2002 Gujarat violence
|2002 Gujarat violence|
|The skyline of Ahmedabad filled with smoke as buildings and shops are set on fire by rioting mobs|
|790 Muslims||254 Hindus|
The 2002 Gujarat violence was a series of incidents starting with the Godhra train burning and the subsequent communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian state of Gujarat. On 27 February 2002, the Sabarmati Express train was attacked at Godhra by a Muslim mob. 58 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya were killed in the attack. This in turn prompted retaliatory attacks against Muslims and general communal riots on a large scale across the state, in which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were ultimately killed and 223 more people were reported missing. 536 places of worship were damaged: 273 dargahs, 241 mosques, 19 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus fled their homes. Preventive arrests of 17,947 Hindus and 3,616 Muslims were made. In total 27,901 Hindus and 7,651 Muslims were arrested.
The nature of these events remains politically controversial in India. Some commentators have characterized the deaths of Hindus and Muslims as a genocide in which the state was complicit, while others have countered that the hundreds of Muslim and Hindu dead were all victims of riots or "violent disturbances". The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 prepared by the State Department and mandated by the US Congress, noted the failure of the government to protect its people in the 2002 riots and Human rights groups' continuous allegations that investigative bodies showed bias in favour of Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Godhra train burning, investigations and judgements 
On 27 February 2002, 58 Hindus including 25 women and 15 children, Hindu pilgrims (Kar Sevaks) returning by the Sabarmathi express train from Ayodhya, were burnt alive in a railway coach. in a conspiracy. The bodies of those killed in the train were brought to Ahmedabad, where a procession was held, a move seen as a major provocation for the ensuing communal violence. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)issued a call for a state-wide strike on 28 February 2002, which was supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Initial media reports blamed the local Muslims for setting the coach on fire. Going further, the report claims that one Hassan Lalu had thrown burning objects into the train and 140 litres of petrol had been used to set the train on fire, adding that stones were thrown at passengers to stop them from fleeing. Nine years after the Godhra train went up in flames the court on 22 February 2011 pronounced its judgement. Additional Session Judge delivered the verdict and convicted 31 Muslims, of which 11 were sentenced to death and 20 to life sentences., and acquitted 63.
Post-Godhra violence 
Tension gripped parts of Gujarat state while examinations all over the state were cancelled. Fearing communal clashes, the administration imposed a curfew in several areas. Rapid Action Force were deployed in Godhra's sensitive area and around Godhra station. On 1 March the Indian government dispatched around 1,000 paramilitary personnel to Gujarat and asked the army to be on standby to maintain law and order in the state. The Army began flag marches in the worst-affected areas and shoot-at-sight orders were issued in 34 curfew-bound cities and towns in Gujarat.
151 towns and 993 villages in fifteen to sixteen of the state's 25 districts were affected by the post-Godhra violence, which was particularly severe in about five or six districts. The violence raged largely between 28 February and 3 March, and after a drop, restarted on 15 March, continuing until mid-June. Northern and central Gujarat, as well as the north-eastern tribal belt which are closer to Godhra City, were the worst affected while Saurashtra and Kutch remained largely peaceful.
Attacks on Muslims 
Attacks by large Hindu mobs began in the districts of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Saberkantha and, for the first time in its history, Gandhinagar on 28 February. Violence spread to the largely rural districts of Panchmahals, Mehsana, Hansot, Kheda, Junagadh, Banaskantha, Patan, Anand and Narmada the next day. Over the next two days, Bharuch and Rajkot and later Surat were hit.
The first incidents of attacks on the Muslim community started at Ahmedabad, where Hindus began throwing stones at and later burned a Muslim housing complex known as Gulburg Society, and then spread elsewhere. The initial violence was believed to be instigated by unsubstantiated rumours, endorsed by a senior VHP leader, of Muslims having kidnapped three Hindu girls during the Godhra train attack.
In Ahmedabad, the dargah of the Sufi saint-poet Wali Gujarati in Shahibaug and the 16th century Gumte Masjid mosque in Isanpur were destroyed. The Muhafiz Khan Masjid at Gheekanta was ransacked. Police records list 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples and three churches as damaged in the months of March and April.
According to Human Rights Watch Report, May 2002, State officials of Gujarat, India were directly involved in the killings of hundreds of Muslims since 27 February and then commenced engineering a massive cover-up of the state's role in the violence.
"What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims," said Smita Narula, senior South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "The attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials."
