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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK
Top BJP man seeks Gujarat probe
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Mr Bhandari says Narendra Modi was slow to react
A former governor of the Indian state of Gujarat has said the government there had failed to act quickly to control riots three years ago.

Sunder Singh Bhandari told the BBC that the role of the state government, which is run by the Hindu nationalist BJP, should be investigated.

Mr Bhandari is himself a senior leader of the BJP.

Gujarat saw large-scale violence in 2002 in which officials say more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died.

Human rights groups say the death toll was much higher.

The riots were sparked off by an attack on a train in the Gujarati town of Godhra. The train caught fire and 59 Hindu pilgrims on board were killed.

A Muslim mob is alleged to have carried out that attack although no one has been charged as yet.

The Gujarat administration, led by chief minister Narendra Modi, has been accused of doing little to prevent the riots.

Mr Bhandari says that the authorities did not take enough steps to control the violence.
Gujarat riots
The Gujarat riots of 2002 left at least 1,000 people dead
"Narendra Modi should acknowledge that the administration should have reacted faster to the situation," he told the BBC's Hindi service.

Correspondents say Mr Bhandari's comments are likely to embarrass Mr Modi and the BJP.

Muslims targeted

Earlier this week, India for the first time published detailed figures on the number of people killed in the Gujarat riots.

Junior home minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told parliament that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 more people reported missing and another 2,500 injured.

Three years after the riots, no one has been brought to justice over the violence.

Several cases which collapsed after witnesses retracted their evidence have later been reopened.

Human rights groups say the authorities failed to take measures to prevent retribution against Muslims.

Recently, a police officer said the Gujarat government had authorised the killing of Muslims after the riots, a charge the state government denies.


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