How many ‘clean chits’ for Modi?
LSE’s Gautam Appa explains why claims that Narendra Modi has received three ‘clean chits’ for his alleged role in communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 are distorted.
On three occasions – one each in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – the Supreme Court of India has supposedly absolved Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming elections, of culpability in Gujarat’s communal riots of 2002. But a case against Modi has never been registered in the Supreme Court. So how has the court given him a ‘clean chit’ without being asked to adjudicate the matter? And on what basis does Modi claim a clear conscience with regard to the 2002 violence in Gujarat?
A clean chit for what?
The question the Indian courts are considering is whether there is prosecutable evidence against Modi to establish criminal liability for his role in the 2002 riots in Gujarat, which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people and made 200,000 people, mainly Muslims, homeless. There are allegations that Modi masterminded the riots; more specifically, he is accused of the following:
allowing the charred bodies of 54 Hindu victims of the Godhra train fire to be paraded in the streets of Ahmedabad
supporting a Gujarat bandh (closure) announced by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu fundamentalist organisation, thereby facilitating riots
directing senior police officers not to interfere if Hindus sought revenge
placing two cabinet colleagues in the police control rooms to ensure compliance with his directives
penalising upright police officers and rewarding compliant ones
appointing partisan public prosecutors berated by the Supreme Court for “acting like defence counsel”
The Supreme Court in 2008 appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into nine riot cases, removing them from courts in Gujarat. A year later, the Supreme Court asked the SIT to investigate a criminal complaint against Modi, filed by Zakia Jafri in 2006. The Gujarat police had done nothing about the complaint, so Zakia had filed a case in the Gujarat High Court to get the police to act on the complaint. When the High Court rejected this, Zakia referred the matter on to the Supreme Court. Modi’s three so-called ‘clean chits’ from the Supreme Court relate to this case.
Full article here -