SIT team visits riots-affected areas in Ahmedabad

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Ahmedabad, Apr 8 (UNI) The five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT), appointed by the Supreme Court to re-investigate major post-Godhra riots cases of 2002, today began its investigation by visiting Naroda Patia and Gulbarg society areas of the city.

The team, headed by former CBI director R K Raghavan, made a detailed survey of the areas this morning. In post-Godhra riots, 39 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, were killed in Gulmarg Society, while 86 people were massacred in Naroda Patia.

Besides Mr Raghavan, other team members include former DGP of Uttar Pradesh C D Sathpathy and three IPS officers from Gujarat -- Geeta Johri, Shivanand Jha and Ashish Bhatia. They made an extensive investigation of the sites and later spent much time at Meghaninagar police station, police sources said.

The SIT arrived here yesterday, following the apex court's direction on March 26 to the state government to set up an investigation team within 10 days to ''inquire and investigate'' the major post-Godhra riot cases.

The re-investigation was ordered by the Supreme Court after a petition was filed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The NHRC has sought transfer of trials of riot cases outside Gujarat and demanded that they (cases) should reinvestigated by an independent central agency like CBI.

The Court had also directed that the SIT be free to evoke its own modalities for carrying out reinvestigations into the cases.

The team was also asked to investigate the Sabarmati train carnage, where the S6 coach of the train was burnt, leaving 59 people dead.

The other cases that the team will investigate include Naroda Gaon, Sardarpura, Odh and Deepda Darwaja.

Whenever needed, the team will meet the officers of Gujarat Police, visit scenes of riots and record statements of victims and witnesses.

The Supreme Court has directed the SIT to submit its report on its findings within three months.

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