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The 2002 Gujarat violence describes the Godhra train burning and resulting communal riots between Hindus and Muslims. On 27 February 2002 at Godhra Citymarker in the state of Gujaratmarker, the Sabarmati Express train was forcibly stopped and attacked by about 500+ strong Muslim mob. As a result, 59 Hindu passengers — mostly women, children and seniors returning from the holy city of Ayodhyamarker — were burned alive. The resulting riots and massacres killed 790 Muslims and an additional 254 Hindus. 223 people were reported missing and 2,548 sustained injuries. 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus fled their homes. Preventive arrests of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims were made. In total 27,901 Hindus and 7,651 Muslims were arrested. Nearly 10,000 rounds of bullets were fired by the police, killing 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

Some individuals involved have admitted to massacres.Organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized the Indian government for failure to address the resulting humanitarian condition of people, the "overwhelming majority of them Muslim," who fled their homes for relief camps in the aftermath of the events; as well as the Gujarat state administration for engaging in a cover-up of the state's role in the massacres. Many of the investigations and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots have been opened for reinvestigation and prosecution. The large-scale civil unrest has been generally been described as riots or inter-communal clashes.

Godhra train burning

On February 27, 2002, 58 Hindus, including 25 women and 15 children, were burnt alive in a railway coach by a mob in the town of Godhra following an altercation between local Muslims and activists of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (Kar Sevaks) returning by the Sabarmathi express train from Ayodhya. Initial media reports blamed the local Muslims for setting the coach on fire, in what Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and the VHP leader Giriraj Kishore alleged was a "pre-planned" attack. The New Nanavati Report states that the Attack on the "Kar Sevaks" on the train from Ayodhya was pre-planned, and exonerates Chief Minister Narendra Modi. A previous report on the Godhra train burning, filed by Justice Banerjee, a more recent report filed by Justice Nanavati states that it was "pre-planned" by the mob. The Gujarat High Court ruling, as of 2006, has declared as illegal and unconstitutional, setting up of the Umesh Chandra Banerjee committee, which had concluded the fire started by accident. Gujarat High Court quashed the conclusions of the Banerjee Committee and declared its formation as a “colourful exercise,” “illegal, unconstitutional, null and void,” and its argument of accidental fire “opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record."

However, in September 2008 the Godhra Commission confirmed that there was an attack by a mob. Going further, the report claims that one Hassan Lalu had thrown burning objects into the train and 140 litres of petrol had been used to set the train on fire, adding that stones were thrown at passengers to stop them from fleeing.

The Ahmedabadmarker-based Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), after conducting intensive tests, concluded that it is impossible that inflammable liquid could have been poured from outside into the train compartment. One of the reason it gave was that the height of the window of the coach was around 7 feet from the ground at the place and in the position it was not possible to throw any inflammable fluid inside from outside the coach from any bucket because by doing this, most of the fluid was getting thrown outside.

The bodies of those killed in the train were brought to Ahmedabad, where a procession was held, a move seen as a major provocation for the ensuing communal violence. The VHP issued a call for a state-wide strike on February 28 2002, which was supported by the BJP.

Post Godhra violence

151 towns and 993 villages in fifteen to sixteen of the state's 25 districts were affected by the post-Godhra violence, which was particularly severe in about five or six districts. The violence raged largely between February 28 and March 3, and after a drop, restarted on March 15, continuing till mid June. Northern and central Gujarat, as well as the north-eastern tribal belt where Hindutva mobilisation efforts were strong, were the worst affected while Saurashtra and Kutch remained largely peaceful.

Attacks by large mobs began in the districts of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Saberkantha and, for the first time in its history, Gandhinagar on February 28. Violence spread to the largely rural districts of Panchmahals, Mehsana, Kheda, Junagadh, Banaskantha, Patan, Anand and Narmada the next day. Over the next two days, Bharuch and Rajkot and later Surat were hit.

