A Decade after Godhra Riots

Posted on March 5, 2012 in Society

By Axay Shroff:

The Godhra Riots, one of the infamous incidents of Gujarat, has completed its 10th Anniversary. No one in Gujarat will ever forget the 27th February 2002. It was the day when S6 coach of Sabarmati express was burned by a large Muslim mob at the Godhra Railway Station. The train was full of karsevak, coming back from Ayodhya. 58 pilgrims died on the spot due to the mob attack.

As an aftermath of the incident, riots took place in all the major part of the state, in which almost 1200 people died, most of them being Muslims. Victims of the incident want to forget those days, and abstain strongly from discussing about it. Still, 10 years after this occurrence, people get tears in their eyes when they do try to recall the incident. The whole incident was so controversial, majorly for the fact that it even accused Narendra Modi (the Chief Minister of Gujarat). However, his involvement in the riots is still a subject of debate.

To investigate the matter, former Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav appointed a one-man Commission in the form of Retired Justice U C Banerjee. The Banerjee Commission gave a verdict — that the conspiracy was not pre-planned, but was just an accident. However, the Gujarat High Court has deemed the findings of the Banerjee Commission to be unconstitutional and illegal. It is injustice to the victims.

The Gujarat Government, in consultation with the Central Government appointed Justices Nanavati and Shah to investigate Godhra and post-Godhra incidents. The Nanavati Commission took a lot of time in talking to thousands of people, including victims and eye-witnesses, interviewed thousands in an independent manner, finally concluded that Godhra carnage was not an accident, but the coach was set on fire by a mob, allegedly Muslims.

No matter what the different Commissions have to say and conclude, one question remains — Where is Justice? Zakia Jafri, wife of former Member of Parliament Ehsan Jafri, is still appealing for the Judiciary to carry out reliable and right investigation and, as a result, grant justice. After all such incidents, it only goes on to prove that the one who suffers is a Common Man of Gujarat, as things have changed and communal relations have not remained the same — Hindus and Muslims have become separate after 2002. However, the matter is not important only for the Hindus or Muslims or the people of any other community. It indicates a loss of Humanitarian feeling and ties, a sort of a gap created in society. The Godhra Riots and many more such incidences ultimately serve as a wake-up call for us.