Teesta writes to EC on Modi's speech on Sohrabudin

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Ahmedabad, Dec 5 (UNI) Rights activist Teesta Setalvad today urged the Election Commission to take action against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for using a ''blatantly communal angle'' to seek votes for the forthcoming Assembly polls, by referring to the Sohrabuddin encounter case.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswamy, Ms Setalvad, of the Citizen's Peace and Justice, said Mr Modi in his speech at a rally in Mangrol in Surat district had clearly justfied the killing of Sohrabuddin in an encounter.

''We believe that this is an open exhortation to violence, an illegal act by a person seeking re-election to a powerful and responsible position in the state,'' she said.

Stating that it reflects an unhealthy attitude in a leading politician in a polity, Ms Setalvad said Mr Modi's statement amounts to ''blatant misuse of religion for political ends and is violative of the Election Code of Conduct.'' She said the Chief Minister has adopted a crude stance which is ''contrary to what the state of Gujarat has stated in an affidavit admitting the illegality of the killing of Sohrabuddin (the rape and) killing of his wife, Kauserbi..., in the Supreme Court indicating that Mr Modi is resorting to both desperate and unhealthy measures to garner votes.'' She said it also meant that either the state of Gujarat was misleading the apex court, or the Chief minister was ''so far veering from the truth to make cheap electoral forays''.

''Can the CM of a state justify illegal murder, lawlessness and extrajudicial killings? Does his speech not just violate the rule of law enshrined in the Indian constitute but criminal law and the election code of conduct?'' she asked the CEC in her letter.

She pointed out that ''Gujarat has had a legacy of severe communal strife and polarisation since 2002 when one of the worst ever post Partition genocidal carnages took place. Even today victims live like refugees in their own land''.

''There have been no attempts by the state to relocate them with dignity. Today's blatantly crude, desperate and communally surcharged speech of Mr Modi is an attempt to bring Gujarat back to the dark abyss of violence and polarisation yet again,'' she said.

''It is also an attempt to win an election by foul means if not fair,'' she said.


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