PUCL Bulletin, January 2003

Crime Against Humanity
Excerpts from the report of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal into the recent violence in Gujarat.

[A large number of groups and individuals from within Gujarat and the rest of the country, after consultation with one another decided to constitute a Concerned Citizens Tribunal as a response to the carnage that rocked the State following the Godhra tragedy on February 27, 2002. An eight member tribunal consisting of (Justice) V. R. Krishna Iyer, (Justice) P. B. Jaswant, (Justice) Hosbet Suresh, (Advocate) K. G. Kannabiran, (Ms.) Aruna Roy, K. S. Subramanian (Retd. IPS), Ghanshyam Shah (Professor JNU), Tanika Sarkar (Professor JNU) was constituted. The Tribunal, after collecting oral and written testimonies from individuals and organisations and from victim-survivors between May 2nd & 13th 2002 prepared a massive report running into more man 500 pgs divided into 2 volume.

An additional third volume is yet to come copies of the report can be had from the publishers: Citizens for Justice and Peace, P.O. Box 28253 Juhu Post office, Mumbai 40049. - Chief Editor]

We give below an abridged version of a summary issued by the tribunal.

Click here for the full report

Mystery of the Fire
On 7-5-2002, we inspected the coach and the site where it was burnt… A very significant fact is that coach S-6 was the only one that got burnt. The fire did not even spread to the other coaches. If the kar sevaks were the target, they were overwhelmingly present in the entire train and the whole train could have been set on fire. The fact that the fire did not even spread to the remaining coaches, is a clear indication that the fire originated in that compartment itself.

That also explains why only persons in that coach died. In all probability, as the fire broke out, there was extreme panic and, the compartment being over-packed, many of the a the able bodied persons managed to escape through the vestibules to the other coaches, leaving mostly women and children behind, who must have succumbed to the smoke and suffocation and fallen down in a pile, one over the other. The evidence also suggests that the passengers had stacked their belongings against the doors and it was just not possible for anyone to escape from or enter the coach.

It is clear that the fire started inside the coach and the flames leaping out of the windows singed the outside of the compartment, above window level. Therefore, even to the naked eye, it was clear that the fire was from within and not from outside.

Our own observations were subsequently confirmed by the reports of the forensic Science Laboratory, Ahmedabad (Spot Investigation Report).

Was Godhra Pre-Planned?
The evidence clearly indicates that the incident was not pre-planned, as alleged by the government. In this connection, we would like to refer to a statement made by the IGP, Railways, PP Agja recorded by the Times of India on March 29, 2002: "The case is still being investigated and if there was some deep conspiracy, then we are yet to find it... As is amply evident from the voluminous evidence recorded by the Tribunal, and substantive other evidence made available to it, investigating officials have yet to find any proof of the Godhra atrocity being pre-planned.

Immediate Reaction of the Administration and the Government
From 8.30 a.m. on February 27, just after the fire on the Sabarmati Express took place, until 7.30 p.m. that evening, repeated statements by the Godhra district collector, Smt. Jayanthi Ravi relayed on Doordarshan and Akashwani (Radio) stated "the incident was not pre-planned, it was an accident." ® At 7.30 p.m., Chief Minister, Shri Modi made a public broadcast in which, for the first time, he put forward the, 'ISI hand behind the Godhra incident' version. Thereafter, from the next day onwards, the then Home Minister Shri L K Advani also ominously pointed to the "ISI hand." Union Defence Minister, Shri George Fernandes, too, joined the chorus of voices, alleging that there was "a foreign hand" behind Godhra.

What could have been confined to Godhra and Godhra alone was taken and broadcast to all of Gujarat state. All that followed was directly related to Shri Modi's decision to carry Godhra to the whole state instead of containing the issue therein.

Bandh Call and the Preparation
Senior ministers from Shri Modi's cabinet organised a meeting late in the evening on February 27, in Lunavada village of Sabarkantha district. Shri Ashok Bhatt, the State Health Minister and Minister Prabhat Singh Chauhan from Lunavada attended. At this meeting, a diabolical plan was drawn and disseminated to the top 50 leaders of the BJP/RSS/BD/VHP, on the method and manner in which the 72-hour-long carnage that followed was to be carried out.

According to confidential evidence recorded by the Tribunal, these instructions were blatantly disseminated by the government, and in most cases, barring a few sterling exceptions, methodically carried out by the police and the IAS administration. There is no way that the debased levels of violence that were systematically carried out in Gujarat could have been allowed, had the police and district administration, the IPS and the IAS, stood by its constitutional obligation and followed Service Rules to prevent such crimes.

The bandh call for February 28 and March 1, given by the VHP and supported by the BJP party and state government, made possible exactly what the Chief Minister and the BJP/VHP/RSS/Bajrang Dal leadership wanted to happen after the Godhra incident.

It is apparent that by the evening of February 27, a well thought out scheme to extract maximum political capital out of Godhra had been launched. As part of this scheme, at around 2.30 a.m. the bodies of the kar Sevaks were brought to Ahmedabad.

The state government and the administration, instead of appealing for restraint and peace, became the agents of a well-planned action against innocent Muslims of the state that was in fact projected as a 'reaction.' The corpses of the unfortunate victims of the Godhra arson were used to launch a statewide pogrom of decimation that has not entirely stopped to date.

Was 'Godhra' Allowed to Happen?
Gujarat and indeed the whole country was on red alert due to the aggressive mobilisation by the VHP for building the temple at Ayodhya (March 15). In Mumbai, the police made as many as 8,000 preventive arrests in the first week of March, to keep the situation under strict control. In contrast, even after Godhra happened, the Gujarat police arrested only two persons in Ahmedabad, both of whom were Muslims.

There was utter and complete failure of law and order maintenance and governance, particularly given the chequered communal history of the town. An investigation into the background of Godhra shows that when disturbances erupted in 1965, the then collector promptly arrested both Muslims and Hindus whose name appeared in FIRs and within a couple of days the disturbances were curbed. Even after the October 1980 disturbances, the then collector, Smt. SK Verma immediately put the miscreants behind bars. If a similar, no-nonsense and non-partisan approach had followed the Godhra incident of February 27, by promptly apprehending the suspected criminals, tension would have been contained.

