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‘Insaniyat’ meeting on the Best Bakery judgement


Insaaniyat’s meeting on 24 April, 2004, in Mumbai to express support for the Supreme Court judgement in the Best Bakery case (transferring the case out of Gujarat) was a striking demonstration of the considerable public support for justice for the victims of communal violence. The audience of 175, which included many prominent citizens from the arts, corporate world, academia, the media, trade unions, women’s organizations and citizen’s groups, were part of an even larger group of individuals who endorsed the statement prepared for this occasion.


What is even more heartening is the continued outpouring of support for this statement. We are adding names as they keep coming in. So if you haven’t signed in yet, it’s still not too late – just email a response ([email protected]) and your name will be added on. If you know of others who would like to register their support, please let them know.


Just as every drop of water makes a mighty ocean, every gesture, however small, adds up to the groundswell of support we are already seeing for justice for victims of the hideous violence in Gujarat. In the days and months to come, we along with other groups and individuals plan to launch a campaign to create a support network for witnesses. We need ideas, inputs, volunteers and financial support to reach out to wider sections of society.


At the meeting on Saturday, human rights lawyer Mihir Desai, who is representing Zahira Sheikh, spoke of the manner in which the processes of justice were being systematically undermined in Gujarat. The Supreme Court judgement was unprecedented in more ways than one, he said, adding that it was indeed extremely rare for such a combination of four important aspects of the judgement: that the court ordered a re-trial; a re-investigation; that the case be moved to the Bombay High Court; and that the victims are given the chance to choose a public prosecutor to represent their case.


Teesta Setalvad, who has been spearheading the work of Citizens for Justice and Peace, spoke of the vitiated atmosphere in which victims are seeking justice in Gujarat. CJP pleas to transfer several other cases are pending before the Supreme Court, including the Godhra, Sardarpura, Gulbarg Society and Naroda Patiya cases. She spoke of the immense courage and tenacity of women like Zahira and Bilkis Bano in their search for justice.


Actor Rahul Bose spoke of the prevailing fear psychosis in society and said that it was important to rise above oneself to combat the environment of mistrust and intolerance. He later pledged his unequivocal support for a campaign on the issue.


Here’s the statement of support for the Best Bakery judgement; listed below that are the names of all those who have endorsed it:


 We, the undersigned, welcome the Supreme Court judgement of 12 April 2004 delivered by Justices Raju and Pasayat in the Best Bakery case as an example of all that is finest in our society and our judicial system. The Judgement states, among other things: ‘When large numbers of people including innocent and helpless children and women are killed in a diabolic manner it brings disgrace to the entire society. Criminals have no religion. No religion teaches violence and cruelty-based religion is no religion at all, but a mere cloak to usurp power by fanning ill feeling and playing on feelings aroused thereby… The fanatics who spread violence in the name of religion are worse than terrorists and more dangerous than an alien enemy.’

The judgement alerts us to the dire danger facing our democracy when ‘fanatics who..are worse than terrorists’ are repeatedly excused not only by the police, judiciary and State Government of Gujarat but also by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India. Justice is a central pillar of democracy; when the former is destroyed, the latter collapses. We value the Supreme Court’s determination to restore the credibility of our judicial system in the eyes of the world and safeguard our democracy. We pledge our full support when the retrial takes place in Bombay. We also note that other survivors of the Gujarat carnage, including relatives of the Godhra victims, have requested that their cases be transferred out of Gujarat, and pledge our support to them too.

