31 jailed for life for burning alive 33 in a house during Gujarat riots, 42 walk free
|OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT|
Ahmedabad, Nov. 9: A fast-track court in Gujarat today jailed 31 riot accused for burning alive nearly three dozen people, including children, as they hid in a house from a mob in one of the worst massacres during the 2002 violence.
All 31 have been sentenced to life in prison for the March 1 mayhem in Sardarpura village in Mehsana district, 18km from chief minister Narendra Modi's hometown Vadnagar.
The number of convictions is the same as that for the Godhra train fire, which had killed 59 people two days earlier and triggered the riots.
Of the 73 tried for murder, rioting, arson and criminal conspiracy in the Sardarpura case, judge S.C. Srivastava let off 42. Of those acquitted, 31 got the "benefit of doubt".
Among those convicted today of the nocturnal carnage were two former sarpanchs of Sardarpura village, one from the ruling BJP and the other a Congress member.
According to the police case, a mob of around 1,500 people had attacked a Muslim locality known as Sheikh Mohalla. While many fled, the mob surrounded those who took shelter in the house of one Ibrahim Sheikh. The rioters locked the house from outside and set it on fire, burning alive 17 women, 11 children and five men who were hiding inside.
Rights activist Fr Cedric Prakash welcomed the verdict, saying the wheels of truth and justice were slowly but surely moving in the "right direction". The conviction of so many in a single case of communal violence in the country, he added, is "unprecedented".
The convictions in the village massacre, one of the nine cases probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), are the first in a case related to the Gujarat violence since a special court's February 22 verdict on the Godhra train fire.
On March 1 this year, the special court trying those accused of the Godhra train fire had handed death to 11 people and jailed for life 20, terming the case "rarest of rare".
SIT chairman R.K. Raghavan said today's verdict was "very satisfying".
"I am happy with it. I don't know if it is the biggest-ever conviction in the riot case, but 31 people convicted for life imprisonment in a riot case is a sizeable number," said.
Former state police chief R.B. Sreekumar, who is fighting for riot victims, hailed the verdict as "historic".
"Never before in the history of the trial of communal riot cases in the country these many people have been sentenced," Sreekumar said, adding that there hadn't been so many convictions even in the Bhagalpur riot cases.
So far, 245 people have been convicted of involvement in the riots that broke out in and around Bhagalpur, Bihar, in 1989. Altogether 864 cases were filed, of which 329 went to trial. But the highest number of convictions in a single case — the Logai massacre in which 116 people were killed — was 14. The verdict was delivered on June 18, 2007.
In all, 736 people have been acquitted. Cases are still on in various courts.
Advocate Y.B. Sheikh said over 80 witness identified the accused in the Sardarpura case. Among those convicted were three electricity board employees — Madhur Trigam, Ramanbhai and Jayant — who helped the rioting mob identify the house where the minority community members had taken shelter.
Then village sarpanch Kanubhai Patel, an active BJP member who led the mob, tried to mislead the police during the investigation but was later arrested along with his successor, Kacharabhai Patel, a member of the Congress. Current sarpanch B.K. Patel, a BJP member, confirmed the political affiliations of both Kanubhai and Kacharabhai.
Most of those convicted are from the dominant Patel community, said Sardarpura resident Munsaf Khan.
Of the 42 acquitted, 11 were freed because of "lack of evidence", while the rest were given the "benefit of doubt".
These 31 have been asked to submit a solvency bond of Rs 25,000 each and the court has directed them not to leave the country without its permission.
Asked whether the SIT would challenge the acquittals, Raghavan said: "We would be examining the text of the order before taking a decision on the issue."
2002 Gujarat violence
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The 2002 Gujarat violence describes the Godhra train burning and resulting communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. On 27 February 2002 at Godhra City in the state of Gujarat, the Sabarmati Express train was attacked by a large Muslim mob in a conspiracy. But some authentic sources deny the claim that there was a conspiracy. As a result, 58 Hindu pilgrims, mostly women and children of ladies compartment returning from Ayodhya, were killed. The attack prompted retaliatory massacres against Muslims and communal riots on a large scale, in which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed and 223 more people were reported missing. 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus fled their homes. Preventive arrests of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims were made. In total 27,901 Hindus and 7,651 Muslims were arrested. Nearly 10,000 rounds of bullets were fired in police shootings that killed 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.
The nature of the events remains politically controversial in India. Some commentators have characterized the massacres of Muslims as a genocide in which the state was complicit, while some government sources have countered that the Muslim dead were victims of mere "riots" or "disturbances".
Godhra train burning, investigations and judgements
On 27 February 2002, 58 Hindus including 25 women and 15 children, activists of the Vishva Hindu Parishad and other Hindu pilgrims (Kar Sevaks) returning by the Sabarmathi express train from Ayodhya, were burnt alive in a railway coach by a large Muslim mob in a conspiracy.