Attacks on Hindus 
Attacks on Hindus in Danilimda, Modasa, Himmatnagar, Bharuch, Sindhi Market, Bhanderi Pole, and other localities in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat were perpetrated by Muslim mobs. There was a significant loss of property. Late in March, more than one hundred Hindus in Dariyapur and Kalupur, including 55 dalits, fled their homes to stay in makeshift shelters after being attacked by Muslims mobs.
Several Hindu residential areas, including Mahajan No Vaado, a fortified enclave in Muslim-dominated Jamalpur, were targeted following calls for retaliation.
In the morning the mosques began announcing that Islam was in danger, that there was poison in the milk. This was used as a code word. The milk was meant to be Muslims & poison meant Hindus. The rioting lasted between 2:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Residents were unable to go to work, fearing attacks. A Hindu temple in the area was destroyed. In Himmatnagar, a young man was killed when he went to a Muslim enclave on business.
According to an official estimate, 1044 people were killed in the violence – 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus including those killed in the Godhra train fire. Another 223 people were reported missing, 2,548 injured, 919 women widowed and 606 children orphaned.
Security failure 
By the evening of 28 February, curfews were imposed in 27 towns and cities. By 25 March, 35 towns were under curfew. Police records show 21,563 preventive arrests were made by the end of April (17,947 of the arrested were listed as Hindus and 3,616 as Muslims) as well as 13,989 substantive arrests (9,954 Hindus and 4,035 Muslims).
The New York Times' Celia Dugger reported that witnesses were "dismayed by the lack of intervention from local police", who often "watched the events taking place and took no action against the attacks on Muslims and their property". Human Rights Watch reported that in some cases members of the state police force led rioting mobs, "aiming and firing at every Muslim who got in the way", or instead of offering assistance "led the victims directly into the hands of their killers." Calls for assistance to the police, fire brigades, and even ambulance services generally proved futile.
Times of India claimed that 93 Muslims were killed by police fire and only 77 Hindus, however Gujarat Police and BJP claimed that majority of 198 Hindus (excluding the 59 killed in Godhra) killed were due to police fire and not in riots.
Hindu residents of Mahajan No Vaado, part of the Muslim-dominated area of Jamalpur, told HRW that on 1 March, the police ignored phone calls and left them to fend for themselves when a Muslim mob attacked. Numerous calls by Hindus throughout the riots were reportedly ignored by the police.
One thousand army troops were flown in by the evening of 1 March to restore order. Intelligence officials alleged that the deployment was deliberately delayed by the state and central governments. On 3 May, former Punjab police chief K P S Gill was appointed as security adviser to the Chief Minister.
RB Sreekumar, who served as Gujarat's intelligence chief during the riots, alleged that the state government issued "unconstitutional directives", with officials asking him to kill Muslims involved in rioting or disrupting a Hindu religious event. The Gujarat government denied the allegations, calling them "baseless" and instigated out of malice because Mr. Sreekumar was not promoted.
Defending the Modi administration in the Rajya Sabha against charges of genocide, BJP spokesman V K Malhotra said that the official toll of 254 Hindus, killed mostly by police fire, indicates how the state authorities took effective steps to curb the violence. BJP MP and journalist Balbir Punj disputed allegations of bias against Muslims by the BJP-run state government, pointing out that the majority of those arrested during and after the riots were Hindus.
The recent report of Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team led by former CBI Chief R.K Raghavan gave a clean chit to the Gujarat government and noticed that Gujarat Police tried everything to prevent the riots.
On Narendra Modi's role the Special Investigation Team report states,
|“||Law and order review meetings were held by Modi and all the things was done to control the situation... the Army was called on time to contain the communal violence.
Modi was busy with steps to control the situation, establishment of relief camps for riot victims and also with efforts to restore peace and normalcy.
In view of the detailed inquiry and satisfactory explanation of the person involved, no criminal case is made out against Narendra Modi.
Role of government and police 
Sabarmati Express train was attacked within the premises of the Godhra Railway Yard. At the time of the attack, 14 policemen were on duty at Godhra Railway Yard. Railway Police Station is about 826 meters away from the site of the attack. Three Railway Police Force Constables were the first responders. They fired 4 rounds from their .303 rifles to disperse the crowd. Firefighter Sureshgiri Mohangiri Gosai testified that Godhra Municipal Councilor Haji Bilal incited the mob to stop the fire engine. Thereupon some persons in the mob had thrown stones at the fire engine. He has further stated that while they were trying to extinguish the fire, stones were pelted on the train. The first response team of Godhra Police Mobile Van testified that Godhra Municipal President Mohamad Kalota and municipal councilor Haji Bilal were in the mob and inciting the Muslims.
