II. MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS TO INDIAN AUTHORITIES
To bring itself into compliance with domestic and international law, the Gujarat government must act now to prevent further attacks, end impunity, and deliver meaningful assistance to those displaced and dispossessed by the violence. Those responsible for attacks against Hindus and Muslims in Godhra, Akshardham, and Godhra's violent aftermath, including members of the sangh parivar and the BJP, must be brought to justice. Specifically, Human Rights Watch makes the following recommendations to the Gujarat state and central Indian government. A complete set of recommendations to domestic and international actors can be found at the end of this report.
To the State Government of Gujarat:
· Ensure that police register and investigate all cases of communal violence regardless of the religious background of the victim. Establish women's cells in police stations for the reporting and investigation of sexual violence cases and other crimes against women.
· Act without delay to implement the recommendations of the NHRC on the violence in Gujarat.
· Turn over investigations implicating state and police officials to federal agencies such as the CBI.2 Ensure that these investigations address the conduct of state officials, including police and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, who incited, took part in, or were complicit in the attacks.
· Suspend all police officers implicated in the attacks, pending investigation. Police found to have violated their duties should be dismissed and prosecuted where appropriate. All officers who helped stem the violence and have since been demoted or transferred should be reinstated to their original posts.
· Provide integration assistance to individuals and families who were victims of the communal violence and who are unable or unwilling to return to their homes. Such integration assistance should include housing, employment assistance, food and water, and access to education and healthcare.
· Allocate compensation for family members of those killed or the reconstruction of homes and places of business, and for the provision of food and other relief supplies for all persons displaced or dispossessed in a nondiscriminatory manner and in accordance with international human rights law and the U.N. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
· Reassess existing state and federal compensation packages that fail to cover all damage and destruction suffered by victims.
· Take prompt and appropriate action against any government official, including elected representatives and members of the state or local administration, who endorse, encourage, or otherwise promote discrimination against Muslims or any other group.
· Adopt and implement measures to ensure safe return and continuing security for all urban and rural families affected by the violence who wish to go back to their original residences and places of business.
· Adopt and implement measures to ensure the security of human rights defenders, journalists, and independent and secular NGOs working in Gujarat to promote human rights and non-discrimination.
To the Government of India:
The government of India should ensure that Gujarat state investigates and prosecutes perpetrators of communal violence and, where necessary, cooperates with federal agencies such as the CBI in doing so. The government should also take appropriate measures to ensure the security and safety of all citizens of Gujarat, including assisting those who have been displaced or dispossessed by the violence. In addition, Human Rights Watch recommends that the government:
· Investigate and prosecute officials of those organizations, including the VHP, RSS, BJP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and their affiliates, implicated in continuing violence against Dalits, tribals, and religious minorities.
· Repeal the resolution that exempts trishuls (tridents) from the scope of the Indian Arms Act. Prohibit, in conjunction with state governments, the distribution of tridents and swords by members of the sangh parivar; and seize weapons that have already been distributed by these groups.
· End impunity for past campaigns of violence against minorities, including the anti-Sikh violence in Delhi in 1984 and the post-Ayodhya violence of December 1992 and January 1993; the recommendations of the Srikrishna Commission on the post-Ayodhya violence in Bombay should be implemented without delay. Police responsible for excessive use of force should be prosecuted; those having the power and duty to stop the violence but who did not intervene should be appropriately punished.
· Repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which stands in violation of international due process norms and has been discriminatorily applied in the state of Gujarat and elsewhere.
· Request assistance from United Nations relief agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as well as international humanitarian organizations, to ensure the provision of relief and rehabilitation assistance to all those displaced and dispossessed by the communal violence.
2 CBI is a federal investigative agency that handles cases of corruption and cases of interstate and other crimes of national importance. CBI inquiries are often demanded in cases where local or state investigations are perceived to be biased.