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I felt helpless during riots: Narayanan

NEW DELHI AUG. 13. In his first public comment on the Gujarat riots after demitting office, the former President, K.R. Narayanan, today said he had often felt ``helpless'' when he was unable to do anything in the aftermath of communal violence in that State.

Acknowledging that the riots had made him feel ``sad, agonised and ashamed,'' he told Star TV that Gujarat was a major example of ``helplessness'' for him in his public life.

``As a President, I have often felt helpless, when so many delegations come to me and tell their woes and I can't do anything about it. Gujarat was a major example of helplessness,'' he said.

Mr. Narayanan said something like Gujarat and the related communal issues had troubled him the most because it had larger implications. ``It affects the future of the nation, the unity of the nation and I was most affected by events like that,'' he said.

In an apparent attack against the protagonists of Hindutva, the former President said the country was in need of an ``Inditva'' ideology.

Asked whether he was speaking against Hindutva, he said anybody who has a ``guilty conscience'' would feel it was intended for him. ``I was directing against communalism.''ss

Mr. Narayanan also saw nothing wrong in his successor, Abdul Kalam's Gujarat visit, saying the Head of State has a role to protect society when it is in danger. ``To protect our society, when it is in danger, the President has a role to play.''

PTI

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