The first incidents of attacks on the minority Muslim community started at Ahmedabad, where Hindus began throwing stones at and later burned a Muslim housing complex known as Gulburg Society, and then spread elsewhere. The initial violence was believed to be instigated by unsubstantiated rumours, endorsed by a senior VHP leader, of Muslims having kidnapped three Hindu girls during the Godhra train attack.

In Ahmedabad, the dargah of the Sufi saint-poet Wali Gujarati in Shahibaug and the 16th century Gumte Masjid mosque in Isanpur were destroyed. The Muhafiz Khan Masjid at Gheekanta was ransacked. Police records list 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples and three churches as damaged in the months of March and April.

Attacks on Muslims

In Narodamarker, according to Human Rights Watch, at least 65 Muslims were killed, many of them women who were sexually assaulted by violent mobs. One of the witnesses testified before the Nanavati commission that that BJP leader Maya Kodnani, Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and others led mobs on February 14 in the Naroda-Patia area.Babu Bajrangi described his role in the massacres at Patiya. He says:
What happened was this: we chased them and were able to scare them into a huge khadda [pit]. There we surrounded them and finished everything off.

Anil Patel, a VHP departmental chief, said: Our war cry was ‘Lock the door from outside and burn the Muslims from the inside’

A high profile case involved an Ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri who was surrounded by Hindu mobs (including Congress workers ) while many other Muslim residents in the area took shelter in his compound. Jafri was believed to have contacted the local police stations, MPs of the area as well as the Chief Minister Modi to save the people from the ever-increasing mob. However, no police reinforcement had reached his place and the few policemen present were "ineffective and unwilling to control the violent mob." Eventually he was burnt to death, along with fifty others.

According to HRW in its widely-quoted report, mobs of thousands, dressed in saffron scarves and khaki shorts - and armed with swords, sophisticated explosives, and gas cylinders, were guided by voter lists and printouts of addresses of Muslim-owned properties, information obtained from the local municipal administration. Muslims in Ahmedabad alleged that there were elements of planning in the violence.

Fourteen people, including women and children, were killed by a mob at the Best Bakery in the town of Vadodara on the night of 1 March.

On March 3, fourteen members of Bilkis Bano's family including her two-month old daughter were killed in a mob attack near Chapparwad village in Dahod district. Seven women including Bilkis Bano, then five months pregnant, were raped..

Some of the allegations and some of the supporting evidence were later called into serious question by a Supreme Court appointed special investigation (see Controversies on the riots).

Attacks on Hindus

Attacks on Hindus by Muslim mobs in Danilimda, Modasa, Himmatnagar, Bharuch, Sindhi Market, Bhanderi Pole, and other localities in the city of Ahmedabadmarker in Gujaratmarker were perpetrated by Muslim mobs. There was a significant loss of property.Late in March, more than one thousand Hindus in Dariyapur and Kalupur, including 550 dalits, fled their homes to stay in makeshift shelters after being attacked by Muslims mobs.According to the HRW report, over ten thousand Hindus were made homeless.

Several Hindu residential areas, including Mahajan No Vaado, a fortified enclave in Muslim dominated Jamalpur, were targeted following calls for retaliation.

In the morning the mosques began announcing that Islam was in danger, that there was poison in the milk.
This was used as a code word.
The milk was meant to be Muslims & poison meant Hindus.
The rioting lasted between 2:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Residents were unable go to work, fearing attacks. A Hindu temple in the area was destroyed. In Himmatnagar, a young man was killed when he went to a Muslim enclave on business.


According to an official estimate, 1044 people were killed in the violence - 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus including those killed in the Godhra train fire. Another 223 people were reported missing, 2,548 injured, 919 women widowed and 606 children orphaned.

Unofficial estimates put the death toll closer to 2000, with Muslims forming a high proportion of those killed.

When missing people were declared dead after 7 years, total deaths went up from 1044 to 1,267.

Security failure

By the evening of February 28, curfews were imposed in twenty seven towns and cities. By March 25, thirty five towns were under curfew. Police records show 21,563 preventive arrests were made by the end of April (17,947 of the arrested were listed as Hindus and 3,616 as Muslims) as well as 13,989 substantive arrests (9,954 Hindus and 4,035 Muslims).

