When Stanford Report Mutilates Math: Truth Suffers


Title Quote:
When Human Right reports suppress facts, mutilate math, and mount well timed political attacks, Justice becomes victim.”

On May 2014, in the midst of India's election campaign, Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic rakes up 12 year old event. It publishes a controversial report "When justice becomes victim" allegedly targeting prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Report's conviction rate was widely reported in media.

In its main conclusion, Stanford report stated that Conviction rate in 2002 Gujarat riots is between 0.21% and 1.18% but Stanford erred in division. After correcting for error, The recalculated Conviction rate is estimated between 20% and 40%.

Event Name Stanford's Estimated Conviction Rate Recalculated Estimated Conviction Rate
Gujarat – 2002 riots 0.21% to 1.18% 20% to 40%
Gujarat – 2012 9.6% 9.6%
India -2012 18.5% 18.5%

Note: Recalculation is based solely on Stanford's data found in report's Endnote 222.

Division problem:
Stanford report claims that 50 Guilty Verdicts/4252 Total Criminal Cases filed = 1.18% Conviction rate in Carnage. It is calculated from numbers found in report's Endnote 222. Endnote 222 lists 50 guilty verdicts, sourced from "gujaratriots.com" , and 4252 total criminal cases filed, sourced from gujaratfiles.net”. Stanford also claims 0.21% as low range of estimate but provides no data, or facts, supporting it.

1.18 liters/100grams <> 1.18% & 50 Guilty Verdicts/4252 Total Criminal Cases Filed<> 1.18%:
Stanford report assumes that mathematical relationship between criminal case filed and verdict is 1 to 1 but that is not true. I searched and downloaded 2 judgments from web, and found out that One verdict can cover several criminal cases filed with police.

For example, 1 Godhra Train Massacre Verdict = 19 court cases.

In another example, 1 Naroda Patia Verdict = 8 court cases = 27 F.I.R = 120 police complaints. All 8 case numbers, 27 F.I.R, and 120 complaints are clearly listed in verdict. Stanford report repeats word “Naroda Patia” 135 times and devotes several pages to “Naroda Patia Attack” yet goes with 1 to 1 assumption.

Internationally accepted formula of Conviction Rate is Number of Convictions divided by Number of Cases Completed. Stanford report is using this formula for 2012 India conviction rate calculation but for 2002 Gujarat riots conviction rate calculation it probably switched the formula and erred with numerator, denominator and unit of measurement.

Recalculation of Estimated Carnage Conviction Rate: 

Based on 1 Verdict = Many Police Compliant fact found in copies of carnage related court Judgments, Conservatively Estimated relationship is as follow:

         1 Verdict = 2.5 Court Cases = 4 FIRs = 22 Police Complaints
Based on Stanford's data, Here is a reasonable estimate:

          * Number of Guilty Verdicts = 50; Therefore, Number of 

             convicted court cases is conservatively estimated at 100.

          * Number of Completed court cases is difficult to estimate. It 

             is conservatively estimated between 240 to 500.
             Here 4252 total police complaints >> 3354 valid police 

             complaints >> 300 to 600 F.I.R(1)  >> 240 to 500 total 
             court cases >> 240 to 500 completed court cases.

          * Conviction rate 100/240 = 41.6%, or 100/500 = 20%
(1) As per Ahuja Committee report,1984 Delhi riots had 587 F.I.R  Therefore, Estimated 2002 Gujarat riots F.I.R can be 587/3= 195 F.I.R.

Failure to see elephants in the room:
2012 Conviction rate is calculated from numbers found in Endnote 223. Endnote 223 refers Crime Statistics India-2012, National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, India. It provides Crime Statistics of all states. I am reproducing the same statistics here:

Number of cases alleging riot-related offenses per capita (2012 only):

STATE Population (census data 2011) Riot Cases reported in 2012 Riot Cases per Capita Performance vs. India (lower is better) Performance vs. Gujarat (lower is better) SUMMARY
PUNJAB 27704236 1 0.000% 0.001 0.001 Top 2 Best Performers
RAJASTHAN 68621012 573 0.001% 0.135 0.287
GUJARAT 60383628 1758 0.003% 0.472 1.000 Stanford Target
INDIA 1210193422 74633 0.006% 1.000 2.118 Average
ASSAM 31169272 5077 0.016% 2.641 5.595 Bottom 2 Worst Offenders
KERALA 33387677 10938 0.033% 5.312 11.253

Observation: Compared to Gujarat, Riot Cases per capita is 11 times higher for Kerala, and 5.5 times higher in Assam.

Conviction rate in cases alleging riot-related offenses (2012 only):

STATE Cases in which trials were completed Cases convicted Conviction Rate (Higher is better) SUMMARY
PUNJAB 2 2 100.0% Top 2 Best Performers
RAJASTHAN 1427 877 61.5%
KERALA 5471 1379 25.2%
INDIA 39415 7281 18.5% Average
GUJARAT 863 83 9.6% Stanford Target
ASSAM 1335 68 5.1%
WEST BENGAL 1894 38 2.0% Bottom 2 Worst Offenders
KARNATAKA 4922 94 1.9%

Observation: Compared to Gujarat, Conviction rate is 5 fold lower for West Bengal and Karnataka.  
Conclusion: Assam with its high riot cases per capita, and low conviction rate is the biggest elephant in the room. The other elephants are Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal.

