Nanavati commission clean chit to narendra modi in 2002 gujarat riots

Nanavati commission clean chit to narendra modi in 2002 gujarat riots
Then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in 2003.  (Express Archive/Photo By Mustafa Quraishi)

The Nanavati Commission gave a clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and his ministers in the 2002 communal riots, in which over 1000 people were killed.

“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.

The commission’s final report was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly today, five years after it was submitted to then state chief minister Anandiben Patel.

The Commission blamed the police for failing to control the mobs in some places either due to inadequate numbers, or because they were not properly armed. On some riots in Ahmedabad city, the commission observed, “The police had not shown their competence and eagerness which was necessary.”

Evidence and testimonies given by three former IPS officers RB Sreekumar, Rahul Sharma, and Sanjiv Bhatt against the Gujarat government were dismissed by the Commission. Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said Wednesday that a departmental inquiry has been recommended against them.

On February 27, 2002, 59 Kar Sevaks were burnt alive in the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station. This led to communal riots in parts of Gujarat, leaving 1,169 people dead.

Shortly after the riots,  then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi appointed the commission. Initially, it was a one-member commission headed by Justice (retired) KG Shah. However, due to opposition by certain groups, it was made a two-member commission headed by Justice (retired) G T Nanavati as its chairman.

On August 5, 2004, in a significant move, the Gujarat government had amended the Terms of Reference of the commission and enabled it to probe the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi, other ministers and bureaucrats in connection with the Godhra train burning incident and the subsequent riots in Gujarat. In March 2008, following the death of Justice (retired) K G Shah, Justice (Retired) Akshay Mehta was appointed as the second member of the Commission.

The commission has already given its first report pertaining to the incident at the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002. The commission had termed the incident as a pre-planned conspiracy involving “some individuals”.

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