The chargesheet of the police on Godhra incident was highly prejudiced and had many loopholes. The chargesheet was mainly based on the statements made by nine BJP party members, who claimed to be ‘eye witnesses’ though one of them, Dileep Dasadiya, later fully retracted his statement. The cases also rested on the witness account of the Karsevaks travelling on the train. Two of them had said earlier that they had fainted due to smoke. A month later they changed their statement to give ‘vivid description’ of the incident which became the main thrust of the police case. One of the police ‘witness’ Sikander Siddique identified Maulavi Yakoob Punjabi for ‘inciting the mob’. Punjabi was arrested but had to be released as he was in Saudi Arab when Godhra incident took place. Ajay Baria, a hawker in the railway station was one of the prime ‘witnesses’ and was kept under constant police surveillance. His family complained to the media about intense intimidation of him by the police to corroborate their version. Nine more prime ‘witnesses’ of the police retracted their statements in Supreme Court and many complained of use of force and torture by the police. Yet the Ahmadabad High Court stuck to the police version and endorsed its ‘conspiracy theory’. The earlier commission headed by Justice U.C Banerjee, which held that the fire broke out accidentally, was rejected by the court. The court rather upheld the Nanavati-Shah commission report that has been widely criticized for its entrenched lies and clear political bias. After Justice Shah’s death he was replaced by Justice Akshay Mehta, the same judge who had granted bail to Babu Bajarangi, after previous three judges had categorically denied bail to this notorious killer and prime accused in Naroda Patiya massacre, who was charged of several cases of rape and murder.
It is a necessity for the Indian ruling class to establish the ‘conspiracy of Godhra’ in order to justify the genocide that followed. The Indian Judiciary afterall is yet to give any decisive punishment to any of the accused who were instrumental behind the massive Gujarat genocide. Many independent investigations had revealed how the Gujarat genocide was meticulously pre-planned. The particular targeting of muslim households, the speed in which arms were amassed and execution squads were set up to do the massacres point to its preparedness. The complicity and active involvement of the police force in the genocide has also been time and again exposed. The cold-blooded horrific mass killings in Naroda Patiya, Gulbarg society, Best Bakery still await justice as perpetrators have not yet been punished. More than 4000 cases were filed with the Gujarat police after the riots, half of them have been declared ‘closed’ as the accused are ‘untraceable’. Notorious killers like Babu Bajrangi or well known leaders of the pogrom like BJP MLA Mayaben Kondnani or VHP general secretary Jaideep Patel have all got quick bail and were never persecuted. The other accused also have got bail and are roaming scot-free. In the riot related cases, the prosecutors were often swapped for and against the accused, which clearly shows the mockery of trial that took place. Arvind Pandya, the special public prosecutor appointed by the Modi government to defend itself before Nanavati Commission, had made open statements about how the Modi government had given active support in the genocide and also later on kept on providing legal-aid and impunity to the accused of the pogrom. He also had expressed his ‘confidence’ in the Nanavati-Shah commission and predictably the commission gave a shameless clean-chit to Modi and his associates. The Godhra verdict only reinforced the nature of this brahminical communal fascist state and showed decisively how its various institutions can only bring injustice to the people. The state machinery in all its forms had so far provided active support and impunity to the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes in Gujarat. The police, the court, the Nanavati commission…now the Godhra verdict seeks to vindicate the pogrom by persecuting innocent people for the Godhra incident and justifying the genocide as ‘a reaction’ to a ‘conspiracy’, as Modi chose to describe it.
Can we expect to have justice from a state which is rabidly communal and fascist? The judiciary off late has given a series of atrocious judgments: letting go off the perpetrators of Bhopal Massacre, handing over majority of the land of Babri Masjid to the sangh Giroh, incarcerating political activists like Binayak sen, Piyush Guha, Narayan Sanyal and so on. The judiciary afterall is an entrenched tool in the hands of this fascist state. It will only legitimize the exploitations, the repression of the state and justify state-terror. We can not expect that this entrenched judiciary will deliver justice on its own. An overhauling of this repressive state machinery and a revolutionary change in this oppressive system can only ensure that justice prevails for all the oppressed and persecuted sections of people.