And the chances of a vengeful and highly organised spree of retaliatory killings that demonstrate every element of ethnic cleansing and genocide, would have been pre-empted. That this did not happen suggests a lack of intent on the part of those in government, to take prompt preventive measures in order to deescalate the situation. In December 1992, a similar incident of provocation had occurred at Palej near Vadodara, but at that time, the state police cracked down on the Shiv Sainiks who had abused and provoked passengers and residents and thus squashed potential communal trouble within hours.

Though all accounts suggest that there was provocation enough by the kar sevaks, nothing can justify the crime of torching 58 persons alive. The guilty need to brought to book and punished. But the tragedy and crime simply need to be placed in the charged and venomous atmosphere that the county and the polity has been held victim to, where sane, rational impulses are being overwhelmed by the politics of rage, revenge and violence.

Patterns of Violence

A noticeable feature of the Gujarat carnage is the distinct and similar patterns that have emerged from different parts of the state. While some local conditions and socio-economic factors do differentiate the attacks from one place to another, derailed and extensive evidence before the Tribunal points to the overwhelming and sinister similarity behind the attacks that were engineered and launched...

Selective Targeting of Muslims
From the extensive evidence recorded by the Tribunal, it is clear that Muslims from all social strata, rich and poor, were the prime targets for the state-sponsored pogrom unleashed all over the state of Gujarat. From cities and towns to villages, be it the question of life, dignity or property, barring few exceptions, Muslims were the sole target. While the targeting of economically better off Muslims was limited to their property, and this damage was vast and extensive (the carnage in Gulberg Society, where former MP Ahsan Jafri was specifically targeted, being an exception), the lower middle class and the working class sector, be it in urban centres or villages, faced attacks on their life, property, and dignity.

In most places, Hindu houses amongst Muslim bastis had been marked out before the attacks using saffron flags, or pictures of Ram and Hanuman, or with crosses. Evidence before the Tribunal shows that in some places this marking was done a few days before the Godhra tragedy on February 27 and which was the ostensible justification for the 'retaliation'. These markings were to avoid inadvertent attacks on Hindu homes and businesses in areas that were targeted later.

From the statewide evidence earlier recorded and placed before us, it is also clear that apart from the lives of Muslims, several symbols of India's composite culture were deliberate targets during the carnage in Gujarat. The dargahs (shrines) of Sufi saints that are revered by persons from all communities, especially the oppressed castes, deserve special mention here.
The other targets of violence were couples who had entered into inter-community marriages... Violence against mixed couples has become common all over Gujarat and the issue of inter-religious marriage has become part of the hate propaganda against Muslims and those Hindus who enter into or accept such marriages.

Brutality and Bestiality of Attacks
The Tribunal recorded over 1,500 testimonies of eye-witnesses, victims and survivors of the violence from Ahmedabad, Kheda, Mehsana, Himmatnagar, Sabarkantha, Banaskantha, Vadodara, Godhra, Bharuch, Ankleshwar, Patan, Anand, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and elsewhere. This includes the written evidence collected by others and placed before us. The widespread violence that targeted Muslims in urban and rural Gujarat was marked by utter bestiality and brutality. We have recorded evidence that training camps were conducted by the Bajrang Dal and the VHP, backed by the RSS and supported by democratically elected representatives from the ruling BJP.

The camps were often conducted in temples. The aim was to generate intense hatred against Muslims painted as 'the enemy', because of which violence was both glorified through the distribution of trishuls and swords, and justified as the legitimate means to self-defence.

In the attacks all over Gujarat, as recorded before the Tribunal, areas were besieged for 7-8 hours, by mobs of over a few thousand (this varied in different cases but the marked similarity was the scale of the attackers). In all the cases, the leaders of the mobs coordinating and supervising the transport of gas cylinders, trishuls and talwars, chemicals and gelatine sticks have been identified by witnesses and survivors as prominent leaders and elected representatives from the BJP or leaders of the VHP, Bajrang Dal, or the RSS.
Women and young girls were targeted brutally, as were children.

Evidence recorded before us shows how in the macabre dance of death, human beings were quartered and the killing protracted while the terrorised survivors looked on, the persons targeted were dragged or paraded naked through the neighbourhood, victims were urinated upon, before being finally cut to pieces and burnt. Hundreds of testimonies before us show how this manner and method of killing has left an indelible imprint on the minds of the survivors.
Evidence before the Tribunal shows that the burning alive of victims was wide spread. This is not accidental. For the victim community, Muslims, who bury their dead, the killing by burning was meant to annihilate as also to terrorise and establish dominance over the entire community. When 6-year-old Irfan asked for water, his assailants at Naroda Patiya made him forcibly drink kerosene, or some other inflammable liquid, before a lit match was thrown inside his gullet to make him explode within. Such brutality, which was encouraged or condoned by the government in power, is now cynically being denied.

Unprecedented Scale and Degree of Violence-Ethnic Cleansing
The Tribunal recorded evidence from more than 16 districts of Gujarat. From the evidence placed before us it is clear that starting from February 28 within the first 72 hours, even as Shri Modi claimed the situation to be under control, there was unprecedented loss of life and property. Thereafter, violence continued in 3-4 distinct stages right up to mid-May. Even the hearing of the Tribunal in the first half of May were preceded by warnings to call off the Tribunal. We, too, had to ask for state security.

Evidence before the Tribunal shows that, guided by leaders, the trained mobs first sprinkled the targeted buildings with fuel drawn from kerbas (large cans/barrels), or even a tanker in some cases, followed by a spray of acid. Immediately thereafter a gas cylinder brought along by the mobs was unsealed and tossed into the flame.

The result was a deadly explosion that ripped buildings apart and killed a large number of persons on the spot. The complete destruction of the Noorani Masjid at Naroda Patiya at around 9.30 a.m. on February 28 was probably the first among the large number of such deadly assaults launched across the state using gas cylinders and acid.

Across Gujarat, over 1,100 Muslim-owned hotels, the homes of not less that 1,00,000 families, over 15,000 small and big business establishments, around 3 thousands larri gallas (handcarts), and over 5,000 vehicles (private cars, trucks, taxis, auto rickshaws) were badly damaged or completely destroyed in the attacks. These figures, arrived at by the Tribunal through the voluminous evidence presented before us indicate the attempt to economically cripple a community on a scale unprecedented in the post-independence history of communal violence in the country.

Looting and Destruction of Property
The destruction of property across Gujarat, in the most affected cities of Ahmedabad and Vadodara, as also elsewhere, was thorough and precise. The extensive evidence before the Tribunal shows that this, too, was part of the pattern and the planning behind the attacks, to devastate and completely destroy the property of the targeted Muslim section. As significant is the fact that every single Muslim household and business establishment was looted before being reduced to an empty shell.

