alleged to have been instrumental in making RDX available," the judge observed while rejecting his bail.
Former minister in the Narendra Modi government I K Jadeja was on Tuesday questioned in-camera by the Nanavati Commission with regard to the 2002 Godhra train burning incident and the incidences of communal violence in the state that followed.
Kudankulam row: Anti-nuke yatra starts from ThursdayTroubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, Chapter 706
2002 SARDARPURA RIOTS 31 CONVICTED, 42 ACQUITTEDhttp://youtu.be/acVqH08vxhA
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There's "no harm" in withdrawing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from parts of Jammu and Kashmir, chief ministerOmar Abdullah said on Wednesday, raising the pitch ahead of an evening meeting of the unified command where the issue is to be discussed with the army.
A special trial court on Wednesday acquitted 42 of 73 accused in Sardarpura massacre case in which 33 people were burnt to death on March 1, 2002 post Godhara communal riots in Gujarat. All 31 convicted have been given life term as quantum of punishment for the crime by the court.
Former minister in the Narendra Modi government I K Jadeja was on Tuesday questioned in-camera by the Nanavati Commission with regard to the 2002 Godhra train burning incident and the incidences of communal violence in the state that followed.
Mr. Jadeja, who was the Gujarat Urban Development Minister during the 2002 riots, was quizzed for over half an hour by the Commission comprising retired justices G T Nanavati and Akshay Mehta.
Mr. Jadeja is the second minister of the then Narendra Modi-led BJP government who has been questioned as witness by the Commission. The Commission had last year questioned the then Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadafia, who has parted ways with the BJP and floated his own outfit Mahagujarat Janta Party (MJP).
"The Commission had summoned me with regard to the Godhra incident and the riots that took place after that," Mr. Jadeja told reporters.
"The Commission had some queries with regard to the 2002 riots and they had called me to clarify on those issues which I have done," he said.
Mr. Jadeja, who lost the Assembly elections in 2007, refused to divulge details about the questions asked, saying that the matter was sub judice.
He also declined to comment on whether he was questioned about the presence of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in the meeting called by Mr. Modi on February 27, 2002.
Mr. Jadeja was present in the meeting, where, according to Mr. Bhatt, Mr. Modi had allegedly instructed officers to allow Hindus "to vent out their anger" during the clashes.
He was also present in the state control room during the riots along with the then State Health Minister Ashok Bhatt.
Mr. Jadeja is at present posted as executive chairman of the Swarnim Gujarat Committee and enjoys the status of a Cabinet rank minister.
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit but allowed liberty to co-accused Ajay Rahirkar on certain conditions. "Lt. Colonel Purohit was not just involved in talking about Hindu rashtra, but is
alleged to have been instrumental in making RDX available," the judge observed while rejecting his bail.
"Reliability of evidence about his bragging to a witness that he had RDX in his possession and the evidence about finding of RDX on a cotton swab would have to be decided at trial. Therefore, he would not be entitled to bail," observed Justice R C Chavan.
"As far as Ajay Rahirkar is concerned, firstly, there is nothing in the conversation to show his involvement. Secondly, all that he could be said to have done is financing purchase of some arms and not any material used in the blasts at the instance of Purohit from the funds of a trust. Hence, Rahirkar would be entitled to bail," the judge held.
Rahirkar was ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with one or more solvent sureties in the same amount.
The judge asked Rahirkar to scrupulously keep himself away from all witnesses and report at the office of National Investigating Agency or its representative in Mumbai once a month on a convenient date to be fixed by the trial court till the case is over.
Nisar Ahmed Haji Sayed Bilal, a Malegaon resident, had intervened in the matter and opposed the bail plea of both the accused.
The accused were charged for murder, attempt to murder, looting, rioting and other charges. Of 73 accused, 8 are still lodged in jail while remaining are out on bail.
Sardarpura, a small village near Mehsanad, massacre case was one of the nine cases reinvestigated by the Supreme Court appointed SIT headed by former CBI director Dr RK Raghavan. The trial was monitored by the Supreme Court, which sought reports of the progress of these cases regularly.
According to the complainant Sheikh Ibrahim Rghubhai a mob of 1,000 people had attacked a Muslim locality. Scared of rioters fury, people had gathered in a tiny room owned by Sheikh Mehmudmiya Hussainmiya which was set on fire. 28 bodies were recovered from the room while 5 had died during treatment.
This is the second of the nine cases in which trial was initially stayed and later monitored by the Supreme Court.
Eminent social activist Teesta Setalvad on Wednesday hailed the judgment of a special court in Gujarat, which convicted 31 of the 73 accused in the 2002 Sardarpura post-Godhra riot case.
Setalvad said the verdict has restored the faith of people in the judicial system.
"In one sense it is a huge victory for the victims, survivors and us, 31 people have been convicted under section 302 and 149 which is murder and mob frenzy which generally mean at least a conviction for life; 31 have been given the benefit of doubt and 11 have been acquitted," Setalvad told mediapersons in Ahmedabad.
"In that sense being the largest number convictions it is a welcome victory. The courage of the victim survivors and the faith in the lower judiciary under the watch of the Supreme Court has been reaffirmed," she added.
Setalvad further informed about the follow up appeal she is about to file in the court.
"Having said that there were certain aspects of investigation regarding wider conspiracy and build up of arms coming into Mehsana and Sabarkatha, prior to the Godhra incident brought out on the one hand by the Tehelka magazine sting operation and secondly by the state intelligence reports which were made public by the affidavits of former Director General of Police (DGP) Mr. R.B Sreekumar," said Setalvad.
"These aspects the SIT (Special Investigation Team) somehow failed to investigate and therefore could not be put before the court. Witnesses did testify about some political incitement, these are issues that we will take up possibly in appeal," she added.
Meanwhile, former Director General of Gujarat (DGP) Police, R.B Sreekumar, also lauded the verdict and said that it would send out a positive message.
"This is a great success, a great leap forward, a great achievement for the NGOs and people like Teesta Setalvad who had relentlessly, consistently pursued it. Please note that no secular party had also taken up these cases. Secondly please note that for the first time the so called good people, so called respectable people who had never committed any crime but committed communal crime that it because of the impact of the communal indoctrination," said Sreekumar.
"Very good people acted as pre-planned robots many of these convicted people do not have any police records even in misappropriation or the economic offences. But they have been convicted, this will send a right message," he added.
A special designated court in Gujarat earlier in the day awarded life imprisonment for all 31 accused in the 2002 Sardarpura massacre case of post Godhra riots.
The 31 convicted have been charged with murder, attempt to murder, rioting and other Sections of IPC, while charges of criminal conspiracy against them were dropped by the court.
33 persons were burnt alive in this massacre during 2002 communal violence that broke out after the Godhra train carnage.
More than 100 anti-nuclear energy activists will on Thursday embark on a yatra from Madurai to Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu to create awareness about the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).
According to a statement issued here by the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle Wednesday, before leaving, the activists would attend a seminar on nuclear energy and India's energy crisis, organised by Tamil Nadu Gandhi Smarak Nidhi.
The activists will meet villagers protesting against the project in Kudankulam.
A 10-member youth delegation from the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle, including members of Campaign for Justice and Peace-TN and Reclaim Our Beaches, will join the yatra in Idinthakarai near Kudankulam Friday.
The yatra, organised by the National Alliance of Anti-Nuclear Movements, will stop at various towns and villages enroute to Kudankulam to warn the people about the environmental and health effects of nuclear energy, the statement said.
The yatra will culminate in Chennai on Sunday.
India's nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW nuclear power reactors with Russian technology and equipment in Kudankulam, around 650 km from here. The first unit is expected to go on stream in December. The project is estimated to cost around Rs.13,160 crore.
However, locals are opposed to the project, saying it will harm their health and the environment.
There is a "need to remove the AFSPA from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir. This is what I and the deputy chief minister would be conveying to the army this evening", Abdullah told reporters here on the occasion of the opening of government offices here in what is known as the annual Durbar Move.
He said the peace dividends of the summer of 2011 in Kashmir must flow to the people.
Abdullah said the government has a certain perspective, with its own inputs in the matter, which would be shared with the army.
The army, however, is opposed to the repeal of AFSPA, even partially.
The Unified Command meeting on Wednesday evening is expected to discuss the removal of AFSPA - which gives sweeping powers to the army and has allegedly caused many rights violations in the valley - from parts of Jammu and Kashmir.Lavasa's multi-crore hill city project near Pune today overcame the green hurdle with Union Environment Ministrygranting clearance for its first phase subject to "strict compliance" of certain terms and conditions.
"The Ministry, hereby, accords environmental clearance for the project as per provisions ofEnvironmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and its subsequent amendments, subject to strict compliance of terms and conditions," a government order said.
The Ministry's decision came after the Maharashtra government filed a case against the promoters of Lavasa Hill City for alleged violations of the Environment Protection Act (EPA).
Filing of the case under the EPA was one of the key pre-conditions of the Environment Ministry for granting clearance to the first phase of the project.
"We have now got environment clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the stakeholders will be happy to hear this," a relieved Ajit Gulabchand, Chairman, Lavasa Corporation, told PTI.