The Gujarat state government was reprimanded immediately for failing to prevent the riots, but then increasingly for actively fomenting and participating in it, which was a far more serious charge. Critiques came repeatedly from the Supreme Court, and the upper house of the Indian parliament unanimously passed a resolution calling for federal intervention in Gujarat; a similar censure motion in the lower house was defeated by about 100 votes.
"India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an official body, found evidence in the killings of premeditation by members of Hindu extremist groups; complicity by Gujarat state government officials; and police inaction in the midst of attacks. The NHRC also noted "widespread reports and allegations of well-organized persons, armed with mobile telephones and addresses, singling out certain homes and properties for death and destruction in certain districts-sometimes within view of police stations and personnel," suggesting the attacks may have been planned in advance."
In April 2002, retired Supreme Court Justices V. R. Krishna Iyer and P. B. Sawant headed a citizen's panel to investigate the riots. Their report includes testimony of the then Gujarat BJP minister Haren Pandya (since murdered), who testified about an evening meeting convened by Narendra Modi the evening of the Godhra train burning. At this meeting, officials were instructed not to obstruct the Hindu rage following the incident. The report also highlighted a second meeting, held in Lunawada village of Panchmahal district, attended by state ministers Ashok Bhatt, and Prabhatsinh Chauhan, and other BJP and RSS leaders, where "detailed plans were made on the use of kerosene and petrol for arson and other methods of killing." The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind claimed in 2002 that some regional Congress workers collaborated with the perpetrators of the violence.
Organizations such as Human Rights Watch criticized the Indian government for failure to address the resulting humanitarian condition of the people, the "overwhelming majority of them Muslim," who fled their homes for relief camps in the aftermath of the events, as well as the Gujarat state administration for engaging in a cover-up of the state's role in the massacres. Many of the investigations and prosecutions of those accused of violence during the riots have been opened for re-investigation and prosecution. The large-scale civil unrest has been generally been described as riots or inter-communal clashes.
In response to allegations of state involvement, Gujarat government spokesman, Bharat Pandya, told the BBC that the rioting was a spontaneous Hindu backlash fueled by widespread anger against Muslims. He said "Hindus are frustrated over the role of Muslims in the on-going violence in Indian-administered Kashmir and other parts of India".
The US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, John Hanford, expressing concern over religious intolerance in Indian politics, said that while the rioters may have been aided by state and local officials, he did not believe that the BJP-led central government was involved in inciting the riots.
At the same time, about two hundred policemen lost their lives trying to control the violence in Gujarat.
In April 2012, a Special Investigation Team found absolved Modi of any involvement in the Gulberg massacre, arguably the worst episode of the riots. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) report on the riots exonerated Modi of all charges.
In his report, Mr. Raju Ramachandran, the amicus curiae for the case, strongly disagreed with a key conclusion of the R.K. Raghavan-led SIT: that IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt was not present at a late-night meeting of top Gujarat cops held at the Chief Minister's residence in the wake of the 27 February 2002 Godhra carnage. It has been Mr. Bhatt's claim — made in an affidavit before the apex court and in statements to the SIT and the amicus — that he was present at the meeting where Mr. Modi allegedly said Hindus must be allowed to carry out retaliatory violence against Muslims. Raju Ramachandran was of the opinion that Mr Modi could be prosecuted for alleged statements he had made. Mr. Ramachandran said there was no clinching material available in the pre-trial stage to disbelieve Mr. Bhatt, whose claim could be tested only in court. "Hence, it cannot be said, at this stage, that Shri Bhatt should be disbelieved and no further proceedings should be taken against Shri Modi."   Further, RK Shah the public prosecutor in the Gulbarg Society massacre resigned as the public prosecutor because he found it impossible to work with the SIT and further stated that "Here I am collecting witnesses who know something about a gruesome case in which so many people, mostly women and children huddled in Jafri’s house, were killed and I get no cooperation. The SIT officers are unsympathetic towards witnesses, they try to browbeat them and don’t share evidence with the prosecution as they are supposed to do."