Initial media reports blamed the local Muslims for setting the coach on fire,. The New Nanavati Report states that the Attack on the "Kar Sevaks" on the train from Ayodhya was pre-planned, and exonerates Chief Minister Narendra Modi. A previous report on the Godhra train burning, filed by Justice Banerjee, a more recent report filed by Justice Nanavati states that it was "pre-planned" by the mob. The Gujarat High Court ruling, as of 2006, has declared as illegal and unconstitutional, setting up of the Umesh Chandra Banerjee committee, which had concluded the fire started by accident. Gujarat High Court quashed the conclusions of the Banerjee Committee and declared its formation as a "colourful exercise," "illegal, unconstitutional, null and void," and its argument of accidental fire "opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record.". According to the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, "most Congress corporators" "and some Congress leaders of Gujarat had actively participated in last year's riots". The majority of the media and party remained silent over the issue Congress role in the riot
However, in September 2008 the Godhra Commission confirmed that there was an attack by a mob. Going further, the report claims that one Hassan Lalu had thrown burning objects into the train and 140 litres of petrol had been used to set the train on fire, adding that stones were thrown at passengers to stop them from fleeing.
Nine years after the Godhra train went up in flames the court on 22 Feb 2011 pronounced its judgement. Additional Session Judge delivered the verdict and convicted 31 people and acquitted 63. The bodies of those killed in the train were brought to Ahmedabad, where a procession was held, a move seen as a major provocation for the ensuing communal violence. The VHP issued a call for a state-wide strike on 28 February 2002, which was supported by the BJP. In February 2011, the findings of the Nanavati-Mehta commission were upheld in court, and the Godhra train burning was called a "pre-planned conspiracy". 31 people were convicted of setting fire to the train and "roasting alive 59 helpless kar sevaks." of which 11 were sentenced to death and 20 to life sentences.
Post Godhra violence
Tension gripped parts of Gujarat state while examinations all over the state were canceled. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has called for a statewide bandh to protest burning of Godhra train burning. Fearing communal clashes, administration imposed curfew in several areas. Rapid Action Force were deployed in Godhra's sensitive area and around Godhra station. The Indian government on March 1st dispatched around 1,000 paramilitary personnel to Gujarat and asked the army to be on standby to maintain law and order in the state. The Army began flag marches in the worst-affected areas and shoot-at-sight orders were issued in 34 curfew-bound cities and towns in Gujarat.
151 towns and 993 villages in fifteen to sixteen of the state's 25 districts were affected by the post-Godhra violence, which was particularly severe in about five or six districts. The violence raged largely between 28 February and 3 March, and after a drop, restarted on 15 March, continuing till mid June. Northern and central Gujarat, as well as the north-eastern tribal belt which are closer to Godhra City, were the worst affected while Saurashtra and Kutch remained largely peaceful.
Attacks on Muslims
Attacks by large Hindu mobs began in the districts of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Saberkantha and, for the first time in its history, Gandhinagar on 28 February. Violence spread to the largely rural districts of Panchmahals, Mehsana, Kheda, Junagadh, Banaskantha, Patan, Anand and Narmada the next day. Over the next two days, Bharuch and Rajkot and later Surat were hit.
The first incidents of attacks on the Muslim community started at Ahmedabad, where Hindus began throwing stones at and later burned a Muslim housing complex known as Gulburg Society, and then spread elsewhere. The initial violence was believed to be instigated by unsubstantiated rumours, endorsed by a senior VHP leader, of Muslims having kidnapped three Hindu girls during the Godhra train attack.
In Ahmedabad, the dargah of the Sufi saint-poet Wali Gujarati in Shahibaug and the 16th century Gumte Masjid mosque in Isanpur were destroyed. The Muhafiz Khan Masjid at Gheekanta was ransacked. Police records list 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples and three churches as damaged in the months of March and April.
Attacks on Hindus
Attacks on Hindus by Muslim mobs in Danilimda, Modasa, Himmatnagar, Bharuch, Sindhi Market, Bhanderi Pole, and other localities in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat were perpetrated by Muslim mobs. There was a significant loss of property. Late in March, more than one thousand Hindus in Dariyapur and Kalupur, including 550 dalits, fled their homes to stay in makeshift shelters after being attacked by Muslims mobs. According to the HRW report, over ten thousand Hindus were made homeless.
Several Hindu residential areas, including Mahajan No Vaado, a fortified enclave in Muslim dominated Jamalpur, were targeted following calls for retaliation.
In the morning the mosques began announcing that Islam was in danger, that there was poison in the milk. This was used as a code word. The milk was meant to be Muslims & poison meant Hindus. The rioting lasted between 2:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Residents were unable to go to work, fearing attacks. A Hindu temple in the area was destroyed. In Himmatnagar, a young man was killed when he went to a Muslim enclave on business.
According to an official estimate, 1044 people were killed in the violence - 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus including those killed in the Godhra train fire. Another 223 people were reported missing, 2,548 injured, 919 women widowed and 606 children orphaned.
