These commissions just end up with semantic and technical jugglery and together with the government the NGOs too seem to use a peculiar logic. In this particular instance, the Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) in its application had sought summoning of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Ashok Bhatt, Zadafia and Savani. But, as reported:
JSM had contended that it would press for calling Mr. Modi and Mr. Bhatt only after the subordinate staff and other ministers are examined.
What is the reason for this? Aren’t they aware that subordinate staff usually takes instructions from those higher up? Aren’t they aware that it was Modi who transferred top police officials who had followed his instructions? Does anyone imagine that these people will tell the truth and accuse their chief minister, that is if they know more than their part of the truth? What is the bigger picture? They are front men who merely press the trigger. What they spew out will be small details that may not directly take them to Modi’s door. Now, the Commission itself has convenient loopholes:
“it appears to the Commission that the motive of JSM in making applications for summoning persons named in the applications is not guided by the consideration of assisting the Commission but by some other consideration“.
This is an agency set up to enquire into the riots and it is quite unmindful of the consequences of indulging in innuendo. Has it bothered to elaborate on the ‘other consideration’? It will help the public know if there is something beyond the genuine need to bring the culprits to book. Is the NGO pandering to outside forces? Are the refugees and families of those who died sponsoring it with huge amounts of money that they lost? This is sheer poppycock, but we as citizens are willing to go along with such poppycock if you give us tangible reason for the motives behind the JSM. If not, the Commission cannot defame any outfit that seeks legitimate justice.
The Commission said that Mr. Zadafia, who has parted ways with BJP and floated his own party, cannot be considered as a witness and hence cannot be cross-examined.
So, if criminals have a change of heart then they cease to be criminals? He was with the BJP, which was the ruling party in the state; the JSM says that he has admitted before the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of making phone calls to some persons who are now accused in the Naroda Patiya riot case. He is, therefore, an important witness.
It might also be prudent to question him about his move from the BJP to start his own party. It is not as though he has joined an established political party for better prospects. This could be a red herring and a backdoor entry for many such accused in Modi’s government who want to save their skin.
The buck, in this economic Valhalla that Gujarat is touted to be, stops at Narendra Modi’s court. It could well end up with nothing concrete, but that is the only way to go. It reveals abject cockiness on the part of the establishment and the elite that even if all his junior ministers leave the BJP and start their own parties, he will still be propped up and win elections. A safe tunnel has been dug for him.