[Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Shiv Sena Chief Udhav Thackeray. File Photo]
Mumbai: Expressing regret over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's criticism of the Dadri lynching and the cancelled Ghulam Ali concert, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday raked up the 2002 Gujarat riots to target Modi.
"If our prime minister has indeed said this, then it is very unfortunate and disappointing. He (Modi) is known all over the world for the Godhra and Ahmedabad (killings of 2002). If it is the same Modi saying this, it is very sad," Raut said here.
The executive editor of "Saamana", the Sena mouthpiece, said: "We respect him because of (the 2002 violence). But if he has made such statements on (former Pakistan foreign minister) K.M. Kasuri and the Ghulam Ali show cancellation (in Mumbai), it is unfortunate."
He said such comments were not expected from Modi, who the world came to see as the biggest defender of Hindutva after the late Bal Thackeray following the Gujarat riots of 2002 when he (Modi) was the chief minister.
In an interview with a Bengali daily, Modi has expressed regrets on the lynching of a Muslim man at Dadri near Delhi after rumours that he ate beef, the cancellation of the Ghulam Ali concert in Maharashtra due to Shiv Sena threats and the Sena attack on BJP's Sudheendra Kulkarni who hosted a book launch of Kasuri, also in Mumbai.
Raut declared that if fighting Pakistan was a crime, the Shiv Sena would continue to commit the crime. Otherwise, India would become another Pakistan.