New York Times' Celia Dugger reported that witnesses were "dismayed by the lack of intervention from local police", who often "watched the events taking place and took no action against the attacks on Muslims and their property".

Human Rights Watch reported that in some cases members of the state police force led rioting mobs, "aiming and firing at every Muslim who got in the way", or instead of offering assistance "led the victims directly into the hands of their killers." Calls for assistance to the police, fire brigades, and even ambulance services generally proved futile.

By the end of April, police recorded 170 people as killed in police firing, of whom 93 were Muslims and 77 were Hindus.

Hindu residents of Mahajan No Vaado, part of the Muslim dominated area of Jamalpur, told HRW that on March 1, the police ignored phone calls and left them fend for themselves when a Muslim mob attacked. Numerous calls by Hindus throughout the riots were reportedly ignored by the police.

One thousand army troops were flown in by the evening of March 1 to restore order. Intelligence officials alleged that the deployment was deliberately delayed by the state and central governments. On May 3, former Punjab police chief K P S Gill was appointed as security adviser to the Chief Minister.

The Gujarat government transferred several senior police officers who had taken active measures to contain and investigate violent attacks to administrative positions.

RB Sreekumar, who served as Gujarat's intelligence chief during the riots, alleged that the state government issued "unconstitutional directives", with officials asking him to kill Muslims involved in rioting or disrupting a Hindu religious event. The Gujarat government denied the allegations, calling them "baseless" and instigated out of malice because Mr. Sreekumar was not promoted.

Defending the Modi administration in the Rajya Sabha against charges of genocide, BJP spokesman V K Malhotra said that the official toll of 254 Hindus, killed mostly in police firing, indicates how the state authorities took effective steps to curb the violence. BJP MP and journalist Balbir Punj disputed allegations of bias against Muslims by the BJP-run state government, pointing out that the majority of those arrested during and after the riots were Hindus.

An unidentified pamphlet circulated to journalists in Gujarat in 2007 labelled Modi's government as anti-Hindu for arresting VHP workers and Hindu activists involved in the riots.

Role of government and police

The Narendra Modi led state government was reprimanded immediately for failing to prevent the riots, but then increasingly for actively fomenting and participating in it, which was a far more serious charge. Crtiques came repeatedly from the Supreme Court, and the upper house of the Indian parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling for federal intervention in Gujarat; a similar censure motion in the lower house was defeated by about 100 votes.

The United States Department of Statemarker in its International Religious Freedom Report 2003 commented on the episode, based on this report by controversial USCIRF :

In April 2002, retired supreme court justices V. R. Krishna Iyer and P. B. Sawant headed a citizen's panel to investigate the riots. Their report includes testimony of the then Gujarat BJP minister Haren Pandya (since murdered), who testified about an evening meeting convened by Narendra Modi the evening of the Godhra train burning. At this meeting, officials were instructed not to obstruct the Hindu rage following the incident. The report also highlighted a second meeting, held in Lunawada village of Panchmahal district, attended by state ministers Ashok Bhatt, and Prabhatsinh Chauhan, and other BJP and RSS leaders, where "detailed plans were made on the use of kerosene and petrol for arson and other methods of killing.".

In 2003, A comment by G.T. Nanavati, who leads the official commission investigating the riots, that part of the evidence collected and reviewed till then did not indicate any serious lapse on the part of the government or police in Gujarat was criticised as inappropriate by aid and reconciliation activists and other jurists.

In response to allegations of state involvement, Gujarat government spokesman, Bharat Pandya, told the BBC that the rioting was a spontaneous Hindu backlash fuelled by widespread anger against Muslims. He said "Hindus are frustrated over the role of Muslims in the on-going violence in Indian-administered Kashmir and other parts of India"

The US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, John Hanford, expressing concern over religious intolerance in Indian politics, said that while the rioters may have been aided by state and local officials, he did not believe that the BJP-led central government was involved in inciting the riots.

At the same time, about two hundred policemen lost their lives trying to control the violence in Gujarat.

