Residents of Jinnah's ancestral village seek apology from Jaswant Singh

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Rajkot (Gujarat), Aug.20 (ANI): Residents of Moti Paneli, an obscure village in Gujarat's Rajkot district, which is the ancestral place of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah have sought apology from Jaswant Singh, the author of "Jinnah-India, Partition, Independence" for denigrating Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Though these villagers take pride in the fact that M.A.Jinnah belonged to their village and also married here, they find it intolerable to see Sardar Patel, who was also a Gujarati and remembered for his role in the unification of India, be denigrated by anyone.

These people have demanded an apology from BJP's ousted leader Jaswant Singh.

"Whatever Jaswant Singh has written is false. The allegations made by him against Sardar Patel are untrue. Sardar Patel was a great man and did some great things for India. Though Jinnah was from our village Paneli and we are proud of it... He grew up here and went to school...but Jaswant should apologise for whatever he has written," said Manubhai Bhalodiya, Sarpanch (head of town council) of Moti Paneli.

Villagers are agitated over BJP's ousted leader Jaswant Singh's reported remarks in his controversial book that put blame on Sardar Patel along with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru for the partition of India.

"I have read all the books on independence, Mahatma Gandhi, etc and I found out that whatever Jaswant Singh has said about Nehru and Sardar Patel that they were the villains during the Partition, is not correct. My analysis says that Muhammad Jinnah was responsible for the Partition from the very start," said B. T. Bhalodiya, a local historian in Moti Paneli.

Some elderly residents in Moti Paneli feel the Jaswant's expulsion from the BJP was a right step and blamed the ousted leader for creating a controversy for publicity.

"I think this is a publicity stunt to increase the sale of his (Jaswant Singh) book and the decision made by Bharatiya Janata Party to expel him is right. The party has taught him a right lesson," said Bharat Bhai Hirani, a school teacher.

Though Moti Paneli village also has members of other communities other than the Patels but when it comes to Sardar the village, they are united for his respect.

As for Jinnah's ancestral abode in Moti Paneli, it was sold over five decades ago and today one Vaishnav family resides here.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expelled its senior leader Jaswant Singh from the party on Wednesday (August 19) since he praised Muhammad Ali Jinnah and denigrated Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, which it found was against the party line.

Sardar Patel played a major role in the country's struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation

As the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel organised relief for refugees in Punjab and Delhi, and led efforts to restore peace across the nation during and after partition of the country. By Suresh Soni (ANI)

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