Godhra, Jan 20: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday undertook a one-day "Sadbhavana" fast at Godhra, the scene of the train burning in 2002 and the first spark of the riots that took a heavy toll of the minority community later and had discredited his government that is otherwise praised as most pro-development in India.
While Modi started his fast surrounded by colleagues and watching cultural shows, activist Shabnam Hashmi and five others weren arrested on the outskirts of Godhra. They were planning to hold a counter-function against Modi.
"What is it that they are afraid of?" Shabnam Hashmi asked. Media reports said Congress leader Shankarsingh Vaghela will also sit on a counter fast to protest Modi's in Godhra.
Godhra is the 26th place where Modi halted and began a fast as part of his statewide tour to spread the mission of peace and harmony, though the move has been slammed by his critics and opposition as a political gimmick. The states goes to assembly polls next year.
"Sadbhavana Mission spreads the message of love, faith, peace and unity among human beings. Godhra, the town where two communities Hindu and Muslims live peacefully since a decade, is the place of a Friday Sadbhavana – the holy day of the week for the muslim community," Modi said in a statement on his website. He said communal violence are the days of the past in Gujarat. "It’s the time to introspect the current scenario where Sadbhavana – the emotion that binds communities and people of Gujarat together, to walk hand in hand, for the progress of Gujarat. "Ultimately, development of Gujarat is the development for the people of the nation. Sadbhavana is an emotion to shrug off black seeds of hate, anger, bickerings and scatter sunshine into the lives of people with ‘Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas. Good governance with positive vibrations is a step for enhancing amity between communities and people," he said.
Earlier in September,pPitching himself for a national role, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi fasted for three days for communal harmony. He had broken his fast taking lemon juice from clerics of three major religious faiths-Hindu, Muslim and Christian.