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August 23, 2004

 

No Gujarat again!

 

Citizens consulation

Jamia Hamdard University New Delhi

August 21-22, 2004

Organisers: Communalism Combat, Citizens for Justice and Peace, Minorities Council, and Centre for the Study of Indian Muslims, Jamia Hamdard

 

To avoid another Gujarat (2002), to punish the guilty of Mumbai 1992-1993 if it were to occur again and to give effective and dignified restititution and reparation to victims of mass crime, The Prevention of Genocide and Mass Crimes Bill, 2004 becomes absolutely necessary. A Draft Bill has been prepared and will be circulated in New Delhi today. It will then be circulated to peopleís groups and political parties for discussion.

 

A Citizens Consultation consisting of retired Judges, serving and retired policemen and senior advocates apart from activists deliberated on this issue and has prepared a draft that will be made public.

 

Salient features of the Draft Bill are:

 

1.      It will be a Central Act

2.      It will set up an authority to take cognisance of such crimes consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chairperson NHRC and two serving or retired officers of the rank of DGPs;

3.      The Authority to set up Special Court to investigate crimes under the Act

4.      The Crimes defined under the Act are the act of genocide, crimes against humanity and the conspiracy, intent and abetment of these offences;

5.      The Specific sections that are exclusive to this legislation are that the Draft Act introduces the principles of vicarious criminal and administrative liability and also introduces the concept of command responsibility.

6.      These sections will ensure that both IAS/IPS officers in charge and the Chief Minister and his cabinet can be held responsible for the occurrence of crimes against humanity and genocide.

 

From Hashimpura in 1987, to Delhi 1984, Mumbai 1992-1993 culminating in Gujarat 2002, such a Law is necessary if such crimes are to be contained u\in future.

 

Justice PB Sawant and Justice Hosbet Suresh chaired over the deliberations. Senior advocates KG Kannabiran, Indira Jaising and Nitya Ramakrishna were also party to the deliberations. Former DIG J & K Padma Rosha and K. Subramanian, former DIG Tripura and several other serving and retired Police Officers including representatives of the National Human Rights Commission also participated in the deliberations.

 

Along with a Campaign for the Enactment of an Indian Law for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and Mass Crimes, the national campaign

will  also revive the issue of Police Reforms as recommended by the  National  Police Commission Reports from 1981-89. and lobby with political parties of all hues to introduce these immediately.

 

Among the issues raised around Police reforms is the establishment of a State-cum-Security State Commission as an  independent  authority for  constituting and monitoring the   structure and functioning of the Police and to monitor itís transparent functioning as also reservations for minorities within the police force.                                                                     

 

On Monday. August 23, 2004 the members of the Citizenís Consultation

discussed the draft legislation with senior members of the political   class, activists and the media. A final draft will   be prepared over the next fortnight  , translated into  different languages and circulated widely for peopleís   comments and suggestions.

 

 

Yours Sincerely,

                                                                                                Sd/-
Teesta Setalvad,                                                                       Iqbal Ansari,
Secretary,                                                                               Secretary General,

Citizens for Justice and Peace                                                  Minorities Council

 

 

Javed Anand

Co-editor,

Communalism Combat