Gujarat: 2002 riots

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No govt role in 2002 riots: Godhra panel

The inquiry commission, 2002-19

The inquiry commission, 2002-19
From: Dec 12, 2019 Times of India
The inquiry commission’s observations on key cases: I
From: Dec 12, 2019: The Times of India
The inquiry commission’s observations on key cases: II
From: Dec 12, 2019: The Times of India

See graphics:

The inquiry commission, 2002-19

The inquiry commission’s observations on key cases: I

The inquiry commission’s observations on key cases: II

The inquiry commission in its final report tried to clear the air around the then chief minister Narendra Modi’s role during the 2002 riots.

Before the inquiry commission, various organizations accused Modi of inciting violence after the Godhra carnage as well as of neutralizing the state agencies. The commission refused to believe the charges and termed them efforts to “malign” his image.

The commission was told that Modi had on February 28, 2002, dubbed the Godhra carnage ‘a preplanned terrorist attack by one community against the other”. This comment, it was alleged, resulted in deep animosity between the communities.

The panel found this allegation to be without evidence. The commission said that the chief minister had actually made a statement terming the incident a “preplanned inhuman collective violent act of terrorism”.

The commission cited a press note issued by the government on February 27, in which the chief minister was quoted as saying, “This dastardly act was not a sort of communal violence but was a pre-planned cold blooded heinous act.”

The probe panel discussed the reports of the Citizens Tribunal and Editors Guild, in which there was a charge made against Modi, on basis of witness testimonies, that he had tried to justify the riots. To this, the commission said, “The allegation against the chief minister that he had tried to justify the post-Godhra violence against Muslims is really not true.”

The commission tried to douse another controversy surrounding former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who reportedly made frantic calls to Modi as the Gulbarg Society was surrounded by the rioters. The commission discarded a witness testimony that

Modi had given the cold shoulder to Jafri. The commission also cited Modi’s reply: “I did not receive any telephone call from Shri Ehsan Jafri, ex-member of Parliament either on February 2, 2002, at 1pm or any other time.”

Commission Submits Final Report To Guj

Nov 12, 2014: The Times of India

More than 12 years and 25 extensions later, the Nanavati commission on Tuesday submitted its final report on the post-Godhra riots, including 4,160 cases of violence between February 27 and May 31, 2002, to the Gujarat government.

“The commission has concluded there was no direct involvement of the state government in cases of rioting, but it felt there was a scope for improvement in the police department to control the violence,“ a source close to the panel said. The panel comprises retired Supreme Court Justice GT Nanavati and retired high court Justice Akshay Mehta. They handed over the report, running into more than 2,000 pages, to Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel. “It's up to the state government to make it public,“ said Justice Nanavati, who refused to comment on the contents of the report.

About the delay in completing the inquiry , he said, “We would have submitted the report earlier. There was a delay of more than two years because the SIT refused to share investigation papers with us. Also, because of (IPS officer) Sanjiv Bhatt, who frequently moved the HC.“ The panel had submitted its first report on the burning of the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express in Godhra in September 2008, where it said the attack, in which 59 people had died, was a planned conspiracy . For inquiry into the postGodhra riots, the commission went through 46,464 affidavits submitted by riot victims. It also examined 4,000 witnesses, including former home minister Gordhan Zadafia and IPS officers Bhatt, PC Pande, RB Sreekumar and Rahul Sharma.

Despite ample scope for examining ministers and then CM Narendra Modi, the panel did not question him, which indicates that there is no indictment of him in this inquiry . Asked about this on Tuesday , the judges said, “No comments, please.“

Nanavati: More cops could've checked riots .Former SC judge Justice G T Nanavati on Tuesday said that he strongly feels that the incidents of rioting in Gujarat in 2002 could be controlled only by strengthening the police force in numbers because, at present, the strength is much below the requirement. When asked about the prolonged rioting in 2002, he said that the police were short of staff as it always has been in order to quell violence.

Riots were not pre-planned

Meghdoot Sharon, Dec 11, 2019: The Times of India

GANDHINAGAR: Communal riots across Gujarat in the aftermath of the Sabarmati Express train burning incident in February 2002 were not part of a pre-planned conspiracy, the Justice G T Nanavati Commission of Inquiry, has concluded.

The report, which was tabled in the Gujarat legislative assembly on Wednesday, gave a clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others, which included government officials and politicians of the ruling BJP.