He said the decision would also reassure hundreds of villagers and workers engaged in the construction of the hill city project.
The ministry had laid down five pre-conditions, as suggested by the Expert Appraisal Committee, for Lavasa to comply with before grant of environment clearance.
These conditions include demarcation of land usage which includes open spaces, diverting five per cent of its expenses for corporate social responsibility, creation of an environment restoration fund, which in turn will be monitored by a verification and monitoring committee and a submission by the company that violations would not be repeated.
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Saffron terror is a controversial phrase used to describe acts of Right-wing terrorism in India, allegedly inspired by Hindu nationalism. The phrase "saffron terror" is a neologismwhich entered public debate in India following the 29 September 2008 western India bombings.
The Home Minister of India, P. Chidambaram urged Indians to beware of "Saffron terror" on August 25, 2010 at a meeting of state police chiefs in New Delhi. This was the first time the word was "officially" used by the UPA government., though it is used also by other ministers of the UPA Government. The term is referred to for right wing religious fundamentalists in India, as per the Union Home Minister of India.
Investigations and allegations
Hindu extremist organisations have been alleged to be involved in terrorist attacks including 2006 Malegaon blasts, Mecca Masjid bombing (Hyderabad), Samjhauta Express bombings and theAjmer Sharif Dargah Blast.
Investigation of Ajmer Dargah Blast
A blast shook the sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer on Thursday at 6:20 pm, leaving two dead and eleven injured. The blast was initially blamed on the Pakistani terrorist group LeT. However, in 2010, The ATS arrested five individuals for the blast, four of whom were members of the Hindu Nationalist group RSS. Swami Aseemanand, in his confession, also admitted the involvement of former RSS members and the Inter-Services Intelligence in the blast. His lawyer claimed that the confession was made under "extreme pressure".
Investigation of Samjhauta Express bombing
Initially the primary suspects of the bombing were considered to be Pakistan-based terror groups like the LeT and the JeM. In November 2008, it was reported that Indian officials also suspected the attacks were linked to Prasad Shrikant Purohit, an Indian army officer and member of Hindu nationalist group Abhinav Bharat. Wikileaks reports name David Headley as behind the Samjhauta attacks. On January 8, 2011, Swami Aseemanand allegedly confessed that Saffron terror outfits were behind the bombing of Samjhauta express, a statement later alleged to be obtained under duress. His confessions included allegations that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence(ISI) was supporting the activities logistically. On March 31, 2011 Aseemanand redacted his confession, citing government pressure. Security analyst B. Raman has termed this investigation as a "partisan political game.".
Investigation of 2008 Malegaon blasts
Police filed a chargesheet that named Indian Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit as the alleged main conspirator who provided the explosives, and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as the alleged prime accused who arranged for the men who planted the explosives.
A 4,000-page chargesheet, filed by Maharashtra Anti- Terrorism Squad (ATS) before the Special MCOCA court here, stated that Purohit joined the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat in 2007 with an alleged intention to 'propagate a separate Hindu Rashtra with its own Constitution'. According to the document, the Army officer allegedly collected 'huge amounts' to the tune of Rs 21 lakh for himself and Abhinav Bharat to promote his "fundamentalist ideology."
It was in the aftermath of the September 29 bomb blast in the predominantly Muslim town of Malegaon in Maharashtra that the alleged terms Saffron Terror and Hindutva Terror came to be used widely in various medias.  However, the accused parties confessed to police on narco-analysis that a group of Muslim individuals was used to obtain the RDX used in the blast. However, Purohit allegedly admitted that a splinter group with tenuous ties to him had executed two blasts in India, which prompted investigators to look into the blasts in Ajmer andHyderabad.
Three men accused of the 2006 Malegaon bombings, including Lt Col Shrikant Purohit of the India army and Pragya Singh Thakur, have been described as representing Saffron terror.  Purohit was also accused of being involved in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings until the role of Pakistani terrorist Asif Zamani was unearthed. A United States Department of the Treasury report links these bombings toLashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaeda.
Investigation of Mecca Masjid bombing
While the United Progressive Alliance-led central government has claimed that Abhinav Bharat was behind the Mecca Masjid bombing, theSouth Asia Terrorism Portal, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the United States, and the United Nations have asserted that the Islamic outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami was actually behind the attacks. Noting this, security analyst Bahukutumbi Ramanhas questioned "the two different versions that have emerged from Indian and American investigators." On September 22, 2010 a report submitted by the United States National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to the United States Department of Homeland Security, named HuJi responsible for the blasts. The CBI claimed in their response that the NCTC "do not seem to be updated with developments in the case"
Swami Aseemanand confessed in January 2011 that he and other Hindu activists were involved in bombings at Muslim religious places(including the mecca masjid). Hyderabad was chosen because the Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to opt for Pakistan at the time of partition. However his lawyer claimed that confession was obtained under pressure.
Members of Abhinav Bharat have recently been alleged to have been involved in a plot to kill Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh President Mohan Bhagwat. allegedly with the help of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. Headlines Today released a recorded video tested by theCentral Forensic Science Laboratory which indicated the uncovering of an alleged plot to assassinate the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari. Tehelka also released alleged audio tapes transcripts of main conspirators of Abhinav Bharat which indicated involvement of Military intelligence officers with the Abhinav Bharat group in their January 2011 edition.
According to some released documents by WikiLeaks, Congress(I) party's general secretary Rahul Gandhi remarked to US Ambassador Timothy Roemer, at a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister of India at his residence in July 2009, that R.S.S. posed a 'bigger threat' to India than the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya said that the statement indicated his lack of understanding of Hindutva & concept of nationalism and part of a pre-planned move.
At The Annual Conference of Director General of Police held in New Delhi on 16th September 2011, a special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) reportedly informed the state police chiefs that the Hindutva activists have either been suspected or are under investigation in 16 incidents of bomb blasts in the country.
Organizations and alleged people
The following organizations are alleged to be involved in acts of terrorism attributable to Hindu nationalism:
- Abhinav Bharat - Notable members: Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt. Col Prasad Shrikant Purohit, Swami Aseemanand
Two persons with alleged links to the Hindutva organization Sanatan Sanstha were sentenced to 10 years in jail for planting explosives and causing an explosion in various theatres in Thane and Vasai.
The first known use of the term "Saffron Terror" is from an 2002 article in Frontline in reference to 2002 Gujarat Riots. However it was in the aftermath of the September 29, 2008 bomb blast in the predominantly Muslim town of Malegaon in Maharashtra that these terms came to be used widely. In late 2008, Indian police arrested members of a Hindu radical cell allegedly involved in an attack Malegaon which killed 7Muslims. For incidents like these, Saffron terror has been used synonymously with "Anti-Muslim terrorism" or "Anti-Muslim reprisals".
The current Home Minister of India, P. Chidambaram urged Indians to beware of "Saffron terror" on August 25, 2010 at a meeting of state police chiefs in New Delhi. This was the first time the word was "officially" used by the Government of India. Since making the remark, a Hindu Swami in the Patan district has filed a defamation lawsuit against Chidambaram, on the grounds that the saffron color is a conventional Hindu symbol and worn regularly by Hindu religious clergy, and that Chidambaram has hurt the sentiments of Hindus by linking the symbol to terrorism. Chidambaram responded by stating "I cannot claim patent on the phrase." On September 6, 2010 a Gujarat court ordered a probe into the use of the term by Chidambaram. Chidambaram was also criticized by members of his own party (the Indian National Congress) for the use of the term, with Congress spokesman Janardhan Dwivedi claiming "terrorism does not have any colour other than black".
The usage of the term "Saffron terror" has come under criticism, especially from the Bhartiya Janata Party, whose leaders claim that the term is being used by the government(controlled by the rival party Indian National Congress) for political gains.
The term has been criticized as a "myth" by BJP MP Balbir Punj, who claims that the term is an invention of the Indian National Congressparty to demonize their political opposition as "terrorists". Bahukutumbi Raman, a former head of the Research and Analysis Wing, criticized the term as a tool for political posturing toward the Muslim minority. Similar views have been expressed by other journalists in India Kanchan Gupta and Swapan Dasgupta, have accused investigators of leaking statements about saffron terror to the media to promote the agenda of the Indian National Congress,
The BJP's former president, Rajnath Singh, has denounced claims of Hindu terrorists as "vilification of Hindu saints and army officers in the name of Hindu terrorism". In 2010, the internet whistleblower organization Wikileaks released documents attesting to some leaders of theIndian National Congress alleging involved of Hindu right-wing groups in the death of ATS chief Hemant Karkare during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The cable concluded that such allegations were being used for electoral gains. The term "Saffron Terror" was prominently used by some Congress party members in this campaign, most prominently by Digvijay Singh. The Bharatiya Janata Party criticised these statements and filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India citing it as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct for guidance of political parties. The Election Commission issued a show-cause notice to Digvijay Singh on this complaint . Hindu spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has also criticized the usage of the term, saying that it is a myth and insult to Hindu religion, which he said is the most tolerant religion.
