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2002 riots: ‘Ethnic cleansing,genocide are foreign terms… cannot be considered’

The court also rejected the 'larger conspiracy' argument raised by Jafri.

Written by Satish Jha | Ahmedabad | Published: December 27, 2013 1:53:11 am

In her petition challenging the clean chit given by a special investigation team to Narendra Modi and others in the Gulberg Society killings,Zakia Jafri had used the expressions “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”. On Thursday,Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate B J Ganatra dismissed both “foreign terms” as not applicable while rejecting Zakia’s petition.

Ganatra also rejected the “larger conspiracy” argument raised by Jafri. Excerpts from his order:

‘Foreign terms’

“Based on all the witness statements and documents on record,this court has to see whether the Gulberg Society incident was because of a conspiracy by powerful people in the state government or not. And whether,as the complainant says,this can be called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘genocide’.”

The court goes into the origin of the expressions and notes that “ethnic cleansing” was first used during the struggle that broke out over the division of Yugoslavia,where people were killed based on community.

And “genocide is a Greek and Latin usage which means the killing of people on the basis of race,” reads the order,going on to define the term.

“For this,we have to see the definition of ‘genocide’ as per the dictionary which is as follows: Generally speaking,genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation,except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups,with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of political and social institutions,of culture,language,national feelings,religion,and the economic existence of national groups,and the destruction of the personal security,liberty,health,dignity,and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups,” it says.

“With reference to the above allegations and based on records placed before this court,the burning of the train at Godhra railway station cannot be called a preplanned conspiracy by government functionaries and the court believes that it cannot be equated to complicity by authorities. Taking into account the complainant’s projection of these incidents as very serious and the allegations against Narendra Modi and his people in power and the specific allegations on their mindset,based on the material placed on record and arguments put forward by the complainant,the foreign terms used in this protest petition cannot be taken into consideration.”

On ‘larger conspiracy’

“The court opines that the allegations levelled are collective,unclear and general…

“Evidence is not satisfactory to prove an alleged larger conspiracy by accused number one Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others…

“To maintain law and order,the state government,in the afternoon of February 28,2002,asked for military and paramilitary forces. Besides,Modi appealed on Doordarshan for peace from both communities again and again. Taking the records placed by the special investigation team,the court can’t consider that there was a conspiracy…

“Gujarat has a history of communal violence. In view of this,the court cannot agree with the complainant that Narendra Modi did not take any action under the circumstances to maintain law and order. When required,curfew was [imposed.”

On IPS officers’ evidence

“RB Sreekumar,Sanjiv Bhatt and Rahul Sharma’s record supporting the allegations as evidence,prima facie,in view of the court,are not enough to proceed. Zakia Jafri has shown the horrors of communal riots. This court can take it as personal feeling but it cannot be considered important for the case. The affidavits of Sanjiv Bhatt and Sreekumar included in the evidence prima facie are not reliable…

“The SIT has established that Sanjiv Bhatt was not present in the February 27 meeting at the chief minister’s residence…

“The court is of the opinion that the state government was taking the efforts needed to maintain law and order. The court cannot comment whether these efforts were [effective or not.”

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