Nitish Kumar defends himself on Gujarat riots

Patna, April 16 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Tuesday defended himself against allegations by the BJP, which blamed him for the 2002 Gujarat riots, by saying that a railway minister was responsible for the safety of trains, not for law and order.

“I was railway minister then (in 2002) and my responsibility was the safety of trains, not to maintain law and order. It was the state government’s responsibility,” Kumar said here a day after BJP leaders blamed him for the Godhra riots after he targeted Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi without naming him.

Kumar has been repeatedly targeted by his arch rival Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav for not ordering a probe into the burning of a train at Godhra in which over 50 people died.

The incident led to widespread riots in Gujarat in 2002.

“I gave detailed information in parliament (on the burning of the train) after some MPs, including Lalu Prasad, raised the issue,” Kumar said.

Kumar downplayed Lalu Yadav’s question about why he did not quit as railway minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government after the Gujarat riots.

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