| Narendra Modi
Ahmedabad, Nov. 21: A citizens’ group headed by a former Supreme Court chief justice has claimed it has “enough evidence” to get Narendra Modi and some Cabinet colleagues charge-sheeted for their “questionable” role in the Godhra riots.
The Concerned Citizens’ Tribunal, headed by V. Krishna Iyer, has found the Gujarat chief minister “guilty of crimes against humanity and of genocide under the relevant international statutes that disqualifies him for the public office”.
In ‘Crime against Humanity’, a two-volume report released today, a nine-member team said the February flare-up was an “organised crime” perpetrated by Modi and his men and the state’s complicity was evident in the way they went about things.
The report dubs Modi “the author and architect of all that happened in Gujarat after the Sabarmati Express carnage’’. Instead of taking measures to contain a flare-up, the chief minister carried Godhra across the state by deciding to take the charred bodies in a motorcade to Ahmedabad, it says.
“What could have been confined to Godhra was taken and broadcast to all of Gujarat state. All that followed was directly related to the chief minister’s decision to carry Godhra to the whole state instead of containing the issue therein,” it says.
The report, compiled after questioning 1,500 riot victims and witnesses across 16 districts, says there is proof that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal engineered the carnage. It has recommended that all suggestions made by the National Human Rights commission be implemented.
The NHRC had indicted Modi and many of his colleagues and recommended the immediate detention and prosecution of VHP leaders Praveen Togadia and Ashok Singhal for inciting communal hatred.
Going a step further, the tribunal has recommended an immediate ban on the VHP and Bajrang Dal for committing “unlawful activity” and a crackdown on arms training camps run by them and the RSS. These camps are the breeding ground for terrorists who propagate violence against sections of society and pose a threat to internal peace and security, it adds.
The report also gives details of a meeting organised by two senior ministers late on February 27 in Lunavada village of Sabarkanta district. At the meeting, a diabolical plan was drawn up and disseminated to the top 50 leaders of the BJP, VHP, RSS and the Bajrang Dal on the method and manner in which the 72-hour carnage was to be carried out.
There are also details on how exactly trained mobs went about the massacre. First, they sprinkled targeted buildings with petrol and then followed it up with a spray of acid. Next, they unsealed gas cylinders they were carting with them and tossed them in to feed the flames. The result was a deadly explosion that ripped apart buildings and killed large numbers on the spot.
Across the state, over 1,100 hotels owned by Muslims, over 15,000 small and big business establishments, around 3,000 handcarts and over 5,000 vehicles were destroyed.
Justice P.B. Sawant and Justice Hosbet Suresh, who released the report, said the state’s role was evident. “It was the chief minister who declared that the Godhra incident was pre-planned when investigating agencies had not reached such a conclusion,’’ they said.