Part-I of the inquiry commission - which was confined to the Sabarmati Express S-6 coach burning incident on February 27, 2002 – was tabled earlier by the state government. The inquiry commission, in part-I of its report, had said the train burning incident was a pre-planned act of conspiracy.

“In order to ensure an impartial probe into the matter, then CM Narendra Modi had included himself and his government officials in the scope of investigation of the inquiry commission. The report has busted all attempts to defame Narendra Modi globally. All doubts among people about post Godhra communal violence have now been cleared,” minister of state for home Pradipsinh Jadeja said in Gandhinagar.

Jadeja said the report has found no credence in allegations that Modi visited the burnt S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express to destroy evidence or that it was a private visit. “The commission has concluded that the visit was an official one, planned by state government officials,” Jadeja said. He added that the commission has also found that the state government did not give or support any bandh call in the aftermath of the train burning incident.

The commission, in its report, has questioned the credibility of police officers R B Sreekumar, Rahul Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt. It found no substance in averments made by these three officials before the commission. Jadeja said, “The commission has rubbished allegations made by Sanjiv Bhatt, that officials were directed to give mobs a free hand in the aftermath of the the Godhra incident. The inquiry commission has said that the meeting did take place, but no such orders were issued.”

The inquiry commission, in its report, has recommended the state government to equip the police force with latest technology and ensure that no religious leader of organisation be allowed to flare up communal tensions.

Part II of the report, which investigated incidences of communal violence spread across the state in the aftermath of the Sabarmati Express incident, runs into nine volumes and about 2,500 pages. In all, 44,445 affidavits were filed before the commission, of which 488 affidavits were of government officials.

Findings of the Justice G T Nanavati Commission of Inquiry:

• The commission has given clean chit to PM Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat in 2002.

• The commission has observed that there is no involvement of any political leaders or police officers of the state in post-Godhra riots.

• The commission has also given a clean chit to late Haren Pandya, late Ashok Bhatt and former minister Bharat Barot.

• The commission has observed that the post-Godhra riots were not pre-planned conspiracy or orchestrated violence.

• The commission has observed that there is no substance in allegations against state authorities turning a blind eye to the post-Godhra rioting.

• The commission has questioned the credibility of three IPS officers Sanjiv Bhatt, Rahul Sharma and R B Sreekumar.

Clean chit to then CM Modi

Dec 11, 2019: The Times of India

GANDHINAGAR: The Nanavati Commission has given a clean chit to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi-led government in the 2002 riots in the state where over 1,000 people, mostly of the minority community, were killed.

The commission's report was tabled in the Gujarat legislative assembly by minister of state for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja, five years after it was submitted to the then state government.

"There is no evidence to show that these attacks were either inspired or instigated or abated by any minister of the state," the commission said in its report, which runs into over 1,500 pages and is compiled in nine volumes.

It said the police at some places were ineffective in controlling the mob because of their inadequate numbers or because they were not properly armed.

On some communal riot incidents in Ahmedabad city, the commission said, "The police had not shown their competence and eagerness which was necessary."

The commission has recommended inquiry or action against the erring police officers.

Former Supreme Court Justice G T Nanavati (retd) and ex-Gujarat high court Justice Akshay Mehta (retd) had in 2014 submitted their final report on the 2002 riots to the then state chief minister Anandiben Patel.

The commission was appointed in 2002 by the then state chief minister Narendra Modi to probe the riots, that took place after the burning of two coaches of the Sabarmati Express train near Godhra railway station, in which 59 'karsevaks' were killed.

Panel Dismisses 3 IPS Whistleblowers’ Accounts

 Sanjiv Bhatt’s alleged meeting at CM’s residence

Dec 12, 2019 Times Of India

Panel Dismisses 3 IPS Whistleblowers’ Accounts: The Godhra Inquiry Commission has not found any merit and has rejected the claims of three police officers whose charges and submissions had alleged the involvement of the Gujarat government and its machinery in the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Team TOI reports Bhatt lying about CM meeting: Probe report

Dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who had in 2011 filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court implicating the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for alleged involvement in the 2002 communal violence, was lying and made up the story of him attending a meeting at the CM’s residence on February 27. This is the conclusion of the Nanavati Commission. The commission also said that Bhatt used a false document, a fax message, to support his presence at the meeting.

“On consideration of evidence, it clearly appears that Bhatt is not telling the truth with regards to what happened in the meeting held on February 27, 2002, at the CM’s residence. Claims made by him of being present in the meeting appear to be false,” stated the second part of the report of the ‘Commission of Inquiry’ by Justice G T Nanavati and Justice Akshay Mehta.