There are instances where, at the more affluent shops located on the main roads in Ahmedabad or Bharuch, the middle and affluent classes among Hindus, women and girls noticeably, were seen looting choice collections from a boutique or shop before it was completely destroyed.

From March 1-3, in all the affected villages, Muslims were forced to flee their homes taking nothing with them... Once the Muslims fled from their villages, mobs looted and then burnt their houses and shops at leisure. In many villages, houses were being torched until as late as March 10-13, and, in some instances, even later. In every structure targeted, be it a house or a shop, doors, windows, window frames, grills, electric wiring, water pipes, taps, switch-boards, electric meters, all movable property, even roofs, went missing. There were traces of the chemical powders used even when Tribunal members visited these villages two months after the crime.

The evidence recorded before the Tribunal shows that, while Godhra provided the pretext, there was prior mobilisation of men and materials, and an organisation in place that made possible the systematic and calculated preparations that preceded many of the massacres. The mass use of gas cylinders in Ahmedabad and many other places, even while there was a shortage a fortnight before, the training needed to torch the fire-proof showroom of Harsollya Motors (Sabarkantha), the selection of the kind of blasting devices and detonators needed to destroy Muslim-owned factories and establishments in the GIDC area in Modasa (Sabarkantha) or Vatwa (Ahmedabad), while the areas were under curfew between March 1-3; they all suggest detailed military-style pre-planning

Take Over of Agricultural Holdings Owned By Muslims. The Tribunal has received evidence from across the state of Gujarat that a deliberate motive behind driving Muslims out of villages where they have lived for centuries, and where an economic and social boycott is even today being carried out, is to surreptitiously and illegally take over landholdings held by them.

Military Precision and Planning Behind Attacks
How the operations were executed: Large mobs running into thousands were led by well-known elected representatives from the BJP, leaders of the VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS and even cabinet ministers… These leaders quite often carried computer printouts of the names and addresses of Muslims homes and shops. Field operations were coordinated by a central command using mobile phones.

The formation of arson battalions: The evidence clearly points to scores of key actors leading large mobs, fully aware of what they had to do and achieving their task with precision. This suggests the existence of a private, trained militia running into thousands in Gujarat. A militia, moreover, established and made fighting fit through training camps, distribution of weaponry and hate propaganda glorifying violence. Weapons used in attacks, such as swords, were of the same brand, and must obviously have been distributed in advance across large tracts of the state.

Profile of the assailants: The leadership of large mobs running into thousands was provided by easily identifiable elected representatives of the BJP (including cabinet ministers), and others from the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and the RSS. From the evidence before us, it is clear that these leaders were carrying computerised sheets containing people's names and addresses.

The second rung comprised of the chief executioners who wielded all the weapons - guns, trishuls, swords - and handled arsenals and supplies - petrol, diesel, kerosene, chemicals and gas cylinders - for starting fires. They moved around in vehicles loaded with chemicals and weapons. This was the group primarily responsible for the brutal killings, sexual assaults, and other abuses.

The third group was mainly involved in looting property from the houses and shops. In some of the tribal area, this group consisted of Adivasis.

Use of Hale Speech and Hate Writing
Widespread hate propaganda was conducted through pamphlets distributed by Hindu communal organisations in different areas in large numbers. The content of these included calls for the social and economic boycott of Muslims, warnings about Muslims constituting a danger to the survival of Hindus, urging Hindus to awaken and to decimate and drive Muslims out from India.

Much of the local media played a reprehensibly partisan and inflammatory role right from February 28 onwards, local political leaders used the electronic media in the most despicable manner. The intentions of leaders belonging to the ruling party and their affiliates becomes very clear if one examines the speeches on local TV channels like JTV, Deep, and VNM. For example, informatory speeches by certain leaders on local cable news channels on March 15, after the Machchipith incident in Vadodara, prompted combing operations by the police. Despite several appeals to the administration requesting action against particularly offensive local news channels, the police commissioner only acted in the last week of March, by filing FIRs, ironically, against two of the relatively less provocative channels.

It would be no exaggeration to state that the local press, particularly Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar (the former with greater impunity) was party to fuelling communal tension in the state through sensationalised, provocative, and, at times, highly inflammatory reporting. Had these newspapers played a more sober and responsible role, allaying rather than preying on the fears of people (particularly those belonging to the majority community), they could, perhaps, have contributed to defusing tension and restoring peace in the state.

Hate propaganda: There are numerous examples of motivated and false propaganda used to fuel local passions leading to violence against Muslims. One example bears mention here. Shri Dalsukh Maharaj of Sanjeli, mobilised a mammoth crowd of 30-35,000 people, mostly Adivasis, some of whom had gathered for a wedding, to slaughter local Muslims and to burn and loot their houses... A top district-level official who deposed before the Tribunal provided evidence of distribution of CDs and pamphlets among Adivasis and others in Panchmahal, that contained blatant falsehoods about Muslims. The administration had to crack down on recording and video parlors and photocopy shops engaged in this nasty business.

Muslim refugees from Pandharwada (Panchmahal), Randhikpur (Dahod), Sanjeli (Dahod), Por (Gandhinagar), Rajpardi (Bharuch), Unjha, Dasaj (Mehsana) and several other areas reported the steady build-up of anti-Muslim propaganda through meetings, leaflets, etc., over the last decade and, more intensively, in the last few years. 'Kodar Doctor', one of the chief accused in the Pandharwada violence, would tell Muslim villagers that Pandharwada was the land of the five Pandavas where Muslims were not wanted; they were repeatedly told to go away to Pakistan.

Violence Against Women
A distinct, tragic and ghastly feature of the stare sponsored carnal unleashed against a section of the population, the Muslim minority in Gujarat, was the systematic sexual violence unleashed against young girls and women. Rape was used as an instrument for the subjugation and humiliation of a community. A chilling technique, absent in pogroms unleashed hitherto but very much in evidence this time in a large number of cases, was the deliberate destruction of evidence. Barring a few, in most instances of sexual violence, the women victims were stripped and paraded naked, then gang-raped, and thereafter quartered and burnt beyond recognition.