The main opposition party BJP accused the government of targeting Hindus. BJP leader M M Joshi said that the Congress had itself set up a committee ahead of independence to consider what the national flag should look like and saffron was the colour chosen by it and that Saffron is a part of Indian heritage. MPs of another party Shiv Sena rushed into the well demanding an apology from the home minister and later staged a walkout. Ram Madhav, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's national executive, Home Minister made it a point to single it out by not making reference to any other terror in the country by name. In his address he didn't talk about jihadi or Islamic terror, didn't utter the word red terror except a vague reference to Left wing extremism towards the end and questioned how a couple of sporadic cases that took place during a period of 14 months, that have happened between August 2007 and Malegaon become a phenomenon? He also pointed out that 'security bureaucracy' could be acting at the behest of their political masters seemed to be behind creating saffron terror.
- ^ a b c d "Beware of saffron terror too, warns home minister".economictimes.indiatimes.com (Economic Times). 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- ^ a b PC defends 'saffron terror' remark Deccan Herald - September 1, 2010
- ^ Rise of Hindu 'saffron terror' New straits Times - August 25, 2010
- ^ Zubair Ahmed (21 November 2008). "'Hindu terrorism' debate grips India". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 24 June 2010.
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- ^ Dip Your Nib In Scepticism OutlookIndia.com, Editorial, 06-21-2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
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- ^ Malegaon, Ajmer, Hyderabad blasts. Joining the dotsIndianExpress.com, 04-10-2010. Retrieved 16-06-2010.
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- ^ Blast at Ajmer Dargah, 2 dead
- ^ Fifth arrest in Ajmer Dargah blast case
- ^ Four of five Ajmer blast accused have RSS links: ATS
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- ^ ATS to summon Indresh after Aseemanand's statement
- ^ a b Purohit plotted to kill RSS leader Indresh Kumar: ReportIndian Express - January 28, 2011
- ^ a b c 'Aseemanand confessed under pressure'
- ^ Leaders condemn India train blast
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- ^ US review finds five warnings of Headley's militant links
- ^ Aseemanand owns up to strike on Mecca Masjid
- ^ a b Swami Aseemanand 'confessed' under duress: Counsel
- ^ I was forced by NIA to confess, says Aseemanand, July 18, 2011, rediff.com
- ^ Mohan, Vishwa (January 9, 2011). "Co-conspirators saw RSS man as ISI mole". The Times of India. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
- ^ SAMJAUTA BLAST PROBE: MESSIER & MESSIER South Asia Analysis Group - April 2, 2011
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- ^ Battleground heats up as the Hand plucks at the Lotus, one petal at a time Tehelka
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- ^ Vishwa Mohan, TNN (2010-08-08). "HuJI ban takes no note of 'Hindu terror' role". timesofindia.indiatimes.com (Times of India). Retrieved 2010-10-10.
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- ^ a b http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/aug/26/column-why-the-home-minister-invoked-saffron-terror.htm
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RSS-Anna links go back a long way, says RSS chief Mohanrao BhagwatJayanta Gupta, TNN | Nov 9, 2011, 07.23PM IST
KOLKATA: Laying speculation to rest, RSS Sar-Sanghchalak Mohanrao Bhagwat said that his organization and Anna Hazare go back a long way. If Bhagwat is to be believed, it was the RSS that urged Anna to go in for a movement against corruption but the organization never took active part in it.
"If the RSS is asked by Anna to join the movement, we shall do so. But, no such request has come in as yet. However, we are not stopping RSS members from participating in Anna's movement. The links between Anna and the RSS go back a long way. It was the RSS that highlighted Anna's developmental programmes for villages. We even got Anna to help us in our village development programmes. It was during these interactions that the RSS suggested to him to go in for a movement against corruption. I was supposed to meet Anna in June but both of us got held up elsewhere," the RSS chief said during an informal interaction with journalists in Kolkata on Wednesday.
According to Bhagwat, the RSS also spoke to Baba Ramdev on starting a movement against corruption. "We can't force him to join hands with Anna but we did urge Baba Ramdev to be part of the movement. The RSS, as an organization, believes in creating better individuals who would lead corruption-free lives. This would finally give birth to a corruption-free nation. However, for the time being, any movement against corruption in the government is good," he said.
The RSS chief believes that India is on her way to becoming the 'country of his dreams' where there will be a clear divide between religion and politics. According to him, the internal security system - particularly the Maoists - will not pose any problem if the situation is handled properly.
"I am from the Maoist-affected Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. I know for sure that the Maoists have no mass base. They have simply spread a network of terror. No change can take place in this manner. It is the poor people whose lives are getting grinded between the Maoists and the security forces. The Maoist problem can be sorted out in 2-3 years. I believe that the 'India of my dreams' will become a reality in 30 years. After all, awareness has gone up significantly and the younger generation is looking up to core values," Bhagwat said.
Hailing the loss of the CPM in West Bengal as the return of 'freedom' for the people, Bhagwat refused to comment on the activities of the new government in the state. He claimed that he was in Kolkata for better networking. He did not sound too happy with the Centre's directions to a filmmaker, not to depict pro-Tibet posters and the Tibetan flag in his film, so as not to hurt Chinese sentiments.
"What is wrong if a few Indian films depict such scenes? After all, a Chinese politician can come to India and ask a journalist to 'shut up' when asked about the wrong depiction of territory on a map. India should certainly have friendly relations with neighbours but should not them to dictate terms," Bhagwat said.
Sonia joins the Lokpal war, takes on Team AnnaPallavi Ghosh, CNN-IBN
4New Delhi: Breaking her silence on Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi, who has skipped her first election rally in Uttarakhand due to fever, attacked both Team Anna and the BJP, asking them to introspect.
Saying that mere speeches don't end corruption, she took credit for the Government's progressive laws including the RTI and asked both Team Anna and the BJP what the noise about.
In a speech read out on her behalf, Sonia Gandhi said, "Corruption cannot end by pointing fingers at others. Everyone should introspect. It cannot end if some think their corruption is better than others. This is what is happening these days. I want to ask these people who gave the RTI? Who brought transparency in public life? We did. The NAC was set up by the Prime Minister and I am in it. The Lokpal Bill was first formulated here. The Prime Minister and the Government are committed to the Lokpal, so what's the noise about?"
On the issue of price rise, she said, "Inflation is a cause for concern. I understand government's compulsions but something should be done for people. Everyone can do their politics but concern for people should be most important."
Sonia Gandhi's attack comes in the backdrop of Team Anna's relentless attacks on the Congress. In fact the team held referendum in both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi's constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. Strategically, the Congress President needed to break her silence just ahead of the UP elections.
Sonia Gandhi's speech is significant both in timing and location. It comes ahead of the crucial assembly polls including that of Uttarakhand and also ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament. The focus of which would be whether or not the Government can come with the Lokpal Bill and whether Team Anna will be satisfied.
Hazare however retaliated by saying that the UPA must show by action and bring the Lokpal Bill soon.
"Where am I making the speeches? Just bring the Bill," said Anna Hazare.
Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal said that the India Against Corruption welcomed the commitment of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the Lokpal. Kejriwal expressed hope that the Government would honour her commitment of getting a strong and effective Lokpal Bill during the Winter Session of Parliament.
However, taking on the UPA chairperson, he said that mere speeches would not be enough from the Government's side.
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#Sonia Gandhi #Anna Hazare #LK Advani #Lokpal Bill #Jan Lokpal Bill #corruption#BJP #Government #Congress #UPA
China's No. 1 target is the US, next is India: BushNihar Gokhale, Manu Balachandran, Rohit Chandavarkar & Shilpy Sinha , ET Bureau | Nov 9, 2011, 11.35AM IST
MUMBAI: Former US president George W Bushon Tuesday delivered a blunt warning to Indians about the intentions of China. The former president who has courted trouble in the past with his aggressive and overthe-top assertions said China was looking to upstage India.
"China's No. 1 target is the US, next is India," he told a group of select CEOs at a late dinner meet on Tuesday. Bush, the two-term president whose reign saw a dramatic improvement inIndo-US relations, also said his country's patience with Pakistan was wearing thin, according to one of the participants.
"If the US had not befriended Pak, Pak would have become more dangerous. But now US patience is wearing off," he said. In the course of a free-wheeling discussion, Bush also touched upon a number of important topics. He cautioned businessmen never to do business with Russiaand said the EU would have a completely different look in five years but the euro would stay.
"If Iran goes after Israel, the US will go after Iran," Bush said, referring to the tense stand-off in the Middle-East over Iran's nuclear weapons programme. "While making history, timing is most important," he added. Those attending the dinner meet included HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh and ICICI Bank Chairman KV Kamath.
RPG promoter Harsh Goenka, GVK group promoter GVK Rao, Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj and IIFL promoter Nirmal Jain were also present. "This event was kept a secret because the main condition from George W Bush's office was that there will be no announcements about this engagement and no media coverage given to it.
Even the list of guests was kept secret," said a senior executive from ICICI Lombard. The visit was organised ICICI Lombard and Fairfax Financial Holdings, a Torontobased company that owns 26% of the Indian general insurance company, and was attended by their top officials from India and the US.
