Even if Modi said let Hindus kill Muslims, it is not an offence: SIT’s twisted wisdom

The detailed report of a Special Investigations Team into allegations that Gujarat Chief Minister ordered his police officers to allow Hindu mobs to kill Muslims in 2002 has controversially claimed that even if Modi gave such an order, it would not constitute an offence.

Here is the excerpt: “The interpretation made on alleged illegal instructions given by the Chief Minister by [former DGP R. B.] Sreekumar and [suspended police officer] Sanjiv Bhatt appear to be without basis. Further, even if such allegations are believed for the sake of argument, mere statement of alleged words in the four walls of a room does not constitute an offence.”

The detailed report was made available Monday to Zakia Jafri, the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was burned to death with nearly three dozen other Muslims on February 28, 2002 in his house by a Hindu mob.

The Supreme Court had appointed the SIT in 2008 on a plea by Ms. Jafri who had contended that the Gujarat government was deliberately sabotaging the investigations and prosecution into the killing of her husband and others.

The SIT, led by former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director, R. K. Raghavan , has faced criticism for its “clean chit” given to Modi, especially by Sreekumar and Bhatt.

In an affidavit submitted before the SIT, Bhatt had claimed that he was present at a meeting that Modi had called at his official residence on February 27, 2002, and instructed his police officers to not intervene to stop the actions of Hindu mobs the next day.

The meeting had been called in connection with a call by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an affiliate of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to protest the burning of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra railway station a day earlier, on February 27. At least 58 people, including many VHP activists, were burned to death in that fire.

The VHP-BJP blamed the Muslims in a locality of Godhra adjacent to the railway station. The violence that began after Modi’s meeting with the state’s top police officers saw more than 2,000 Muslims killed in hate violence in many parts of Gujarat.

The SIT said it found no evidence to support Bhatt’s claim that he was present at the meeting.

In a separate affidavit filed before the SIT, Sreekumar had claimed that the then Director General of Police K. Chakravarty had told him a day after the meeting at Modi’s residence that the chief minister had told them specifically not to interfere in the work of the Hindu mobs.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2012 on page no. 4

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