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Gujarat riots: Bhatt pleads to President for new probe

April 28, 2012 21:56 IST

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has petitioned President Pratibha Patil to appoint a new Commission of Inquiry to probe the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 riots.

"The Government of India should expeditiously appoint a two-member commission, under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952, headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India, to inquire into role of chief minister," Bhatt said in his petition to the president.

Bhatt further said that the role of chief minister and any other ministers in his council of ministers, police officers, other individuals and organisations with respect to the adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances (communal riots) in the state should be examined by the new panel.

"The new commission should also inquire the adequacy of the steps and measures taken by the administration, from June 1, 2002 till date; to facilitate relief, rehabilitation and the delivery of justice to the victims of the Godhra incident of February 27, 2002 and the subsequent communal riots of 2002 in the State of Gujarat," Bhatt has said.

It may be noted here that a panel headed by Supreme Court justice (retd) G T Nanavati and high court justice (retd) Akshay Mehta is already inquiring 2002 riots.

Bhatt also contended in his letter that there was a lacuna in terms of reference of Nanavati Commission.

The point of adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances in the state--which was mentioned in the original terms of reference of Nanavati Commission--was deleted when the terms of reference were revised in 2004, he said.

Bhatt has also cast doubts on the overall role and conduct of the state government towards Nanavati Commission.

"It is indeed ironic that the Government of Gujarat instead of conducting itself as a neutral and dispassionate entity has chosen to act in a partisan manner by identifying with and espousing the cause of the functionaries of the state administration, including the chief minister, whose very role and conduct is squarely covered by the terms of reference of the inquiry," Bhatt said in the letter.

He further said that the state government has been severely criticised by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and several judgements of Gujarat high court and Supreme Court regarding the 2002 riots.

Meanwhile, Bhatt, who was summoned by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), in response to a complaint lodged by one Niyazbibi Malek from Ognaj village in Ahmedabad district, has filed an affidavit, claiming that the gruesome incident at Godhra railway station was an orchestrated attempt to commit violence on the person and property of Muslims with "total support" and "complicity" from the state government.

The complainant had alleged that certain records that "indicated" of the state government's involvement in the riots have gone missing.

All these facts have been brought to the notice of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) as well as the Nanavati Commission but despite this they are bent upon giving a "clean chit" to these tragic events by branding them as "spontaneous" outrage against the Godhra riots, Bhatt said in the affidavit.

"It should be noted that there is enough documentary as well as oral evidence available to establish the complicity of the state and its high functionaries in these riots but the Commission and SIT are deliberately turning a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence and any persons who try to bring out the truth are victimised," he has alleged.

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