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"Failure" to prosecute Modi for 2002 riots: Gujarat workers', activists' meet blames Indian judicial system

By Our Representative
As the day draws closer for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to celebrate his one year in office (May 26), a well-attended meeting in Ahmedabad’s town hall sought to sharply focus his “culpability” during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The occasion was the first death anniversary of well-known Gujarat High Court advocate Mukul Sinha, who shot into prominence for cross examination of government officials at the Nanavati Commission, appointed by Modi as Gujarat chief minister to “investigate” the anti-Muslim riots.
The commission’s final report, which is said to have given Modi a clean chit, has still not been made public.
Speaking on the occasion, Justice Hosteb Suresh – one of the three members the Indian People's Tribunal fact-finding team headed by ex-Supreme Court judge VR Krishna Iyer to inquire into the Gujarat riots between March and April 2002 – blamed the justice system of India for failing to persecute Modi. Calling the riots genocide, Suresh, was former Mumbai High Court judge, regretted that the Supreme Court handed over the proceedings against Modi to a judicial magistrate. 
Girish Patel, veteran Gujarat high court lawyer, also spoke in a similar tone.
Citing the report by Raju Ramachandran, amicus curiae (friend of the court) for the Supreme Court of India in the 2002 Gujarat violence case, Suresh underlined, “Enough material was available made by Ramachandran to prosecute Modi. The Supreme Court should have proceeded with a chargesheet against Modi. Yet, it decided to hand over the proceedings to magistrate. Tell me, which magistrate will dare prosecute him?” 
Majority of those who attended the meeting included workers and victims of the 2002 riots.
Suresh further said, “The People’s Commission had found enough evidence against Modi. However, the judicial system did not take cognizance of the report. There is nothing new about it. The same thing happened with the Sri Krishna Commission report on Mumbai riots of 2002-03, when there many innocent people were killed, there was evidence of police barbarity. Yet, nothing happened. Nobody has been persecuted. The same was the case with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.”
A book, which is collection of articles by Sinha and well-known human rights activists, titled, “Passion for Justice: Mukul Sinha’s Pioneering Work” was released on the occasion. Edited by Arvind Narrain of the Alternative Law Forum, Bengaluru, it carries articles on Sinha by Mahtab Alam, Nirjhari Sinha and Pratik Sinha, Upendra Baxi, Manisha Sethi, Mihir Desai, Cedric Prakash, Pravin Mishra, Harsh Mander, Gagan Sethi, Ajit Sahi, and Saumya Uma.
One of Sinha’s articles also blames the judicial system for failure to prosecute Modi. It says, Modi was “constitutionally responsible even if he was not criminally responsible because he failed to prevent lives of people.” He admitted, “Actions of the state are difficult to pin down within the existing criminal law framework as there is no doctrine of vicarious criminal responsibility by which you can make state officials vicariously liable for actions of those who were within their control.”
Two human rights awards instituted in the name of Sinha were given – one to Ram Niwas of the Maruti-Suzuki Workers’ Union, who led a relentless struggle against the management in 2013, and another to Bablu and Elena Devi, representing Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association of Manipur. 

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