[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
HARDtalk in India: Vishnu Hari Dalmia
The riots in Gujarat killed almost 2000 Muslims.

In a HARDtalk interview on 14 April, Tim Sebastian talks to Vishnu Hari Dalmia, President of the World Hindu Council.


The President of India's leading Hindu nationalist organisation says he praises the killings of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, because he says it showed Hindus taking revenge for Muslim provocation.

Vishnu Hari Dalmia is president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or World Hindu Council.

if the Hindus are not attacked Hindus are not going to attack first
Vishnu Hari Dalmia

In an interview with HARDtalk's Tim Sebastian, he did not reject the comments of VHP leader Ashok Singhal, who in September 2002 said he "praises" the killings of up to two thousand Muslims, in riots that followed the killing of 58 Hindu pilgrims in February 2002.

The Hindus died in a train fire at Godhra in Gujarat.

"We praise Gujarat in the sense that [Hindus] have taken a revenge what has happened at Godhra. See I believe that whosoever starts the violence is to blame and not the person who takes revenge."

Riots

VH Dalmia says the Godhra killings were planned by Muslims, not spontaneous as reported by India's Railway Protection Force in April 2002.

"We only say that the retaliation, what happened in Gujarat was necessary as a result of Godhra incident. If Godhra would not have happened nothing would have happened in Gujarat. And similarly I tell you once again very vehemently that if the Hindus are not attacked Hindus are not going to attack first. They have never done so and they will also not do so in future."

unfortunately all the political parties in India are following a practice of Muslim appeasement under the garb of secularism
Vishnu Hari Dalmia

International human rights organisations say that the riots that followed the Godhra killings were helped and even partly organised by the Gujarat state government.

VH Dalmia claims the riots were spontaneous, and that reports claiming they were organised are media misinformation: "When the tempers run high and when the mobs come out in rage, it is sometimes difficult to control them," he told HARDtalk.

He also says that Muslim groups enjoy special privileges, and are being 'appeased' by India's government.

"The Muslim community wants to dominate over the Hindus here without recognising their legitimate rights and unfortunately all the political parties in India are following a practice of Muslim appeasement under the garb of secularism."

HARDtalk can be seen on BBC World at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 11:30 GMT, 15:30 GMT, 18:30 GMT and 23:30 GMT

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 04:30 and 23:30



PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific