Shadows of Past Violence Cling to a Politician on the Rise
28 Apr 09 | NYT
Narendra Modi, India’s most incendiary politician, is trying to cast himself as the vanguard of India’s modern industrial future. The ghosts of this city’s savage past, though, are refusing to leave his side.
Mr. Modi, 59, is the thrice-elected chief minister of the western state of Gujarat. On his watch, this city witnessed one of the worst episodes of Hindu-Muslim violence in the history of independent India: in the spring of 2002, mostly over three days, 1,180 people were killed across the state. Most were Muslims. Mr. Modi’s administration was accused of doing little to stop the fury and on occasion, abetting it.
On Monday, India’s Supreme Court, in its strongest move yet, ordered a special police team to investigate Mr. Modi’s role in the alleged conspiracy to attack Muslims.
With national elections under way, Mr. Modi is the biggest crowd-puller for India’s main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party. And while party hierarchy means he is not the B.J.P.’s candidate for prime minister this year, he is positioning himself for the top slot in the next race. >>>