Bush era warmth over? US seen drifting from IndiaIndrani Bagchi, TNN | Nov 9, 2011, 06.04AM IST
NEW DELHI: It was a walk-past that raised eyebrows. At the G-20 summit in Cannes, observers saw what they described as a strange scene -- Prime Minister Manmohan Singhstanding to the side while US President Barack Obama strode past him to greet another head of state with nary a glance at him.
Although the two leaders enjoyed a quiet chat later and are slated for a bilateral summit in Bali next week, for many in the room, the "overlook" seemed to symbolize what is now popularly described as a "drift" in the India-US relationship.
Dirges have been sung over the India-US relationship for some time now. US makes no secret of a growing disappointment with India, while India realizes that the warmth in ties subsided with George Bush's exit. The newer phenomenon is that few tears are being shed in the top levels of the Indian establishment over the state of ties with the US.
So what gives? US remains shell-shocked over the MMRCA rejection while India's positions on Libya, Syria and Palestine -- and increasinglyIran -- draw scorn from Washington's administration elite. After Obama's soul-stirring speech in the Indian Parliament last November, at least on the nuclear front, India has not, according to the US, delivered.
India refuses to change its liability law, whose punitive liability provisions keep US firms out, even though they have thawed enough to carry out "early works agreements" with NPCIL. India has been at the receiving end of a harangue on ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation. India has promised to ratify it but is yet to do it. Consequently, India's membership to the four non-proliferation regimes is still a twinkle in the eye.
India's disappointment goes beyond. In the government, there is little sympathy for US action inLibya or Syria, despite the fact that neither Muammar Gaddafi nor Bashar Al Assad are Indian favourites. India is now increasingly coming round to the view that a US withdrawal fromAfghanistan might not be so bad for the region. The recent US move to strike deal with the Haqqani Network at ISI's bidding has not gone down well in India.
In the Asia-Pacific theatre, where India and US have the greatest congruence, the US is pushing for a regional security architecture which India is chary of, because it might mean that India would be sucked into a US-China rivalry, and New Delhi does not want to go down that path.
George Bush believed in the big picture where India was concerned even in the worst days of the nuclear deal. Obama is more transactional and this shows in the relationship. With mounting domestic political issues on either side, Obama's "walk past" is probably an accurate sign of the times.
Even as they cope with the perceived downturn in ties, Indians hope that things will look up. For, despite all the difficulties, US remains India's most important partner. The ties are deeper and multi-faceted. Just over the next few weeks, joint working groups on defence, defence production and procurement will be meeting while a civil aviation summit is on the agenda.
There is an intensive travel schedule planned. Francisco Sanchez, US undersecretary for international trade, is in town. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Gregory B Jaczkowill lead a five-person NRC delegation to India, followed by Rajiv Shah, head of USAID, deputy secretary Bill Burns, not to speak of congressional delegations and a long line of Indian ministers going to the US. On the face of it, ties have never been as good
Incidentally, India was unusually quiet at the just concluded G-20 summit. At the last G-20 summit in Seoul, Singh was feted as the global economic savant. It was this time in 2010 when all P-5 leaders were beating a path to New Delhi as Singh seemed to have fresh ideas to rebalance the global economy.
A year later, India has dropped off the map. China was the sole toast of last week's summit as European leaders tried to persuade Hu Jintao to help bail out the Eurozone financial crisis, which now threatens to engulf Italy after Greece.
Even French President Nicolas Sarkozy inexplicably stood Singh up, despite the fact that their bilateral meeting coincided with the opening of the commercial bids of the MMRCA where French aircraft Rafale is in the running.
Indian leaders opted for a lower profile. While all the other participants made sure their positions were available to the global media assembled in Cannes, they stayed away.
Narendra Modi in Beijing, tells China 'Pakistan is making use of you'
BEIJING: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday belied speculation that he would give up the BJP's nationalistic stance for the sake of Chinese investments. He raised a few controversial issues including the one about the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir during his talks with Communist Party leaders in Beijing.
"I told them - whatever your intentions, Pakistan is making use of you," Modi said after his meeting with three Chinese leaders includingWang Gang, a politburo member of theCommunist Party of China and vice-chairman of the China People's Consultative Conference. There is a lot of concern over Chinese troop presence in PoK in India, and particularly in Gujarat as it was a border state, he told them.
Modi also questioned the wisdom of a Chinese transformer maker, TBEA, displaying a wrong map of India at a function in New Delhi, which resulted in a sharp exchange of words between a journalist and Chinese ambassador in India, Zhang Yan. Gujarat government is worried about the controversy because it has signed a Rs 2500-crore contract with the Chinese company.
Chinese leaders carefully listened to his concerns about the long detention of 22 Gujaratis, mostly diamond merchants, who have been languishing in jails in China without trail for close to two years, Modi said. "I was not expecting a promise. You cannot get results in one meeting. But I am sure they have understood our feelings on the subject," he said.
The Gujarat chief minister said Chinese leaders were eager to hear about Gujarat's development, and heard him with a lot of attention. This is significant because he did not represent the ruling party in New Delhi, Modi said.
Modi said he expects China to become the third country after Japan and Canada to establish a special relationship with Gujarat, which is besides their interactions with the rest of India. He is also working on collaboration with China for establishing a sports university in Gujarat, he said.
China's Communist leaders to hold 5 meetings with Modi during his visitSaibal Dasgupta, TNN | Nov 7, 2011, 08.03PM IST
BEIJING: The Communist Party of China is paying close attention to Gujarat Chief MinisterNarendra Modi, who is scheduled to meet CPC leaders on five different occasions during the four days he will spend in the country from November 9. There are signs the Chinese leadership would like to form their own opinion on Modi, who has been described as a future prime minister by several Indian industrialists.
Modi is scheduled to meet "a top leader" of CPC at the Great Hall of the People. The leader who will meet him at the Great Hall has not been specified. But this is the venue where foreign visitors are greeted by China's president, premier or chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, which is the Chinese parliament.
Meetings with senior CPC leaders is bound to help Modi cement business ties because State-run corporations, and industry leaders in China usually look for signals from the party and government before signing major business deals, informed sources said. The visit comes immediately after Modi announced plans to build the world's tallest Buddhist stupa in Gujarat.
The Gujarat CM will also visit the International department of the CPC Central Committee, which acts as a bridge between the party and political parties across the world. He will also meet the mayor and party secretary of two major cities, Beijing and Shanghai. His appointments include dinner with a senior CPC leader of Sichuan province on November 11 and a meeting with the Sichuan governor at Chengdu the next day.
Modi is also due to visit a research center of Huawei Technologies, which has been facing close scrutiny by the central government concerning its telecom equipment supplies. He will talk to local businessmen in Chengdu and end his China tour with a visit to a Buddhist temple in Sichuan.
Modi, who is accompanied by M Sahu, principal secretary for industry and mines and AK Sharma, secretary in the chief minister's office, will address a business seminar in Beijing and attend a dinner hosted by the Indian community in Shanghai on November 10. He is leading a business delegation that includes Sudhir Mehta, Parimal Nathwani, Pranav Adani, Mahendra Patel, Zarir Langrana, Nirav Shah, Sunil Chaturvedi and Rajesh Jain.
India court jails 31 for life over 2002 Gujarat riots
A court in India has jailed 31 people for life for killing dozens of Muslims during religious riots in the western state of Gujarat nine years ago.
They were found guilty of murder, attempted murder, arson, rioting and criminal conspiracy after 33 people were burned alive in a building.
Another 42 mostly Hindu defendants were acquitted for lack of evidence.
More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died when riots erupted after a train fire killed 60 Hindu pilgrims in 2002.
It was one of India's worst outbreaks of religious violence in recent years.
Muslims were blamed for starting the train fire, and Hindu mobs eager for revenge went on the rampage through Muslim neighbourhoods in towns and villages across Gujarat in three days of violence following the incident.Fierce debate
The special court dealing with the case sat near Sardarpura village, where the 33 Muslims sought shelter in a small house on the night of 28 February, 2002.
The victims had gathered there to get away from the rioters, who set the building alight. The bodies of 28 people were found at the scene, with five others dying later from their injuries.
Those convicted on Wednesday can appeal to a higher court.
The Gujarat government is led by Hindu nationalist Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been accused by rights groups - and a senior police officer in April - of tacitly supporting the rioters.
He denies the allegations but has never apologised for the riots.
Responsibility for the train fire has been the subject of fierce debate between Hindus and Muslims.
In February a special court in Gujarat found 31 people guilty of setting fire to the passenger train in the town of Godhra. It acquitted 63 other people of conspiracy and murder.
The mostly Hindu pilgrims on the train were returning from the town of Ayodhya, itself a flashpoint for communal unrest after a mosque was razed in 1992 by Hindu hardliners. That led to separate riots that also killed thousands of predominantly Muslim people.
An inquiry commission set up three years ago by the Gujarat state government into the 2002 riots said that the burning of the train had been a "conspiracy".