Unofficial estimates put the death toll closer to 2000, with Muslims forming a high proportion of those killed with a few dozen hindus
By the evening of 28 February, curfews were imposed in twenty seven towns and cities. By 25 March, thirty five towns were under curfew. Police records show 21,563 preventive arrests were made by the end of April (17,947 of the arrested were listed as Hindus and 3,616 as Muslims) as well as 13,989 substantive arrests (9,954 Hindus and 4,035 Muslims).
The New York Times' Celia Dugger reported that witnesses were "dismayed by the lack of intervention from local police", who often "watched the events taking place and took no action against the attacks on Muslims and their property". Human Rights Watch reported that in some cases members of the state police force led rioting mobs, "aiming and firing at every Muslim who got in the way", or instead of offering assistance "led the victims directly into the hands of their killers." Calls for assistance to the police, fire brigades, and even ambulance services generally proved futile.
By the end of April, police recorded 170 people as killed in police firing, of whom 93 were Muslims and 77 were Hindus.
Hindu residents of Mahajan No Vaado, part of the Muslim dominated area of Jamalpur, told HRW that on 1 March, the police ignored phone calls and left them fend for themselves when a Muslim mob attacked. Numerous calls by Hindus throughout the riots were reportedly ignored by the police.
One thousand army troops were flown in by the evening of 1 March to restore order. Intelligence officials alleged that the deployment was deliberately delayed by the state and central governments. On 3 May, former Punjab police chief K P S Gill was appointed as security adviser to the Chief Minister.
RB Sreekumar, who served as Gujarat's intelligence chief during the riots, alleged that the state government issued "unconstitutional directives", with officials asking him to kill Muslims involved in rioting or disrupting a Hindu religious event. The Gujarat government denied the allegations, calling them "baseless" and instigated out of malice because Mr. Sreekumar was not promoted.
Defending the Modi administration in the Rajya Sabha against charges of genocide, BJP spokesman V K Malhotra said that the official toll of 254 Hindus, killed mostly in police firing, indicates how the state authorities took effective steps to curb the violence. BJP MP and journalist Balbir Punj disputed allegations of bias against Muslims by the BJP-run state government, pointing out that the majority of those arrested during and after the riots were Hindus.
An unidentified pamphlet circulated to journalists in Gujarat in 2007 labelled Modi's government as anti-Hindu for arresting Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers and Hindu activists involved in the riots.
Role of government and police
The Gujarat state government was reprimanded immediately for failing to prevent the riots, but then increasingly for actively fomenting and participating in it, which was a far more serious charge. Critiques came repeatedly from the Supreme Court, and the upper house of the Indian parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling for federal intervention in Gujarat; a similar censure motion in the lower house was defeated by about 100 votes.
|"||India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an official body, found evidence in the killings of premeditation by members of Hindu extremist groups; complicity by Gujarat state government officials; and police inaction in the midst of attacks on Muslims. The NHRC also noted "widespread reports and allegations of well-organized persons, armed with mobile telephones and addresses, singling out certain homes and properties for death and destruction in certain districts-sometimes within view of police stations and personnel," suggesting the attacks may have been planned in advance. Christians were also victims in Gujarat, and many churches were destroyed.||"|
In April 2002, retired supreme court justices V. R. Krishna Iyer and P. B. Sawant headed a citizen's panel to investigate the riots. Their report includes testimony of the then GujaratBharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Haren Pandya (since murdered), who testified about an evening meeting convened by Narendra Modi the evening of the Godhra train burning. At this meeting, officials were instructed not to obstruct the Hindu rage following the incident. The report also highlighted a second meeting, held in Lunawada village of Panchmahal district, attended by state ministers Ashok Bhatt, and Prabhatsinh Chauhan, and other BJP and RSS leaders, where "detailed plans were made on the use of kerosene and petrol for arson and other methods of killing."
In 2003, A comment by G.T. Nanavati, who leads the official commission investigating the riots, that part of the evidence collected and reviewed till then did not indicate any serious lapse on the part of the government or police in Gujarat was criticised as inappropriate by aid and reconciliation activists and other jurists.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized the Indian government for failure to address the resulting humanitarian condition of people, the "overwhelming majority of them Muslim," who fled their homes for relief camps in the aftermath of the events; as well as the Gujarat state administration for engaging in a cover-up of the state's role in the massacres.Many of the investigations and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots have been opened for reinvestigation and prosecution. The large-scale civil unrest has been generally been described as riots or inter-communal clashes.
In response to allegations of state involvement, Gujarat government spokesman, Bharat Pandya, told the BBC that the rioting was a spontaneous Hindu backlash fuelled by widespread anger against Muslims. He said "Hindus are frustrated over the role of Muslims in the on-going violence in Indian-administered Kashmir and other parts of India".
The US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, John Hanford, expressing concern over religious intolerance in Indian politics, said that while the rioters may have been aided by state and local officials, he did not believe that the BJP-led central government was involved in inciting the riots.
At the same time, about two hundred policemen lost their lives trying to control the violence in Gujarat.
