'Even judges were unsafe'
Contrary to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's latest claims about his government having sternly dealt with the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, the sense of insecurity among victims was so high that it even forced two high court judges to leave their homes.delhi Updated: Sep 19, 2011 00:31 IST
Contrary to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's latest claims about his government having sternly dealt with the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, the sense of insecurity among victims was so high that it even forced two high court judges to leave their homes.
Modi's statements during his ongoing three-day sadbhawna mission that he understands the pain of the victims, is directly contradicted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report on the 2002 violence. "The pervasive sense of insecurity among the victims prevailing in Gujarat during the riots extended to all segments of the society, including two high court judges," the report stated.
The NHRC said Justice SA Qadri, a sitting judge of the Gujarat High Court, and Justice Akbar Divecha, were compelled to leave their homes during riots "because of the vitiated atmosphere".
The NHRC report on the riots, which is a severe indictment of the Modi government, slammed it for the casual approach on providing security to the judges. "The Commission is compelled to state that the movements of Justice Qadri from house to house were forced on him because of pervasive insecurity." Referring to the case of Justice Divecha, the NHRC came down heavily on the state government, saying: "It totally ignored repeated efforts made by Justice Divecha and his associates to seek appropriate police protection, following the repeated visits of mobs to his house on February 28."
Justice Divecha narrated his experience in a letter to the then NHRC chief, Justice JS Verma. "The action taken by the police, sadly, was too little and too late," the Commission noted.
Attacking the Gujarat government, the NHRC stated: "If the response to the security needs of high court judges was so hopelessly inadequate, it must be inferred that the response to the needs of others, who were far less prominent, was even worse."
The NHRC also questioned the responses sent by the Gujarat government on the plight of victims in the relief camps, and action taken by it against those responsible for the riots.