It examined more than 1,000 witnesses during a six-year period, found that 140 litres of petrol had been purchased as part of what it said had been a conspiracy to burn the train carriage.
That commission also exonerated Mr Modi over the riots that followed the blaze.
In 2005, however, a federal government inquiry took a different view, concluding that the train fire had been an accident - probably started by people cooking in one of the carriages - not the result of an attack.
The Sardarpura killings case is one of nine singled out for special investigation by India's Supreme Court - in 2003 its judges castigated the Gujarat authorities for not delivering justice to victims.
Modi courts Chinese investment, showcasing the 'Gujarat model'ANANTH KRISHNAN
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The HinduWang Gang (Right), a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, shakes hands with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called on China to invest in infrastructure and power projects in his State, wooing potential investors with a sales pitch that showcased Gujarat as a State with levels of "governance, transparency and stability" that they could not find elsewhere in India.
Mr. Modi, on his fourth visit, this time as a guest of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) International Department, spoke glowingly of India-China relations as he began his trip at an investors' meeting on Wednesday morning, declaring that "the two great countries will make Asia the centre-stage of the global economy."
"I have always found abundant love and affection among the people of China," he said.
"I have been saying for more than a decade that the 21st century belongs to Asia, and I have said this well before the economic analysts and financial experts highlighted the emergence of BRICS countries."
The investors' meeting was attended by representatives of 180 Chinese companies, said Mr. Modi.
Many of the representatives, from power and engineering to infrastructure companies, said their interest in Gujarat had been sparked by stories they heard about the experiences of Chinese companies in the region, who had found the State's infrastructure a pleasant surprise.
"The roads are unlike elsewhere in India," said a representative from a Chinese company that sells power equipment. "And we did not see any power cuts."
Gujarat government officials identified the power sector, where the State plans to add 30,000 MW in 20 years, as having particular potential for Chinese companies. Mr. Modi also highlighted his State's special investment regions as areas where Chinese companies could invest.
On Wednesday, the Gujarat Chief Minister also met officials from the CPC and the Mayor of Beijing.
Speaking to Indian reporters, he said he was somewhat surprised by the warm welcome accorded to him, considering he was "not from the ruling party at the Centre".
"Every meeting ran beyond the scheduled time," he said. "Though I am not from the ruling party, there seemed to be no difference." His talks with Politburo member Wang Gang, he said, were "frank".
In Wednesday's talks with Chinese officials, Mr. Modi also raised sensitive issues beyond courting investment, highlighting China's presence in Paksitan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which Chinese officials said was limited to engineering and construction projects, and the status of 22 diamond traders from Gujarat who have been in detention in Shenzhen for 22 months, awaiting sentencing.
"The case has been going on but there is no judgment," said Mr. Modi, adding the Chinese officials said they would look into it.
Chinese energy company TBEA, which recently signed a memorandum of understanding to invest Rs. 2,500 crore in a green energy park in Gujarat, also figured in his talks following the controversy over maps showcased at its signing ceremony. Mr. Modi said he raised the issue of the "wrong maps" with Chinese officials, but added that he had not spoken to TBEA about the matter.
Leng Yong, TBEA's Vice President, said at Wednesday's meeting TBEA's experiences in Gujarat had been "positive," with the Gujarat government "providing help on every problem".
"It can be difficult to undersand Indian culture, and there may be some disputes and frictions. But after exchanging ideas," he said, "problems can be solved."
Keywords: TBEA, Modi China visit
Maoist violence unacceptably high in Odisha: ChidambaramPTI
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The HinduUnion Home Minister P. Chidambaram during a monthly briefing in New Delhi. File photo
Noting that Maoist violence was high in Odisha despite deployment of about 10,000 central armed forces, Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday asked the state to "learn" from other states and the Centre to tackle the menace.
"I have learnt their (state) problems. Now Odisha should learn a little more from other states and the Centre ... the state administration and the police should gain mastery over the situation," Mr. Chidamabaram told reporters here after a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
"The number of casualty of civilian and security forces stand at 48 by the end of October. By end of the year, it may go a little beyond 50. This is unacceptably high level of casualty," he said.
Pointing out that about 60 police station areas were affected by Left-wing extremists, Mr. Chidambaram said, "Four years ago, we had only four battalions of central armed police in the state. Today, their number is 13 battalions besides one battalion of Cobra force.
"Effectively, we inducted about 10,000 more central armed constables and officers in the state. I have impressed upon the state administration to show results," he said.
Maintaining that the level of violence was still high and unacceptable, Mr. Chidambaram hoped that the "edge of the Naxalites will be blunted."
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, however, claimed that there was a decline in Maoist related casualty in the state in comparison to the previous years.
"We have made much progress on the Maoist front," Mr. Patnaik said.
Keywords: Maoist violence, Odisha, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
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The HinduPrime Minister Manmohan Singh has not only ruled out a roll back of last week's fuel price hike but also refused to guarantee against a future increase. File photo
NEWSOne more hike, we're outOutside support among Mamata's options?Oil shock for UPATrinamool MPs to take up petrol price hike with Manmohan"Mamata a compulsive populist"Of threats and pressure tacticsWe're ready to roll back price if directed by government: OMCsWill convey Mamata's concern to PM, Sonia: Anand SharmaWe're not begging for Centre's alms, it is our due: Mamata
TOPICSenergy and resourcepetrol
politicsalliances and coalition
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not only ruled out a roll back of last week's fuel price hike but also refused to guarantee against a future increase.
This was conveyed bluntly to a delegation of Trinamool Congress MPs and ministers which called on him on Tuesday to protest against the stiff hike in petrol price last week and to seek a guarantee that government would not increase fuel prices in the future.
Sources said the Prime Minister told the delegation that it was not possible to give any guarantee against such price hike let alone roll back of the current increase.
The MPs were told about the problem in running an economy of India's size and the problems of public finance, they said.
They were also told that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was running a state government and that such actions would create problems for the finances of both the Centre and the states, the sources said.
There was also no guarantee that allied chief ministers would be consulted on future hikes in oil prices, the sources said.
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The HinduA file picture of CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt.
CPI(M) politburo member and MP, Sitaram Yechury, on Wednesday extended his party's support to the "Occupy London'' campaigners who have been camping outside St Paul's Cathedral, near the London Stock Exchange, as part of the growing global anti-capitalist protests.
"On behalf of all the working people of India, I bring you our solidarity," he told the protesters expressing his outrage at the "culture of obscene bonuses'' in financial institutions.
"We are also against the culture of obscene bonuses. We will win, we have to win. Otherwise, humanity will face grave danger,'' he warned.
Mr Yechury said the worldwide protests, which started with the "Occupy Wall Street'' campaign in America, reflected the anger against the "predatory pursuit of profit'' at the cost of billions of ordinary people.
"In India also, we are involved in similar type of protests. We want the government to spend scarce resources on creating jobs, spend money on people's welfare," he said.
Mr Yechury criticised government bail-outs of failed big banks that were responsible for creating the current economic crisis in the first place. Instead of rushing to rescue the very people who created the crisis, the governments should use "these resources for building the much-needed social and economic infrastructure".
This would generate employment, stimulate domestic demand and "set in motion a path of sustained economic growth without burdening either the exchequer or people".
The Indian Workers' Association, Great Britain, also came out in support of protesters.
"The IWA puts forward an alternative to the waste of resources in bailing out failed financial institutions and instead seeks investment in social and economic infrastructure, creating employment and growth to revive the economy," said its president Dyal Bagri in a statement.
Keywords: Economic crisis, London Occupy movement, CPI(M), Sitaram Yechury
Dance Of The Wolves
Shoddy investigation and legal subversion have saved the accused from being punished in the Sardarpura massacre where Muslims were burnt alive. There is evidence staring in the face that the new investigation must consider
AYUB MIYA Rasool Miya Shaikh lost 11 members of his family on the night of March 1-2, 2002, in Sardarpura village in Mehsana District. They were among the 33 Muslims who were locked up in a room and burnt alive by a mob.
Six years after this heinous crime, Shaikh still cannot muster courage to return to his house in Sardarpur. The reason: he has lost confidence in the government. The men who allegedly carried out this crime are yet to be punished. In all, 55 accused are roaming free; 28 of them are out on bail. And the key accused are not even named in the FIR: former minister and MLA Naran Laloo Patel and sarpanch Kachrabai Tirbhuvan are accused of inciting followers to attack Muslim areas before February 27, 2002 when the Sabarmati Express was torched at Godhra.
Shaikh knew that something ominous was waiting to happen. Ayub has said when his aunt had gone to buy gram flour, shopkeeper Dahyabhai Vanabhai made a sly remark: "This would be the last day they would eat bhajiyas."
Nazir Akhbar Shaikh, an eyewitness, who lost three of his family members, has said that three days before the Godhra train fire that killed 59, she heard Naran Laloo Patel thus address a gathering: "They should do what they have to. It is 'our' government so all the accused will be set free." The matter was brought to the notice of Sub-Inspector Parmar but to no avail. Sharif Miya Bikhu Miya Shaikh, another eyewitness, has more to say about the preparations for the massacre. According to him, a man named Amrutbhai Somabhai was installing halogen lamps near a Muslim area. When he questioned Somabhai why this was being done, he was told "we want to kill Muslims, cut them off." So, it didn't come as a surprise when the house in Shaikh Mohalla in Sardarpur village went up in flames. It seems that everyone — the police, victims and the locals — knew this was coming but nothing was done to avert it.