The Indian Supreme Court has been strongly critical of the state government's investigation and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots, directing police to review about 2,000 of the 4,000 riot related cases that had been closed citing lack of evidence or leads. Following this direction, police identified nearly 1,600 cases for reinvestigation, arrested 640 accused and launched investigations against 40 police officers for their failures.
In its 2003 annual report, Amnesty International says, "the same police force that was accused of colluding with the attackers was put in charge of the investigations into the massacres, undermining the process of delivery of justice to the victims."
The Best Bakery murder trial received wide attention after witnesses retracted testimony in court and all accused were acquitted. The Indian Supreme Court, acting on a petition by social activist Teesta Setalvad, ordered a retrial outside Gujarat in which nine accused were found guilty in 2006. A key witness, Zaheera Sheikh, who repeatedly changed her testimony during the trials and the petition was found guilty of perjury.
After a local court dismissed the case against her assailants, Bilkis Bano approached the National Human Rights Commission and petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a retrial. The Supreme Court granted the motion, directing the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation, transferring the case out of Gujarat and directing the central government to appoint the public prosecutor. Charges were filed in a Mumbai court against nineteen people as well as six police officials and a government doctor over their role in the initial investigations. In January 2008, eleven men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and murders and a policeman was convicted of falsifying evidence.
In 2005, the Vadodara fast track court acquitted 108 people accused of murdering two youths, during a mob attack on a group of displaced Muslims returning under police escort to their homes in Avdhootnagar. The court passed strictures against the police for failing to protect the people under their escort and failing to identify the attackers they had witnessed.
Nine people were convicted of killing a Hindu man and injuring another during group clashes in Danilimda, Ahmedabad on 12 April, while 25 others were acquitted.
Eight people, including a VHP leader and a member of the BJP, were convicted for the murder of seven members of a family and the rape of two minor girls in the village of Eral in Panchmahal district.
Fifty two people from Pavagadh and Dhikva villages in Panchmahal district were acquitted of rioting charges for lack of evidence.
A stringent anti-terror law, the POTA, was used by the Gujarat government to charge 131 people in connection to the Godhra train fire, but not invoked in prosecuting any of the accused in the post-Godhra riots. In 2005 the POTA Review Committee set up by central government to review the application of the law opined that the Godhra accused should not be tried under the provisions of POTA.
On 6 March, the Gujarat government set up a commission of enquiry headed by retired High Court judge K.G. Shah to enquire into the Godhra train burning and the subsequent violence and submit a report in three months. Following criticism from victims' organisations, activists and political parties over Shah's alleged proximity to the BJP, on 22 May, the government reconstituted the commission, appointing retired Supreme Court Justice G.T. Nanavati to lead the commission. In 2008, the Nanavati commission came out largely in favour of the Gujarat government's aspect. Nanavati's evidence hinged on the acquisition of 140 litres of petrol hours before the arrival of the train and the storage of the said petrol at the alleged key conspirator's, Razzak Kurkur, guest house. This was further corroborated by forensic evidence showing fuel was poured on the train compartment before being burnt. The alleged mastermind was said to be the cleric Maulvi Husain Haji Ibrahim Umarji and a dismissed Central Reserve Police Force officer named Nanumiyan, from Assam, who had instigated the Muslim crowds. Furthermore, two Kashmiris, Gulamnabi and Ali Mohammed, were in the same guesthouse for a fortnight prior to the event speaking about the Kashmir liberationmovement.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Indian National Congress party both came out railing against the exoneration of the Gujarat government by the commission citing the timing of the report (with general elections months away) as evident of unfairness. Congress spokesperson Veerappa Moily commented at the strange absolvement of the Gujarat government for complacency for the carnage. He also said the report reinforced communal prejudices.
National Human Rights Commission
In its Proceedings of 1 April 2002, the Commission had set out its Preliminary Comments and Recommendations on the situation and sent a Confidential Report of the team of the Commission that visited Gujarat from 19–22 March 2002 to Gujarat government and Central Home Ministry. The Gujarat government in its reply did not provide its response to the Confidential report. Therefore, the Commission was compelled to release the confidential report in its entirety and observed that nothing in the reports received in response "rebuts the presumption that the Modi administration failed in its duty to protect the rights of the people of Gujarat" by not exercising its jurisdiction over non-state players that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights.
It further observed that "the violence in the State, which was initially claimed to have been brought under control in seventy two hours, persisted in varying degree for over two months, the toll in death and destruction rising with the passage of time despite the measures reportedly taken by the State Government".
The report claims failure of intelligence, failure to take appropriate action, patterns of arrests, uneven handling of major cases, and "Distorted FIRs: 'extraneous influences', issue of transparency and integrity" as key factors in the incident(s).
In September 2004, a panel appointed by the central government and headed by former Supreme Court judge UC Banerjee to probe the Godhra train fire concluded that the fire was accidental. Its findings were challenged by the BJP and the Gujarat inspector-general of police. In October 2006, the Gujarat High Court ruled that the panel was set up illegally, in violation of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 which prohibits the setting up of separate commissions by state and central governments to probe a matter of public importance.
