Finally, Nanavati report clears air on Gujarat riot ‘perpetrators’

New Delhi, 11 Dec (IANS) With the tabling of the second and final installment of the Justice Nanavati–Mehta Commission report in the Gujarat Assembly on Wednesday, a crucial chapter in the long saga of the Gujarat riots of 2002 came to an end.
Initially set up to probe the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002, the two-member Commission’s scope of enquiry was later enlarged to include the investigation into the 2002 Gujarat riots. It took all of 17 years for the Commission’s findings to make their way into the public domain.
The state government fulfilled its assurance, made in September, to the Gujarat High Court to present the long-awaited report in the next Assembly session.
Gujarat Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja tabled the report in the Assembly –- five years after it was submitted to the then Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. The report has given a clean chit to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his erstwhile cabinet colleagues, who were accused of aiding the communal riots in Gujarat which killed scores of people.
The Commission also absolved all political leaders and police officers in the state of any involvement in the riots that followed the Godhra incident in which 59 kar sevaks lost their lives. Notable among others who emerged clean from the enquiry commission’s findings are former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya.
The Commission has observed that there was no pre-planned conspiracy behind the post-Godhra violence, nor was the violence orchestrated in any manner. It also dismissed allegations of state authorities deliberately turning a blind eye while the rioting was going on unabated.
While ruling out negligence on the part of the state police forces in handling the riots, the report recommended that a disciplined police force is required for ensuring peace and tranquility.
The Commission, however, raised questions on the credibility of three senior police officers — Sanjiv Bhatt, R.B. Shreekumar and Rahul Sharma — who had cast aspersions on the state government’s objectivity during the riots.

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