‘No evidence to act against Modi in 2002 riots’

Narendra Modi was questioned by the SIT last year in connection with Gujarat riots.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi can breathe a sigh of relief as the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the 2002 Gujarat riots has not been able to collect sufficient proof to justify action, if any, against Modi.

A report published in Tehelka quotes SIT chief Chairman RK Raghavan as saying: “As many as 32 allegations were probed into during this preliminary inquiry. These related to several acts of omission and commission by the state government and its functionaries, including the chief minister. A few of these alone were in fact substantiated.’ He goes on to add, “The substantiated allegations did not throw up material that would justify further action under the law.”

The report says, “In spite of the fact that ghastly and violent attacks had taken place on Muslims at Gulberg Society and elsewhere, the reaction of the government was not the type that would have been expected by anyone. The chief minister had tried to water down the seriousness of the situation at Gulberg Society, Naroda Patiya and other places by saying that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”
SIT Chairman RK Raghavan further comments that Modi’s statement “accusing some elements in Godhra and the neighbourhood as possessing a criminal tendency was sweeping and offensive coming as it did from a Chief Minister, that too at a critical time when Hindu-Muslim tempers were running high.”

The inquiry officer also notes: “His (Modi) implied justification of the killings of innocent members of the minority community read together with an absence of a strong condemnation of the violence that followed Godhra suggest a partisan stance at a critical juncture when the state had been badly disturbed by communal violence.”

The report says Modi displayed a “discriminatory attitude by not visiting the riot-affected areas in Ahmedabad where a large number of Muslims were killed, though he went to Godhra on the same day, travelling almost 300 km on a single day.” The SIT chairman also comments that “Modi did not cite any specific reasons why he did not visit the affected areas in Ahmedabad city as promptly as he did in the case of the Godhra train carnage.”
Modi faced a major embarassment when he was summoned for the first time for questioning in the 2002 riots after SIT asked him to appear before it on March 21 last year.

The 10 cases being presently being monitored by the SIT are -- Gulbarg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.