“...Obviously, his version about what was discussed and what was stated by the CM and others in that meeting is a story now made out by him and deserves to be discarded as false,” the report stated. Bhatt, a 1988-batch IPS officer, who was deputy commissioner, intelligence, in the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) in 2002, had stated on affidavit in the SC that he had attended the February 27 meeting at the CM’s residence in Gandhinagar. He said Modi had instructed Gujarat Police and the state administration to ‘refrain from resorting to strict action and to permit the majority community to vent their anger at the minority community’.

In 2015, Bhatt was dismissed from police service on grounds of ‘unauthorized absence’. He has now been in jail for more than a year, after being given a life sentence in a 1990 Jamnagar custodial death case and being denied bail in a 1996 drug planting case. Significantly, the commission said it found that the copy of a fax message, purportedly signed and sent by Bhatt on February 27, to support his claim of attending the meeting, was actually sent on March 2, 2002, by P P Upadhyay, about an incident at Pandarva in Panchmahal.

The commission relied on statements and affidavits of senior IPS officers, such as the then Gujarat DGP K Chakravarthi, home secretary K Nityanandam, secretary to CM Anil Mukim and even Narendra Modi, to refute Sanjiv Bhatt’s claims of attending the CM meeting. Bhatt had claimed that he reached the CM’s residence for the meeting by accompanying Chakravarthi in his car.

The commission stated there was no reason for Chakravarthi to direct anyone from the IB to accompany him to the meeting of top police officers.

Rahul Sharma’s call details

Dec 12, 2019 Times of India

The Nanavati inquiry commission refused to trust call details supplied by former IPS officer Rahul Sharma, on the grounds that he could not furnish the CDs on which the data was originally stored.

The call details gathered by Sharma had stirred up a hornet’s nest because collusion between rioters and government officials and politicians was alleged after analysis of this data. Sharma, who got the CDs from the private telecom companies in 2002, copied the data on to his personal computer and said he sent the original CDs to crime branch. He provided the data to the commission, but not via the original CDs. The whereabouts of the original CDs are not known.

The commission’s refusal to accept call details as evidence was based on authenticity of the data. In the absence of the original CDs and non-production of the original data which he copied on his computer from the original CDs, the data contained in the CDs produced before the commission cannot be accepted as reliable and correct, held the commission The inquiry commission’s conclusion that Sharma’s CDs were not reliable was also based on the testimony of former state home minister Gordhan Zadaphia, who said that he had not made certain phone calls which the analysis of data from Sharma’s CDs reflected.

 Sreekumar’s claims reaction to dept action

Dec 12, 2019 Times of India

The Nanavati inquiry commission held as false the claim of former IPS office R B Sreekumar that the state machinery had deliberately remained inactive during the 2002 riots because of illegal instructions from the chief minister.

Justice G T Nanavati commission concluded that the then intelligence bureau chief Sreekumar had an axe to grind with the state government as departmental action was initiated against him. “R B Sreekumar in one of his affidavits stated that many illegal instructions were given orally to officials by the chief minister. No such allegation was made by him either in his first affidavit or when he gave evidence before the commission. This allegation is made after some departmental action was initiated against him. From his subsequent affidavits, it is clear that he is a disgruntled officer,” the commission said.

Sreekumar had filed multiple affidavits, running into hundreds of pages, before the commission.

The commission also rubbished Sreekumar’s claims that he used to maintain a semi-official diary, in which he had noted illegal oral instructions given to him. The inquiry report said this creates doubt that the officer prepared the diary at a later stage. “There was no reason for him to keep a register and diary of such illegal instructions,” it reads.

The commission also said that Sreekumar supplied two pieces of false information to the commission – about his knowledge of the trouble being caused by karsevaks travelling on the Sabarmati Express and that members of UP police were on the train. “Placing such false material before the commission further raises a doubt regarding the motive of Sreekumar. Instead of assisting the commission by placing facts before it, it appears that because of action taken against him, he is prepared to make even false allegations against the Gujarat government to malign it,” the commission said, discarding his allegations against the then CM Narendra Modi and top officials.

 Jafri didn’t call me: Modi to panel

Dec 12, 2019 Times of India

The Godhra and post-Godhra inquiry commission report states that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat when the 2002 communal riots erupted in the state, told the commission that he did not receive any call from ex-MP Ehsan Jafri on February 28, 2002, when Gulbarg Society was attacked by a mob. The commission’s findings seem to validate Modi’s statement.