Criminal prosecutions 
There have been 249 convictions in 19 cases as of August 2012. This includes 184 Hindus and 65 Muslims- 31 for Godhra and 34 for post-Godhra. A brief summary of total convictions will be as follows:
- 16 October 2003 - 4 Muslims were convicted and given life imprisonment
- 4 August 2005 - 2 Muslims were convicted.
- 14 December 2005 - 11 Hindus were convicted
- 24 February 2006 - 9 Hindus were convicted (Outside Gujarat)
- 18 March 2006 - 7 Muslims were convicted
- 28 March 2006 - 9 Muslims were convicted
- 14 May 2006 - 5 Muslims were convicted
- 18 May 2006 - 4 Muslims were convicted
- 23 November 2006 - 3 Muslims were convicted for blasts on 6 August 2002 in Ahmedabad in which no one was killed but caused panic
- 30 October 2007 - 11 Hindus were convicted
- 22 January 2008 - 12 Hindus were convicted in the Bilkis Bano case (outside Gujarat)
- 1 March 2011 - 31 Muslims were convicted for Godhra train burning of karsewaks which was the starting point of riots
- 13 July 2011 - 6 Hindus were convicted
- 9 November 2011 - 31 Hindus were convicted for the Sadarpura case
- 9 April 2012 - 23 Hindus were convicted
- 4 May 2012 - 9 Hindus were convicted
- 30 July 2012 - 22 Hindus were convicted
- 29 August 2012 - 32 Hindus were convicted for the Naroda Patiya killings
The Indian Supreme Court has been strongly critical of the state government's investigation and prosecution of those accused of violence during the riots, directing police to review about 2,000 of the 4,000 riot-related cases that had been closed citing lack of evidence or leads. Following this direction, police identified nearly 1,600 cases for re-investigation, arrested 640 accused and launched investigations against 40 police officers for their failures.
Human Rights Watch alleged that state and law enforcement officials were harassing and intimidating key witnesses, NGOs, social activists and lawyers who were fighting to seek justice for riot victims. In its 2003 annual report, Amnesty International stated, "the same police force that was accused of colluding with the attackers was put in charge of the investigations into the massacres, undermining the process of delivery of justice to the victims."
The Best Bakery murder trial received wide attention after witnesses retracted testimony in court and all of the accused were acquitted. The Indian Supreme Court, acting on a petition by social activist Teesta Setalvad, ordered a retrial outside Gujarat in which nine accused were found guilty in 2006. A key witness, Zaheera Sheikh, who repeatedly changed her testimony during the trials and the petition was found guilty of perjury.
After a local court dismissed the case against her assailants, Bilkis Bano approached the National Human Rights Commission and petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a retrial. The Supreme Court granted the motion, directing the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation. CBI appointed a team of experts from CFSL Delhi and AIIMS under the guidance and leadership of Professor T. D. Dogra of AIIMS to exhume the mass graves to established the identity and cause of death of victims. The team successfully located and exhumed the remains of victims. The trial of the case was transferred out of Gujarat and directing the central government to appoint the public prosecutor. Charges were filed in a Mumbai court against nineteen people as well as six police officials and a government doctor over their role in the initial investigations. In January 2008, eleven men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape and murders and a policeman was convicted of falsifying evidence.
In 2005, the Vadodara fast-track court acquitted 108 people accused of murdering two youths, during a mob attack on a group of displaced Muslims returning under police escort to their homes in Avdhootnagar. The court passed strictures against the police for failing to protect the people under their escort and failing to identify the attackers they had witnessed.
Nine people were convicted of killing a Hindu man and injuring another during group clashes in Danilimda, Ahmedabad on 12 April, while 25 others were acquitted.
Eight people, including a VHP leader and a member of the BJP, were convicted for the murder of seven members of a family and the rape of two minor girls in the village of Eral in Panchmahal district.
52 people from Pavagadh and Dhikva villages in Panchmahal district were acquitted of rioting charges for lack of evidence.
A stringent anti-terror law, the POTA, was used by the Gujarat government to charge 131 people in connection to the Godhra train fire, but not invoked in prosecuting any of the accused in the post-Godhra riots. In 2005 the POTA Review Committee set up by the central government to review the application of the law opined that the Godhra accused should not be tried under the provisions of POTA.
On 9 November 2011, a court in Ahmedabad sentenced 31 Hindus to life imprisonment for murdering dozens of Muslims, by burning a building in which they took shelter. 41 other Hindus were acquitted of murder charges due to lack of evidence. 22 additional people were convicted for attempted murder on 30 July 2012, while 61 others were acquitted.
