New Delhi: The Nanavati Commission has given a ‘clean chit’ to the Gujarat government, led by then-chief minister Narendra Modi, in the 2002 riots in the state where over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
The commission’s report was tabled in the Gujarat legislative assembly by the minister of state for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja on Wednesday, five years after it was submitted to the state government headed by Anandiben Patel.
“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 is more than 1,500 pages and is compiled in nine volumes. The commission dismissed the evidence provided by three former IPS officers.
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 incidents of communal violence 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 erring police officers.
According to reports, the evidence and testimonies of three former IPS officers – R.B. Sreekumar, Rahul Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt – against the Gujarat government were dismissed by the commission. Home minister Jadeja said on Wednesday that a departmental inquiry has been recommended against them.
Sanjiv Bhatt filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court accusing Modi of complicity in the violence. He has since been arrested in a decades-old custodial death case, which his family says is persecution for the affidavit.
Sreekumar told the commission that he was informed by the then-DGP of Gujarat police in 2002 that Modi had asked the police to “allow the Hindus” to “vent their anger” against the alleged planned killing of 59 kar sevaks in the Godhra train fire. Sreekumar, who was in line to become the DGP, was later superseded.
Rahul Sharma presented mobile phone records of ministers, police officers and bureaucrats before the commission and has been repeatedly targeted by the Gujarat government for his actions.
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 violence.
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.
Many fact-finding reports, NGOs and even journalists have found that the violence against Muslims in the aftermath of the train fire was planned and that the government was complicit in the violence. A six-month sting operation by journalist Ashish Khetan showed that found that the Sangh parivar, led by Modi, carried out the pogrom against Muslims and later “subverted justice” to ensure that “their men” eluded punishment for their heinous crimes. Several Sangh leaders explained on camera how they planned the violence, the role of Modi and other Sangh leaders and the complicity of the police.