Cong declines comment on Godhra verdict, blames Modi for riots

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) Congress today declined to commenton the special court''s verdict on Godhra train burning case,saying it is "not aware of the content of the judgement", evenas the party blamed Gujarat CM Narendra Modi for triggeringpost-Godhra communal riots that left over 1,200 people dead.

"We are not aware of the content of the judgment...Firstwe have to study the judgement," Congress spokesperson JayantiNatarajan told reporters outside the Parliament House.

Natarajan said the communal violence that followed thetrain carnage was a "blot on democracy".

"In political sense, whatever the judgement with regardto Godhra incident, the communal violence that erupted inGujarat (post the train carnage) remained a blot ondemocracy...It is a blot on the record of Narendra Modi forwhich he will always have to answer the people of the nation,"she said.

Reacting to BJP''s claim that the judgement vindicated theparty''s stand that the train was set on fire from outside,Natarajan said, "It still does not take away the fact thatModi and his government were single handedly responsible forthe riots that took place post the train carnage."

She said, "We have to remind ourselves that whatever thejudgement says, this is the first court and there are othercourts. I am sure that the litigants affected will have otherrecourse."

31 people were convicted and 63 others, including themain accused Maulvi Umarji, were acquitted by a special courtin Ahmedabad in the February 27, 2002 Godhra train burningincident that left 59 people dead and triggered violence inGujarat, which claimed over 1,200 lives, mainly Muslims.

The sentencing would be pronounced on February 25 afterarguments on the quantum of punishment by the special courtthat accepted the theory of conspiracy behind the burning ofthe coach of Sabarmati Express carrying kar sevaks returningfrom Ayodhya.

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