On 29 July 2012, an Indian court gave the verdict in the Naroda Patiya massacre case and convicted 32 people, including former state minister Maya Kodnani and Hindu leader Babu Bajrangi of involvement in the attacks. The court case began in 2009, and over 300 people (including victims, witnesses, doctors, and journalists) had testified before the court. For the first time, the verdict acknowledged the role of a politician in inciting Hindu mobs. Activists say that the verdict will embolden the opponent of Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, in the crucial run-up to state elections later this year, when Modi will seek a third term. Modi refused to apologize and denied that the government had a role in the riots. Twenty-nine people were acquitted during the verdict. Teesta Setalvad, a human rights campaigner, said, "For the first time, this judgment actually goes beyond neighborhood perpetrators and goes up to the political conspiracy. The fact that convictions have gone that high means the conspiracy charge has been accepted and the political influencing of the mobs has been accepted by the judge. This is a huge victory for justice."
Official inquiries 
On 6 March, the Gujarat government set up a commission of inquiry headed by retired High Court judge K.G. Shah to enquire into the Godhra train burning and the subsequent violence and submit a report in three months. Following criticism from victims' organisations, activists and political parties over Shah's alleged proximity to the BJP, on 22 May, the government reconstituted the commission, appointing retired Supreme Court Justice G.T. Nanavati to lead the commission. In 2008, the Nanavati commission came out largely in favor of the Gujarat government's aspect. Nanavati's evidence hinged on the acquisition of 140 litres of petrol hours before the arrival of the train and the storage of the said petrol at the alleged key conspirator's, Razzak Kurkur, guest house. This was further corroborated by forensic evidence showing fuel was poured on the train compartment before being burnt. The alleged mastermind was said to be the cleric Maulvi Husain Haji Ibrahim Umarji and a dismissed Central Reserve Police Force officer named Nanumiyan, from Assam, who had instigated the Muslim crowds. Furthermore, two Kashmiris, Gulamnabi and Ali Mohammed, were in the same guesthouse for a fortnight prior to the event speaking about the Kashmir liberation movement.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Indian National Congress party both came out railing against the exoneration of the Gujarat government by the commission citing the timing of the report (with general elections months away) as evident of unfairness. Congress spokesperson Veerappa Moily commented at the strange absolvement of the Gujarat government for complacency for the carnage. He also said the report reinforced communal prejudices.
National Human Rights Commission 
In its proceedings of 1 April 2002, the Commission had set out its preliminary comments and recommendations on the situation and sent a confidential report from the team of the Commission that visited Gujarat from 19–22 March 2002 to Gujarat government and Central Home Ministry. It observed that "the responsibility of the State extended not only to the acts of its own agents, but also to those of non-State players within its jurisdiction and to any action that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights. The Commission added that, unless rebutted by the State Government, the adverse inference arising against it would render it accountable. The burden of proof was therefore on the State Government to rebut this presumption." 
In its Proceedings of 1 May 2002, the Commission noted that the Government of Gujarat had sent a reply dated 12 April 2002, and observed that nothing in the reports received in response rebuts the presumption. It further observed that "the violence in the State, which was initially claimed to have been brought under control in seventy two hours, persisted in varying degree for over two months, the toll in death and destruction rising with the passage of time despite the measures reportedly taken by the State Government". The report claims failure of intelligence, failure to take appropriate action, patterns of arrests, uneven handling of major cases, and "Distorted FIRs: ‘extraneous influences’, issue of transparency and integrity" as key factors in the incident(s).
Other inquiries 
Banerjee Committee 
On 17 May 2004Lalu Prasad Yadav became Railway Minister. In September 2004, the Railway Ministry set up a one-member committee consisting of former Supreme Court Justice Umesh Chandra Banerjee to probe the Godhra train fire. In January 2005, two days before the election in Lalu Prasad's native Bihar state, the Banerjee Committee concluded that the fire was accidental. Lalu Prasad used the Banerjee Committee report and a look-alike of Osama bin Laden to woo Muslim voters.
Banerjee Commission's findings were challenged by Neelkanth Tulsidas Bhatia who was injured in the Godhra carnage. In October 2006, the Gujarat High Court quashed the conclusions of the Banerjee Committee and ruled that the panel was "unconstitutional, illegal and null and void", and declared its formation as a "colourable exercise of power with mala fide intentions", and its argument of accidental fire "opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record.".
