In an open letter to Indians, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has claimed that he was not summoned by the Special Investigation Team probing the post-Godhra riots on March 21, as reported by the media. He also states that he will respond to the SIT 'keeping in view the dignity of a body appointed by the Supreme Court'.
This is the full letter.
My beloved countrymen,
I am constrained to write to you with a deep sense of anguish. Since last eight years, canards have been spread against me. For the past one week, if we analyse the allegations leveled against me, then the truth will become evident. Truth cannot be suppressed. It is now my duty to place before you the facts that brings out the importance of understanding what the truth really is.
After the 2002 Godhra incidents, I had categorically said in the Vidhan Sabha and in public that no one is above the Indian Constitution and the law, even if he happens to be the chief minister of a state. These are not mere words. My actions have reflected this statement in its true spirit. I assure you that this will be my stand in the future.
In spite of that, some vested interests, without losing a single opportunity and with malicious pleasure and without bothering to ascertain the truth based on mere whims and fancies, have been tarnishing the good image of Gujarat, my government and me.
Recently, there has been a systematic campaign to defame Gujarat through propagation of false reports titled 'Special Investigation Team (SIT) summons Narendra Modi'; 'Narendra Modi did not appear before SIT' and 'Modi has shown disrespect to Supreme Court and SIT'. Such baseless allegations are being leveled once again against me to defame Gujarat.
I am therefore compelled to place the facts before my countrymen.
As soon as newspapers began reporting that Modi has been summoned by the SIT, the government spokesperson immediately said that Shri Modi is bound by the law of the land and the Indian Constitution. He has always extended his cooperation to every procedure of law. And he is committed to do so in the future.
It is a matter of grave concern and needs investigation as to why and who started spreading lies that 'SIT summons Narendra Modi on March 21, 2010'.
The purveyors of untruth failed even to think that March 21, 2010 happens to be a Sunday and a public holiday.
These purveyors of lies even did not once bother to check whether the key SIT officers, who are appointed by the Supreme Court, were present in Gujarat on March 21, 2010.
SIT had not fixed March 21, 2010 for my appearance. To say that I was summoned on March 21 is completely false. I shall respond to the SIT fully respecting the law and keeping in view the dignity of a body appointed by the Supreme Court.
The date of 21st March 2010 was invented by some vested interest and as a part of their effort to interfere in the due process of law. They wanted to paint me as a person who refused to respond to the SIT. This country has in the last twenty four hours witnessed a campaign of disinformation in which a section of the media became an instrument of the disinformers. I hope this section will now take corrective steps.
My beloved countrymen,
The people of Gujarat and this country have identified those who are defaming Gujarat continuously since 2002. But I want to tell the truth; spreading falsehoods has only one single purpose and that is to instigate people. It is a sinful action which will harm the working of a democratic state. Seen in the backdrop of events in the last 24 hours, it shows that there is a nexus among the vested interests in spreading lies against me, in order to defame me. This machination has come unstuck and the people have seen through this charade.
The government of Gujarat has always honoured and cooperated with the investigative agencies, commissions and Supreme Court looking into Godhra and post-Godhra incidents. And that is why I never thought of giving a public statement on this issue.
Despite unbearable pain, I decided to maintain silence in the belief that the due process of law would take its own course.
But now, as the lies reach a crescendo as never before, I am compelled to bring the facts before the countrymen. I also consider it my humble duty.
I hope the truth is not twisted by the purveyors of untruth to misguide the investigation. And I expect that the media would bring my deep pain and despair to the notice of the people.