Ahmedabad: Just before the Gujarat elections, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) - the sister organisation of the ruling BJP, which is part of the Sangh Parivar - has raised its voice against Chief Minister Narendra Modi government's handling of the 2002 post-Godhra riot cases.
The Gujarat government recently approached the high court to enhance the punishment of 27 riot convicts from life imprisonment to death penalty.
Terming it as an "anti-Hindu" move by the Gujarat government, VHP general secretary Ranchod Bharwad has demanded that the Modi government should withdraw the "barbaric" appeal immediately with a special review petition.
"Hindus were victims, as 58 of them were burnt alive in the train at Godhra. The master conspirator of that massacre has not been punished. Rather than understanding the pain and agony of the families of convicts, it seems that the Gujarat government is bent upon punishing Hindus in the strictest way. This is not the only case where the Gujarat government is seen influencing the judiciary to victimise Hindus," Bharwad said.
Though differences between the VHP and Modi have persisted for quite sometime in Gujarat, this is for the first time that the former has come out in the open on the issue of 2002 riot cases, bringing out the deep divide within the Sangh Parivar in Gujarat.
"This recent appeal by Gujarat government specially demanding death penalty for Hindu convicts of the Ode Case who have already got life imprisonment, is another such perverted anti-Hindu move. VHP will help all Hindus fight cases where they are victimised," Bharwad said.