't think what the Congress strategy is at this time in winning the election."
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