Will Chief Minister Be Never Held Accountable?: Congress Over 2002 Gujarat Riots Case

New Delhi:

The Congress Saturday asked if a chief minister or a state government will ever be held accountable even if the state is thrown into a circle of pre-meditated violence and riots, a day after the Supreme Court upheld an SIT clearance to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots case.

The party said the Supreme Court verdicts should not be politicised but asked if it is only the collector or police officers who are responsible for any riot in their jurisdictions and not their political masters.

“Will Chief Minister, Cabinet and State Government be never held accountable, even if the State is thrown into a circle of pre-meditated violence and riots?” asked Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala.

“Is responsibility only of the Collector and deputy commissioner of Police and not of political executive? What then is the Constitutional and moral responsibility of Chief minister and the state government?” Mr Surjewala asked.

The law in this “New India” is, he said, “Failure to stop or inaction to act against those committing violence is not actionable ground against State Government. To act upon Intelligence inputs is immaterial.” “Was Supreme Court right then in saying – ‘As Rome burnt, Nero fiddled’ or is it right now? Is failure or inaction no longer actionable in law? Let the nation think,” he said.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “The decisions of the Supreme Court should never be politicised.” He said the Supreme Court upheld the SIT’s clean chit, according to which there was no conspiracy and the violence was a natural reaction.

“One should not forget many convicts of murder in Gujarat riots, on whom the guilt was proved. The Supreme Court denies conspiracy or statement by the Prime Minister in the absence of certain police officers. It should simply be respected as an order of the Supreme Court,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the SIT’s clean chit to the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and 63 others in the 2002 communal riots in the state, saying there is no tittle of material to show the violence after the Godhra train carnage was pre-planned” owing to the criminal conspiracy allegedly hatched at the “highest level” in the state.

Observing that inaction or failure of some officials of one section of the administration cannot be the basis to readily infer a pre-planned criminal conspiracy by the authorities or to term it as a state-sponsored crime against the minority community, the court dismissed a plea by slain Congress leader Ehsan Jafri’s wife Zakia, terming it as “devoid of merits”.

Bringing the curtains down on the bid to reopen the probe into the 2002 riots, a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar also spoke of the devious stratagem to keep the pot boiling, obviously, for ulterior design, and said disgruntled officers of the Gujarat government need to be in the dock and proceeded with in accordance with law for creating a sensation by making false revelations.

Alleging a larger conspiracy behind the mass violence against Muslims, Zakia had challenged the Gujarat High Court’s October 5, 2017 order rejecting her petition against the finding of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team(SIT).

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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