Eyewitness Jamalbhai Doshubhai Shaikh, who lost his wife, says that the police statement recorded a day after the incident did not contain all the facts and the police did not make the copy of the statement available. The copies of statements of the injured in the Mehsana district civil hospital, some of whom have died, was not made available either. An angry Jamalbhai accuses Sub-Inspector Parmar of being complicit in the attack.
Consider this: The police have made no attempt so far to de-club FIRs, to look at the complaints of the eyewitnesses that facts recorded after the incident are not correct. Even the sequence of events and the names of the accused recorded are erroneous. Police has recorded no fresh statements in the matter. There is a demand by the civil rights groups that all police records be scrutinised. This will show that scores of distress calls were made but the police ignored them. The victims also want the phone records of top cops, politicians and administrators to be scrutinised as well.
At the trail stage, the situation remained as grim as ever. There are serious allegations against Hindu hardliners who were appointed as the public prosecutors to handle these cases. TEHELKA investigations into the Gujarat carnage established this fact. The public prosecutors who were supposed to push charges against the accused actually ended up helping them. There are many examples of defence and the prosecution supporting rioters, killers and rapists. First, the police sided with the rioters through shoddy investigations, and now the prosecution too was ranged against the victims.
Chetan Shah, a leading Ahmedabad lawyer and an active VHP member, represented the accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. He was later appointed as the public prosecutor in the Gulbarg society case. In the Sardarpura case, Dilip Trivedi, general secretary of the VHP's Gujarat unit and a public prosecutor, did the opposite of what he was supposed to do: instead of opposing the bail, he ended up helping the accused secure bail. It was only when the victims agitated and took the matter to the Supreme Court, Trivedi was prevented from taking up the Gujarat pogrom cases.
TRIVEDI ADMITTED on TEHELKA spycam that he coordinated all the riot cases in Gujarat as he was the VHP's general secretary in Gujarat. Trivedi, by his own admission, was arranging defence lawyers for the accused. He was complaining about the quantum of work he has to do as it involved coordinating with government lawyers, defence advocates and the policemen reinvestigating the riot cases. It was Trivedi who informed that out of 74 riotrelated cases in Mehsana, only two had resulted in conviction.
Trivedi narrated graphically the systematic looting and merciless killing of Muslims post-Godhra. In the Sardarpura case, he did not sound worried even when the Supreme Court intervened as the accused are out on bail, and they are powerful. Trivedi in his boisterous self, acknowledged to TEHELKA that allegations against him about his divided loyalties are true, but he is not worried because nothing can be proved "on paper". Unfortunately, in our legal system, that is what matters.
It is an open secret, he asserted, that after the riots he went to every district in Gujarat, held meetings with the government prosecutors, his workers and police officers to protect the interests of the accused.
Many of the accused were given anticipatory bail even before they were arrested. The result: the accused roam free under political patronage and possibly intimidate the witnesses. Four different applications were filed before Mehsana's additional sessions judge DR Shah. Four other applications have been filed for cancellation of bail of the accused in the Gujarat High Court. They were not entertained despite the fact that the rejection of bail was requested on the grounds that the accused attacked a mosque in the same Sardarpur area. (FIR no. 110/2002 dated May 13 is lodged with the Vijapur police station.) Some witnesses and survivors have filed a complaint about recovery by force of dues and taxes by the accused who are in powerful positions in the village.
In September 2004, the amicus curiae endorsed the report about faulty investigation when the matter of transfering the case outside Gujarat was being considered.
Six years later, survivors of the Sardarpura massacre cannot return to their village and are living as refugees at Satnagar in the neighbouring district. Now that the case will be reopened, there is a flicker of hope for them.
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 17, Dated May 3, 2008
2002 Gujarat violenceFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs.The 2002 Gujarat violence describes the Godhra train burning and resultingcommunal riots between Hindus and Muslims. On 27 February 2002 at Godhra Cityin the state of Gujarat, the Sabarmati Express train was attacked by a large Muslim mob in a conspiracy. But some authentic sources deny the claim that there was a conspiracy. As a result, 58 Hindu pilgrims, mostly women and children of ladies compartment returning from Ayodhya, were killed. The attack prompted retaliatory massacres against Muslims and communal riots on a large scale, in which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed and 223 more people were reported missing. 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus fled their homes. Preventive arrests of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims were made. In total 27,901 Hindus and 7,651 Muslims were arrested. Nearly 10,000 rounds of bullets were fired in police shootings that killed 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.
The nature of the events remains politically controversial in India. Some commentators have characterized the massacres of Muslims as agenocide in which the state was complicit, while some government sources have countered that the Muslim dead were victims of mere "riots" or "disturbances".
Godhra train burning, investigations and judgementsMain article: Godhra train burning
On 27 February 2002, 58 Hindus including 25 women and 15 children, activists of the Vishva Hindu Parishad and other Hindu pilgrims (Kar Sevaks) returning by the Sabarmathi express train from Ayodhya, were burnt alive in a railway coach by a large Muslim mob in a conspiracy.
Initial media reports blamed the local Muslims for setting the coach on fire,. The New Nanavati Report states that the Attack on the "Kar Sevaks" on the train from Ayodhya was pre-planned, and exonerates Chief Minister Narendra Modi. A previous report on the Godhra train burning, filed by Justice Banerjee, a more recent report filed by Justice Nanavati states that it was "pre-planned" by the mob. The Gujarat High Court ruling, as of 2006, has declared as illegal and unconstitutional, setting up of the Umesh Chandra Banerjee committee, which had concluded the fire started by accident. Gujarat High Court quashed the conclusions of the Banerjee Committee and declared its formation as a "colourful exercise," "illegal, unconstitutional, null and void," and its argument of accidental fire "opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record.". According to the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, "most Congress corporators" "and some Congress leaders of Gujarat had actively participated in last year's riots". The majority of the media and party remained silent over the issue Congress role in the riot
However, in September 2008 the Godhra Commission confirmed that there was an attack by a mob. Going further, the report claims that one Hassan Lalu had thrown burning objects into the train and 140 litres of petrol had been used to set the train on fire, adding that stones were thrown at passengers to stop them from fleeing.
Nine years after the Godhra train went up in flames the court on 22 Feb 2011 pronounced its judgement. Additional Session Judge delivered the verdict and convicted 31 people and acquitted 63. The bodies of those killed in the train were brought to Ahmedabad, where a procession was held, a move seen as a major provocation for the ensuing communal violence. The VHP issued a call for a state-wide strike on 28 February 2002, which was supported by the BJP. In February 2011, the findings of the Nanavati-Mehta commission were upheld in court, and the Godhra train burning was called a "pre-planned conspiracy". 31 people were convicted of setting fire to the train and "roasting alive 59 helpless kar sevaks." of which 11 were sentenced to death and 20 to life sentences.
Post Godhra violenceTension gripped parts of Gujarat state while examinations all over the state were canceled. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has called for a statewide bandh to protest burning of Godhra train burning. Fearing communal clashes, administration imposed curfew in several areas. Rapid Action Force were deployed in Godhra's sensitive area and around Godhra station. The Indian government on March 1st dispatched around 1,000 paramilitary personnel to Gujarat and asked the army to be on standby to maintain law and order in the state. The Army began flag marches in the worst-affected areas and shoot-at-sight orders were issued in 34 curfew-bound cities and towns in Gujarat.
151 towns and 993 villages in fifteen to sixteen of the state's 25 districts were affected by the post-Godhra violence, which was particularly severe in about five or six districts. The violence raged largely between 28 February and 3 March, and after a drop, restarted on 15 March, continuing till mid June. Northern and central Gujarat, as well as the north-eastern tribal belt which are closer to Godhra City, were the worst affected while Saurashtra and Kutch remained largely peaceful.
Attacks on MuslimsAttacks by large Hindu mobs began in the districts of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Saberkantha and, for the first time in its history, Gandhinagar on 28 February. Violence spread to the largely rural districts of Panchmahals, Mehsana, Kheda, Junagadh, Banaskantha, Patan, Anand and Narmada the next day. Over the next two days, Bharuch and Rajkot and later Surat were hit.
The first incidents of attacks on the Muslim community started at Ahmedabad, where Hindus began throwing stones at and later burned a Muslim housing complex known as Gulburg Society, and then spread elsewhere. The initial violence was believed to be instigated by unsubstantiated rumours, endorsed by a senior VHP leader, of Muslims having kidnapped three Hindu girls during the Godhra train attack.
In Ahmedabad, the dargah of the Sufi saint-poet Wali Gujarati in Shahibaug and the 16th century Gumte Masjid mosque in Isanpur were destroyed. The Muhafiz Khan Masjid at Gheekanta was ransacked. Police records list 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples and three churches as damaged in the months of March and April.
