No change in policy on communal riots in Gujarat, says US

No change in policy on communal riots in Gujarat, says USWashington: The United States continues to express concern about communal violence in India, the Obama administration has said, strongly refuting reports that it has gone soft on the Gujarat communal riots in 2002 and the alleged role of its chief minister Narendra Modi.

I wouldn’t characterize our assessment that way. I think you’ll find if you review the text that we’re very clear about our concerns about several episodes of communal violence across India, US state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said reporters on Thursday.

Psaki was responding to a question on the latest annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released by secretary of state John Kerry. If Modi was mentioned in previous human rights reports for India by name, then (why) he is not mentioned in this one, she was asked.

Paski said that there is no change in the US policy on the communal riots that took place in Gujarat about a decade ago. Both the annual reports of the 2011 and 2012 mentions Modi in its report but it in no way refers to his role in the communal riots.

The Gujarat government appointed the Nanavati-Mehta Commission to investigate the 2002 violence. In December the Gujarat government granted an extension for the 21st time, extending the commission to June 30, 2014,” it said.

The state department said the Gujarat government withdrew its consent to seek death penalty for former minister Maya Kodnani and others convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patiya violence that killed 97 Muslims.

The investigating agency questioned the Gujarat government’s move in a petition in the Supreme Court in June.  Kodnani, the first senior politician to be convicted for 2002 violence, was sentenced to a 28-year jail term for her involvement in the post-Godhra riots case.

The report also talked about last year’s communal violence in the Muzaffarnagar area of Uttar Pradesh that led to 65 reported deaths, and left 42,000 people displaced, and led to hundreds of injuries during the months of August and September.

The violence started with a sexual harassment incident between a Muslim man and a Hindu Jat woman and escalated following a political meeting of officials and others from more than 300 local villages during the weekend of September 7-8,” it said.

Bureau Report

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