US-based Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), a broad coalition of over 40 organisations dedicated to the cause of justice and accountability, has condemned the report filed by the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigations Team (SIT) as shoddy investigation and a deliberate distortion of evidence. In a statement issued on May 11, CAG said:
The SIT’s closure report, on the complaint brought forth by Mrs. Zakia Jafri, is replete with inconsistencies, contradicting inferences and devoid of any substantial effort to examine all the records that can throw light on the alleged crimes. “The line of investigation seems focused on finding excuses to discard the available evidence by casting doubt on the credibility of the victims and those that have come forward with evidence,” said Biju Mathew, one of the founding members of the coalition. On the other hand, a report by Mr. Raju Ramachandran, who was appointed by the Court as amicus curiae, has declared that there was sufficient evidence to charge and prosecute Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
CAG expressed its dismay that the SIT has summarily dismissed the testimonies of two senior police officials that had made specific allegations against the Gujarat state government and Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Whistle-blower cop Sanjiv Bhatt had alleged that he was present at a meeting held at the Chief Minister’s residence in which Mr. Narendra Modi instructed senior state and police officials to “allow Hindus to vent their anger.” The same allegation has been corroborated by another high ranking police official R. B. Sreekumar in a separate affidavit. In that affidavit he has alleged that the then Director General of Police K. Chakravarty conveyed that similar instructions were given in that meeting by Chief Minister Modi.
It should be noted that the destruction of the minutes and other official records by the Modi administration that would have conclusively clarified Sanjiv Bhatt’s presence in the said meeting, was ignored by the SIT.
Instead of probing these allegations with the seriousness they deserve, the SIT made the following outrageous claim in its report:
“The interpretation made on alleged illegal instructions given by the Chief Minister by [former DGP R. B.] Sreekumar and [suspended police officer] Sanjiv Bhatt appear to be without basis. Further, even if such allegations are believed for the sake of argument, mere statement of alleged words in the four walls of a room does not constitute an offence.”
In other words, the SIT does not hold it an offence for a sitting Chief Minister to give overt approval for sectarian violence by instructing police officials to look the other way. It is a sad day for Indian democracy when a body appointed by the court to unearth the truth, itself conducts its proceedings in a manner that reflects clear bias and prejudice.
CAG believes that SIT’s twisted interpretation of the law has monumentally disastrous implications for the foundational principles of the Constitution including the guarantees to the right to life for every citizen. CAG further believes that the SIT has lost all legal, ethical and moral standing to continue the investigation in a free and fair manner.
The Coalition appeals to the Supreme Court to intervene to:
Coalition Against Genocide has also affirmed its solidarity with the survivors of the pogroms and the civil society groups in their continued struggle for justice and reparation.