Ahmedabad, Nov 18:
After 12 years and 24 extensions, the two-member Nanavati-Mehta Commission of Enquiry submitted its much-awaited final report on the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the subsequent communal riots, here Tuesday.
The commission, consisting of retired Supreme Court judge Justice G.T. Nanavati and retired high court judge Justice Akshay Mehta, submitted the report to Chief Minister Anandiben Patel at her residence Tuesday afternoon.
The last extension of the commission’s term had ended Oct 31.
The contents and recommendations of the final report by the Commission are not yet known.
The report delved into the burning alive of 59 passengers in the ill-fated S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra station Feb 27, 2002, followed by communal riots in many parts of the west Indian border state – killing 1169 people – ranked among the worst in the country’s post-Independence history.
The then Chief Minister Narendra Modi – now India’s Prime Minister – had appointed a one-man commission of retired Justice K.G. Shah, March 6 that year to probe the train carnage and the communal riots.
Later, it was made a two-member commission with Justice Nanavati as its chairman; retired Justice Mehta was appointed to the commission after the demise of retired Justice Shah in 2008.
The Gujarat government Aug 5, 2005, modified the commission’s Terms of Reference whereby it was empowered to probe the role of Modi and other ministers and officials into the two incidents.
In Sep 2008, the commission submitted its 168-page first report on the train incident in which 59 Kar Sevaks were burnt to death in S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra.
In that report, the Commission had termed the incident as “a pre-planned conspiracy involving some individuals”, and “a premeditated crime and not an accident.”
It had also concluded that there was “absolutely no evidence to show that either Narendra Modi, the then CM of Gujarat, and/or any other minister/s in his council of ministers, or police officers had played any role in the Godhra incident, or that there was any lapse on their part in the matter of providing protection, relief and rehabilitation to the victims of communal riots or in the matter of not complying with the recommendations and directions give by the National Human Rights Commission.”
Over the years, the Commission received nearly 46,500 documents, affidavits and statements of officials and members of the public, and it carried out a spot visit of the burnt train coach as part of its enquiry.