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'Godhra probe findings are partial'

The NHRC termed the diametrically opposite findings of two inquiry commissions on Godhra train carnage as "partial reports" and claimed such panels had no "independence".

india Updated: Oct 12, 2008 16:06 IST

The National Human Rights Commission on Sunday termed the diametrically opposite findings of two inquiry commissions on Godhra train carnage as "partial reports" and claimed such government-constituted probe panels had no "independence".

Referring to the reports of Nanavati and Banerjee Commissions, NHRC chairperson Justice S Rajendra Babu said it was not appropriate for any inquiry commission to submit a partial report considering its wide ramifications.

"One thing is normally not done is partial report. Both Nanavati and Banerjee gave partial reports," Babu told PTI in New Delhi.

The report of Gujarat government-appointed Justice G T Nanavati Commission, which went into the Sabarmati Express coach burning on February 27, 2002 that left 58 kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya dead, said it "was a pre-planned conspiracy" hatched at the Aman Guest House in Godhra.

"There is absolutely no evidence to show that either the Chief Minister (Narendra Modi) or any of the ministers in his council or police officers had played any role in the Godhra incident," said the report of Justice Nanavati, a former Supreme Court judge.

Justice UC Banerjee Commission, appointed by the UPA government in 2004, has called the fire an "accident" saying the fire in coach S-6 originated in the coach itself without any external input. The Commission completely ruled out the possibility of an inflammable liquid having been used, saying there was first a smell of burning followed by dense smoke and flames.

This sequence is not possible when fire is caused by inflammable liquid thrown on floor of coach or an inflammable object thrown from outside coach. The 'inflammable liquid theory' also gets negated by the statement of some of the passengers who suffered injuries on upper portions of their body, the Banerjee report stated while calling it an accident.

"They are not independent as we are. We are an independent body. Their term is dependent on government. Lots of problems are there. Difficulties are there," the NHRC chairperson said.

Describing the Godhra train fire as a "rare case", which resulted in massive communal violence in Gujarat leading to death of a large number of people and destruction of properties, Justice Babu said in such cases "partial reports are not given".

"Elections are coming. I do not want to politicise the issue. We have to look into it from an independent angle and impartial manner so that no body should feel that we have ignored anyone and sided with anyone," he said.

The NHRC chairperson said all inquiry commissions, while probing any incident, should keep in mind that it was the poor people who have to suffer most during any disturbance.

"We have to keep in mind that whenever such disturbances take place it is the poor people who always suffer. It may be Nandigram (in West Bengal) or Gujarat. Socially not empowered, economically not empowered, poor people who suffer most. Whether it is Nandigram or Gujarat, there makes no difference," Justice Babu said.