Criminal prosecutions

The Indian Supreme Courtmarker has been strongly critical of the state government's investigation and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots, directing police to review about 2,000 of the 4,000 riot related cases that had been closed citing lack of evidence or leads. Following this direction, police identified nearly 1,600 cases for reinvestigation, arrested 640 accused and launched investigations against 40 police officers for their failures.

Human Rights Watch alleges that state and law enforcement officials harass and intimidate key witnesses, NGOs, social activists and lawyers who are fighting to seek justice for riot victims.

In its 2003 annual report, Amnesty International says, "the same police force that was accused of colluding with the attackers was put in charge of the investigations into the massacres, undermining the process of delivery of justice to the victims."

The Best Bakery murder trial received wide attention after witnesses retracted testimony in court and all accused were acquitted. The Indian Supreme Courtmarker, acting on a petition by social activist Teesta Setalvad, ordered a retrial outside Gujarat in which nine accused were found guilty in 2006. A key witness, Zaheera Sheikh, who repeatedly changed her testimony during the trials and the petition was found guilty of perjury.

After a local court dismissed the case against her assailants, Bilkis Bano approached the National Human Rights Commission and petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a retrial. The Supreme Court granted the motion, directing the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation, transferring the case out of Gujarat and directing the central government to appoint the public prosecutor. Charges were filed in a Mumbai court against nineteen people as well as six police officials and a government doctor over their role in the initial investigations. In January 2008, eleven men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and murders and a policeman was convicted of falsifying evidence.

In 2005, the Vadodara fast track court acquitted 108 people accused of murdering two youths, during a mob attack on a group of displaced Muslims returning under police escort to their homes in Avdhootnagar. The court passed strictures against the police for failing to protect the people under their escort and failing to identify the attackers they had witnessed.

Nine people were convicted of killing a Hindu man and injuring another during group clashes in Danilimda, Ahmedabad on April 12, while 25 others were acquitted.

Eight people, including a VHP leader and a member of the BJP, were convicted for the murder of seven members of a family and the rape of two minor girls in the village of Eral in Panchmahal district.

Fifty two people from Pavagadh and Dhikva villages in Panchmahal district were acquitted of rioting charges for lack of evidence.

A stringent anti-terror law, the POTA, was used by the Gujarat government to charge 131 people in connection to the Godhra train fire, but not invoked in prosecuting any of the accused in the post-Godhra riots. In 2005 the POTA Review Committee set up by central government to review the application of the law opined that the Godhra accused should not be tried under the provisions of POTA.

Public enquiries

Shah-Nanavati commission

On March 6, the Gujarat government set up a commission of enquiry headed by retired High Court judge K.G. Shah to enquire into the Godhra train burning and the subsequent violence and submit a report in three months. Following criticism from victims' organisations, activists and political parties over Shah's alleged proximity to the BJP, on May 22, the government reconstituted the commission, appointing retired Supreme Court Justice G.T. Nanavati to lead the commission.In 2008, the Nanavati commission came out largely in favour of he Gujarat government's aspect. Nanavati's evidence hinged on the acquisition of 140 litres of petrol hours before the arrival of the train and the storage of the said petrol at the alleged key conspirator's, Razzak Kurkur, guest house. This was further corroborated by forensic evidence showing fuel was poured on the train compartment before being burnt. The alleged mastermind was said to be the cleric Maulvi Husain Haji Ibrahim Umarji and a dismissed CRPF officer by the name of Nanumiyan, from Assam, who had instigated the Muslim crowds. Furthermore, two Kashmiris, Gulamnabi and Ali Mohammed, were in the same guesthouse for a fortnight prior to the event speaking about the Kashmir liberation movement.

The CPM and the Congress party both came out railing against the exoneration of the Gujarat government by the commission citing the timing of the report (with general elections months away) as evident of unfairness. Congress spokesperson Veerappa Moily commented at the strange absolvement of the Gujarat government for complacency for the carnage. He also said the report reinforced communal prejudices.

