SC orders reinvestigation of Gujarat riots

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (UNI) The Supreme Court today appointed a five-member special investigation team (SIT) headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan to re-investigate eleven major cases related to the 2002 Gujarat communal riot.

A Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftav Alam described rioters as more dangerous and worse than terrorists.

The apex court directed the SIT to submit its report within three months.

The court added Himmat Nagar case to the list of ten cases which include Gulburg Society case in which former Congress MP Ahsan Jafry and his familly members were burnt to death by the rioters.

Gujarat police IG Geeta Johri will be the coordinator of the SIT and it will be at liberty to record the statements of witnesses as well as to re-examine the witnesses already examined by the Gujarat police.

For the first time, the Supreme Court lauded the attitude of Gujarat government headed by Narendra Modi describing as positive its support for setting up of the SIT that was mooted by the court.

The cases to be re-investigated include Naroda Gaon, Naroda Patiya, Sardarpura, Himmat Nagar, Daljitpura and Ode.

Today's directions came on a batch of petitions filed by National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) and others. The petitioners had prayed for reinvestigation of communal riot cases and for the shifting of the trial outside Gujarat on the ground that the local police was trying to shield the real culprits as most of them belonged to Sangh Parivar.

Guajarat police has closed 2000 such cases which were reopened by the Supreme Court.

The cases to be investigated by the SIT also includes Godhra train burining incident in which over 50 Karsevaks were burnt alive and Gujarat was rocked by communal riots following the incident.

Communal riots left more than 2000 dead and many colonies and villages inhabitated by members of minority community disappeared due to widespread arson and looting.

Other members of the SIT are Shivanand Jha, Ashish Bhatia, both IG rank officers of Gujarat police and retired IPS officers C B Sathpathy of UP cadre.

UNI SC RC PM1317

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