The commission said Gulbarg Society riots survivor and key witness Tanaz (Rupa) Mody had furnished conflicting versions about the purported calls made by Jafri to CM Modi. In her first affidavit, she said that Jafri made calls to several people seeking help. In her affidavit with the the SIT in 2008, she claimed ‘Jafri had telephoned Narendra Modi but he said he did not get a positive response’.

“We have every reason to believe what she has stated about the telephonic talk between Mr Jafri and Mr Modi and the lack of positive response from Modi is an afterthought, and cannot be accepted,” the commission stated.

The commission report also contains the PM’s written response to questions raised by the panel. The PM submitted to the commission that former CM Amarsinh Chaudhary did not mention ‘any particular incident of violence at any particular place’ when he met him. Former CM Chaudhary told the commission that after all attempts to get help to Jafri failed on February 28, 2002, he met Modi at 2pm on the same day and apprised him of the danger to the lives of Jafri and others at Gulbarg Society.

Modi also told the commission that IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt never met him. Bhatt, had stated in his submission to the panel that he had informed the CM about the danger to Jafri’s life at a meeting held by CM in the early afternoon of February 28.

“On consideration of rival versions and evidence regarding what the chief minister does in such situations and what he did, it appears to the commission that what Sanjiv Bhatt has stated is not true” the commission said.

2022: SC upholds SIT clean chit

AmitAnand Choudhary, June 25, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi:The Supreme Court upheld the findings of the Special Investigation Team that had given a clean chit to then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots case.

It also dismissed a plea of Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was killed by rioters, and activist Teesta Setalvad demanding a probe against a “larger conspiracy” behind the riots — thus bringing the curtain down on a two decade-long legal tribulation of Modi that was triggered by the testimonies of IPS officers and others, which the SC ruled were “false”.

Studying all allegations against Modi and other officials, and findings of CBI ex-director R K Raghavan-led SIT, the SC said no case was made out against Modi and there was nothing to substantiate the allegation that the riots were the result of a criminal conspiracy.

Repairs of damaged religious structures

SC sets aside Gujarat HC order on repairs of shrines, August 29, 2017: The Times of India

The Supreme Court set aside the Gujarat High Court order asking the state government to pay for the reconstruction and repair work of religious structures damaged during the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice P C Pant allowed the Gujarat government's appeal challenging the High Court verdict that it should pay for reconstruction and repair works of religious structures damaged during riots.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who had represented the state government, said that "our plea has been allowed" and moreover the state government had told the court that it was willing to pay from ex-gratia amount for repair and reconstruction works of various structures, shops and houses which were damaged.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Gujarat government against an order of the high court directing it to pay compensation to over 500 shrines damaged during the 2002 riots, triggered after the Godhra incident.

Relief for riot victims

Bilkis Yakub Rasool

Dhananjay Mahapatra, April 24, 2019: The Times of India

The Supreme Court ordered the Gujarat government to provide Rs 50 lakh, a job and a house to Bilkis Yakub Rasool as compensation for the ordeal she suffered as a 21-year-old in the 2002 riots when a mob gang-raped her and killed her threeand-a-half-year-old daughter.

Advocate Shobha, representing Bilkis pro bono since 2003 in the SC, and who had successfully got the trial transferred to Mumbai from Gujarat, narrated her 17 long years of suffering.

“She has been stripped of every vestige of dignity, has no means to support herself and leads a nomadic life with small assistance offered by two NGOs. A compensation of Rs 1 crore would be just and proper,” she pleaded.

On March 29, Shobha had rejected Rs 5 lakh interim compensation offered by the Gujarat government to her client.

Visibly moved by the plight of Bilkis, whose dreams of a normal life were shattered by the riots when mobs ran amok in the aftermath of the burning of the Sabarmati Express in Godhra which killed 59 kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya, a bench of Chief Justice Of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said Rs 50 lakh would be just compensation. They also ordered the state to provide Bilkis with a government job and accommodation at a place of her choice.

‘₹429 cr paid to Guj riot victims in 4 years’

Victims of the 2002 Gujarat communal riots have cumulatively been paid a compensation of Rs 429.46 crore between 2007 and 2011, junior home minister G Kishan Reddy said in a written submission in the Rajya Sabha. The information was provided in response to a question by MP Hussain Dalvi, who sought to know whether it was a fact that while more than 2,000 cases were registered during the 2002 riots, most were blocked and closed and it was only when the Supreme Court got involved that a few were reopened and placed under court-monitored special investigation teams . TNN

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