National Human Rights Commission

In its Proceedings of 1 April 2002, the Commission had set out its Preliminary Comments and Recommendations on the situation and sent a Confidential Report of the team of the Commission that visited Gujarat from 19 March-22 March 2002 to Gujarat government and Central Home Ministry. The Gujarat government in its reply did not provide its response to the Confidential report. Therefore, the Commission was compelled to release the confidential report in its entirety and observed that nothing in the reports received in response "rebuts the presumption that the Modi administration failed in its duty to protect the rights of the people of Gujarat" by not exercising its jurisdiction over non-state players that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights.

It further observed that "the violence in the State, which was initially claimed to have been brought under control in seventy two hours, persisted in varying degree for over two months, the toll in death and destruction rising with the passage of time despite the measures reportedly taken by the State Government".

The report claims failure of intelligence, failure to take appropriate action, patterns of arrests, uneven handling of major cases, and "Distorted FIRs: ‘extraneous influences’, issue of transparency and integrity" as key factors in the incident(s).

Banerjee Committee

In September 2004, a panel appointed by the central government and headed by former Supreme Court judge UC Banerjee to probe the Godhra train fire concluded that the fire was accidental. Its findings were challenged by the BJP and the Gujarat inspector-general of police. In October 2006, the Gujarat High Court ruled that the panel was set up illegally, in violation of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 which prohibits the setting up of separate commissions by state and central governments to probe a matter of public importance.

Concerned Citizens Tribunal

The citizen tribunal headed by retired Supreme Court justice Krishna Iyer collected evidence and testimony from more than 2000 riot victims, witnesses and others. In its report, the tribunal accuses the state government and chief minister Modi of complicity in the violence. While Krishna Iyer was nominally part of this tribunal, he made it clear in the preface of the report that his involvement was very limited.


Opposition parties as well as three coalition partners of the BJP-led central government demanded the dismissal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for failing to contain the violence, with some calling for the removal of Union Home Minister L K Advani as well.

On July 18, Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked the Governor of Gujarat to dissolve the state assembly and call fresh elections. The Indian Election Commission ruled out early elections, citing the prevailing law and order situation, a decision the union government unsuccessfully appealed against in the Supreme Court.

In August 2002 a plot by Lashkar-e-Toiba to assassinate Narendra Modi, Praveen Togadia, and other Sangh Parivar leaders was unearthed by Indian police. The terrorists were planning to set up a base in Gujarat and were trying to lure some of the riot-hit people into taking up "so-called jihadi activities" Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Intelligence) K K Paul said.

In September 2002, at least 29 people were killed when Islamic fundamentalist gunmen engaged in the Akshardham Temple attack in the city of Gandhinagarmarker in Gujaratmarker. The Pakistani ISI and Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba were accused of supporting the terrorists.

Elections were held in December and Modi was returned to power in a landslide victory.

Emails made public by the perpetrators of a series of bombings in western India in July 2008 indicated that those attacks were "the revenge of Gujarat".

Relief efforts

Amnesty International's annual report on India in 2003 claimed the "Gujarat government did not actively fulfill its duty to provide appropriate relief and rehabilitation to the survivors".

The state government initially offered compensation payments of 200,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the Godhra train fire and 100,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the subsequent riots, which local Muslims described as discriminatory. Subsequently, the government set the compensation amount at 150,000 rupees.

By March 27, nearly 100,000 displaced people moved into 101 relief camps. This swelled to over 150,000 in 104 camps the next two weeks. The camps were run by community groups and NGOs, with the government committing to provide amenities and supplementary services. Drinking water, medical help, clothing and blankets were in short supply at the camps. At least another 100 camps were denied government support, according to a camp organiser. and relief supplies were prevented from reaching the camps over fears that they may be carrying arms.

Relief camp organisers alleged that the state government was coercing refugees to leave relief camps, with 25,000 people made to leave eighteen camps that were shut down. Following government assurances that camps would not be shut down, the Gujarat High Court bench ordered that camp organisers be given a supervisory role to ensure that the assurances were met.

On the 23rd of May 2008, the Union Government announced a 320 crore rupee (US $ 80 million) relief package for the victims of the riots.