Concerned Citizens Tribunal
The citizen tribunal headed by retired Supreme Court justice Krishna Iyer collected evidence and testimony from more than 2000 riot victims, witnesses and others. In its report, the tribunal accuses the state government and chief minister Modi of complicity in the violence. While Krishna Iyer was nominally part of this tribunal, he made it clear in the preface of the report that his involvement was very limited.
Opposition parties as well as three coalition partners of the BJP-led central government demanded the dismissal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for failing to contain the violence, with some calling for the removal of Union Home Minister L K Advani as well.
On 18 July, Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked the Governor of Gujarat to dissolve the state assembly and call fresh elections. The Indian Election Commission ruled out early elections, citing the prevailing law and order situation, a decision the union government unsuccessfully appealed against in the Supreme Court.
In August 2002 a plot by Lashkar-e-Toiba to assassinate Narendra Modi, Praveen Togadia, and other Sangh Parivar leaders was unearthed by Indian police. The terrorists were planning to set up a base in Gujarat and were trying to lure some of the riot-hit people into taking up "so-called jihadi activities" Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Intelligence) K K Paul said.
In September 2002, at least 29 people were killed when Islamic fundamentalist gunmen engaged in the Akshardham Temple attack in the city of Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The PakistaniInter-Services Intelligence and Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba were accused of supporting the terrorists.
Elections were held in December and Modi was returned to power in a landslide victory.
Emails made public by the perpetrators of a series of bombings in western India in July 2008 indicated that those attacks were "the revenge of Gujarat".
Amnesty International's annual report on India in 2003 claimed the "Gujarat government did not actively fulfill its duty to provide appropriate relief and rehabilitation to the survivors".
The state government initially offered compensation payments of 200,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the Godhra train fire and 100,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the subsequent riots, which local Muslims described as discriminatory. Subsequently, the government set the compensation amount at 150,000 rupees.
By 27 March, nearly 100,000 displaced people moved into 101 relief camps. This swelled to over 150,000 in 104 camps the next two weeks. The camps were run by community groups and NGOs, with the government committing to provide amenities and supplementary services. Drinking water, medical help, clothing and blankets were in short supply at the camps. At least another 100 camps were denied government support, according to a camp organiser. and relief supplies were prevented from reaching the camps over fears that they may be carrying arms.
Relief camp organisers alleged that the state government was coercing refugees to leave relief camps, with 25,000 people made to leave eighteen camps that were shut down. Following government assurances that camps would not be shut down, the Gujarat High Court bench ordered that camp organisers be given a supervisory role to ensure that the assurances were met.
Covering the first major communal riots following in the advent of satellite television to India, television news channels set a precedent by identifying the community of those involved in the violence, breaking a long-standing practice.
Critical reporting on the Gujarat government's handling of the situation helped bring about the Indian government's intervention in controlling the violence. The Gujarat government banned television news channels critical of the government's response. STAR News, Zee News, Aaj Tak, CNN and local stations were blocked.
The Editorial Guild of India rejected the charge that graphic news coverage aggravated the situation, saying that the coverage exposed the "horrors" of the riots as well as the "supine if not complicit" attitude of the state, helping propel remedial action. The team also faulted Gujarati language papers Gujarat Samachar and the pro-Hindutva Sandesh of distorted and provocative reporting.
The Godhra fire received extensive news coverage until it was overtaken by the subsequent violence and the presentation of the Union budget. Television and newspaper reports, particularly local Gujarati language media, carried graphic and at times sensationalised images and accounts of the Godhra train fire. S Gurumurthy, Arvind Lavakare and columnistRajeev Srinivasan argue that news reports emphasized the provocative behaviour of the kar sevaks on the Sabarmathi Express in an effort to rationalise the subsequent mob attack at Godhra and displace blame from the mob on to the kar sevaks.
In 2004, the weekly newspaper Tehelka published a hidden camera exposé alleging that a BJP legislator Madhu Srivastava bribed Zaheera Sheikh, a witness in the Best Bakery killings trial. Srivatsava denied the allegation, and an inquiry committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court drew an "adverse inference" from the video footage, though it failed to uncover evidence that money was actually paid. In a 2007 expose, the newspaper released hidden camera footage of several members of the BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal admitting their role in the riots. Among those featured in the tapes was the special counsel representing the Gujarat government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Arvind Pandya, who resigned from his post after they were made public. While the report was criticized by some as being politically motivated, some newspapers said the revelations simply reinforced what was common knowledge. The Gujarat government blocked telecast of cable news channels broadcasting the expose, a move strongly condemned by the Editors Guild of India.
The riots were also the subject of a 2004 documentary film by Rakesh Sharma (filmmaker), called Final Solution (Gujarat Riots). The film was denied entry to Mumbai International Film Festival in 2004 due to objections by Censor Board of India, but won two awards at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival (2004)
Controversies on the riots
Atrocities against women
An international fact finding committee formed of experts from US, UK, France, Germany and Sri Lanka reported, "sexual violence was being used as a strategy for terrorising women belonging to minority community in the state."
