No change in policy on communal riots in Gujarat: US
Washington: The United States continues to express concern about communal violence in India, the Obama Administration has said, strongly refuting reports that it has gone soft on the Gujarat communal riots in 2002 and the alleged role of its Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
"I wouldn`t characterise our assessment that way. I think you`ll find if you review the text that we`re very clear about our concerns about several episodes of communal violence across India," US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday.
Psaki was responding to a question on the latest annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released by Secretary of State John Kerry.
"If Modi was mentioned in previous human rights reports for India by name, and (why) he is not mentioned in this one," she was asked.
Paski said that there is no change in the US policy on communal riots in Gujarat about a decade ago.
Both the annual reports of the 2011 and 2012 mention Modi in its report but it no way refers to his role in the communal riots.
The latest report said: "Civil society activists continued to express concern about the Gujarat government`s failure to protect the population or arrest many of those responsible for communal violence in 2002 that resulted in the killings of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim, although there was progress in several court cases," the report said.
"The Gujarat government appointed the Nanavati-Mehta Commission to investigate the 2002 violence. In December, the Gujarat government granted an extension for the 21st time, extending the commission to June 30, 2014," it said.
The State Department said the Gujarat government withdrew its consent to seek the death penalty for former minister Maya Kodnani and others convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patiya violence that killed 97 Muslims.
The investigating agency questioned the Gujarat government`s move in a petition in the Supreme Court in June.
Kodnani, the first senior politician to be convicted for 2002 violence, was sentenced to a 28-year jail term for her involvement in the post-Godhra riots case.
The report also talked about last year`s communal violence in the Muzaffarnagar area of Uttar Pradesh that led to 65 reported deaths, 42,000 persons displaced, and hundreds of injuries during the months of August and September.
"The violence started with a sexual harassment incident between a Muslim man and a Hindu Jat woman and escalated following a political meeting of officials and others from more than 300 local villages during the weekend of September 7-8," it said.
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