Media coverage

Covering the first major communal riots following in the advent of satellite television to India, television news channels set a precedent by identifying the community of those involved in the violence, breaking a long-standing practice.

Critical reporting on the Gujarat government's handling of the situation helped bring about the Indian government's intervention in controlling the violence. The Gujarat government banned television news channels critical of the government's response. STAR News, Zee News, Aaj Tak, CNN as well as local stations were blocked.

The Editorial Guild of India rejected the charge that graphic news coverage aggravated the situation, saying that the coverage exposed the "horrors" of the riots as well as the "supine if not complicit" attitude of the state, helping propel remedial action. The team also faulted Gujarati language papers Gujarat Samachar and the pro-Hindutva Sandesh of distorted and provocative reporting.

The Godhra fire received extensive news coverage until it was overtaken by the subsequent violence and the presentation of the Union budget. Television and newspaper reports, particularly local Gujarati language media, carried graphic and at times sensationalised images and accounts of the Godhra train fire.S Gurumurthy, Arvind Lavakare and columnist Rajeev Srinivasan argue that news reports emphasized the provocative behaviour of the kar sevaks on the Sabarmathi Express in an effort to rationalise the subsequent mob attack at Godhra and displace blame from the mob on to the kar sevaks.

Rajeev Srinivasan questions the veracity of several newspaper accounts of the violence, alleging that they diminish or justify violence against Hindus or play up violence against Muslims. He disputes the view, which he attributes to "the intelligentsia", that the Ram janmabhoomi agitation and Hindu fundamentalism are the proximate causes of the Gujarat violence, arguing instead that a "general Hindu frustration" over allegedly discriminatory government policies and Islamic fundamentalism led to the riots.

BJP MP Balbir Punj has criticised an Arundhati Roy essay, pointing out a factual error in it, and accusing a "secular pack" in the media of hyperbole and sensationalising the riots as part of an agenda of what he calls 'defamation' and 'left wing anti-India propaganda'. Punj writes"She (Roy) terms Gujarat the 'petri dish' of the Sangh Parivar. The fact is that Godhramarker has been used as a crucible by the secular fundamentalists." Punj later continues, "Loss of 900-odd innocent lives (both Hindus and Muslims) is definitely not a 'genocide' of any one community". Punj also says, "The secular pack is not only guilty of parading half-truths but also of condoning and inciting violence".

In 2004, the weekly newspaper Tehelka published a hidden camera exposé alleging that a BJP legislator Madhu Srivastava bribed Zaheera Sheikh, a witness in the Best Bakery killings trial. Srivatsava denied the allegation, and an inquiry committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court drew an "adverse inference" from the video footage, though it failed to uncover evidence that money was actually paid. In a 2007 expose, the newspaper released hidden camera footage of several members of the BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal admitting their role in the riots. Among those featured in the tapes was the special counsel representing the Gujarat government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Arvind Pandya, who resigned from his post after they were made public. While the report was criticized by some as being politically motivated, some newspapers said the revelations simply reinforced what was common knowledge. The Gujarat government blocked telecast of cable news channels broadcasting the expose, a move strongly condemned by the Editors Guild of India..

The riots were also the subject of a 2004 documentary film by Rakesh Sharma , called Final Solution . The film was denied entry to Mumbai International Film Festival in 2004 due to objections by Censor Board of India, but won two awards at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival (2004)

Controversies on the riots

Atrocities against women

There was widespread public outrage regarding atrocities against women during the riots. These included acts of rape against women and female children, and mutilations . In some cases, crime reports to the Police (First Information Reports or FIRs) were neither promptly nor accurately recorded and the victims harassed and intimidated.

An international fact finding committee formed of experts from US, UK, France, Germany and Sri Lanka reported, "sexual violence was being used as a strategy for terrorising women belonging to minority community in the state."