Taking a stand decried by the media and other rights groups, Nafisa Hussain, a member of the National Commission for Women accused organisations and the media of needlessly exaggerating the plight of women victims of the riots. which was strongly disputed as Gujarat did not have a State Commission for Women to act on the ground. The newspaper Tribune reported that "The National Commission for Women has reluctantly agreed to the complicity of Gujarat Government in the communal violence in the state." The tone of their most recent report was reported by the Tribune as "lenient".
Riot cases controversy
In April 2009, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) setup by the Supreme Court of India to investigate and expedite the Gujarat riot cases submitted before the Court that Teesta Setalvadhad cooked up cases of violence to spice up the incidents. The SIT which is headed by former CBI director, R. K. Raghavan has said that false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents by Setalvad and other NGOs. The SIT charged her of "cooking up macabre tales of killings".
The court was told that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by SIT and it was found that the witnesses had not actually witnessed the incidents and they were tutored and the affidavits were handed over to them by Setalvad.
The report which was brought to the notice of the bench, consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, noted that the much publicised case of a pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu being gangraped by a mob and foetus being removed from sharp weapons, was also cooked up and false.
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- ^ "Shoot orders in many Gujarat towns, toll over 200". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 2002-03-02.
- ^ a b Figure reported by the Gujarat additional director general of police to the Election Commission, T K Oommen (2005). Crisis and Contention in Indian Society. Sage Publications. pp. 120
- ^ a b Paul R. Brass (2005). The Production Of Hindu-muslim Violence In Contemporary India. University of Washington Press. pp. 385–393. ISBN 978-0-295-98506-0.
- ^ Christophe Jaffrelot (July 2003). "Communal Riots in Gujarat: The State at Risk?"(PDF). Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics (South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg) (17)
- ^ a b Dugger, Celia W. 200 Are Dead In 3-Day Riot Of Revenge In West India New York Times. New York, N.Y.:2 March 2002. p. A1
- ^ Smita Narula (April 2002). ""We Have No Orders To Save You" - State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat". Human Rights Watch., "Mob used bulldozer to raze heritage mosque". Indian Exress. 2002-03-13.
- ^ a b Sanjay Pandey (2002-04-28). "More fall prey to police firings in Gujarat". Times of India.
- ^ a b c d e f Attacks on Hindus,Human Rights Watch
- ^ Riots hit all classes, people of all faith
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- ^ With no relief, they turn to religious places for shelter,Indian Express. Accessed 2009-07-21. Archived 2009-07-23.
- ^ These figures were reported to the Rajya Sabha by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal in May, 2005. "Gujarat riot death toll revealed". BBC News Online. 2005-05-11. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. PTI (2005-05-12)."BJP cites govt statistics to defend Modi". ExpressIndia. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. PTI (2005-05-11). "254 Hindus, 790 Muslims killed in post-Godhra riots". Indiainfo.com. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009.
- ^ ""We Have No Orders To Save You"". Human Rights Watch. 2002-04-30., Fernandez, Percy (2005-03-22). "UK reads the riot act to Narendra Modi". Indiatimes., Brass (2005) pp. 388,
- ^ Khan, Saeed (2009-03-01). "Gujarat riot 'missing' declared dead". The Times Of India.
- ^ Misra, Leena (2009-02-16). "Gujarat riots toll to go up from 952 to 1,180". The Times Of India.
- ^ Oommen (2005), pp. 120
- ^ "Where is normalcy? Curfew still on". Times of India. 2002-03-25.
- ^ Dugger, Celia W. Hindu Rioters Kill 60 Muslims in India New York Times. New York, N.Y.:1 March 2002.
- ^ a b Police officials led Hindu attackers: HRW report on Muslims' massacre in Gujarat,Dawn, 30 April 2002
- ^ Rahul Bedi (2002-03-04). "Soldiers 'held back to allow Hindus revenge'". London: The Telegraph.
- ^ "Gill is Modi's Security Adviser". The Tribune. 2002-05-02.
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- ^ "Modi Punishes good officers". Ahmedabad.com (Republished from The Asian Age). 2002-03-26. Archived from the original on March 27, 2008.
- ^ BBC UK Website
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- ^ "Indian MPs back Gujarat motion". BBC News Online. 2002-05-06.
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- ^ Citizensâ€™ tribunal to investigate Godhra carnage, communal riots, Express News Service, Monday , April 01, 2002, Ahmedabad.
- ^ Gujarat Carnage-Role of Narendra Modi, Ram Puniyani, May 02, 2009, tehelka.com
- ^ Leads From Purgatory, Darshan Desai, Dec 02, 2002, Outlook Magazine.
- ^ No police lapse in Gujarat riots: Justice Nanavati Rediff - 18 May 2003
- ^ "Godhra probe: No evidence of lapse against govt". Times of India. 2003-05-19.
