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India: Gujarat riots records ‘destroyed’

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Official records relating to the 2002 riots in India’s Gujarat state were destroyed in line with regulations, the government tells a panel probing the riots.


The riots left more than 1,000 dead

Documents with records of telephone calls and the movements of officials during the riots were destroyed in 2007, five years after their origin

Officials say this is standard practice and in line with civil service rules.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the riots.

The violence erupted after 60 Hindus died in a train fire. The cause of the blaze was never clearly established.

Hindu groups allege the fire was started by Muslim protesters, but an earlier inquiry said the blaze was an accident.

The Supreme Court set up a panel to investigate the riots in 2008, after allegations that the Gujarat government was doing little to bring those responsible to justice.

Government lawyer SB Vakil told the Nanavati panel probing the riots that some records relating to the riots had been destroyed according to the rules.

“As per general government rules, the telephone call records, vehicle logbook and the officers’ movement diary are destroyed after a certain period,” Mr Vakil was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

In April a senior police officer alleged in a sworn statement to India’s Supreme Court that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state.

Mr Modi has always denied any wrongdoing.

The Gujarat government has responded to the allegations by saying they have already testified before a special panel investigating the riots and will wait for the court’s verdict.

East India Suspected Insurgent Attack: Nine Police Officers Killed

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Suspected Maoist insurgents killed nine policemen during an ambush in eastern India, authorities said Tuesday. A 10th officer is missing.


Police officials carry a coffin of a colleague on April 8, 2010, after his death in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh.

The attack took place Monday in a remote area of Gariaband in Chhattisgarh state when the officers were on their way to search a house as part of anti-Maoist operation, said state police spokesman Rajesh Mishra.

Their truck broke down, and they were attacked as they were waiting for a second vehicle to arrive, he said.

About 10 days ago, seven officers were killed when they were ambushed as they were returning from routine patrol, Mishra said.

“It’s a war-like situation here,” he said.

The Maoist movement is considered by the government as India’s greatest internal security threat.

The Maoist guerrillas are called Naxalites after Naxalbari, a village in neighboring West Bengal state where they originated in the late 1960s.

Officials say the Naxals aim to seize political power through what they call a protracted people’s war.

For their part, the insurgents have claimed since the 1960s to be fighting for the dispossessed.

Over the years, they targeted Indian security forces in several impoverished eastern Indian states that have become known as the “Red Corridor.”

The slow-churning unrest has killed about 2,000 people.