While on a two day state visit to India, you have stated that Narendra Modi, as Gujarat Chief Minister should not be blamed for the 2002 riots in the state as he was just a "presiding officer" who has been cleared in "endless inquiries". We understand your compulsions in promoting trade & commerce with India, particularly the sale of vast stocks of unsold uranium left with your country following US led sanctions on Russia but disprove your award of a clean chit to Mr. Modi based on vague understanding of facts without any hard evaluation of evidence, direct or circumstantial.
As regards your reference to “endless inquiries”-Let me remind your Excellency that the Justice delivery system in India, which encompasses so-called inquiries, court trials & other similar proceedings are highly biased and selective against the minorities particularly Muslims. You must be aware of a new doctrine of “Satisfying collective conscience of Nation” pronounced by the highest court of this Country to hang a Muslim person, convicted of Parliament attack of 2002 through a farce trial & shoddy investigations. I hope You also remember Australian Missionary Graham Staines & his two teenage children who were killed in 1999 by a rabid fanatic, Dara Singh(He belongs to the same tribe as that of Modi) in a most inhuman & barbaric way by turning his vehicle a live inferno. It may add to your information that a Judge of the same Court reduced the sentence of Dara Singh from death to life imprisonment on the bizarre logic of having been influenced by religious considerations . As a quid-pro-quo, the said judge has now been appointed as Governor of one of the Southern States of India. This is how Justice delivery system works in India.
Coming to specific subject of Modi’s involvement in Gujrat riots, Let me remind your Excellency of the few acts of Commission & omission indulged in by Modi in the worst ever anti-Muslim pogrom. These are selected few points as writing in detail would entail reams of paper.
First the deeds of commission or what was actively done by Modi
1)Modi, as CM allowed the dead bodies of Godhra train fire victims to be handed over to VHP leaders in violation of regulations on handing over such bodies only to the next of kin of the deceased. This was followed by deliberate delay to impose curfew in Ahmadabad City to facilitate the parading of dead bodies and arouse passions.
2) In the meeting held at CM’s residence on 27-2-2002 evening , clear directions in sotto voices were passed to officers to allow Hindu revengefulness against Muslims.
3) Modi made a Public announcement declaring Godhra train fire incident as a pre-planned conspiracy on 27/2/2002, though there was no such information to the Police nor any investigation held. This was enough to enrage the sentiments of Hindu Community.
4) Modi Presented the pogrom in the media as operation of Newton’s Law of action- reaction. This was a clear signal to law enforcing agencies to look the other way to Muslim massacre.
5) CM ordered transfer of officers, who checked anti-minority bloodshed by armed Hindu mobs, i.e Rahul Sharma, Vivek Srivastava, M D Antani, Himanshu Bhat, etc in the thick of the riots, though DGP K Chakravorthy had objected to their transfers.
6) At the instance of CM, the administration appointed pro-VHP advocates (even office bearers of Sangh Pariwar) as Public Prosecutors in riot cases against those accused of anti-minority crimes,
7) The CM directed two Cabinet Ministers to be ensconced in the offices of DGP and CP Ahmadabad City, obviously for restraining Police from blocking anti-minority mob violence,
8) Govt. Funds were misused unabashedly to undermine a PIL before the Apex Court by Mallika Sarabai asking for a CBI investigation of riot cases.
9)Those BJP leaders who refused to carry out the anti-Muslim violence in their areas of influence were subsequently ill treated and sidelined by the CM in the party and most of them like Suresh Mehta (ex-CM) of Kutch, Kashiram Rana of Surat, Vallabh Katharia of Rajkot and Haran Pandia of Ahmedabad City had to disappear into political oblivion.
10) Those officers who lent a helping hand to the pogrom were handsomely rewarded. For instance, P C Pande, a willing police officer was given post retirement placement in the post of Chairman, Gujarat Police Housing Corporation. Similarly Ashok Narayanan, the then Additional Chief Secretary/Home was given post retirement placement as the State Vigilance Commissioner for 6 years.
11) And more recently after coming to power at center, undue influence has been exercised on the authorities below, to obtain bail orders for persons convicted of the pogrom, like Maya Kodnani & Babu Bajrangi. Incidentally after her role in the massacre was known, Kodnani was even allowed to function as cabinet Minster by Modi.
And now the deeds of omission or what was not done by Modi
1)Neither he nor any one in his Govt. visited areas of major mass killings like Naroda Patia, Gulbarg Society (Ahmadabad City), Sardarpura (Mehsana Dist.), Ode Village (SK Dist.), etc, though the he visited the site of the Godhra train fire incident and met relations of those killed in train fire,
2)Despite proposal from State Intelligence Branch (SIB), he refused to act against the media making false and communally inciting reports. Gujarat vernacular press was on the forefront of this incitement.
3)Modi refused to take follow up action on numerous SIB reports (from April to September 2002) for correcting anti-minority posture of the Govt. officials, impeding justice delivery to riot victims.
4)The CM refused to transfer officers from important executive posts in areas of high voltage violence, despite SIB recommendations, till the arrival of K P S Gill, former Punjab DGP as Advisor to the CM, in May 2002,
5) No minutes of situation review meetings chaired by the CM, were maintained making a sham of monitoring exercise, reportedly for avoiding accountability in any subsequent investigation or judicial scrutiny
6) No standard measures towards adequate relief, actual reconciliation between the riot victims and majority communities, rehabilitation and resettlement of riot victims in their pre-riot positions and areas were implemented. Even now also thousands of riot victims who were forced to migrate from their pre-riot habitats are living in sub-human conditions.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: email@example.com)