NEW DELHI — A senior Indian police officer has accused Gujarat state chief minister Narendra Modi of complicity in the massacre of Muslims during riots which swept the state in 2002, a report said Friday.
In an affidavit filed in India's Supreme Court the officer, Sanjeev Bhatt, quoted Modi as saying Hindus should be "allowed to vent their anger", the Press Trust of India said, citing unnamed sources.
Modi, a prominent member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party touted as a future prime minister, has long been accused by human rights groups of turning a blind eye to the violence that killed around 2,000 Muslims.
He has always denied any wrongdoing in connection with the riots.
Bhatt said in the affidavit he had attended a meeting called by Modi in February 2002 at the height of the carnage where he asked police officers to be "indifferent" to the brutality, the news agency said.
The riots came after 59 Hindu pilgrims perished in a blaze at a railway station in Gujarat, sparking an anti-Muslim backlash that resulted in some of India's worst religious violence since independence from Britain in 1947.
Hindu mobs rampaged through Muslim neighbourhoods during three days of bloodshed.
Bhatt's affidavit was filed in connection with a special investigation into the riots and is expected to be separately considered by the Supreme Court on April 27.
The Press Trust of India said Bhatt confirmed the filing of the affidavit but declined to disclose its contents.
Responsibility for the train fire has been the subject of fierce dispute between India's Hindu and Muslim communities.
Last month a court handed down 11 death sentences and 20 life terms to Muslims convicted of burning Hindus alive in the blaze.
The trial verdicts were seen as supporting Hindu claims that the fire was a planned attack rather than a result of mob violence.
Muslims have always denied setting the train ablaze.
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