The nine-member tribunal, comprising eminent citizens and headed by former Supreme Court judge V R Krishna Iyer, has demanded the arrest and prosecution of Chief Minister Narendra Modi saying the large-scale violence that followed the Godhra carnage was directly related to his decision to 'carry Godhra to the whole state instead of containing the issue therein'.
Along with Modi, the tribunal held his cabinet colleagues and organisations like the BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal also 'directly responsible for the post Godhra carnage'.
Noting that the tribunal has no statutory authority to conduct an inquiry in such a matter, a state government release said the findings of the panel were 'one-sided and not based on facts established in accordance with constitutionally sanctioned legal processes'.
The release issued by the state home department cautioned people against being 'misled by self-appointed agencies' and await the report of the Gujarat government-appointed Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice G R Nanavati to probe the Godhra carnage and the subsequent violence.
"It is not proper for any other organisation or institution not empowered by law to comment on issues, which are under the purview of the commission," it said.
The VHP also attacked the tribunal saying its report has been prepared with the backing of 'jihadi-fundamentalists and pseudo-secularists' and threatened 'legal action' against those behind it.
"This report is prepared with superficial information and is intended to malign my image, our organisation and the sentiments of Hindus all over," VHP international general secretary Pravin Togadia told reporters in Ahmedabad.
'Those behind the report' would have to tender an 'unconditional apology' or face defamation charges, he said.
Attacking the tribunal, Togadia questioned its credibility 'in toto' and accused Justice Iyer of 'blindly signing the report'. "We treat the report as an anti-Hindu pamphlet," he added.
He urged the Justice K G Shah and Justice G T Nanavati Commission, appointed by the Gujarat government to investigate the Godhra carnage and the violence that followed, to cross-examine the report's findings.
"I think the tribunal prepared the report by misusing Justice Iyer's name and not under his guidance," Togadia said.
"The time chosen to release the report was to favour the Congress and to aid Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf's plans to spread jihadi elements in Gujarat," he claimed.
The post-Godhra violence: Complete Coverage
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