NEW DELHI: A commission of inquiry on Wednesday absolved Prime Minister Narendra Modi of any responsibility in the 2002 pogrom of Muslims.
The Nanavati-Mehta Commission also absolved the state administration, ministers and police officers from any complicity, direct or indirect, and also ruled out any conspiracy to organise the large-scale riots.
It refused to call the riots a result of “pre-planned conspiracy” or “orchestrated violence.”
“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 to over 1,500 pages and is compiled in nine volumes.
The commission also absolved the state administration, ministers and police officers from any complicity, direct or in direct, and also ruled out any conspiracy to organise the large-scale riots. It refused to call the riots as a result of any “pre-planned conspiracy” or “orchestrated violence.”
However, the panel, comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice G. T. Nanavati and former Gujarat High Court Judge Justice Akshay Mehta, observed in the report that police at some places were “ineffective in controlling the mob because of their inadequate numbers or because they were not properly armed.”
The commission’s report was tabled in the Legislative Assembly by Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja, five years after it was submitted to the then government. On the riots in Ahmedabad city, where a former parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri was among those killed by the rioters, it said: “The police had not shown their competence and eagerness which was necessary” to control the mob violence.
It said, “On an overall consideration of the entire material, the commission finds that the communal riots which followed the Godhra incident were really by way of an aftermath of those incidents.”
The panel blamed the Godhara train-burning incident as the trigger for the riots. “Because of the Godhra incident, large sections of Hindu community became very angry and ultimately indulged in violent attacks on Muslims and their properties,” it said.
According to the commission, it did not find any evidence against “any religious or political party or organisations as such” in connection with the riots and violence.
It said: “The only thing that can be said with some certainty, on the basis of evidence which has come before the commission, is that local members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal took part in the incidents which happened in their localities.”
The commission questioned the credibility of three former IPS officers — Sanjiv Bhatt, Rahul Sharma and RB Sreekumar — who had alleged that there was a role of the government in the riots. After a close scrutiny of the evidence, it was not possible to say that there was any negligence on the part of police, it held.
Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2019