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The Times of India, THURSDAY, MARCH 28, 2002 10:27:54 AM
Pages missing in Gujarat govt's report: NHRC

NEW DELHI: The much-awaited report of the Gujarat government on the continuing communal violence came to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday with a large number of pages missing.

According to sources in the commission, the three-volume ‘comprehensive report’, with the main report in 135 pages and annexures running into another 265 pages, was found to be inadequate soon after its arrival. As a result, the report could not be taken up by the commission on Wednesday.

‘‘There is no point in going through the report when so many pages are missing,’’ the source said. ‘‘We have spoken to the Gujarat government and they have promised to replace the report with a new set on Thursday,’’ he said. Sources said individual members will go through the complete report when it comes. The NHRC’s final report will come only in the middle of next week, he said.

Officials who have cursorily gone through the ‘‘inadequate report’’ say it talks about the efforts made by the state government to contain violence, deployment of police, its response to media reports and other issues.


PTI [ MONDAY, APRIL 01, 2002 8:26:52 PM
NHRC indicts Gujarat govt

NEW DELHI: In a severe indictment, the National Human Rights Commission on Monday accused the Gujarat government of failing to stop the communal violence in the state.

The NHRC has also asked to transfer investigation of "critical cases" to CBI and establishment of special courts to try them.

In its first set of recommendations for immediate consideration for Central and State governments, the Commission said it has received "widespread" allegations that FIRs have been poorly or wrongly recorded and that investigations were being "influenced" by extraneous considerations or players.

"The Commission is of the view that the integrity of the process has to be restored. It, therefore, recommends the entrusting of certain critical cases to the CBI."

"These include the cases relating to Godhra incident, which is at present being investigated by the Government Railway Police, Chamanpura (Gulbarga Society) incident, Naroda Patiya incident, Best Bakery case in Vadodra and the Sardarpura case in Mehsana district," the Commission said.

The Commission has also recommended that special courts should try these cases on a day-to-day basis and the judges should be handpicked by the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.

It said that special prosecutors should be appointed as needed and procedures should be adopted for conduct of proceedings in such a manner that the traumatised condition of the victims especially women and children was not aggravated.

It added that the victims should be protected from further trauma or threat.

A particular effort should be made to depute sensitive officers, particularly women, to assist in the handling of such cases, it said.

The Commission said given the wide variation in the performance of public servants in the discharge of their statutory responsibilities, action should be intitiated to identify and proceed against those who have failed to act appropriately to control the violence at its initial stages or prevent its escalation thereafter.

By the same token, the officers who have performed their duties well should be commended.

The Commission's recommendations have come after examining a comprehensive report sent by the Gujarat government following rejection of a "perfunctory" report sent by the state earlier.

Commission Chairman J S Verma himself had visited some worst violence-hit cities including Godhra and Ahmedabad last month.

Among the other steps recommended are constitution of special cells under District Magistrates to follow progress of investigation in cases not entrusted to CBI and monitoring of these cases by the Additional Director General of Police (Crime).

There should be specific time frame fixed for expeditious completion of investigations and setting up of police desks in relief camps to receive complaints, record FIRs and forward them to police stations.

The Commission said provocative statements made on electronic or print media should be examined and acted upon and the burden of proof shifted to such people to explain or contradict their statements.

The NHRC also made recommendations on the manner camps should be run with senior officials of the rank of secretary given specific responsibilty in respect of groups of camps.

Special facilities and camps should be set up for the processing of insurance and compensation claims and inmates should not be asked to leave the camps until appropriate relief and rehabilitation measures were in place for them and they feel assured on security grounds that they could leave the camps.


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