Failure to see the obvious solution in the room:
Punjab, which has about 40% minority population, stands out as top performance in both charts. Punjab has seen decades of communal terrorism which was far worse than anything Gujarat has ever experienced. There were no NGOs and Human Rights Groups peddling one-sided, and divisive, anti-Sikhtva propaganda. There were no global denouncements of Sikhtva in UNHRC, U.S Congress, and EU. If Punjab was targeted the way Gujarat is being targeted then Punjab would be still burning. Gujarat's current peace is not because of divisive propaganda but despite of divisive propaganda.

Failure to make apples to apples comparison:
Stanford report should have added at least one comparison between 2002 Gujarat riots and one other communal incident, like Delhi riots, Mumbai riots, Kashmir anti-Pandit violence, Assam riot, Bihar riot, Uttar Pradesh riot etc. For example:

Event Name # of Persons Killed # of Persons Arrested # of rounds fired by Police # of Civilians killed in Police Firing Total # of F.I.R Filed # of Persons Convicted
1984 Delhi Riots 2733 ( nearly all Sikhs) (d) 496 (b) 343 (b) 0 (b) 587 (d) 442 (c)
2002 Gujarat Riots 1103 (790 Muslims, 313 Hindus) (a) 35552 (a) 10000 (a) 170 (a) Unknown 443 (e)
b) Approximate numbers aggregated from Justice G T Nanavati CommissionReport
e) Source quoted in Stanford reports namely "gujaratriots.com" and gujaratfiles.net” endnote 222 and 223.

Stanford Report ends up creating 'pogrom' impression that hardly any Hindus were killed and Gujarat Government did not take any action but that is simply not true. Gujarat riots, with 790 Muslims deaths, 313 Hindu deaths, 35,552 arrests, and 170 deaths in police-firing, does not fit dictionary definition of 'pogrom' but others, like 1984 Delhi riots or 1980s anti-Pandit violence, might fit.

Stanford report vs. Conviction Ratio:
Stanford report states that “When attacks were reportedly perpetrated by Muslims against members of the Hindu majority community....the cases were promptly prosecuted by State” but this is not reflected in conviction numbers found in Stanford report's endnote 222. On the contrary, Endnote 222 shows that Gujarat State did a better job at persecuting Hindus accused of attacking Muslims:

# of Muslims killed # of Hindus Convicted Conviction Ratio for Hindu Accused.
790 332 42.03%

# of Hindus killed # of Muslims Convicted Conviction Ratio for Muslim Accused
313 111 35.46%

Note: Conviction ratio, which is a division based on number of persons and an imprecise measure, is not to be confused with internationally accepted term 'Conviction rate' which is a division based on Cases.

Controversial 'Title Quote':
As soon as I clicked on stanford report link, I saw the 'Title Quote':
"Indian Supreme Court Judgment in the 'Best Bakery' Case: ('When the investigating agency helps the accused, the witnesses are threatened....there is no fair trail....')"
This 'Title Quote' is one of the many allegations made by a controversial Supreme Court Judge Arijit Pasayat in a re-trial judgement . This re-trial judgment, which over-ruled double jeopardy defense and moved retrial venue to Mumbai,  was based on affidavit and testimony of 'star witness', and victim, Zahira Sheikh. Subsequently following facts came out:

1) Zahira Sheikh stated that she was tutored by Ms. Teesta Setalvad, and her testimony as well as affidavit were false. An inquiry was ordered by the Supreme Court and proceedings were initiated against Zahira Sheikh. Judge Arijit Pasayat found her guilty and showed no leniency. He sentenced her to one year’s imprisonment. Thus, So called human right activist made hay, victim ends up in prison and due process damaged.  

2) Based on similar presumption of guilt, Judge Arijit Pasayat took unprecedented step of ordering a Supreme Court monitored Special Investigation Team. SIT formation was an exception to all conventions, contrary to prima facie information, and past precedents. The decks were stacked against Mr. Modi but SITs comprehensive 541 pages report found those presumptions of guilt, and associated allegations, baseless. In its clean chit for Mr Modi, SIT stated "Law and order review meetings were held by Modi and all the things was done to control the situation... the Army was called on time to contain the communal violence". SIT report proved that many Arijit allegations, like "Modi is a modern day Nero", are wrong but it was too late. Character assassination of Modi, Gujarat High Court, and Hinduity, was a fait accompli.

Stanford selectively quotes SIT in it's report. Stanford is aware of SIT content, Yet uses Judge Arijit Pasayat's allegation as title and title quote.

Conspiracy theories suppress facts:
Further looking at Stanford report. It seems that report relies on stories, and conspiracy theories, of controversial Ms. Teesta Setalvad. There are some very serious charges of witness tempering/tutoring, fake testimonies, misappropriation of funds, cooking up macabre tales of killings etc. against Teesta. Check wikipedia for details.

Why the report was published 12 years later in midst of an election campaign?
Who financed, or inspired, it?
Is 'Stanford Conflict Resolution Clinic' acting like 'Conflict Escalation Facility'?
Does acting like kangaroo court lead to conflict resolution?

A version of this post was also published in Niticentral: Stanford report on Modi mutilates math, kills truth