- ^ "3 organisations withdraw from Godhra hearings". Times of India. 2003-06-16.
- ^ "I didn't say so, says Nanavati". Indian Express. 2003-05-19.
- ^ Gujarat Officials Took Part in Anti-Muslim Violence, Human Rights Watch
- ^ a b "Court orders Gujarat riot review". BBC News Online. 2004-08-17.
- ^ a b "Gujarat riot cases to be reopened". BBC News Online. 2006-02-08.
- ^ "NGO says Gujarat riots were planned". BBC News Online. 2002-03-19.
- ^ Sridhar Krishnaswami (2004-09-16). "U.S. raised Gujarat riots with BJP-led Government". Chennai, India: The Hindu.
- ^ Rosser, Yvette (2003). "Curriculum as Destiny: Forging National Identity in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh" (PDF). PhD Dissertation (The University of Texas at Austin): Pg. 356. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
- ^ "Gujarat riot probe panel moves against 41 cops". Indian Express. 2006-02-09.[dead link]
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- ^ India: After Gujarat Riots, Witnesses Face Intimidation (Human Rights Watch, 23-9-2004)
- ^ a b India Amnesty International
- ^ Dionne Bunsha, Verdict in Best Bakery case, Frontline, Volume 23 - Issue 04, Feb. 25 - Mar. 10, 2006
- ^ Why did Zaheera Sheikh have to lie?,Rediff.com
- ^ "A hopeful Bilkis goes public". Deccan Herald. 2004-08-09.
- ^ "Second riot case shift". The Telegraph. 2004-08-07.
- ^ "Charges framed in Bilkis case". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2005-01-14.
- ^ Jeremy Page (2008-01-23). "Rape victim Bilkis Bano hails victory for Muslims as Hindu assailants are jailed for life". London: Times Online.
- ^ "All accused in riot case acquitted". The Hindu. 2005-10-26.
- ^ "Over 100 accused in post-Godhra riots acquitted". Rediff News. 2005-10-25.
- ^ Rajeev Khanna (2006-03-28). "Sentencing in Gujarat Hindu death". BBC News Online.
- ^ "Hindus jailed over Gujarat riots". BBC News Online. 2007-10-30.
- ^ PTI (2007-10-30). "Godhra court convicts 11 in Eral massacre case; 29 acquitted". Yahoo! India News.
- ^ "52 acquitted in post-Godhra case". Rediff News. 2006-04-22.
- ^ Katharine Adeney (2005). "Hindu Nationalists and federal structures in an era of regionalism". In Katharine Adeney , Lawrence Sáez (Eds.). Coalition Politics And Hindu Nationalism. Routledge. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-415-35981-8
- ^ Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Shankar Raghuraman (2004). A Time of Coalitions: Divided We Stand. Sage Publications. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-7619-3237-6.
- ^ "Pota Review Committee Gives Opinion On Godhra Case To POTA Court". Indlaw. 2005-06-21. Archived from the original on May 26, 2006.
- ^ The Hindu : Probe panel appointed
- ^ Modi succumbs to pressure, Nanavati put on Shah panel The Indian Express - 21 May 2002
- ^ Former Supreme Court judge joins Gujarat probe The Hindu - 23 May 2002
- ^ cong, cpm slam Nanavati report for reinforcing 'communal bias.' Times of India. 28 September 2008.
- ^ National Human Rights Commission Archived 24 June 2007 at WebCite
- ^ "India train fire 'not mob attack'". BBC News Online. 2005-01-17.
- ^ Press Trust of India (2006-10-13). "Banerjee panel illegal: Gujarat HC". Express India.
- ^ "HC terms Sabarmati Express panel illegal". Financial Express. 2006-10-14.
- ^ "Report of Concerned Citizens indicts Modi govt for riots". Times of India. 2002-11-21.[dead link]
- ^ "Now citizens' tribunal pins Modi for riots". Indian Express. 2002-11-22.
- ^ "Concerned Citizens Tribunal - Gujarat 2002: An inquiry into the carnage in Gujarat". Sabrang.
- ^ Khozem Merchant (2002-04-12). "Hindu hardliners rally round Gujarat leader". Financial Times.
- ^ "Removal of Advani, Modi sought". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2002-03-07.
- ^ "Gujarat chief minister resigns". BBC News Online. 2002-07-19.
- ^ Amy Waldman (2002-09-07). "2 Indian Elections Bring Vote Panel's Chief to Fore". New York Times.
- ^ Mark Tully (2002-08-27). "India's electoral process in question". CNN.
- ^ Plan to kill Modi, Togadia unearthed; 3 held Rediff - 30 August 2002
- ^ Lashkar responsible for temple attack,Rediff.com
- ^ Gunmen Attack Hindu Temple in Gujarat,ict.org[dead link]
- ^ NSG commandos rush to Gandhinagar
- ^ ;ISI instigated Akshardham attack: Gujarat police,Rediff.com
- ^ "Gujarat victory heartens nationalists". BBC News Online. 15 December.
