We have not forgotten Gujarat's 2002 riots: UK High Commissioner

Gujarat Riots

Britain may have ended its decade-long boycott of Gujarat but has not forgotten the 2002 riots during chief minister Narendra Modi's rule and wants to work in tandem with the state government to secure justice for its citizens killed in the carnage, its High Commissioner to Indiac said today.

"We have not forgotten 2002 riots in which many people, including three British nationals, were killed and we would like to work in association with the Gujarat government to give justice to them," Bevan told reporters.

Bevan, who is accompanying a big business delegation from England at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, was responding to a question whether re-establishment of ties with the Narendra Modi government meant they have forgotten the 2002 communal riots.

"During my last meeting with chief minister Narendra Modi, I had taken up the issue of justice to three British nationals who were killed here in 2002," he said.

The UK ended a 10-year boycott of Gujarat in October last year and Bevan is attending the summit aimed at promoting investments and creating an investor-friendly climate.

"We in Britain want a stronger, wider and deeper partnership with India and we cannot have partnership with India unless you have a partnership with Gujarat," Bevan said, adding a "conscious decision" was taken to engage with Gujarat last year.

Maintaining the timing of the re-engagement had nothing to do with state politics, he said "once we had taken the decision (to engage with Gujarat), we thought it better to implement it at the earliest".

He was asked why the decision to end Gujarat's diplomatic isolation was taken right in the middle of the campaign for state assembly elections.

Describing Gujarat and Britain as "natural partners", the British High Commissioner said they would like to engage with Gujarat in sectors like infrastructure, education, renewable energy and health care.

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