The Tribunal recorded with pain the statements of women from all over Gujarat who had either themselves been subject to sexual violence or were direct witness to it. Many of the over 33,000 children forced to live as refugees in relief camps throughout the state were also witness to the most debased and brutal forms of violence. They were mute witnesses to gross gender crimes perpetrated on their near and dear ones - sisters, mothers, aunts and even grandmothers -with gory and military precision, evidence of some sick minds and a vicious ideology.

According to the evidence recorded by the Tribunal, the leaders of the mobs (many of whom have been identified) in Naroda even raped young girls, some as young as 11-years-old. The young girls were made to remove their clothes in front of 1,000-2,000 strong mobs who humiliated and terrorised the girls. Thereafter, 8-10 men raped them. After raping them, the attackers inserted sharp swords, knives or hard objects into their bodies to torture them before burning them alive. In the many bouts of communally incited pogroms that have taken place in different parts of the country, never has there been this depth of perversion, sickness and inhumanness. Even a 20-day-old infant, or a foetus in the womb of its mother, was not spared. They Sung babies in the pyres that they had prepared. They cut up people, threw them in a well, known as 'teesra kuva' and then burnt them. The police supported the mob during the assault by shelling tear gas shells on the hapless Muslims. They also opened fire on men when they were trying to defend the women in the area.

The sinister aspect of these gender crimes is that they have been led and directed by elected representatives and prominent leaders of the BJP, RSS and VHP… This means that the dominant political leadership of our times is actually creating or displaying role models that glorify gender crimes against women. Can any civilised society witness this without finding an urgent need to punish those guilty and making a determined effort to purge public life of these perversions?

The behaviour of the police towards women of the minority community had also been recorded in some incidents of the post-demolition violence that rocked Ahmedabad in 1992. But the scale and frequency of such shocking misconduct during the state sponsored carnage this time makes it most deplorable. It shows not just lawless behaviour by the police, but an identification with the ideology of hate and humiliation that instigated that and earlier against the minority community in Gujarat. This kind of behaviour by the police has completely alienated the entire minority community in Gujarat. Women, especially, feel fear, humiliation, disgust, and anger at this.

Evidence placed before the Tribunal shows that in the later phases of violence, even in Vadodara city, vulgar and brutal behaviour of the police with women of the minority community was recurrent. Evidence on record shows that from March 15 onwards, the Vadodara police played a prominent role in terrorising Muslim residents in their localities through combing operations and illegal arrests. Women in particular, were subject to oppressive forms of harassment in their homes, especially when their men had either fled or were away.
Apart from physical bearings, Muslim women in localities of Vadodara were subjected to sexual and communal threats; policemen used highly abusive language before they vandalised their homes.

The sexual assault on Muslim women in Gujarat since February 27, has to be seen in the context of the carnage carried out by the right wing Sangh Parivar with total state complicity. Violence against the minority community assumed various forms: mass killings, sexual humiliation -including gang-rape - of women, brutal arracks on children, and attacks on the very survival of the minority community through looting, burning, and destruction of their property and means of livelihood.

Evidence before the Tribunal shows that women have suffered the most bestial forms of sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, insertion of objects into the bodies, stripping, and molestation. A majority of the women who suffered this violence were then burnt alive. Amongst the survivors, many have spoken about the assaults but many have been silenced, for fear of further attacks and for fear of censure from their own families and community. Besides the lack of faith in the system of justice, the humiliation faced by women who dare challenge taboos and demand punishment for gender crimes like rape have silenced the natural cry for retribution and justice.

These crimes against women have been grossly underreported and the exact extent of these crimes in rural and urban areas has yet to be grappled with. These attacks have been carried out in the presence of, in many instances even at the behest of, the police and other state authorities.

Attacks on children were used as instruments of terror. In what is surely the most perverse dimension of the violence, children were used to torture and terrorise victims. In one particularly tragic incident in Tarsali, an old Muslim man was shown the head of his beheaded son on a tray before he was himself brutally slain.

Hate Speech and Hate Writing
Evidence in the form of the originals and translations of these pamphlets were placed on record before the tribunal… Many of these have been in circulation, intermittently, over the past four years. But the period between February and April, 2002 saw the proliferation of such literature, some identifying the author, others anonymous, but all a foul testimony to the debasing levels of hatred that the ideologues of a 'Hindu State' can reduce ordinary people to. The Tribunal records with horror, the deep-rooted conspiracy and design that is evident from a perusal of all these pamphlets. From openly asking for a blatantly anti-constitutional boycott of Muslim shops and establishments, there are also exhortations to violence against Muslim women and children that are too shocking and painful to detail here.

They reveal a depth of hatred that can be no good for the people it grips and takes hold of. Only a sick and degenerate leadership can want the whole of Indian society to descend to such demeaning levels of hatred whereby any excuse is good enough to unleash bloodshed and mass violence. The Tribunal has recorded dozens of testimonies from different parts of Gujarat that show how in the past four years, 3-4 times a year, tens of thousands of such pamphlets would flood Gujarati homes, thrust upon even those Hindus who are repulsed by their contents. From February-April 2002, the circulation of these pamphlets intensified considerably.

It is astounding that no action was initiated by any wing of the Gujarat state intelligence or police against such hateful and incendiary writing; nor did the judiciary take suo motu action, which it is empowered to do. While most of the hate pamphlets are anonymous, there were at least four for which VHP and BD claimed proud authorship... It is a matter of profound shame that even in these cases, no action was initiated against the errant outfits and their office bearers.

Role of the Central Government
1.1. The complicity of the state government is obvious. And, the support of the central government to the state government in all that it did is also by now a matter of common knowledge.

1.2. The entire country had been held to ransom by the vitriolic rhetoric around the building of the temple at Ayodhya; the threatening statements by leaders of the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and the BJP kept communal temperatures on the boil. It was in the midst of this surcharged national climate that Godhra happened and the Gujarat carnage was masterminded.

1.3. Within hours of the Godhra arson, an organised carnage was planned and ruthlessly executed over the next 72 hours in 15 of Gujarat's 25 districts. It was apparent that thanks to the instructions from the state government, the administration and the police stood paralysed as the brutal massacres - Naroda Patiya and Gulberg society in Ahmedabad, Pandharwada in Panchmahals and Sardarpura, Unhava and Kadi in Mehsana apart from Nadiad were clinically executed; yet the government of India turned a blind eye. In a situation such as post-Godhra Gujarat, when huge, organised mobs of the majority community were attacking the minorities, when the state government and the administration sided with the majority, it was a clear case of a breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state.

