Special Correspondent

May be tabled in Assembly next week

Justices Nanavati and Mehta hand over report to Modi

The commission was set up in March 2002

GANDHINAGAR: The Nanavati Commission, probing the Godhra train carnage and subsequent riots in Gujarat, submitted the first part of its report to Chief Minister Narendra Modi here on Thursday.

Commission members Justice G.T. Nanavati and Justice Akshay Mehta handed over the report to him, in the presence of Minister of State for Home Amit Shah.

Contents not known

The contents of the commission’s recommendations were not immediately known. Government sources said the report was likely to be tabled in the Assembly during a three-day session beginning on September 25.

The government appointed a one-man commission constituted by the retired Gujarat High Court judge, K.G. Shah, in March 2002, to probe the Godhra train carnage in February 2002 and the communal riots that followed.

Following objections from many sections, particularly human rights activists, the retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Nanavati, was appointed to head the commission.

Sources in the commission said more than 44,000 affidavits were filed and during the six years of its tenure so far, extended by the government several times, it examined over 1,000 witnesses.

Boycott

Following the death of Justice Shah earlier this year, Justice Mehta, also a retired judge of the High Court, was appointed in his place in April.

The Jansangharsha Manch, representing riot victims before the commission, however, decided to boycott its proceedings.

The Manch advocate, Mukul Sinha, claimed that Justice Mehta was “too close” to Mr. Modi to expect impartiality from the commission in its reports.

Under criticism

On the submission of the first part of the report, Dr. Sinha expressed surprise at the “speed and energy” with which the commission completed the investigation on the train carnage.

Questioning the “urgency” of submitting the report as six years had already passed, he said if the Nanavati Commission should have waited for the report on the train carnage by the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court.

The apex court recently extended the time limit of the SIT till December this year.He also expressed apprehension over the advisability of bifurcating the commission’s report into two, one on the train carnage and the other on post-Godhra riots.

Such piecemeal efforts would not ensure justice for the riot victims, Dr. Sinha said.

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