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Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
did nothing positive on Gujarat:

KR Narayanan, the former President of India         

Indo-Asian News Service 

Thiruvananthapuram, March 1, 2005 21:06 IST
The Gujarat riots were the result of a "conspiracy" between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments in the state and at the Centre, which also led to the Army not being given powers to stem the violence, says former President KR Narayanan. 

In an interview with the Malayalam magazine Manava Samskrithi, Narayanan said he, as President, wrote several letters to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and even spoke to him about the riots. 

"But he did not do anything positive," the former President said about the 2002 sectarian violence in which over 1,000 people were killed. 

Narayanan also dwelt at length on the role of the Army, its move not to shoot at rioters and its inability to curtail the riots that went on for three months. 

Holding the Vajpayee government culpable for the Army's failure in controlling the situation, he said: "I asked the Army to be deployed to suppress the violence. If asked by the state government (led by Narendra Modi) for the Army to be deployed to take control of law and order, the Centre is constitutionally bound and it is the duty of the Centre. 

"The Army was sent, but there was no shooting against those who created the violence. Had that been done, a lot of gruesome incidents that occurred later, could have been prevented." 

The former President went on to add forcefully: "If the Army was given the powers to suppress the violence, the gruesome tragedy in Gujarat could have been more or less eliminated. But the state government did not do it; the Centre also did not do it. It was a conspiracy between the state and the central government that was responsible for the Gujarat violence." 

Narayanan was replying to a question on why he appeared sad and uncomfortable during his last days in office. 

In his interview with Congress legislator and magazine editor PT Thomas, Narayanan accused the BJP of having "hidden agendas" and said it prevented him from contesting for a second term.

"The Left parties had approached me to contest for a second term. When I asked them where was the support to ensure that I would win, they were mum. 

"The BJP government had several hidden agendas and education was one area where they tried to put forward their ideology. I intervened when they came up with some names for the post of vice-chancellors, which created bad blood with my relations with Murali Manohar Joshi and a few others." 

He said the intervention was purely democratic and according to the Constitution. "Above all, my interests were only in line with secular interests." ................. 

Narayanan, who was President from 1997 to 2002,.........

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Copyright Balbir Singh Sooch, Chief and Spokesperson, Sikh Vichar Manch, Ludhana, Punjab (India)