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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Modi, 3 Gujarat ministers innocent: Nanavati on 2002 riots

The second part of the Nanavati-Mehta Commission report summarised in Q&A format: Narendra Modi and then ministers of the Gujarat Cabinet Ashok Bhatt, Bharat Barot & Haren Pandya found not to have incited riots or indulged in them in 2002

The Nanavati Commission of Inquiry report on the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on Wednesday. Minister of State for Home Pradeep Singh Jadeja said at a press conference after presenting this report, “The commission has given a clean chit to (then) Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his three ministers during the riots. This proves that the allegations against him are false. This was a ploy of the Congress and some NGOs to discredit Modi and the BJP.”

59 karsevaks were killed in Godhra. After this, more than a thousand people of both Muslim and Hindu communities were killed in the rioting in the State.

According to Gujarat minister Jadeja, the commission has made these observations on the major questions and allegations related to the riots.

Were the post-Godhra riots provoked?

Commission: Coach S6 of Sabarmati Express in Godhra was burnt under a well-thought-out conspiracy, but the subsequent riots in the State were not pre-planned or politically motivated.

What suspicious role did Modi and his ministers allegedly play?

Commission: Modi or his then ministers Ashok Bhatt, Bharat Barot and Haren Pandya had no role in these riots.

What was the role of the three leading officers RB Srikumar, Sanjeev Bhatt and Rahul Sharma?

Commission: There is evidence that the three officers played negative roles in the riots.

Did Modi go to see the S6 coach to destroy evidence? Was it his personal visit?

Commission: The burned S6 coach of Sabarmati Express was kept in a yard after the Godhra massacre. Modi went there on an official visit and his motive was not to destroy evidence.

Did Modi instruct not to take action on the rioters?

Commission: Modi had called a meeting in the CM House to take stock of the situation, but did not give instructions not to take action on the rioters.

The report of the Commission of Inquiry was published in two parts, the first part in 2009. The first part of the report was tabled in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly in 2009. That part was related to the killing of 59 karsevaks riding the Sabarmati Express. On 27 February 2002 in Godhra, a mob set fire to a coach of the Sabarmati Express from outside. These karsevaks were in this coach.

In 2014, retired Justice GT Nanavati and Justice Akshay Mehta submitted the second part of the investigation report to the then Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. However, the State government did not present it in the Assembly.

In September this year, the State government had told the Gujarat High Court in response to a PIL that the report would be tabled in the House in the next session of the Assembly.

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