Date : 7 June, 2003
Memorendum to Minority Commission
Shri Tirlochan Singh
At the outset, we would like to express our anguish and concern about the recent role of State Agencies within Gujarat on the issues of justice for the victims of violence, now a year old.
The Gujarat police continued to terrorise the minority community
through indiscriminate arrests and detentions, some illegally under
POTA. The Ahmedabad Crime Branch of at least 80 Muslim youth, the
selective application of POTA against 12 Muslims for alleged
involvement in the Haren Pandya murder and 123 accused in the Godhra
mass arson. Muslim women, relatives of allegedly absconding accused
and even of detained persons, have also been brutally abused during
questioning by the Ahmedabad police. A delegation of Muslim women
petitioned the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner, Kaushik on this matter
in late April 03. The Sunni Bohra community is the singular target
of these actions.
The Godhra investigation, too is highly politically
motivated and 123 accused on whom POTA was applied last month have
not been seen by their families since then. Five were even injected
with serum that dulled their senses (an objectionable practice
violative of national and international law) during questioning.
Best bakery Incident, Baroda City
On March 1, 03 at 8.30 p.m. a strong mob of 200-300 people looted the Best Bakery, set fire to the room and a family of 5 people was burnt alive, 3 workers were hacked to death, 16 people were attacked and 4 workers injured. The incident took place after the staff from the local police Panigate police station drove by. Zahira, a victim and an eye witness was made to give statement 3 times and sign but the statement was not read out to her nor was she allowed to read. Police did not come for over an hour even after being repeatedly called. NHRC has recommended that this case requires to be investigated by CBI.
The trial is on and victims have approached the Supreme Court for cancellation of bail since the Gujarat High Court gave bail to 29 of the 33 accused.
The criminal trials at Ghodasar, Kheda, Kalol and Sardarpur Mehsana are on
Status of the cases registered in Ahmedabad
¨ Out of 961 registered cases 447 cases filed as A or B final summary.
¨ In sector-I out of 15 police station there is 496 cases registered. Out of this 496 cases 200 cases filed final A or B summary (registered complaints are wrong or accused are not available), in 293 cases inquiry is finished and in 3 cases inquiry is going on.
¨ In the same way in sector-II out of 15 police station there is 465 cases registered. Out of this 465 cases filed final A or B summary (in 80% cases A summary and in rest B summary), in 215 cases inquiry is finished and in 36 cases inquiry is going on. (In this 961 cases registered in Ahmedabad 2903 Hindus and 2164 Muslims (total 5067 persons) were arrested while 280 accused are absconding.)
Nine. Following the legal interventions by many independent groups, victim-survivors etc also show that relief and rehabilitation amounts promised have callously not been paid. (There are two writ petitions being heard in the Gujarat High Court in this regard filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace)
Ten. However as aggrieved citizens of this hapless state that is a shame to the Indian Constitution and Indian democracy we would like to record before you the exteme shock that all of us felt at recent comments by a member of the Higher Judiciary, Justice Nanavaty investigating the carnage. In late May 2003, Justice Nanavati had said, "The evidence recorded so far does not indicate any lapse on the part of the police or administration in controlling the communal clashes in several parts of the state." The next day, Justice Nanavati reportedly backed out and stated that he has been misquoted by the media. But a TV channel reported on Monday that Justice Nanavati, in an interview with the channel, had said the Gujarat riots were not one-sided and that there was limited evidence against the VHP. "There is no real evidence that has been brought to name individual Bajrang Dal or VHP leaders," the TV channel quoted Justice Nanavati as saying.
Many have recorded their anguish at this partisan and questionable attitude of the Judge. This Commission is expected to inquire into the allegations of State Complicity into the callous Genocide of over 2,000 gross police misconduct and deliberate dereliction of duty. Instead, long before the conclusion of its hearings, one of the Judges on the Commission makes statements that render the personal anguish of hundreds of thousands Gujaratis, who happen to be Muslims, unimportant and irrelevant.
We would urge that the Minorities Commission, that is statutorily committed to protecting the lives, properties, dignity and livelihood of minorities gravely addresses and investigates this travesty of justice committed by a senior Judge of the Commission.
Eleven. We would also like to place on record our anger and dismay at recent statements by the esteemed Minorities Commission on the issue of trident distribution by members of outfits like the VHP and Bajrang Dal. Tridents (trishuls) have been used during the Gujarat genocide to not simply generate terror but even to murder and kill. Arms training camps by VHP and BD have been regularly held to militarise Gujarati civil society and consequently carry out pre-planned violence against the Minorities in Gujarat. As members of the minority in this country we would urge that the Minorities Commission upholds its mandate of protecting the rights of Minorities as enshrined in the Indian Constitution an din International Law.
We therefore demand
1. That the Minorities Commission investigates the indiscriminate arrests and detentions of persons belonging to the Muslim and Christian Minority in Gujarat
2. That the socio-Economic Boycott of the Minority is stopped
3. That the Justice Process is not subverted and denied
4. That the Gujarat Government is stopped in its blatant actions that violate the Indian Constitution and Indian Law.
Citizens for Justice and Peace
Citizens for Justice and Peace
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