Concerned Citizens Tribunal 
The citizen tribunal headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Krishna Iyer collected evidence and testimony from more than 2000 riot victims, witnesses and others. In its report, the tribunal blames Godhra train passengers, indirectly denies Godhra massacre, and accuses the state government and chief minister Modi of complicity in the violence. While Krishna Iyer was nominally part of this tribunal, he made it clear in the preface of the report that his involvement was very limited.
Opposition parties as well as three coalition partners of the BJP-led central government demanded the dismissal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for failing to contain the violence, with some calling for the removal of Union Home Minister L. K. Advani as well.
On 18 July, Chief Minister Narendra Modi asked the Governor of Gujarat to dissolve the state assembly and call fresh elections. The Indian Election Commission ruled out early elections, citing the prevailing law and order situation, a decision the union government unsuccessfully appealed against in the Supreme Court.
In August 2002 a plot by Lashkar-e-Toiba to assassinate Narendra Modi, Praveen Togadia, and other Sangh Parivar leaders was unearthed by Indian police. The terrorists were planning to set up a base in Gujarat and were trying to lure some of the riot-hit people into taking up "so-called jihadi activities" Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Intelligence) K K Paul said.
In September 2002, at least 29 people were killed when Islamic fundamentalist gunmen engaged in the Akshardham Temple attack in the city of Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and Islamic terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba were accused of supporting the terrorists.
Elections were held in December, and Modi was returned to power in a landslide victory.
Emails made public by the perpetrators of a series of bombings in western India in July 2008 indicated that those attacks were "the revenge of Gujarat".
Relief efforts 
Amnesty International's annual report on India in 2003 claimed the "Gujarat government did not actively fulfill its duty to provide appropriate relief and rehabilitation to the survivors".
The state government initially offered compensation payments of 200,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the Godhra train fire and 100,000 rupees to the families of those who died in the subsequent riots, which local Muslims described as discriminatory. Subsequently, the government set the compensation amount at 150,000 rupees.
By 27 March, nearly 100,000 displaced people moved into 101 relief camps. This swelled to over 150,000 in 104 camps the next two weeks. The camps were run by community groups and NGOs, with the government committing to provide amenities and supplementary services. Drinking water, medical help, clothing and blankets were in short supply at the camps. At least another 100 camps were denied government support, according to a camp organizer. and relief supplies were prevented from reaching the camps over fears that they may be carrying arms.
Relief camp organisers alleged that the state government was coercing refugees to leave relief camps, with 25,000 people made to leave eighteen camps that were shut down. Following government assurances that camps would not be shut down, the Gujarat High Court bench ordered that camp organizers be given a supervisory role to ensure that the assurances were met.
Media coverage 
Covering the first major communal riots following in the advent of satellite television to India, television news channels set a precedent by identifying the community of those involved in the violence, breaking a long-standing practice.
Critical reporting on the Gujarat government's handling of the situation helped bring about the Indian government's intervention in controlling the violence. The Gujarat government banned television news channels critical of the government's response. STAR News, Zee News, Aaj Tak, CNN and local stations were blocked.
The Editorial Guild of India rejected the charge that graphic news coverage aggravated the situation, saying that the coverage exposed the "horrors" of the riots as well as the "supine if not complicit" attitude of the state, helping propel remedial action. The team also faulted Gujarati language papers Gujarat Samachar and the pro-Hindutva Sandesh of distorted and provocative reporting.
The Godhra fire received extensive news coverage until it was overtaken by the subsequent violence and the presentation of the Union budget. Television and newspaper reports, particularly local Gujarati-language media, carried graphic and at times sensationalized images and accounts of the Godhra train fire. S Gurumurthy, Arvind Lavakare and columnist Rajeev Srinivasan argue that news reports emphasized the provocative behavior of the kar sevaks on the Sabarmathi Express in an effort to rationalize the subsequent mob attack at Godhra and displace blame from the mob on to the kar sevaks.
