The very fact that our governments and courts regularly set up commissions of inquiry, task forces and special investigation teams itself testifies to the breakdown of governance on an almost routine basis. The fact that these commissions and investigation teams invariably fail to indict the guilty or even tell us the truth suggests something even more disturbing: that more often than not, the violence and lawlessness being probed are the product of players and processes deeply embedded in the system. Those in charge of the ‘fact-finding’ exercise know they cannot be exposed or sanctioned without jeopardising the edifice of a State that rests on pillars of impunity.
When Narendra Modi visited the office of the SIT (Special Investigation Team) in Gandhinagar on March 27, 2010, it was exactly 11 months after the Supreme Court had directed it to “look into” a criminal complaint. Modi’s visit in response to an SIT summons was a milestone in accountability—at least in potential. It was the first time any chief minister was being questioned by an investigating agency for his alleged complicity in communal violence. The summons were on the complaint by Zakia Jafri, the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who had been killed in the first of the post-Godhra massacres in 2002.
The co-author of When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and its Aftermath on his upcoming book The Fiction of Fact-finding: Modi and Godhra: An interview in The Outlook
Manoj Mitta’s first book When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and its Aftermath, co-authored with H.S. Phoolka, received critical acclaim when it was published seven years ago. Now, The Times of India senior editor who specialises in legal, human rights and public policy issues, has returned with The Fiction of Fact-finding: Modi and Godhra, a searing critique of the 2002 violence in Gujarat under Narendra Modi’s watch. His close, thorough examination of the voluminous material generated due to the Supreme Court’s monitoring of the probe reveals the gap between the findings that have been handed out as the SIT’s closure report filed in 2012 and what the evidence suggests. Indeed, as he forcefully argues, the anomalies of the SIT’s closure report point to far more than the relativism of the truth; they mock India’s commitment to its national motto: Satyameva Jayate (truth alone triumphs). Excerpts from an interview with Sundeep Dougal:
First, why another book on 2002 or Modi?