Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Modi remains under cloud over 2002 riots

Amicus curiae rejects evidence of Haren Pandya and Shreekumar

New Delhi: The amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran's report on the SIT inquiry into the post-Godhra riots in 2002, which was submitted earlier but was made available to the affected by the trial court in Ahmedabad dealing with the riots cases, will not give comfort either to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and his administration, nor is it a clincher for those who have been accusing Modi of having allowed the riots to rage, and therefore an abettor of the killings.

All that Ramachandran says is that there is enough justification to further the investigate the role of Modi in the riots.

Ramachandran questions the conclusion of the SIT that there is not sufficient evidence against Modi. He says, “The SIT has come to the conclusion that the reaction of the chief minister to violence at Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya was not serious. However, the SIT has concluded this would not be sufficient enough to make out a case against Shri Modi.”

Not content with the SIT's conlcusion, Ramachandran says, “The observation of Shri Modi in a telvision interview on 01.03.2002 clearly inidcates that there was an attempt to justify the violence against the minority community. This indciates a certain approach. The statement made by Shro Modi cannot be seen in isolation. It has to be seen in conjunction with other facts mentioned hereinabove which provides enough justification for a detailed investigation in the matter.”

Ramachandran accepts some of the SIT's conclusions, but on other issues he wants the police officers to be arraigned for their failure to take action which could have prevented or averted the mass killings in Gulberg Society, in Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam. He says that M.K.Tandon, the joint commissioner of police, sector 2, and that of P.B.Gondia , the deputy commissioner of police, Zone VI, “cannot be termed as mere failure to discharge their duties as both the officers were not present at any of these places despite the fact that they were fully aware of the possibility of loss of lives. It appears that if these officers had been present at the spot or had taken effecitve steps in time, the massacres could have been avoided and lives could have been saved. A case of criminal negligence is made out against these 2 officers. Further, they have received calls from accused who are facing trial in Naroda massacre i.e. Mayaben Kodnani and Jaydeep Patel. There fore it does not appear a case of mere dereliction of duty. Section 304A IPC, would be squarely attracted in such a case.”

The amicus curiae agreed with the SIT that the statement of A.B.Shreekumar, who was then the additional inspector general of police (ADGP, Intelligence), based on that of his colleague Chakravarti, who was then a DGP, amounts to hearsay and that it is inadmissible as evidence. He also accepted the SIT's conclusions with regard to the steps that Modi had taken to control the riots in Ahmedabad, “in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.”

Ramachandran has rejected the statement late Haren Pandya made to the citizen's tribunal that he was present at the meeting where Modi encouraged the rioting. He admits that he had earlier accepted Pandya's statement but he has revised opinion in the light of evidence brought up by the SIT.

Ramcachandran takes a strong view of the presence of two ministers, I.K.Jadeja and Ashok Bhatt in the police control room, and says that the SIT had relied on the police officers testimony that they did not interfere. But he finds it suspect. The amicus curiae concludes emphatically, “It is obvious that the two ministers were fully aware of the developing situation in Gulberg Society, Naroda Patya in Ahmedabad city. They were duty bound to convey the situation to the Chief Minister and were required to do everything possible to save loss of lives (sic). If the stand of the CM that these 2 ministers were positioned so as to effectively control the law and order situation is correct, then there would have been a far quicker of action to control the riots in Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya at least.”

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