Taking a stand decried by the media and other rights groups, Nafisa Hussain, a member of the National Commission for Women accused organisations and the media of needlessly exaggerating the plight of women victims of the riots. which was strongly disputed as Gujarat did not have a State Commission for Women to act on the ground. The newspaper Tribune reported that "The National Commission for Women has reluctantly agreed to the complicity of Gujarat Government in the communal violence in the state." The tone of their most recent report was reported by the Tribune as "lenient".

Riot cases controversy

In April 2009, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) setup by the Supreme Court of Indiamarker to investigate and expediate the Gujarat riot cases submitted before the Court that Teesta Setalvad had cooked up cases of violence to spice up the incidents. The SIT which is headed by former CBI director, R K Raghavan has said that false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents by Teesta Setalvad and other NGOs. The SIT charged her of “cooking up macabre tales of killings”.

The court was told that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by SIT and it was found that the witnesses had not actually witnessed the incidents and they were tutored and the affidavits were handed over to them by Setalvad.

The report which was brought to the notice of the bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, noted that the much publicised case of a pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu being gangraped by a mob and foetus being removed from sharp weapons, was also cooked up and false.

The above two paragraphs are inherently false. The reports quoted were cooked up by a Times of India reporter, Mr Dhananjay Mahapatra and it was not the SIT but the gujarat government's counsel Mukul Rohtagi who made these claims.references:

Indian Mujahideen Bombings

A number of bombings in major cities in India are attributed to a group calling itself Indian Mujahideen. They sent carefully drafted documents by email that justified their bombings as a revenge for the Gujarat violence.

The documents showed a photograph from Gujarat violence and started the texts in this way:


Released by
Indian Mujahideen
in the Land of Hind

... Here we begin the answer to your tyranny and oppression, raising the illustrious banner of Jihad against the Hindus and all those who fight and resist us, and here we begin our revenge with the Help and Permission of Allah, - A terrifying revenge of our blood, our lives, and our honor that will Insha-Allah terminate your survival on this land.

Remember, O you Gujarati Hindus! O you filthy, shameless and foul creatures! O you Gujarati Hindus, most immoral and the most gutless cowards! Remember whom you have fought against! You have fought against the inheritors of a Messenger of Allah, of a Prophet of Allah whose terror was cast on the enemy from a distance of a month's journey. ...

The emails sent by Indian Mujahideen claimed that they were responsible for the following terror incidents. One warning email was received 5 minutes before the first blast in Ahmedabad. Another was received soon after the first blast of the Delhi bombings. The timing makes it impossible for any other groups to have sent the two emails. They are considered to be responsible for


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  43. NSG commandos rush to Gandhinagar
  44. ; ISI instigated Akshardham attack: Gujarat police,
  45. India Amnesty International
  46. Dugger, Celia W. Ahmedabad Journal - In India, a Child's Life Is Cheap Indeed New York Times. New York, N.Y.:7 March 2002
  47. 254 Hindus, 790 Muslims killed in post-Godhra riots
  48. NGO says Gujarat riots were planned
  49. ,
  50. Fiddling with facts as Gujarat Burns,Outlook India
  51. Tehelka sting a political conspiracy: Shiv Sena The Hindu - October 27, 2007. Accessed 2009-05-27. Archived 2009-05-29.
  52. Tehelka is Cong proxy: BJP Deccan Herald - October 27, 2007
  53. A Sting Without Venom Outlook India - November 12, 2007 issue
  54. Godhra Carnage Vs. Pundits Exodus Asian Tribune - November 29, 2007
  55. THE HINDU Tuesday, Feb 17, 2004
  56. Intl experts spoil Modi's party, say Gujarat worse than Bosnia
  57. Womens groups decry NCW stand
  58. Web-archive of above, from
  59. Gujarat’s women were victims of extreme violence
  60. [7]
  61. NCM rejects Gujarat report:Directs state to follow its recommendations
  62. NGOs, Teesta spiced up Gujarat riot incidents: SIT
  63. Setalvad in dock for 'cooking up killings' [8] . Accessed 2009-05-11. Archived 2009-05-14.
  64. Blasts of revenge ANUPAMA KATAKAM Frontline Aug. 16-29, 2008 Accessed 2009-08-01. Archived 2009-08-05.

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