The culpability of the central government in the Gujarat carnage lay in its failure to invoke its executive powers available under Article 355, read with Entry 2.2A of List 1 and Entry 1 of List II and Entry I of List III of the Constitution of India, to take over the administration of law and order in Gujarat, and to send in the Army under direct orders of the Centre.

1.4. At no time during the Gujarat carnage did the central government and its functionaries show any initiative or commitment to constitutional values, impelling them to intervene and intervene swiftly and effectively to end the violence.

1.5. Far from invoking the provisions of the Constitution and performing their constitutional obligations and duties, neither did the Prime Minister nor the Home Minister even issue a stern order to the chief minister to crackdown on the lawless elements.

1.6. Late on February 28, after he had cancelled a scheduled foreign visit, the PM met RSS and VHP leaders in the nation's capital, not to discuss the quartering and massacre of innocents in Gujarat, but to dialogue on the Ayodhya issue! Later, the Cabinet Committee on Security met and merely ordered the Army to be on alert.

1.7. The attitude of both Shri Vajpayee and Shri Advani appeared to aim at diverting the nation's attention away from Gujarat, and directing it instead towards Ayodhya and the happenings there.

1.8. The conduct of the railway Minster, who rushes to the spot whenever a train accident takes place, failed in his duty to visit Godhra, to survey the situation for himself and to order an immediate inquiry into the cause of the Fire. Questions about the fire in the railway compartment in Godhra still beg for an answer. Who pulled the chain? How did the fire occur? Surely this merited the urgent attention and immediate intervention of the railway minister? Yet, to this date, the minister has not visited Godhra. What explanation has to offer for his utter inaction?

1.9. The conduct of the railway ministry related to the entire Godhra arson is shocking. On February 27, as reported in The Times of India (February 28), Shri Nitish Kumar condemned attack on the Sabarmati Express and asked the Gujarat Government to take proper measure to ensure the safety of railway property and the passengers. Shri Kumar, who spoke to the Gujarat chief minister on telephone in this regard, asked the state government to take appropriate measures to ensure the smooth and safe running of trains, from the capital without visiting the scene of the incident.

1.10. However, in the six months that have followed, Shri Nitish Kumar has been distancing his ministry from the Godhra carnage on the ground that what happened was not a 'rail accident' bur a law and order issue. But the very fact that the Railways made speedy ex-gratia payments to the relatives of those killed and to those injured is proof that the ministry indeed treated Godhra as any other 'accident' with a difference: in many earlier rail accidents the ex-graria payment has not necessarily been so prompt.

1.11. In fact it was not until the media made specific inquires that the internal Western railways reservation list of that they was made available. From this, it is not at all clear if all those killed were Kar Sevaks. Reservations for coach S-6 were made in Lucknow and not Faizabad. The Gujarat government released the names of 39 of those who died. Nineteen of the 58 dead have yet to be identified. One of the passengers who suffered grievous injuries was a Muslim.

1.12. The Prime Minister's prevaricating statements, saying different things at different times at different places, left everybody in utter confusion. Had he already prejudged the situation and apportioned blame for the Godhra arson to the Muslim minority or did he attribute guilt to the goons from the Hindu majority who indulged in this carnage and brought a bad name to the country in the international community?

1.13. On February 27, hours after the Godhra tragedy, the PM said in Parliament that from the preliminary reports it appeared that the incident was the result of slogan shouting. On April 4, when he visited the Shah-e-Alam Camp, he bemoaned the burning alive of women and children, the rapes and killings and urged the Gujarat government to observe its duty. But only a Fortnight later, at his party's National Executive meeting in Goa on April 22, he said the Gujarat carnage would not have occurred but for the Godhra arson.

Thereafter, he bemoaned India's loss of face in the international community. He termed the Gujarat carnage as "a blot on the nation". His statement at his party's National Executive in Goa bears mention. "Wherever there are Muslims, there is a problem... What happened in Gujarat? If the passengers of the Sabarmati express, innocent, unblameworthy, had not been deliberately burnt alive, Gujarat tragedy (Gujarat ki trasadi) could have been avoided. But this did not happen. People were burnt alive. Who were they? Intelligence is investigating but we still need to ask, how did this all happen?

The latter happenings should not be criticised till we understand who set Gujarat on fire. Who lit the fire? How did it spread? Our country is multi-religious, multi-linguistic We believe in cooperation, we believe in sarva dharma sambhaav (respect for all religions). We are proud of our secularism... From Goa to Guwahati, wherever I go, the Indian is not a kattarwaadi. Yeh maati ek hai (the Indian is not a fanatic. This soil is one). But whenever I travel around the world, our officials in all the embassies tell me, 'militant Islam raaste mein kaante bo rahaa hai' ('militant Islam is sowing thorns in our path'). One Islam there is which is tolerant to all, that believes in truth: samvednaa aur dayaa sikhaataa hai ("it preaches compassion and mercy). But the kind of Islam being perpetrated in the world today is a violent, intolerant Islam that has no room for tolerance." This statement, made after the worst state-sponsored carnage against Muslims post-Partition had been so cynically carried out, is unfortunate, to say the least.

1.14. The role of the then union Home Minister and now deputy Prime Minister, Shri LK Advani appears to be patently partisan. His pat on the back for Shri Modi, not once but on several occasions and his rejection of the state government's Forensic Science Laboratory Report (FSLR) as soon as if appeared in the press, amounted to no less than his assuming the role of a judge. His dogged refusal to acknowledge within the country that the Gujarat carnage was an inhuman, shameful act on the part of the communal elements among Hindus, yet accepting it as a blot on the country during his foreign jaunt in England, makes people wonder whether he is a spokesman of the party which he represents or the Home Minister/Deputy Prime Minister in the government of India? Is he simply a time server when it comes to a foreign audience? What is inexcusable on his part is the assumption of the role of both a lawyer holding the brief for Hindu communalists as also of a presiding judge giving his verdict on the carnage.

When he rejected the state governments Forensic Science laboratory Report, was he doing so on behalf of the Hindu communalists or the central government? It appears that like Shri Modi, he too keeps forgetting that he holds constitutional office and is not a sangh prachaarak.

1.15. His statements with regard to the entire carnage make people wonder whether any impartial investigation is at all possible into the charges against the accused, with him in charge of the home affairs of the country.

1.16. As noteworthy was his reluctance to visit extensively, affected areas of the post-Godhra carnage, immediately after it took place, despite the fact that he is elected from the Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency each year.

