On Dec. 27, Controversial Hindu Nationalist, Chief Minister Narendra Modi, was cleared by India’s Highest Court in Ahmedabad of charges of conspiracy stemming from the 2002 Gujarat violence described by many as an ethnic cleansing and genocide.
A petition filed by Zakia Jafri, the widow of former Congress Member of Parliament, Ehsan Jafri, who was killed during the violence, was rejected by the court. In 2012, India’s Supreme Court had appointed a Special Investigation Team to the case and cleared Narendra Modi and 59 others, including police and government officials, of acts of conspiracy including initiating, condoning and being slow to respond to the violence. Former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, was burned alive during the riots despite numerous calls for help to police officials located less than two miles from his residence in Gulbarg Society. Jafri’s wife, Zakia, survived the incident where 68 were killed.
According to the official figures revealed to parliament in 2005, the riots resulted in the deaths of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. There were 2,500 victims left with non-fatal injuries and 223 people were reported as missing. Heinous crimes of rape, mutilation and burning alive men, women and children were reported. The Indian Supreme Court had been critical of the state’s handling of investigations and ordered police review 2,000 cases stemming from the riots that were closed for lack of evidence. In 2006, Police re-opened 1,600 cases and launched investigations against 40 of their own for failure to conduct proper investigations. There were also allegations of witness tampering, intimidation and falsifying evidence. According to a report by the Indian National Human Rights Commission, there was a “comprehensive failure” on the part of the Gujarat state government led by Narendra Modi to control the persistent violation of rights including life, liberty, equality and dignity of the people of Gujarat.
After the Verdict – Narendra Modi Blog
After the verdict, in a statement on his blog, Chief Minister Narendra Modi expressed himself as a satisfied and assured man; reiterating that the Gujarat Government had responded to the violence swiftly and decisively. Chief Minister Modi is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming 2014 Indian General Elections. Modi has been both praised for his economic policies and criticized for lacks in human development, poverty alleviation, nutrition and education in the state.
The BJP is a right-wing, opposition party and is the second largest in representation in parliament. The BJP was founded by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1951. According to the BJP, “Integral Humanism” has been its core philosophy and identity since its inception. The party asserts that Hindutva is cultural nationalism favoring India’s heritage, civilization, culture and aims to establish a democratic state that guarantees citizens equality of opportunity, political, social and economic justice and liberty of faith and expression irrespective of caste, creed or sex.
In 2005, the United States denied Chief Minister Modi a diplomatic visa. Modi also had his existing visa revoked both under the International Religious Freedoms Act. The act was created specifically for making foreign government officials that are implicated in serious abuses of religious freedom rights ineligible for a United States visa.