JALGAON: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said his statement indicating that a blast had taken place in a Muslim-dominated area too on March 12, 1993 prevented the eruption of fresh communal riot in Mumbai.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had on Thursday raked up Pawar's deliberately incorrect statement of 29 years ago as he accused Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party of indulging in appeasement politics.
"On March 12, 1993, when Mumbai was shaken with 12 bomb blasts, Sharad Pawar ji invented a 13th blast in a Muslim area. Instead of law and order, appeasement was his first priority. Why such double standard when we expect communal harmony?" the BJP leader said in a series of tweets.
Asked by reporters about the allegation at Jalgaon, Pawar said he had then declared that bomb blasts had taken place at 12 places in Mumbai (though in reality blasts had been reported from 11 places), because he wanted to thwart the intention of external forces to create communal tension in the city.
"One allegation that he made is that I had declared bomb explosions took place at 12 places instead of actual 11. He said I mentioned a Muslim area (as the 12th blast location).
"One hundred per cent correct. I did say so. Because the 11 locations where explosions took place were important places of Hindus, like the Siddhvinayak temple," said Pawar, who was then Maharashtra Chief Minister.
"I personally checked the material used in the explosions such material was not produced in India, but in Karachi," the NCP chief added.
"This meant a neighbouring country wanted to pitch Hindus and Muslims against each other and set Mumbai on fire. Local Muslims were not involved...I said the 12th explosion location was Mohammed Ali Road. So communal riots did not take place," Pawar said.
The Justice Srikrishna Commission which probed the incident noted that had he not taken this stand, Mumbai would have burnt, the senior politician further said.
"So, we need not take note of statements made by people who have no understanding, and do not understand seriousness of the issue," Pawar said, hitting back at Fadnavis.
In a series of 14 tweets which coincided with the birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Fadnavis had also accused Pawar of going against Ambedkar's wishes and values.
The NCP supremo on Friday said he was clueless as to why Fadnavis was linking him to casteism.
Pawar pointed out that the NCP's state unit chiefs since it was formed have been leaders from different communities.
"This does not show that the party's policy is limited to one caste. He (Fadnavis) has nothing else to say. Hence, he is making such allegations," Pawar said.