Godhra Court orders probe into police
assault on women:
Godhra court Tuesday ordered an
enquiry following complaints of police atrocities on women and
children in a predominantly Muslim
Three personal secretaries to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
Friday told the Nanavati-Mehta judicial enquiry commission, probing
the 2002 Godhra train carnage and communal riots that followed it,
that they had spoken many times to Vishwa Hindu Parishad state
general secretary Jaideep Patel between Feb 27 and March 1, 2002.
Patel is an accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre case and the
period in question saw the communal rioting at its worst.
The information in affidavits filed Friday followed the commissionís
order directing the three aides - O.Prakash Singh, Sanjay Bhavsar
and Tanmay Mehta - who handled the chief ministerís telephones, to
submit details of their conversations with Patel and the others
during the period in question.
The order came on a plea by the Jansangharsh Manch, on behalf of the
riot victims, demanding Modi and six others be summoned for cross
examinations to probe their role in the riots. It based its plea on
the record of mobile phone conversations between the chief
ministerís office and some police officers and riot accused between
Feb 25 and March 4, 2002. The commission, however, did not feel the
immediate need for summoning Modi.
The affidavits by the three aides, however, did not mention whether
these calls were put through to the chief minister or not. Both
Bhavsar and Mehta said that they remember having called Patel many
times but do not remember the nature of the conversations as they
took place ďa long time agoĒ. They also said that no record of any
calls is maintained in the chief ministerís office.
Bhavsar admitted that the chief minister had spoken to then home
minister Gordhandas Jhadapia after his return from the scene of the
train carnage in Godhra but could offer little else information
beyond this. He observed that he was told to make numerous calls as
part of his job but it would be very difficult to remember details
of both names and conversations.
The Manch, aggrieved with the ruling of the commission on Modiís
appearance, has already approached the Gujarat High Court on the
issue. The court has given the state advocate general time till Feb
14 to know the commissionís decision on the demand.