Modi's 'puppy' comment rakes controversy

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's comment using a puppy analogy while talking about the 2002 post-Godhra riots raked up a controversy Friday. The BJP - as well as Modi himself - said he has been misinterpreted.

Modi, in an interview to Reuters, was asked if he "regretted" the 2002 riots. Responding to this, Modi said: "Even If I am in the back seat of a car and a puppy comes under the wheels, will it be painful or not? Of course, it is. Whether I'm a chief minister or not, I'm a human being. If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad."

The comment did not sit well with many, with leaders from several political parties slamming him for comparing the riot victims with puppies.

The Congress said the comments were callous and regrettable.

"Giving the analogy of a puppy getting crushed under a car in a very casual manner is very regrettable. It's a very callous way of referring to human life," Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said.

"It is a very sad, humiliating and disturbing statement. He is saying Muslims are worse than even puppies? He should immediately apologise to the people of this nation," said Samajwadi Party's Kamal Farooqui.

Janata Dal-United leader Shivanand Tiwari said the comments showed "he is not an inclusive leader. He is selective".

The BJP, however, came out in his defence and said the comments were misinterpreted.

"It is despicable to say Modi compared a community to dogs. It's absolutely unfortunate and I only wish that much before more comments are made and interpretations are made, people should read the interview and in what context it was made," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

"This is a complete misinterpretation leading to unwanted controversy which doesn't exist. I appeal to all to read the interview fully and understand it before getting your retorts ready," she said.

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