Pointing out that the first part of its report made public last week “strictly dealt” only with the Godhra train burning incident, the Nanavati Commission on Monday said it had not given a clean chit to the Gujarat government for its role during the 2002 riots.
The commission chairman Justice G. T. Nanavati, told Hindustan Times :“The hue and cry has been raised without reading the report. The first part strictly deals only with the Godhra incident. Where is the question of clean chit on the riots without the final report ?”
Justice Nanavati’s report — first part tabled in Gujarat assembly last week— attracted widespread criticism for “showing undue haste in clearing the Narendra Modi government of any wrongdoing.”
The commission is still working on the final part of its report dealing with the riots that followed the Sabarmati Express fire at Godhra on February 27, 2002. It is expected to finalise the report by year-end, a senior official said.
According to the report, there was no evidence of any lapse on the state government’s part, “in providing protection, relief and rehabilitation to the victims of communal riots or in complying with the directions given by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).”
The finding is in direct contradiction with what the NHRC had said. In a letter to the then Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the NHRC chief, Justice J. S. Verma, had slammed the state government for its failure to protect riots victims.
Asked how could the commission reach such a conclusion when the first part of the report was only confined to the Godhra incident, Justice Nanavati’s office retorted: “This has been stated with regard to the victims of the train only and does not apply to post-Godhra riots victims, wait for the final report.”
Infact, Justice Verma, also a former Chief Justice of India, had questioned the intention of Nanavati Commission itself, barely a year after it was set up.
In a letter to then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in January 2003, Justice Verma wrote: “I am saddened to observe that the appointment of Justice Nanavati-Shah Commission by the state government has not at all allayed fears of the riots victims that justice would be done to remedy the wrongs that have occurred.”
Despite Justice Nanavati’s bid to clarify the findings, his commission may have to do a lot of explaining in the coming days for its apparently hasty conclusion absolving the state government for its role during the riots.