Attacks on HindusAttacks on Hindus by Muslim mobs in Danilimda, Modasa, Himmatnagar, Bharuch, Sindhi Market, Bhanderi Pole, and other localities in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat were perpetrated by Muslim mobs. There was a significant loss of property. Late in March, more than one thousand Hindus in Dariyapur and Kalupur, including 550 dalits, fled their homes to stay in makeshift shelters after being attacked by Muslims mobs. According to the HRW report, over ten thousand Hindus were made homeless.
Several Hindu residential areas, including Mahajan No Vaado, a fortified enclave in Muslim dominated Jamalpur, were targeted following calls for retaliation.
In the morning the mosques began announcing that Islam was in danger, that there was poison in the milk. This was used as a code word. The milk was meant to be Muslims & poison meant Hindus. The rioting lasted between 2:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Residents were unable to go to work, fearing attacks. A Hindu temple in the area was destroyed. In Himmatnagar, a young man was killed when he went to a Muslim enclave on business.
TollAccording to an official estimate, 1044 people were killed in the violence - 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus including those killed in the Godhra train fire. Another 223 people were reported missing, 2,548 injured, 919 women widowed and 606 children orphaned.
Unofficial estimates put the death toll closer to 2000, with Muslims forming a high proportion of those killed with a few dozen hindus
When missing people were declared dead after 7 years, total deaths went up from 1044 to 1,267.
Security failureBy the evening of 28 February, curfews were imposed in twenty seven towns and cities. By 25 March, thirty five towns were under curfew. Police records show 21,563 preventive arrests were made by the end of April (17,947 of the arrested were listed as Hindus and 3,616 as Muslims) as well as 13,989 substantive arrests (9,954 Hindus and 4,035 Muslims).
The New York Times' Celia Dugger reported that witnesses were "dismayed by the lack of intervention from local police", who often "watched the events taking place and took no action against the attacks on Muslims and their property". Human Rights Watch reported that in some cases members of the state police force led rioting mobs, "aiming and firing at every Muslim who got in the way", or instead of offering assistance "led the victims directly into the hands of their killers." Calls for assistance to the police, fire brigades, and even ambulance services generally proved futile.
By the end of April, police recorded 170 people as killed in police firing, of whom 93 were Muslims and 77 were Hindus.
Hindu residents of Mahajan No Vaado, part of the Muslim dominated area of Jamalpur, told HRW that on 1 March, the police ignored phone calls and left them fend for themselves when a Muslim mob attacked. Numerous calls by Hindus throughout the riots were reportedly ignored by the police.
One thousand army troops were flown in by the evening of 1 March to restore order. Intelligence officials alleged that the deployment was deliberately delayed by the state and central governments. On 3 May, former Punjab police chief K P S Gill was appointed as security adviser to the Chief Minister.
The Gujarat government transferred several senior police officers who had taken active measures to contain and investigate violent attacks to administrative positions.
RB Sreekumar, who served as Gujarat's intelligence chief during the riots, alleged that the state government issued "unconstitutional directives", with officials asking him to kill Muslims involved in rioting or disrupting a Hindu religious event. The Gujarat government denied the allegations, calling them "baseless" and instigated out of malice because Mr. Sreekumar was not promoted.
Defending the Modi administration in the Rajya Sabha against charges of genocide, BJP spokesman V K Malhotra said that the official toll of 254 Hindus, killed mostly in police firing, indicates how the state authorities took effective steps to curb the violence. BJP MP and journalist Balbir Punj disputed allegations of bias against Muslims by the BJP-run state government, pointing out that the majority of those arrested during and after the riots were Hindus.
An unidentified pamphlet circulated to journalists in Gujarat in 2007 labelled Modi's government as anti-Hindu for arresting Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers and Hindu activists involved in the riots.
Role of government and policeThe Gujarat state government was reprimanded immediately for failing to prevent the riots, but then increasingly for actively fomenting and participating in it, which was a far more serious charge. Critiques came repeatedly from the Supreme Court, and the upper house of the Indian parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling for federal intervention in Gujarat; a similar censure motion in the lower house was defeated by about 100 votes.
The United States Department of State in its International Religious Freedom Report 2003 commented on the episode, based on a report by USCIRF:
|"||India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an official body, found evidence in the killings of premeditation by members of Hindu extremist groups; complicity by Gujarat state government officials; and police inaction in the midst of attacks on Muslims. The NHRC also noted "widespread reports and allegations of well-organized persons, armed with mobile telephones and addresses, singling out certain homes and properties for death and destruction in certain districts-sometimes within view of police stations and personnel," suggesting the attacks may have been planned in advance. Christians were also victims in Gujarat, and many churches were destroyed.|| |
In April 2002, retired supreme court justices V. R. Krishna Iyer and P. B. Sawant headed a citizen's panel to investigate the riots. Their report includes testimony of the then Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister Haren Pandya (since murdered), who testified about an evening meeting convened by Narendra Modi the evening of the Godhra train burning. At this meeting, officials were instructed not to obstruct the Hindu rage following the incident. The report also highlighted a second meeting, held in Lunawada village of Panchmahal district, attended by state ministers Ashok Bhatt, and Prabhatsinh Chauhan, and other BJP and RSS leaders, where "detailed plans were made on the use of kerosene and petrol for arson and other methods of killing."
In 2003, A comment by G.T. Nanavati, who leads the official commission investigating the riots, that part of the evidence collected and reviewed till then did not indicate any serious lapse on the part of the government or police in Gujarat was criticised as inappropriate by aid and reconciliation activists and other jurists.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized the Indian government for failure to address the resulting humanitarian condition of people, the "overwhelming majority of them Muslim," who fled their homes for relief camps in the aftermath of the events; as well as the Gujarat state administration for engaging in a cover-up of the state's role in the massacres. Many of the investigations and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots have been opened for reinvestigation and prosecution. The large-scale civil unrest has been generally been described as riots or inter-communal clashes.
In response to allegations of state involvement, Gujarat government spokesman, Bharat Pandya, told the BBC that the rioting was a spontaneous Hindu backlash fuelled by widespread anger against Muslims. He said "Hindus are frustrated over the role of Muslims in the on-going violence in Indian-administered Kashmir and other parts of India".
The US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, John Hanford, expressing concern over religious intolerance in Indian politics, said that while the rioters may have been aided by state and local officials, he did not believe that the BJP-led central government was involved in inciting the riots.
At the same time, about two hundred policemen lost their lives trying to control the violence in Gujarat.
Criminal prosecutionsThe Indian Supreme Court has been strongly critical of the state government's investigation and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots, directing police to review about 2,000 of the 4,000 riot related cases that had been closed citing lack of evidence or leads.Following this direction, police identified nearly 1,600 cases for reinvestigation, arrested 640 accused and launched investigations against 40 police officers for their failures.
Human Rights Watch alleges that state and law enforcement officials harass and intimidate key witnesses, NGOs, social activists and lawyers who are fighting to seek justice for riot victims.
In its 2003 annual report, Amnesty International says, "the same police force that was accused of colluding with the attackers was put in charge of the investigations into the massacres, undermining the process of delivery of justice to the victims."
The Best Bakery murder trial received wide attention after witnesses retracted testimony in court and all accused were acquitted. The Indian Supreme Court, acting on a petition by social activist Teesta Setalvad, ordered a retrial outside Gujarat in which nine accused were found guilty in 2006. A key witness, Zaheera Sheikh, who repeatedly changed her testimony during the trials and the petition was found guilty ofperjury.
After a local court dismissed the case against her assailants, Bilkis Bano approached the National Human Rights Commission and petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a retrial. The Supreme Court granted the motion, directing the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation, transferring the case out of Gujarat and directing the central government to appoint the public prosecutor. Charges were filed in a Mumbai court against nineteen people as well as six police officials and a government doctor over their role in the initial investigations. In January 2008, eleven men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and murders and a policeman was convicted of falsifying evidence.
In 2005, the Vadodara fast track court acquitted 108 people accused of murdering two youths, during a mob attack on a group of displaced Muslims returning under police escort to their homes in Avdhootnagar. The court passed strictures against the police for failing to protect the people under their escort and failing to identify the attackers they had witnessed.
Nine people were convicted of killing a Hindu man and injuring another during group clashes in Danilimda, Ahmedabad on 12 April, while 25 others were acquitted.
Eight people, including a VHP leader and a member of the BJP, were convicted for the murder of seven members of a family and the rape of two minor girls in the village of Eral in Panchmahal district.
Fifty two people from Pavagadh and Dhikva villages in Panchmahal district were acquitted of rioting charges for lack of evidence.
A stringent anti-terror law, the POTA, was used by the Gujarat government to charge 131 people in connection to the Godhra train fire, but not invoked in prosecuting any of the accused in the post-Godhra riots. In 2005 the POTA Review Committee set up by central government to review the application of the law opined that the Godhra accused should not be tried under the provisions of POTA.