- ^ Dugger, Celia W. Ahmedabad Journal - In India, a Child's Life Is Cheap Indeed New York Times. New York, N.Y.:7 March 2002
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- ^ Ruchir Chandorkar (2002-07-02). "Rains, epidemic threaten relief camps". Times of India.
- ^ Priyanka Kakodkar (2002-04-15). "Camp Comatose". Outlook.
- ^ NGO says Gujarat riots were planned
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- ^ "Relief for Gujarat riot victims". BBC News (BBC). 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
- ^ a b c d e Sonwalkar, Prasun (2006). "Shooting the messenger? Political violence, Gujarat 2002 and the Indian news media". In Cole, Benjamin. Conflict, Terrorism and the Media in Asia. Routledge. pp. 82–97. ISSN 0415351987
- ^ Sevanti Ninan (2002-04-28). "An ounce of image, a pound of performance". Chennai, India: The Hindu.
- ^ "Madam, will they be shamed by your blunt words?". New India Press. 2002-03-02.,Arvind Lavakare (2002-03-05). "Why 'secular' history repeats itself". Rediff.
- ^ Rajeev Srinivasan (2002-03-07). "Blaming the Hindu Victim: Manufacturing Consent for Barbarism". Rediff News.
- ^ ""I Paid Zaheera Sheikh Rs 18 Lakh"". Tehelka. 2007-12-06. Archived from the original on 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
- ^ "Politician denies bribing witness". BBC News Online. 2004-12-22.
- ^ "Zahira sting: MLA gets clean chit". Times of India. 2006-01-04.
- ^ "Gujarat 2002: The Truth in the words of the men who did it". Tehelka. 2007-11-03.
- ^ a b "Sting traps footsoldiers of Gujarat riots allegedly boasting about killings with state support". Indian Express. 2007-10-26. Archived from the original on 2009-05-29.
- ^ "Gujarat Govt counsel quits". Indian Express. 2007-10-28.
- ^ Tehelka sting a political conspiracy: Shiv Sena The Hindu - 27 October 2007. Accessed 2009-05-27. Archived 2009-05-29.
- ^ Tehelka is Cong proxy: BJP Deccan Herald - 27 October 2007[dead link]
- ^ A Sting Without Venom Outlook India - 12 November 2007 issue
- ^ Godhra Carnage Vs. Pundits Exodus Asian Tribune - 29 November 2007
- ^ Nag, Kingshuk (October 2007). "Polls don't tell whole story". Times of India.
- ^ "Ghosts don't lie". Indian Express. 2007-10-27.
- ^ Chitra Padmanabhan (2007-11-14). "Everything, but the news". Hindustan Times.
- ^ "Editors Guild condemns Gujarat action". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2007-10-30.
- ^ The Hindu Tuesday, 17 February 2004
- ^ Intl experts spoil Modi's party, say Gujarat worse than Bosnia
- ^ Women's groups decry NCW stand Archived January 22, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Web-archive of above, from tehelka.com
- ^ Gujarat's women were victims of extreme violence[dead link]
- ^ http://www.fisiusa.org/fisi_News_items/Godhra/godhra093.htm Archived January 22, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ NCM rejects Gujarat report:Directs state to follow its recommendations
- ^ a b NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT
- ^ a b Setalvad in dock for 'cooking up killings' Setalvad in dock for 'cooking up killings' - Economic Times. Accessed 2009-05-11. Archived 2009-05-14.
- ^ "Gujarat riot myths busted". Archived from the original on 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- ^ Inhuman rights India Today - 25 March 2010
- Amicus Curiae report lays the ground for chargesheeting Narendra Modi
- Fiddling with Facts as Gujarat Burns - Balbir Punj Fiddling With Facts As Gujarat Burns
- Destruction of Gujarat's Muslim heritage
- The full story of Kauser Bano
- Truth in Gujarat by Balbir Punj
- Lalu panel calls Godhra an accident, what about flaming rags, ask victims
- Godhra train carnage survivor says he heard blast
- "We Have No Orders To Save You":State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat- Human Rights Watch Report
- Politics By Other Means: An Analysis of Human Rights Watch Reports on India - Criticism of Human Rights Watch Report, Guest column for the South Asia Analysis GroupPolitics By Other Means: An Analysis of Human Rights Watch Reports on India
- The leftist filmmaker Rakesh Sharma's documentary India: Final SolutionInterview with Rakesh Sharma. BBC profile of India: Final Solution http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3829364588351777769&q=final+solution&total=966&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0
- Foreign missions: undiplomatic leaks - Allegations of anti-India media bias
- Time Cover Story on Gujarat Riots
- Pictures of Gujarat Riots
- Gujarat: Riots and Politics, Outlook dossier.
- Gujarat Riots, Indian Express full coverage
- The Gujarat Riots, Rediff News
- Gujarat Riots: The Aftermath, Hindustan Times
- Report on Godhra Riots, Justice Tewatia
- Scarred: Experiments with violence in Gujarat, Dionne Bunsha
- Gujarat Riots: The True Story