Ahead of the 2022 Gujarat Assembly polls, the Ashok Parmar, who had once become the face of rioters after the 2002 Godhra riots has said that the violence has only benefitted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Parmar said that the 2002 riots did not benefit Hindus nor did it benefit Muslims. He alleged that following the riots, Modi's name flashed all over and he used it to his benefit and eventually became India's PM.
"Narendra Modi's 10-year tenure [as Gujarat's Chief Minister] was that of Hindutva. He got promoted after that and became a Prime Minister. Neither Hindus nor Muslims benefitted; only Modi did," he said adding that the 2002 riots incident was being widely discussed in India and globally.
"People raised questions on Chief Minister of the state and wondered who he was; Narendra Modi's name cropped up in the conversation. Only RSS, BJP-affiliated public knew him. His image was created after 2002 Godhra riots as a Hindu leader and he used it to his advantage," he told local media outlets.
Parmar slams Gujarat Model, his photo from riots
Parmar speaking further said that the Gujarat model does not benefit the Dalits, poor and Muslims living in the state; it does not value them, he said.
Addressing the talk around his viral photo--in which Parmar is seen holding an iron rod in one hand, roaring with a saffron headband with vandalised city in the background--he said that he had posed for the photo for humanitarian concern and has never been affiliated to BJP or RSS. He added that he faced ramifications of the photo for 10 years.
"I was no supporter of BJP or RSS at the time my photo was clicked. My photo was popularised as the face of Hindu community. They did not like that a boy from Dalit community became face of their ideology," he said adding that they [BJP-RSS] still don't see Dalit persons as a part of Hindu community.