The three-day Sadbhavana mission of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi failed to impress top jurists, including two former chief justices of India, who charged him with shedding “crocodile tears” for the 2002 state riots victims.
Former CJIs — Justice JS Verma and Justice VN Khare — termed the mission as “meaningless”.
Justice Verma, who was the National Human Rights Commission chief during the riots, without naming Modi said, “the gentleman does not know what he is talking about.”
He said the Gujarat riots had provided a handle to the countries like Pakistan, who wanted to raise the matter at the United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting at Geneva in May 2002, soon after the riots.
“I was told by Mary Robinson, the then UN Human Rights High Commissioner, that though the issue was serious, since the NHRC report comprehensively covered everything, nobody would be allowed to raise the riots issue at the meeting,” Justice Verma said.
The NHRC report presented at the UN meet had slammed the Gujarat government for its failure to curb riots and provide relief. “Almost 90% of those arrested for heinous crimes including murder and arson have managed to get bail…,” the NHRC report stated.
“In the FIRs registered the accused were shown as unknown — this was the general pattern all over the state,” the NHRC stated.
Justice Khare, who had ordered a fresh probe in some cases and had ordered shifting of trials outside Gujarat during his tenure as the CJI in 2004, had said: “What is the use of shedding crocodile tears when the state failed in its duty...”