Monday, March 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

NHRC indicts Gujarat Government
Says it abdicated responsibility
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 24
Describing the situation in Gujarat as “shocking”, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today strongly indicted the Narendra Modi government, saying that the inability of the administration to prevent the Godhra carnage and the ensuing developments reflected “inaction” and “inefficiency and abdication of responsibility” on its part.

The Centre today asked the Gujarat Government to ensure that Muharram and Holi pass off peacefully in the state. In a telephonic conversation, Home Minister L.K. Advani asked Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to put the police on maximum alert so that no untoward incident took place.

The commission asked the state government to take immediate confidence building measures to restore the sense of security among the people and said the state police officials should not ask permission to perform their duty under law, but should act.

NHRC Chairman J.S. Verma’s remarks at a press conference here assume significance in view of reports of Gujarat police top brass meeting Chief Minister Narendra Modi and seeking a free hand to act.

“The police officials should not ask permission to perform their duty under law. They must act,” he said, assuring that he would lend all help in this regard.

Stating that though the entire episode was a “matter of inquiry”, he said, if the administration was not able to “anticipate” and “control” things, “to say the least, it is inaction and inefficiency”.

“Things could have been better and all that happened could have been averted,” he said, adding that if some “unusual” things happen, “it must be because of certain failure.” Justice Verma (retd) said.

He said that a full meeting of the commission would be held soon to consider the Gujarat situation and the NHRC would give its report soon on Gujarat.

A “comprehensive” report had been sought from the Gujarat government over the incidents to allow the administration to put forth its point of view, he said.

Terming both the Godhra carnage and ensuing developments as “equally gruesome”, he stressed that “topmost priority” be given to the restoration of peace and harmony, instilling a sense of security among the people of all religions and ensure rehabilitation of the survivors.

Describing his distress over the situation in Gujarat, he said when he visited the largest camp in Ahmedabad he was shocked by the scene there. The worst thing was that none of the ministers had visited the place.

“Some women wanted to talk to me in private. I could not look at them. What they narrated to me has to be investigated, but I feel no woman could say such a thing without it having element of truth in it. One 10-year-old boy described how his entire family was killed in front of him,” the NHRC chief said, adding “People of Gujarat wanted a shoulder to cry on, a shoulder which they thought could help them.”Back


3 die in fresh wave of violence in Gujarat

Ahmedabad, March 24
At least three persons, including a 30-year-old woman, were today stabbed to death here in a fresh outbreak of communal violence in parts of Gujarat even as the Army patrolled in some localities here. The Tazia procession on the eve of Muharram was also cancelled.

A woman was killed and a boy injured in stabbing in the Gupta Nagar locality under the Vejalpur police station area, which was later put under curfew, police sources said.

Two persons were stabbed to death in Madhuoura police station area this evening, they said, adding that one person was injured in the Kagdabith police station area.

An indefinite ourfew remained in force in five police station areas of Kalupur, Dariapur, Karanj, Shahpur and Haveli. PTIBack

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