When Justice Becomes the Victim: The Quest for Justice after the 2002 Violence in Gujarat


In late February and March of 2002, a devastating wave of violence swept across the northwest Indian state of Gujarat. The violence killed between 1,200 and 2,000 individuals, injured many more, and permanently displaced hundreds of thousands of Gujarati citizens. Much of the violence had a strongly communal nature, pitting Hindus against Muslims.

This report, prepared by the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, focuses on the performance of the Gujarat judicial system as it handled the cases emerging from the violence. The report presents the 2002 violence in Gujarat through the lens of three court cases. Two of them (the Naroda Patia case and the Gulberg Society case) pertain to two of the most well-known and tragic attacks to occur during the violence. The third (the Jafri case) pertains to a controversial case alleging that much of the violence had taken place on the instigation or direct orders of some of Gujarat’s highest political and social figures, including the sitting Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat.

The report concludes that the State of Gujarat, as well as the Government of India, can and should do more to bring true justice to the people of Gujarat. Fortunately, many reform efforts are already underway to address some of the crucial shortcomings identified also in this report.


Human Rights Watch: We Have No Orders to Save You, April 30, 2002
National Human Rights Commission: Report on the Best Bakery Case, May 31, 2002
Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Gujarat 2002: Crime Against Humanity, Volume I
Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Gujarat 2002: Crime Against Humanity, Volume II

Download the Report

When Justice Becomes the Victim

Student Work

The Stanford IHRCRC first took up this project during the summer of 2013. A team of three Stanford students worked on the project, under the direct supervision of IHRCRC Clinical Staff Attorneys and Faculty. Students and Faculty traveled to India to meet with lawyers, activists, and some of the key witnesses to the violence. Students also helped conduct extensive secondary source research on the violence and its aftermath.