Court Seeks Gujarat Clarification

December 13, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: BBC News

India's supreme court has sought clarification from a politician over remarks he made during an election meeting in western Gujarat.

The state's chief minister, Narendra Modi, commented on the 2005 killing of a man by police in Gujarat.

Media reports suggested that Mr Modi had "justified" the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Muslim civilian.

Mr Modi denied the allegation and told election authorities that he had been misquoted by the media.

In March, the Gujarat police admitted - at a hearing of the Supreme Court - that Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Muslim civilian, was killed in a staged gun-battle.

Next month, three top policemen in the state were charged with the murder of Mr Sheikh.

They are alleged to have attempted to cover up the killing by claiming he belonged to an Islamic militant group.

Mr Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government then admitted that the missing wife of Mr Sheikh, Kausar Bi, was also killed and her body was burnt.

Gujarat is in the middle of state elections where Mr Modi's party is contesting the Congress party.