In 2004, the weekly newspaper Tehelka published a hidden camera exposé alleging that BJP legislator Madhu Srivastava bribed Zaheera Sheikh, a witness in the Best Bakery killings trial. Srivatsava denied the allegation, and an inquiry committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court drew an "adverse inference" from the video footage, though it failed to uncover evidence that money was actually paid. In a 2007 expose, the newspaper released hidden camera footage of several members of the BJP, VHP and the Bajrang Dal admitting their role in the riots. Among those featured in the tapes was the special counsel representing the Gujarat government before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, Arvind Pandya, who resigned from his post after they were made public. While the report was criticised by some as being politically motivated, some newspapers said the revelations simply reinforced what was common knowledge. However there were several inaccuracies in the statements that questioned the sting operation. Babu Bajrani and Suresh Richard in the statements said that Narendra Modi visited Naroda Patiya one day after the massacre to thank them. However official record shows that Naredra Modi didn't visit Naroda Patiya. VHP activist, Ramesh Dave told Tehelka reporter that S.K.Gadhvi, one of the divisional superintendents of Police killed five Muslims in Dariapur area as promised to him. But the official records show that Gadhvi was only posted in Dariapur one month after the riots. During his tenure no such incident took place in Dariapur. The Gujarat government blocked telecast of cable news channels broadcasting the expose, a move strongly condemned by the Editors Guild of India.
An interesting observation with regard to media handling of Gujarat riots is that at the time of riots, the media reports had been pointing out the steps taken by Modi administration to curb riots and how even the combined strength of Indian Army which Modi had requested with few hours of riots having broken, and State Police could not control the situation. However, later, the media editorials became critical of Modi, sidelining the facts they'd already published.
Controversies on the riots 
Atrocities against women 
An international fact finding committee formed of experts[who?] from US, UK, France, Germany and Sri Lanka reported, "sexual violence was being used as a strategy for terrorising women belonging to minority community in the state."
Taking a stand decried by the media and other rights groups, Nafisa Hussain, a member of the National Commission for Women accused organisations and the media of needlessly exaggerating the plight of women victims of the riots. which was strongly disputed as Gujarat did not have a State Commission for Women to act on the ground. The newspaper Tribune reported that "The National Commission for Women has reluctantly agreed to the complicity of Gujarat Government in the communal violence in the state." The tone of their most recent report was reported by the Tribune as "lenient".
Riot cases controversy 
In April 2009, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) setup by the Supreme Court of India to investigate and expedite the Gujarat riot cases submitted before the Court that Teesta Setalvad had cooked up cases of violence to spice up the incidents. The SIT which is headed by former CBI director, R. K. Raghavan has said that false witnesses were tutored to give evidence about imaginary incidents by Setalvad and other NGOs. The SIT charged her of "cooking up macabre tales of killings".
The court was told that 22 witnesses, who had submitted identical affidavits before various courts relating to riot incidents, were questioned by SIT and it was found that the witnesses had not actually witnessed the incidents and they were tutored and the affidavits were handed over to them by Setalvad.
The report which was brought to the notice of the bench, consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam, noted that the much publicised case of a pregnant Muslim woman Kausar Banu being gangraped by a mob and foetus being removed from sharp weapons, was also cooked up and false.
Popular culture 
- The 3 Mistakes of My Life written by Chetan Bhagat has backdrop of riots in 2002.
- Raj Kamal Jha's novel, Firepoof depicts story of a father and a son walking in the city where the ghosts of those killed in riots have decided to seek justice.
- It Happened That Night, by Akash Verma, is the story of a 28-year-old professional during riots in Ahmedabad.
- 2010 novel The Man with Enormous Wings, by Esther David, was a fiction around riots in Ahmedabad.
- Final Solution is a 2003 documentary directed by Rakesh Sharma about the 2002 Gujarat violence. The film was denied entry to Mumbai International Film Festival in 2004 due to objections by Censor Board of India, but won two awards at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival 2004. Later ban was lifted in October 2004.
- T. V. Chandran made a trilogy of Malayalam films based on the aftermaths of Gujarat riots. The trilogy consists of Kathavasheshan (2004), Vilapangalkkappuram (2008) and Bhoomiyude Avakashikal (2012). The narrative of all these films begin on the same day, 28 February 2002, that is, on the day after the Godhra train burning.
- 2007 film Parzania was inspired by the true story of a ten-year-old Parsi boy, Azhar Mody, essayed in the film as Parzaan Pithawala in the film, who disappeared after the Gulbarg Society massacre. The film traces the journey of the Pithawala family while trying to locate their missing son.
- Firaaq was a 2008 political thriller film set one month after the violence and looks at the aftermath in its effects on the lives of everyday people.
- 2013 film Kai Po Che had the backdrop of 2002 Gujarat violence in end. The film was based on the novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life written by Chetan Bhagat.
See also 
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