Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Indian riot police fire water cannon outside Modi venue

Indian riot police have fired a water cannon at hundreds of students who were protesting at an appearance by hardline nationalist politician Narendra Modi.

NEW DELHI // Indian riot police fired a water cannon yesterday at hundreds of students who were protesting at an appearance by hardline nationalist politician Narendra Modi outside a college in New Delhi.

Mr Modi, tipped to be the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) candidate for prime minister in elections next year, was speaking at the Sri Ram College of Commerce.

The high-profile visit to the capital was intended to stress his leadership credentials.

But the address was overshadowed by the scenes outside where large numbers of students had gathered, chanting slogans and carrying banners such as "Killer Modi Go Back".

Police barricaded the entire venue as they tried to push the protesters back from the gates of the college.

Mr Modi, who is chief minister of Gujarat, is a hugely controversial figure. He was in power when the western state was rocked in 2002 by some of India's worst religious riots since independence in 1947.

Some 2,000 people were killed in clashes between Hindus and Muslims, most of them Muslims.

One of Mr Modi's former ministers was jailed for life for instigating the killing, but all investigations have cleared Mr Modi of personal responsibility.

"We don't want his bloodstained hands to touch our university," said Divya Mehra, a politics student who was among the protesters.

Earlier Mr Modi had held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after which he refused to be drawn on speculation that he wants to stand as the BJP candidate in elections due in spring 2014.

But in his speech at the college, he did little to dampen expectations that he wants to run for national office as he trumpeted his state's strong economic performance over the last decade as a blueprint for growth.

"Gujarat's development is being discussed worldwide. Gujarat's development is because of good governance," Mr Modi said in the speech, according to the Hindustan Times.

"My Gujarat experience tells me we can achieve a lot with the people and systems we have."

In a poll published last month, 36 per cent of voters surveyed said Mr Modi would make the best prime minister - well ahead of his likely election rival Rahul Gandhi of the ruling Congress party who had just 22 per cent.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National