Gujarat riots a dark blot on India’s reputation: HRW


New York: Terming the 2002 Gujarat riots a “dark blot” on India’s reputation, a global rights’ group today said the Narendra Modi-led state government has “failed” to conduct serious investigations and “obstructed” justice.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said a decade into one of the worst communal riots in Gujarat, top officials in the state government involved in the riots should be brought to justice. Indian courts also need to expedite the remaining cases and protect activists.
“Ten years on, India owes it to the victims of the Gujarat riots to end the culture of impunity and prosecute those responsible for this open wound on the country’s reputation,” South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly said.
Human Rights Watch said the state government has resisted Supreme Court orders to prosecute those responsible for the carnage and has failed to provide most survivors with compensation.
“Officials of the Gujarat state government, led by Chief Minister Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is serving its third term running the state government in Gujarat, failed to conduct serious investigations and obstructed justice,” it said.
The large-scale communal violence that hit many parts of Gujarat killed 1,200 people, mostly Muslims. “The 2002 violence against Muslims in Gujarat persists as a dark blot on India’s reputation for religious equality,” Ganguly said.
“Instead of prosecuting senior state and police officials implicated in the atrocities, the Gujarat authorities have engaged in denial and obstruction of justice,” she said.
HRW said efforts to investigate and prosecute cases inside Gujarat were stalled and activists and lawyers involved in the cases have been harassed and intimidated.

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