Names of those who have endorsed/signed the above statement

Anu Aga

Arti Kirloskar

Aimee Wadia

Khorshed K Gandhy

Rahul Bose

Farouque Sheikh

Sayeed Mirza

Aamir Khan

Om Puri

Nandita Puri

Govind Nihalani

F T Khorakiwala

Nandan Maluste

Vinay Shukla

Rajni Bakshi

John D’Souza

Kekoo Gandhy

Shailesh Gandhi

Vahida Nainar

Neera Desai

Meena Gopal

Apoorva Kalwar

Shalini Mahajan

Sanjay Upadhyay

Ranjendra Kanvinde

Manjula Swami

Chayanika Shah

Adv Prashant P

Ramarao M G

Anjum Rajabali

Gita Chadha


Arati Luthra Pinto

Simantini Dhuru

Riddhi Shah

Prasoon Pandey

Ram Madhvani

Ayesha Sayani

Lalit Marathe

Sanjay F.Gupta

Amole Gupte

Deepa Bhatia

Tanvi Azmi

Sameer Malhotra

Dunu Roy

Imrana Qadeer

Sandhya Gokhale

Juzar Bandukwala

Tanuja Chandra

Madhushree Datta

Mariam Dossal

Suguna Rao

Madhu Akotkar

A G Tanjula

Perrin Chandra

Sajid Rashid

Hemant Tiwari

Asif Khan

K M Aarif

Sudhir Paranjpe

Parezade Mama

Arnavaz Mama

Firdausi Jussawalla

Naira Ahmadullah

Sonal Sheth

Smriti Nevatia

Bhushan Oza

Rudi Heredia

Rohit D Mothari

Daniel Mazgaonkar

Zia Hajeebhoy

Mazamil Qamim

Meena Menon

Dara T Gandhy

Sanober Keshwaar

Yogi Aggarwal

Gurpal Singh

K Leena

Deepak Negi

Sandhya Mhale

Shama Dalwai

J B D’Souza

Neela D’Souza

Prashant P. Bansode

Dr. Vibha Surana


Ritu Dewan

Swati Raju

Nina Ashar

Nitin Nair



Vibhuti Patel

Aarti Prasad

Surendra Gaikwad

Manisha Karne


Narendra Panjwani

Rajani Iyer


Annakutty V.K.


Myrtle Barse


Aziz Mirza

Pranav Tripathi

Mrs Sudherekha

Dr Naina Athalye

Dr Vibhuthi Patel

Ms Sunipa Ghose

Rukmini Datta

Bennet D’Costa

Dr Athar Qureshi

Venita Fernandes

Josephine Williams

Shabana Khan

Desh Deepak


Shyam Ranjankar

Salim Saboowala

Preeti Bhat

Ammu Abraham

Bulbul Manlani

Satya Wanuari

Shrikumar Poddar

AH Farooqui

Punam Sawhney

Priyanka Josson

Bandhuraj Lone

Smruti Koppikar

Ambika Gupta

Sagar Pandya

Mahesh Kamble

Supriya Kamble

Deepa Gehlot

Piroj Wadia

Sagar Yadav

S N Hammad

E N Fernandes

Kunal Motishaw

Justice Daud

Asghar Ali Engineer

Sonia Gill

Kumar Ketkar

Dr Shriram Lagoo

Medha Patkar

Adm Ramdas

Lalita Ramdas

Sharada Sathe

Ayesha Sayani

Justice Suresh

N Vasudevan

Nikhil Wagle

Parvati Vasudevan

Biswamohan Pradha

Monish Ved

John Thomas

Satish Sahwney

Tushar Dhara

Swaroop Biswas

Yazad Jal

Vivin Mathew Easo

Atul Tiwari

Shama Zaidi


Satish Sutaria

Irfan Merchant

Yasmeen Lukhmani

Indra Munshi

Margarida Colaco

Nasreen Fazalbhoy

Feroze H Mithiborwala

Hasan Kamaal

Sushant Singh

Sujata Tiwari

Shalini Gogia

M J Pandey



Rajit Kapur

Nitin Kalra

Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Neela Bhagwat

Uttam Sirur

Vinise Banerjea

Pallavi Acharya

Purnima Kulkarni

Pradnya Bothare

T J Ravishankar

K K Raina

Asad Bin Saif

Sahil Sheth

Subhash Mehta

Dolphy D’Souza

Sukla Sen

Ankur Datta

Suma Josson

Deepika D’Souza

Raajen Singh

Shakil Ahmed

Smita Vijay Crishna

Vinod Shetty

Baba Azmi

Jairus Banaji

Geeta Seshu

Rohini Hensman

Ranush Kamble