After 12 years since its appointment and 25 extensions later, the Nanavati-Mehta Commission on Tuesday submitted its final report on the 2002 Godhra Train Carnage case and subsequent communal riots in parts of the state. The two member commission comprising of retired Supreme Court judge, G T Nanavati, and retired Gujarat High Court judge Akshay Mehta submitted the report to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel at the official residence of the CM.
With the submission of the report, one of the most significant and controversial chapters related to the 2002 Godhra Train Carnage case and subsequent Gujarat riots has come to an end. In Godhra Train carnage case, 59 persons were burnt alive in S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express train near Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002. On the other hand, the communal riots that ensued in parts of Gujarat left 1,169 people dead.
The Commission was appointed by the Gujarat Government led by the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, shortly after the riots in 2002 on March 6, 2002. Initially, it was a one member commission headed by Justice (retired) K G Shah. However, following opposition by certain groups against the same, it was made a two member commission headed by Justice (retired) G T Nanavati as its chairman.
On August 5, 2004, in a significant move, the Gujarat Government had amended the Terms of Reference of the Commission and enabled it to probe the role of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers and bureaucrats in connection with the Godhra Train Burning incident and the subsequent communal riots in Gujarat. In March 2008, following the death of Justice (retired) K G Shah, Justice (Retired) Akshay Mehta was appointed as the second member of the Commission.
The Commission has already given its first report pertaining to the incident of burning the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express in which 59 Kar Sevaks were charred to death near Godhra Railway Station on February 27, 2002. The Commission had called the incident as a pre-planned conspiracy involving “some individuals”.
In its final report, the Commission was expected to give its opinion and recommendations on the roles played by various politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat at the relevant time along with a number of bureaucrats and police officers in the Gujarat Government, who had or have been holding top positions.