No other politician or world leader in modern era has been as outrageously hounded and vilified, using falsehoods and bigotry, as the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Not only has he been demonized, but using him as a proxy, an open exercise in shameless Hinduphobia has been promoted globally.
One of the tool used against him has been the Gujarat riots in 2002. For those riots, Modi was not only held responsible, but was painted as a mastermind who ‘planned’ and managed those riots.
A commission comprising of two retired judges – KG Shah (retired Gujarat High Court judge)and GT Nanavati (retired Supreme Court Judge) – was formed. They were to look into the Godhra train burning incident of February 27, 2002 and the subsequent riots in Gujarat.
The final report was submitted by the Commission to the Gujarat Government on November 18th, 2014. It was tabled in Gujarat’s legislative assembly on December 11, 2019. The Nanavati-Mehta Commission report has completely exonerated Narendra Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots.
This report is significant in its scope and findings, and lays to rest all speculative and ideological assertions made by Modi-haters – in India and globally – who peddled in bigotry and Hinduphobia.
It is instructive to remember that the Commission has heavily depended on the investigation by the police, which was led by DIG Rakesh Asthana (who is now IG and Vadodara Police Commissioner) and conducted by Dy SP Noel Parmar, a Christian officer known for his efficiency. Despite pressure from the Hindu organizations alleging bias from Parmar, he was not changed.
Here are the top main findings of this report:
Godhra train burning was a Muslim conspiracy: The commission found that local Muslims at the Aman guest house in Godhra had hatched a conspiracy to burn the coaches of the Karsevaks who were traveling in coach S-6. To operationalize this plan, these local Muslims purchased 140 litres of petrol from a nearby petrol pump on the night of 26 February 2002. The petrol was transported in a green tempo by Imran Sheru, Hasan Charkha, Jabir Behra and Mehmood Khalid and some others and kept in the room of a guest house. The train was late next morning. They changed their strategy and at around 8 am spread a false rumor that a Muslim girl (Sofiabanu Shaikh) had been abducted into the train by karsevaks. When a crowd of Muslims gathered to attack the train, the culprits used this opportunity to set the coach on fire. Shaikh’s story, when probed by the Commission, was not consistent and was clearly fed to her after the fact.
On February 27th, Hasan Lala entered the S-6 coach after forcibly opening the vestibule between S-6 and S-7 coaches and entered the coach from the rear. He threw burning rags to set the coach on fire. The mob was meanwhile pelting stones to prevent the passengers from moving out of the burning train coach! So the main conspirators, along with thousands of Muslims from the Signal Falia area, committed a crime that is unimaginable in scale and ferocity. This was the main finding from Noel Parmar.
The plan was hatched by Salim Panwala, Razak Kurku and half a dozen others including Muslim cleric from Godhra Maulvi Husain Haji Ibrahim Umarji.
As per the report “setting fire to the train was part of a “larger conspiracy” to “instil a sense of fear” in the administration and create “anarchy” in the state”.
2002 Gujarat riots were not planned: This is another claim by the Modi-haters that has been repeated by them ad-nauseum. The Commission lays it to rest. It clearly says that there is no evidence for the assertion that either the riots were inspired, instigated or stage-managed by any minister of the state.
“There is no evidence to show that these attacks were either inspired or instigated or abated by any minister of the state,” the commission said in its report, which runs into over 1,500 pages and is compiled in nine volumes. It said the police at some places were ineffective in controlling the mob because of their inadequate numbers or because they were not properly armed. India Today
Credibility of Modi-critics police officers: Many critics came out since 2002 peddling the Congress narrative. Three police officers have been at the forefront of carrying the water for Congress. The Commission has questioned the credibility of three former IPS officers – Sanjiv Bhatt, Rahul Sharma and R B Sreekumar. Of course, Sanjiv Bhatt’s family has been fighting elections on behalf of Congress party, clearly showing a quid pro quo between the two in order to target Modi.
Shweta Bhatt, the wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, on Friday announced that she will contest the state Assembly elections on a Congress ticket against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from Maninagar constituency in the city. India Today
The timeline of 2002 Gujarat Riots and the obvious falsehoods
While so many falsehoods have been created and entire journalism careers made out of the fictional stories from Gujarat riots, the truth was fairly evident when one read the papers of that time. Let us take a recap of the events to understand the intentions of the Modi government and the alacrity with which Modi acted.
- February 27th 2002: The train was set on fire and 56 Hindus burned by Muslims in a pre-planned way while the mob stoned them to prevent them to jump out of the burning train (source)
- February 28th 2002: The Riots started. Modi government called the Army and sent requests to three Congress governments – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan for additional police force. Only Maharashtra sent 3 companies of CRPF. MP and Rajasthan did not send any. (source)
- March 1st 2002: Army began flag marches and shoot at sight orders (Source)
- March 3rd 2002: the Riots were brought under control (Source)
Here is the part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted under the Supreme Court which probed into the riots and gave their report – where the requests sent by Modi to the MP, Maharashtra and Rajasthan state governments on February 28th 2002 have been discussed. (courtesy – Guruprasad.net)
If one is not bigoted and thoroughly screwed up mentally, one can peruse these news reports and the timeline and realize that something terrible and dastardly was done in Godhra. In a state, which saw riots every few years, such an action was calling for apocalypse type of reaction. It was planned for such a reaction.
And it happened.
But Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister, jumped into action without delay. He sent requests for the Army and police force from adjoining states right away – on the very day that the riots started! Clearly his own state police was not enough to handle the riots.
The riots were contained state-wide within 2 days. Across one of the largest states in India. Just for context, Gujarat is larger than Pennsylvannia and South Carolina put together in area and has a population larger than populations of the two most populated states in US – California and Texas put together (37.25 mn – CA, 25.145 – TX in 2010 and Gujarat – 62.7 mn in 2013)!
This timeline should be compared to Delhi massacres of Sikhs – which took around a week to contain in just ONE city!
It is no wonder that not only the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team (SIT) gave the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi a clean chit in 2002 riot case, but even the Nanavati-Mehta Commission which investigated into Godhra and the subsequent riots exonerates Modi, while calling out the perfidy of those who falsely accused Modi at the behest of their political masters.
Media’s dance of fake news and narratives
Whether it was Rajdeep Sardesai or Barkha Dutt or Rana Ayyub, many careers were constructed on the back of fictional accounts shared by unscrupulous media people. Rana Ayyub is milking that entire riot to this day when she works to demonize Narendra Modi in the global press.
Iconic global media outlets like New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist to this day talk in innuendos when it comes to Modi and 2002. They will not admit and state clearly and unequivocally that no court and no investigation ever found even a shred of evidence against Narendra Modi on 2002.
And, in that veil of innuendo-laden fake narrative they peddle bigotry and Hinduphobia, while keeping the 2002 Gujarat riots alive.