1.17. Shri Advani is one of the leading figures in the central government who has irresponsibly peddled the theory of a "foreign hand" behind the Godhra arson without any proof; described Godhra as a "net of terrorism" and the subsequent carnage as a "communal riot"; debunked the finding of official investigations as contained in the FSLR; repeatedly praised Shri Modi as "being the best chief minister India has seen in 50 years" and lauded him as being the best example of "good governance"; and, most dangerously, given a clean chit to indicted organisations like the VHP and BD, who were openly gloating over the violence"…

1.18. It needs to be recorded here that barely a few days after Rev. Graham Staines, the Australian priest who had been working with lepers for years, was torched to death along with his two young sons inside a jeep in Orissa on the night of January 22/23, 1999 and Shri Dara Singh, a man with clear links with the RSS/VHP and BD was named as the main accused in the case, Shri Advani had shown similar partisan conduct when he had said on the floor of the Lok Sabha, "I know these people (Bajrang Dal), they will never do such a thing".

1.19. Shri George Fernandes, the union Defence Minister, emerges from the entire episode as a pathetic character. While he no doubt visited Gujarat immediately after the outbreak of the violence to oversee the role of the Army, and for which he undoubtedly deserves appreciation, it appears he learnt nothing from whatever he may have surveyed. Had he done so, he would not have made the statement that he did in the Lok Sabha on April 30. That statement not only added insult to the injury of those brutalised by the pogrom but also undermined all human values.

If a minister of his rank and a politician of his experience chooses to liken the mass instances of gender violence (perpetrated against 150-200 women and girls) and the subsequent slaughter of most of them, as "nothing new", it is sufficient indication of the seriousness with which the whole carnage was looked upon by the central government. His attempt at whitewashing his statement at a later stage made things even worse.

1.20. As the union law minister, it was expected Shri Arun Jaitley would have more respect for the rule of law than Shri Modi. Instead, he showed complete disregard for the basic human rights of innocent men, women, and children who fell victim to the carnage. He patted Shri Modi's back, the man who was the root cause of the massacre of humanity in the stare of Gujarat. His attitude was and is sufficiently representative of the view and attitude of the central government to the entire incident.

1.21. In short, the inaction on the part of the central government and the utterances of its spokesmen occupying responsible positions show that not only had the central government failed in its duty but it also had no intention to discharge it at all. Contrast this conduct of the central government with its prompt action after the Akshardham Mandir massacre. This only shows that if the central government intended to take action, it could have done so. The fact that the central government failed in its constitutional obligations during the post-Godhra carnage is indisputable. In the event of any international authority also indicting the state government, which we believe to be inevitable, the central government will have to bear a major share of the blame and will be liable for censure.

Failure of Criminal Justice System
The evidence shows that the investigation process was totally inactive, in that,

  • There was no recording of complaints made by effaced persons, even while the incidents were taking place.

  • FIRs were recorded after several days.

  • Even the recorded FIRs contained incorrect versions and not the versions as reported by the complainants.

  • The names of the culprits, even when disclosed, were not recorded.

  • In fact, the complainants were told not to name the accused, otherwise the complaints would not be recorded.

  • The FIRs of individual victims were not recorded and omnibus complaints containing several incidents were recorded, which would deny proper investigation and stall the delivery of criminal justice.

  • In many cases, the panchnaamaas of the scenes of offence have not been made. The forensic evidence has not been collected.

  • The leaders of the mob violence have not yet been arrested.

  • The police participated in the violence and, in spite of clear and well-documented evidence against the police, no policeman has been prosecuted or proceeded against otherwise.

  • Search and seizure of weapons and looted material have not been effected at all, despite direct evidence of armed mobs committing the crimes.

  • Most of the prosecutors who are in charge of these cases owe allegiance to the organisations perpetrating the crimes, with the result that the victims have no confidence in the due process of law.

  • From the evidence recorded, many persons, politicians and officials among others, have been repeatedly mentioned by witnesses, as directly taking part and inflicting violence on innocent victims and also leading.

Communalisation of Public Space - Hospitals

One of the most disturbing and sinister truths about some prominent master-minds behind the Gujarat carnage was the fact that many of than hailed from the medical profession and, despite their professional allegiance to the Hippocratic oath, violated it to lead mobs to rape, pillage, maim and kill and that to, in the most barbaric ways. Dr. Parveen Togadia, Dr. Jaideep Patel, Dr. Amita Patel and Dr. Bhartibehn, Dr. Maya Kotdani (the latter three are BJP MLAs) are all doctors by profession who were named by victims as masterminds and leaders in brutal crimes.

Dr. Praveen Togadia, international general secretary of the VHP, is well-known for his frequent threats of hatred and violence. He is a cancer surgeon by profession and also owns the Dhanvantri Hospital at India Colony, Ahmedabad. Doctors belonging to the Muslim minority testified to the fact that, on February 28, Shri Togadia had put in an adslide of his, which was telecast on Citi Cable in Ahmedabad city, asking all doctors and nurses to report to his hospital. He was making this appeal to all doctors.

Many witnesses who deposed before us raised the question of whether this was also part of a master plan, To keep, through threats and warnings, Hindu doctors away from Muslim-run hospitals.

Justice AP Ravani spoke of his personal acquaintance and knowledge of (Hindu) doctors being threatened and told (by the VHP) not to treat Muslims. He knew of one doctor in the Shahibag area who must have attended to 17-20 deliveries for women staying in camps. The doctor was personally threatened by Shri Togadia himself, "Stop this, otherwise consequences will not be good". Other doctors have also confided to Justice Ravani saying they too had received similar threats.

The 'borders' drawn within Ahmedabad have ensured a severely ghettoised existence. This has been an unfortunate fact for the past three decades and it has had serious implications for inter-community interaction and relations. In the recent state sponsored genocide, it was used cleverly by large, well-organised and well-armed mobs numbering several thousand, through bloodshed, violence and intimidation, to restrict the passage of ambulances from the inner, old city to either the Vadilal Sarabhai (VS) Hospital or the Sola Civil Hospital. This was another cruel method of preventing victims from receiving urgent medical attention.

At least six injured persons rescued from Chamanpura (Gulberg society), testified before the Tribunal confirming that the VS Hospital had refused them treatment, demanding that a police statement be obtained first. This, from a group of persons who had been brutalised and traumatised, having been witness to 60-70 of their close relations or neighbours stripped, raped, cut into pieces, and burnt alive.

