» 04/11/2012, 00.00
Massacres in Gujarat: Narendra Modi minister acquitted of all charges
Fr. Cedric Prakash, director of the "Prashant" Center for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, complains of procedural errors in investigations: witnesses not listened to and telephone calls not put on record. In 2002, Gujarat was the scene of violent riots between Hindus and Muslims: over 1,000 confirmed dead, 253 missing, 523 places of worship destroyed.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A "very bitter" verdict for the survivors
after "a full investigation that was suspect beyond all reasonable doubt",
says Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, Director of the Jesuit Centre for Human Rights,
Justice and Peace Ahmedhabad Prashant. He
is critical of the sentence handed down today by an Indian court, which
exonerates Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat,
of all charges of involvement in the massacres of 2002. The court
acquitted 58 other co-accused.
In particular, the priest denounces procedural errors committed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed
by the Supreme Court. "The
way the investigation was carried out - said Fr. Prakash, a native of Gujarat - says a lot about the verdict. Witnesses never
heard and telephone calls not recorded in the minutes is sufficient reason to
believe that the entire investigation is suspect. But all
is not lost yet. The struggle for justice and truth will continue until the
27 February 2002 a
group of Muslims attacked and set fire to the Sabarmati Express, aboard which
were Hindus - mostly women, children and elderly - returning from a pilgrimage
to Ayodhya. The
attack, which killed 58 people, sparked violent inter-confessional riots in Gujarat. Among
these, there is also the slaughter at Gulbarg
Society, an Islamic residential complex in Ahmedhabad. On
28 February, a crowd set fire to houses, killing 68 Muslims. Among
these, even the politician Ehsan Jafri, a leading figure at the time of the
Jafri's widow has always accused Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu ultra-nationalist party in
government) of conspiring in the riots, for failing to control the situation
and has tried not to ascertain the truth.
the massacre, the Muslim community of Gujarat paid
the highest price: of the more than 1,000 confirmed deaths, 790 were Muslims
and 254 Hindus. At
least 253 people were declared missing, 523 places of worship, including three
churches, were damaged, 27,901 Hindus and 7,651 Muslims were arrested.
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The Supreme Court clears the way for Gujarat courts to rule on the 2002 train fire, which set of bloody communal violence that left more than 2,000 people dead.
31 people sentenced to life imprisonment over Gujarat massacres
The ruling relates to Sardarpura disorders, in which 33 Muslims, including 22 women, were killed. 73 accused stood trail in the case. The incident is among the many episodes of violence which erupted after the Godhra train burning in 2002, in which 50 Hindus were killed.
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Jesuit Fr Cedric Prakash is satisfied the court order will limit intimidation by the authorities against human rights activists.
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The Supreme Court sets up a commission to verify the responsibility of Narendra Modi in the violence against the Islamic minority in 2002. A polemical reaction from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which considers the governor of Gujarat a candidate for Indian prime minister. The Chief Minister, a leading figure of the new party, accuses: "it is a conspiracy of the Congress party to put me behind bars."
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