Tabling Godhra report may be contempt of Supreme Court: Setalvad


Mumbai : The Gujarat government’s tabling Thursday of the first part of the Justice Nanavati Commission’s report on the Godhra train fire might be in contempt of court as a Supreme Court-appointed team was probing the matter, human rights activist Teesta Setalvad said.

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She pointed out that the Special Investigation Team (SIT), appointed by the Supreme Court in March, was looking into the entire matter and was scheduled to submit its report on the investigations into various communal carnages, including in Godhra, in December.

“Then why this tearing hurry on the part of Chief Minister Narendra Modi to table the Nanavati panel report?” wondered the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) activist.

Setalvad pointed out that the state government had earlier successfully sought from the Gujarat High Court a ban on the tabling of the U.C. Bannerjee panel’s report and only a page of it was released. The Banerjee Committee was set up by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad to probe the Godhra incident.

“Why such a restraining order was not passed for the Nanavati Commission report, particularly when the SIT report by a committee appointed by Supreme Court is expected very soon?” she said.

Even legally speaking, the terms of reference for the Nanavati Commission, clubbing the Godhra incident and the ensuing communal violence, only smack of political manipulations, she contended.

“Our matter came up in the Supreme Court this afternoon and the judges asked us to return tomorrow (Friday) morning. Quite surprisingly, barely an hour later, we learnt that the report is tabled in the Gujarat assembly. Why?�? Setalvad asked.

She said that her organisation would urge the Supreme Court Friday to restrain publicizing the report to prevent any communal fallout of it in Gujarat or elsewhere in the country.

She expressed apprehensions that the “political misuse” of the Nanavati panel report could further polarize the majority and minority communities in that state and the rest of India, especially since general elections are round the corner.

The panel set up by the Gujarat government and headed by Justice (retd) G.T. Nanavati, in the first report focusing on the Godhra train burning tragedy, said the incident was not accidental but pre-planned.

As many as 59 passengers were killed in the incident, which triggered state-wide communal violence claiming at least 1,000 lives.