The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Godhra riots deposition

Ahmedabad, July 15: The two-member Nanavati Commission probing the post-Godhra communal violence has urged riot victims of Gulbarg Society and Naroda-Patia to depose “fearlessly without any apprehension”.

The victims and witnesses of the two carnage sites in Ahmedabad are expected to depose before the panel once it starts the hearing tomorrow. The process will continue till July 22.

Victims and witness in some places were reportedly not deposing out of fear. In certain places, not a single witness turned up before the commission, which has been conducting hearings in 18 riot-hit districts of the state.

Justice K.G. Shah of the panel today said adequate security had been provided to “ensure that those affected can come and depose fearlessly and freely”.

Dismissing reports that the presence of police might scare those thinking of deposing, he said: “Police presence is necessary for security measures.”

According to Justice Shah, the commission received roughly 4,300 affidavits from across Gujarat regarding the post-Godhra riots. The hearings in Ahmedabad will be divided according to police-station limits, he said.

Gujarat police had assured protection after the National Human Rights Commission had two months ago asked the force for a report on steps taken to protect the victims and witnesses.

The state police chief had said in a report submitted to the rights panel that all superintendents of police were instructed to extend protection to those seeking it.

Tanvir Jafri, son of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, said 25-odd witnesses would depose before the commission. Ehsan was set ablaze along with 38 others in Gulbarg Society in the post-Godhra riots.

Tanvir claimed that all necessary arrangements had been made to ensure witnesses were not scared and “depose fearlessly’’.

The inquiry commission would also hear other riot cases of Ahmedabad city and adjoining areas along with those of Gulbarg and Naroda Patia, where 89 people were burnt alive.

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