Shah-Nanavati commissionOn 6 March, the Gujarat government set up a commission of enquiry headed by retired High Court judge K.G. Shah to enquire into the Godhra train burning and the subsequent violence and submit a report in three months. Following criticism from victims' organisations, activists and political parties over Shah's alleged proximity to the BJP, on 22 May, the government reconstituted the commission, appointing retired Supreme Court Justice G.T. Nanavati to lead the commission. In 2008, the Nanavati commission came out largely in favour of the Gujarat government's aspect. Nanavati's evidence hinged on the acquisition of 140 litres of petrol hours before the arrival of the train and the storage of the said petrol at the alleged key conspirator's, Razzak Kurkur, guest house. This was further corroborated by forensic evidence showing fuel was poured on the train compartment before being burnt. The alleged mastermind was said to be the cleric Maulvi Husain Haji Ibrahim Umarji and a dismissed Central Reserve Police Force officer named Nanumiyan, from Assam, who had instigated the Muslim crowds. Furthermore, two Kashmiris, Gulamnabi and Ali Mohammed, were in the same guesthouse for a fortnight prior to the event speaking about the Kashmir liberation movement.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Indian National Congress party both came out railing against the exoneration of the Gujarat government by the commission citing the timing of the report (with general elections months away) as evident of unfairness. Congress spokesperson Veerappa Moily commented at the strange absolvement of the Gujarat government for complacency for the carnage. He also said the report reinforced communal prejudices.
National Human Rights CommissionIn its Proceedings of 1 April 2002, the Commission had set out its Preliminary Comments and Recommendations on the situation and sent a Confidential Report of the team of the Commission that visited Gujarat from 19–22 March 2002 to Gujarat government and Central Home Ministry. The Gujarat government in its reply did not provide its response to the Confidential report. Therefore, the Commission was compelled to release the confidential report in its entirety and observed that nothing in the reports received in response "rebuts the presumption that the Modi administration failed in its duty to protect the rights of the people of Gujarat" by not exercising its jurisdiction over non-state players that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights.
It further observed that "the violence in the State, which was initially claimed to have been brought under control in seventy two hours, persisted in varying degree for over two months, the toll in death and destruction rising with the passage of time despite the measures reportedly taken by the State Government".
The report claims failure of intelligence, failure to take appropriate action, patterns of arrests, uneven handling of major cases, and "Distorted FIRs: 'extraneous influences', issue of transparency and integrity" as key factors in the incident(s).
Banerjee CommitteeIn September 2004, a panel appointed by the central government and headed by former Supreme Court judge UC Banerjee to probe the Godhra train fire concluded that the fire was accidental. Its findings were challenged by the BJP and the Gujarat inspector-general of police. In October 2006, the Gujarat High Court ruled that the panel was set up illegally, in violation of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 which prohibits the setting up of separate commissions by state and central governments to probe a matter of public importance.
Concerned Citizens TribunalThe citizen tribunal headed by retired Supreme Court justice Krishna Iyer collected evidence and testimony from more than 2000 riot victims, witnesses and others. In its report, the tribunal accuses the state government and chief minister Modi of complicity in the violence. While Krishna Iyer was nominally part of this tribunal, he made it clear in the preface of the report that his involvement was very limited.
AftermathOpposition parties as well as three coalition partners of the BJP-led central government demanded the dismissal of Gujarat Chief MinisterNarendra Modi for failing to contain the violence, with some calling for the removal of Union Home Minister L K Advani as well.
On 18 July, Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked the Governor of Gujarat to dissolve the state assembly and call fresh elections. The Indian Election Commission ruled out early elections, citing the prevailing law and order situation, a decision the union government unsuccessfully appealed against in the Supreme Court.
In August 2002 a plot by Lashkar-e-Toiba to assassinate Narendra Modi, Praveen Togadia, and other Sangh Parivar leaders was unearthed by Indian police. The terrorists were planning to set up a base in Gujarat and were trying to lure some of the riot-hit people into taking up "so-called jihadi activities" Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Intelligence) K K Paul said.
In September 2002, at least 29 people were killed when Islamic fundamentalist gunmen engaged in the Akshardham Temple attack in the city of Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba were accused of supporting the terrorists.
Elections were held in December and Modi was returned to power in a landslide victory.
Emails made public by the perpetrators of a series of bombings in western India in July 2008 indicated that those attacks were "the revenge of Gujarat".
Relief effortsAmnesty International's annual report on India in 2003 claimed the "Gujarat government did not actively fulfill its duty to provide appropriate relief and rehabilitation to the survivors".
The state government initially offered compensation payments of 200,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the Godhra train fire and 100,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the subsequent riots, which local Muslims described as discriminatory.Subsequently, the government set the compensation amount at 150,000 rupees.
By 27 March, nearly 100,000 displaced people moved into 101 relief camps. This swelled to over 150,000 in 104 camps the next two weeks. The camps were run by community groups and NGOs, with the government committing to provide amenities and supplementary services. Drinking water, medical help, clothing and blankets were in short supply at the camps. At least another 100 camps were denied government support, according to a camp organiser. and relief supplies were prevented from reaching the camps over fears that they may be carrying arms.
Relief camp organisers alleged that the state government was coercing refugees to leave relief camps, with 25,000 people made to leave eighteen camps that were shut down. Following government assurances that camps would not be shut down, the Gujarat High Court bench ordered that camp organisers be given a supervisory role to ensure that the assurances were met.
On 23 May 2008, the Union Government announced a 320 crore rupee (US $ 80 million) relief package for the victims of the riots.
Media coverageCovering the first major communal riots following in the advent of satellite television to India, television news channels set a precedent by identifying the community of those involved in the violence, breaking a long-standing practice.
Critical reporting on the Gujarat government's handling of the situation helped bring about the Indian government's intervention in controlling the violence. The Gujarat government banned television news channels critical of the government's response. STAR News, Zee News, Aaj Tak, CNN and local stations were blocked.
The Editorial Guild of India rejected the charge that graphic news coverage aggravated the situation, saying that the coverage exposed the "horrors" of the riots as well as the "supine if not complicit" attitude of the state, helping propel remedial action. The team also faulted Gujarati language papers Gujarat Samachar and the pro-Hindutva Sandesh of distorted and provocative reporting.
The Godhra fire received extensive news coverage until it was overtaken by the subsequent violence and the presentation of the Union budget. Television and newspaper reports, particularly local Gujarati language media, carried graphic and at times sensationalised images and accounts of the Godhra train fire. S Gurumurthy, Arvind Lavakare and columnist Rajeev Srinivasan argue that news reports emphasized the provocative behaviour of the kar sevaks on the Sabarmathi Express in an effort to rationalise the subsequent mob attack at Godhra and displace blame from the mob on to the kar sevaks.
In 2004, the weekly newspaper Tehelka published a hidden camera exposé alleging that a BJP legislator Madhu Srivastava bribed Zaheera Sheikh, a witness in the Best Bakery killings trial. Srivatsava denied the allegation, and an inquiry committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court drew an "adverse inference" from the video footage, though it failed to uncover evidence that money was actually paid. In a2007 expose, the newspaper released hidden camera footage of several members of the BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal admitting their role in the riots. Among those featured in the tapes was the special counsel representing the Gujarat government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Arvind Pandya, who resigned from his post after they were made public. While the report was criticized by some as being politically motivated, some newspapers said the revelations simply reinforced what was common knowledge. The Gujarat government blocked telecast of cable news channels broadcasting the expose, a move strongly condemned by the Editors Guild of India.
The riots were also the subject of a 2004 documentary film by Rakesh Sharma (filmmaker), called Final Solution (Gujarat Riots). The film was denied entry to Mumbai International Film Festival in 2004 due to objections by Censor Board of India, but won two awards at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival (2004)
Controversies on the riots
Atrocities against womenAn international fact finding committee formed of experts from US, UK, France, Germany and Sri Lanka reported, "sexual violence was being used as a strategy for terrorising women belonging to minority community in the state."
Taking a stand decried by the media and other rights groups, Nafisa Hussain, a member of the National Commission for Women accused organisations and the media of needlessly exaggerating the plight of women victims of the riots. which was strongly disputed as Gujarat did not have a State Commission for Women to act on the ground. The newspaper Tribune reported that "The National Commission for Women has reluctantly agreed to the complicity of Gujarat Government in the communal violence in the state." The tone of their most recent report was reported by the Tribune as "lenient".
Riot cases controversyIn April 2009, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) setup by the Supreme Court of India to investigate and expedite the Gujarat riot cases submitted before the Court that Teesta Setalvad had cooked up cases of violence to spice up the incidents. The SIT which is headed by former CBI director, R. K. Raghavan has said that false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents by Setalvad and other NGOs. The SIT charged her of "cooking up macabre tales of killings".
The court was told that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by SIT and it was found that the witnesses had not actually witnessed the incidents and they were tutored and the affidavits were handed over to them by Setalvad.
The report which was brought to the notice of the bench, consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, noted that the much publicised case of a pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu being gangraped by a mob and foetus being removed from sharp weapons, was also cooked up and false.
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- ^ Leads From Purgatory, Darshan Desai, Dec 02, 2002, Outlook Magazine.
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- ^ "All accused in riot case acquitted"