One eyewitness from Jamalpur stated, "The worst conduct was at the Sola Civil Hospital.

Here Bharti behn and Anita behn, both BJP corporators (Bharti behn is from Mani Nagar), were actually telling doctors whom to treat or not to treat". At the VS Hospital, which gave more access to the minorities initially due to the presence of Congress corporators on the hospital's managerial board, there were attempts to deny treatment to Muslims that were not entirely successful.

But no incident can typify the extent of communalization of hospitals more than the brutal murder of a Muslim who had brought a severely injured person to the VS Hospital by ambulance on May 7, while the Tribunal sat. The youth was stabbed when he alighted from an ambulance carrying a patient who had been stabbed in the Juhapura locality. The assailants were: Sangha Parivar activists who were demonstrating against the alleged "partisan attitude" of the hospital authorities against Hindu patients. It appears that these were well-organised and coordinated efforts to deny medical aid to the Muslim community. Since most of the Muslims, dead or injured, were being taken to VS Hospital, it was made the target of the mobs. Muslim drivers would be so scared that they would refuse to go there. In 1992 this sense of fear did not prevail within hospitals.

Though initially the injured were not attacked while in hospital, there was enormous psychological fear. Hence, victim-survivors started going to small hospitals, which had neither adequate facilities nor staff. "They never struck the victims, they merely showed us the swords, but it was enough to frighten us" said Sharief Khan Pathan of the Nobel Ambulance Service.

The Gujarat government is culpable of failure to protect the lives of at least 2,000 victims. It is also guilty of failure to provide medical aid and relief to victim-survivors in life-threatening situations.

To allow the space occupied by doctors and hospitals, which are sacred by sheer nature of the job they do, to be vitiated by hate speech and propaganda sounds a serious warning to the extent of percolation of communal ideology in Gujarat.

The fact that many leaders and perpetrators of the crimes are doctors surely behoves upon the Indian Medical Association to initiate disciplinary action against them for never can the mandate of a doctor, who's first job is to save and preserve life, become exactly the opposite - of being the one to snatch life away.

Recommendations Long Term
1. National Crimes Tribunal

1.1. A Standing National Crimes Tribunal be established, forthwith, to deal with all cases of,
- Crimes against humanity, pogroms,
- Offences in the nature of genocide,
- Cases of mass violence and genocide,
- Cases of riots and incidents where there is large-scale destruction of lives and property, including caste, religious, linguistic, regional, ethnic and racial violence.

1.2. A suitable Statute should be enacted for the purpose by Parliament

1.3. The Standing National Crimes Tribunal (SNCT) should be an independent body, the personnel of which should be selected by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister of India and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. Persons with legal and judicial background should be appointed on the Tribunal for a fixed tenure of not less than 7 years.

1.4. The members of the SNCT should lie free to follow such procedure as they may find fit notwithstanding the provisions of any other law.

1.5. The SNCT should have the power to investigate offences through its own investigating agency, created for the purpose. The SNCT' should have, for its independent use, a special investigating and enforcing agency.

1.6.The SNCT should take cognisance of. mass crimes as soon as they occur. Once the cognisance of such crimes is taken, no court should have the power to deal with them. The SNCT should dispose of these cases within a fixed time-frame.

1.7. The SNCT should have the power to arrest, try, and punish the accused, as well as to compensate, and rehabilitate the victims and their dependents.

1.8. Jurisdiction, Admissibility and Applicable law:
For the purpose of the statute to be enacted, "mass violence and genocide" should mean, as it does in the International Convention on prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part an ethnic, racial, caste or religious group:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent to births within the group;
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
  • In addition, the following acts should also be punishable under the proposed statutes:
    ­ Genocide;
    ­ Conspiracy to commit genocide;
    ­ Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
    ­ Attempt to commit genocide;
    ­ Complicity in genocide.

2. Crimes Against Humanity
2.1. Within the definition o f crime that fall under the definition of crimes against humanity, sexual crimes against women should lie recognised as crimes against humanity. Sexual crimes should not include only rape in the conventional sense; but should also include sexual slavery, debasing, enforced pregnancy, enforced sterilisation, forcible insertion of any object into the vagina. The definition of crimes against humanity should also include attacks on the lives and dignity of a section of the people, attempted or actual obliteration of a section of the people, economic annihilation of a targeted section, us well as their religious and cultural obliteration.

3. Gender Crimes
3.1. The definition of rape and sexual assault under the new statute should recognise that it cannot be restricted to the act, or the proof, of the penis forcibly entering a woman's vagina. Any object used to abuse a woman's body, and even verbal assault should be considered a part of the same crime.

The present laws of evidence and procedures invoke medical examination of the victim as well as of the accused, as proof of such an assault. In situations such an that of mass rapes and gang rapes during the recent violence in Gujarat, this is an impossibility because in some cases, where the victims have fled for days on end if they have survived the assault at all, or where the police has refused to file any complaints, or have deliberately filed incorrect complaints, no accused may be apprehended. It is important that the onus of proof, in all such cases of mass and gang rapes, should rest on the accused and the victims should not he burdened with proof of the crime. The testimonies of the witnesses, in cases where women have been burnt or killed, have to lie given due weight as those of the victims themselves.

3.2. In most cases the accused might unknown, or due to the presence of a large number of people, it may be difficult to identify the persons involved directly in the crime. In such situations, the state has to be held responsible for the crime, for not protecting its citizens. The persons holding responsible offices must be made accountable for the same.

3.3. The concept of justice has to be widened in such cases. It must dent, not only with the punishment of those found guilty of the crime, but should also consider reparation for the women who suffered physical and mental injuries, since such assaults further curtail women's rights to be a part of mainstream social life, besides inflicting a damning long term impact on the coming generation. Precisely for this failure to protect the basic human rights of these citizens, the state has to provide reparation. Financial reparations are no doubt extremely important, but ought not to be seen as full compensation. Since all individual women are not in a position to register their complaints, reparation should be provided to all women of the affected community.

3.4. Women and witnesses who have come forward to give testimonies should be given adequate protection by the SNCT, holding the state and the offenders responsible and punishable for any harm that may be caused to them.

