Gujarat Violence 2002

In 2002, after the tragedy of the Godhra Train Mass Arson on February 27, that took 59 lives, violence was orchestrated in Gujarat’s 19 districts spread over three days. Elected representatives of the State, bureaucrats and policemen, bound by oath to the Indian Constitution, abdicated their fundamental duties to protect the lives and properties of the minorities and worse, justified this genocidal carnage in the name of the train burning at Godhra. Preparations for this perpetrated violence, that had a sinister pattern, had been made months before the train burning at Godhra.

Since then every effort was made to subvert the course of justice that is now nearly nine years old. In this process victim survivor, eye-witnesses and legal rights groups alike have together ensured a rigorous and intrepid struggle against a vindictive administration. Those officials and policemen who stood by the law of the land were victimised and sidelined; many who  toed the illegal and unlawful lines were rewarded.

Every effort has been made by us to ensure that evidence of all kinds is placed before the Courts to ensure that the guilty are punished. We have tried at every stage to place these in the public domain and ensure that we are all equipped to evaluate the evidence available and judge whether justice has been done to all those wronged. Propaganda is a tool used by the perpetrators of crimes, who also ensure state power and control over the administration to weave half truths and lies that fail to pin culpability on the highly placed accused. Policeman, bureaucrat or politician, he often escapes the long and often indulgent arms of the law.

A unique achievement of our collective efforts has been the ongoing criminal investigation into a chief minister and 61 other top level accused initiated by a survivor and legal rights group and ordered by the Supreme Court. Through this portal we place sequentially some of this evidence that has been elicited in a long drawn out and demanding process.

Official Reports of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Central Election Commission and the Government of Gujarat; Judgements of the Supreme Court of India and the Trial Courts; Exposures and Analysis of Evidence of Phone Call records of the Powerful conducted by us and submitted to the Courts -- who Spoke to Whom and what were their location;  figures of Relief and Rehabilitation that expose the State’s calls; CBI’s Authentication of Tehelka’s Operation Kalank; the affidavits of, former State Intelligence chief RB Sreekumar with their detailed annexures all this and more present a thoroughly researched case.

We believe that a careful perusal of the same will effectively answer the oft- asked query,

Is there sufficient evidence against those guilty for the State Sponsored Carnage of 2002?

What we cannot predict and only the next few months will reveal is whether all this evidence will be thoroughly probed and evaluated to ensure satisfaction in the due process of law and deliverance of justice.

Time will therefore tell however whether the Indian system has the grit courage and honesty to turn a spotlight on what must surely be remembered as its darkest hour.

Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai

Justice JS Verma, Former Chief Justice of India, Chairperson National Human Rights Commission

Interim Report, Gujarat 2002

“The Commission would like to observe that the tragic events that have occurred (in Gujarat in 2002) have serious implications for the country as a whole, affecting both its sense of self-esteem and the esteem in which it is held in the comity of nations. Grave questions arise of fidelity to the Constitution and to treaty obligations. There are obvious implications in respect of the protection of civil and political rights, as well as of economic, social and cultural rights in the State of Gujarat as also the country more widely; there are implications for trade, investment, tourism and employment. Not without reason have both the President and the Prime Minister of the country expressed their deep anguish at what has occurred, describing the events as a matter of national shame. But most of all, the recent events have resulted in the violation of the Fundamental Rights to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of citizens of India as guaranteed in the Constitution. And that, above all, is the reason for the continuing concern of the Commission.......”