Friday, November 20, 2015

Gujarat government is "intransigent" in non-publication of 2002 riots commission report: Ex-DGP Sreekumar

By Our Representative
RB Sreekumar, former director general of police (DGP), Gujarat, has asked chief minister Anandiben Patel to make public the Enquity Commission Report on 2002 Gujarat riots, prepared by Justices GT Nanavati and Akshay H Mehta, regretting, it is “painful” that no MLA of Gujarat has moved, at appropriate level, “for ensuring the release of the report by the state government.”
Calling it an “obvious instance of breach of legislature’s privilege by the executive wing of the government”, Sreekumar said, the Commissions of Enquiry Act, 1952 stipulates an enquiry commission report should be “laid before the House of the people or, as the case may be, the Legislative Assembly of the State… together with a memorandum of the action taken thereon, within a period of six months of the submission of the report.”
The commission, which was set up to inquire into the Godhra train fire of February 27, 2002 and “subsequent incidents of violence”, was appointed on March 6, 2002. It submitted its report on November 14, 2014 after several extensions.
Sreekumar said, he submitted “nine affidavits to the commission, four while in service and five after my superannuation on February 28, 2007 (in all 498 pages), relevant to the terms of reference to the commission”, adding, he was “cross examined by the Commission on August 31, 2004 and September 30, 2011.”
The ex-DGP said, “During the protracted communal clashes in the State in 2002 (February 27, 2002 to May 31, 2002) most gruesome mass killings and destruction of property” took place, including of “historic religio-cultural monuments of the 15th century Christian Era (CE)” in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Anand, Godhra, Sabarkantha, Kheda, Mehsana, Banaskantha, and Dahod districts.
Pointing towards the reason for making public the report, Sreekumar said, “reputed historian, Ramachandra Guha, in his book “India After Gandhi”, had characterized 1984 Delhi and 2002 Gujarat Riots as pogroms (organized massacre) in the history of Independent India.”
“Significantly, while anti-Sikh riots in 1984 had affected the whole of Delhi city, in Gujarat … ghastly high voltage man slaughter was reported from 11 districts only”, he said, adding, “The commission must have probed into the enabling factors and ambience responsible for varying degree of violence in different geographical segments of the state.”
“The public, riot victim-survivors, human rights activists, state government functionaries in criminal justice system, sociologists, criminologists, jurists and so on would be naturally anxious and keen to comprehensively study the commission’s wisdom in this aspect and related matters of riots”, Sreekumar said.
The commission was tasked by the government “to recommend suitable measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents (Godhra train fire incident and subsequent riots) in future”, Sreekumar said, adding, the commission would have, therefore, provided “suitable suggestions” to be “incorporated in the edifice of regulatory architecture of the rule of law in Gujarat.”
Pointing out that reports of Reddy and Dave commission reports on 1969 and 1985 riots, respectively, “were published within the prescribed time frame along with action taken reports by the then state governments”, Sreekumar said.
Even today, he said, “hundreds of riot victim survivors are not in a position to go back to their pre-riot habitats for want of resources and other reasons, beyond their control and capacity”, one reason why the commission’s recommendations “on relief, reconciliation, rehabilitation and re-settlement will be helpful to the sufferers to emerge out of current state of poverty and privation.”
On the other hand, Sreekumar said, “The state government’s intransigence in non-publication of the commission report would debilitate and erode the stamina and vigour of democracy and its institutions in Gujarat.”

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