4. Justice And The Judiciary

4.1. The near collapse of the criminal justice system in our country has made the deliverance of justice an exception rather than the rule. It is a painful reality and has to be acknowledged by all. Hence, when situations like the Gujarat carnage/genocide occur, where mass scale violence takes place, it is unrealistic to expect prompt justice from the present system. It has, therefore, become necessary to suggest a mechanism such as the SNCT above, with special composition, status, power and procedure. Section 11 of the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, 1985 envisages such a tribunal.

5. Supreme Court
5.1. The Tribunal therefore recommends that all necessary steps including seeking direction from the Supreme Court and making a statutory recommendation to the government of India to

(i) appoint such a tribunal for fixing the responsibility for acts and omissions of officials and the political executive in the Gujarat carnage of February-March 2002, and to ensure that persons found derelict make restitution and reparation, and to ensure compensation for all sufferers in the violence

(ii) enact a law on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,

(iii) Such a comprehensive law on riots and disorders should take info consideration detailed recommendations made by the National Police Commission, the NHRC and the NCM.

6. Rehabilitation
6.1 A long Term and systematic plan should he worked out by the civic and town planning administrations in urban centres in Gujarat, with the assistance of the housing hoards and housing financing authorities, to actively break the aggressive, violent and enforced ghenttoisation of Gujarat's cities, especially Ahmedabad, Vadodara and the like. This can be ensured with adequate political and moral will, committed to the belief that enforced ghenttoisation makes communities more vulnerable as target groups for mass violence and also actively prevents healthy inter- action that breeds tolerance between communities.

The municipal authorities and the housing boards of cities in the state need to prepare plans that encourage mixed, inter-religious, inter-caste housing. This is vital for the future health of all sections of the population.

6.2. Provision of alternative housing to those who are not in a position to return to their old homes, and the formation of mohalla communities, to rebuild trust in mixed neighbourhoods, will also go a long way in the direction of rehabilitation.
6.3. Dissemination of accurate information about the Muslim community, including their comparative socio-economic development indices, statistics on bigamy etc., in an easily understandable form, will have help prevent false propaganda against them.

6.4. Dissemination of information on the history of the struggle for independence, and the part played by the different communities, classes and tribes in the freedom struggle, will increase awareness about the contribution of all communities to the building of India as a nation and their deep interdependence on one another.

6.5. Recruitment of a non-partisan, gender-sensitive police force and bureaucracy, by building gender sensitivity and impartiality indicators into the selection process and following it up with periodic training programmes, is a must and must be followed strictly.

7. Police
7.1. Recommendations made by the National Police Commission (1979-81), in order to establish the autonomy of the police and free it from undue political control, should be accepted and implemented immediately, especially in relation to:

-- the setting up of a composite State Security Commission to deal with, among other things, the selection of the police chief, to ensure his autonomy, independence und professional functioning, and to confer on him the fixity of tenure to remove fear of punitive transfer and to empower him to act within the ambit of his statutory authority;

-- the evaluation of the performance of the police and receipt of complaints from police officials about illegal and irregular orders from above;

-- recasting the Police Act of 1861.

7.2. An independent Police Complaints Authority should be created, on the lines of the British model, to hear complains from the public against police misbehavior. In the recent violent incidents in Gujarat, a large number of complaints about human rights violations by the police had to be registered with the very same police authorities who had committed the violations in the first place, creating a very bizarre situation. The creation of an Independent Police Complaints Authority is essential to obviate such a situation in the future.

7.3. The Tribunal is of the view that it is the urgent need of the hour that law-enforcement be made impartial, effective and humane. For impartial law-enforcement, the functioning of the police must be independent of political direction and interference. Courses on human rights, the eradication of caste and communal prejudices, and humane riot control methods should be included in the training programme for police and other law-enforcement agencies. Training of police personnel on the especially sensitive matter of dealing with communal violence is also necessary.

The exanimation of video footage of telecasts by local TV channels as well as of police videos, should become mandatory, to identify and prosecute those found guilty of making provocative speeches/statements and indulging in acts of violence.

7.4. The social composition of all law-enforcement agencies should be diverse, wherein the presence of at least 25 percent of the personnel from among the minorities and women should be ensured. For this purpose, a study should be undertaken to assets the present representation of these categories in the police and the deficiency should lie made up.

7.5. Recommendations of the Committee on Police Training, 1972, should be implemented, especially in relation to social justice and attitudinal reorientation of the police through appropriate training on social justice issues.

7.6. The need for the existence of centralised All India Services, such as the IAS and the IPS, should he examined in the light of increasing democratic decentralisation in the country. An Administrative Reforms Commission with a comprehensive mandate, should be set up to examine a gamut of issues that arise in this connection.

Official and NGO inquiries and investigative reporting by eminent persons have noted the partisan role of the police during riots. These reports include those of the Justice Madon Commission (1970), National Police Commission (1981), studies by Shri NC Saxena (1983) and Shri VN Rai (1996), and Finally, by the Justice Shrikrishna Commission on the Mumbai riots (1992-93) …
The extremely partisan role of The law-enforcement agencies has been generally attributed to the following four factors:

-- A culture of governance which makes the police function as a subordinate body, carrying out orders and directions of the political executive.

-- Deeply entrenched communal prejudices in the minds of a section of officials and police personnel.

-- Social composition of the police and of the other wings of the law-enforcement and criminal justice system, wherein minorities are persistently under-represented.

-- Lack of training in humane and effective mob control by the police. This is a state of affairs that needs to be rectified and rectified quickly. The Tribunal notes with anguish and concern that no political party has ever paid heed to the urgent need for radical police reforms.

-- The Tribunal recommends that this be a matter that is debated and legislated upon with the utmost urgency. Let it not happen that more carnages take place and are condoned by the political class, simply because they lack the moral courage to initiate and push for an independent police authority in the country.

7.8. Legal provisions must be enacted to ensure restitution of rights and compensation to sufferers/victims of the riots. (The rationale and modalities for taking these measures have been discussed in the National Commission on Minorities Report on Communal Riots: Prevention & Control (1999).)

8. Civil Society
8.1. Joint forums of all social groups - castes, religions, etc. - should be created to discuss, debate and deliberated upon all matters of common concern.

8.2. Common festivals und festivities should be organised not only on national occasions but also to celebrate the special occasions of all religious groups.

8.3. Discourses should be held to educate people on the merits of each religion and the denigration of any religion should he statutorily banned and made punishable.

Mixed localities, housing complexes, housing societies, clubs, educational and recreational institutions should lie promoted and social intercourse and interactions including voluntary inter-caste, inter-religious marriages should be encouraged

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