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Published in the 16-28 Feb 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Gujarat round up

Panel cannot ignore Banerjee report 

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, Ahmedabad

The Milli Gazette Online

Now that a railway probe has termed the Godhra train fire "accidental" the big question is: what direction will the Nanavati Shah Commission probe now take?

The Nanavati Commission was set up by the Narendra Modi government to probe Godhra and post-Godhra riots. As per legal provisions, the Nanavati Commission instituted under the Commission of Inquiries Act is a highter entity when compared to the Banerjee Committee. 

But senior lawyers feel it will be difficult for the former to differ from the findings of the Banerjee Committee, which was assisted by a panel of technical experts. Several activists, NGOs and lawyers had earlier told the Nanavati Shah Commission that the fire could only have been accidental.

In an affidavit filed before the Nanavati Commission on July 1, 2002, the Jan Sangharsh Manch had said the fire was ‘accidental’. Advocate Mukul Sinha of the March claimed that the Banerjee report has vindicated the Manch’s findings.

The March affidavit had noted that the ‘karsevaks’ had stopped the train after a skirmish on the platform and while this was on, the coach caught fire accidentally. 

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