Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan on Thursday accused BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of trying to protect the perpetrators of the violence during the 2002 Godhra riots in Gujarat by opposing the Communal Violence Bill.
"The people who Narendra Modi represents, they are the people who will probably be affected because they are the perpetrators of communal violence and will be punished," the minister said in an interview to Times Now news channel here.
"He knows that the perpetrators of 2002 Gujarat riots will be punished and that is why he is opposing it," he said. "Why should he come in between? This law does not target any particular religion," he added.
His reaction came following Modi's tweet opposing the Communal Violence Bill -- the official nomenclature of which is the "Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill".
The objective of the bill is "to prevent and control targeted violence, including mass violence, against Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and religious minorities in any State".
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has also written to the prime minister, urging him to seek wider consultations on the bill.
Khan also rebuffed Modi's assertion that the bill was a violation of the federal structure and said that it was just like any other central government law.
"This law doesn't infringe on the rights of the state. It is a law enacted like any other law, like the CrPc (Criminal Procedure Court), or the IPC (Indian Penal Code)," said Khan.
Condemning the "negative attitude" of the BJP, union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily said the government was "open to dialogue".
"They have a very negative attitude towards the bill. The bill is important as communal harmony is important in our country," said Moily.
The Communal Violence Bill is likely to be taken up in the winter session of the parliament that started Thursday.