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Date : 7 June, 2003


Memorendum to Minority Commission



Shri Tirlochan Singh


Minorities Commission



Dear Sir,


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.


One. 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.

Two. While the investigation into Mr Pandya's murder has been formally handed over to the CBI, it has effectively been entirely 'hijacked' by the City Crime Branch. Over the past fortnight, police officers like PN Barot and others directly accused of close proximity to the ruling political dispensation have been brought in and are terrorising people in order to extort money from them.

Three. One year later, the Genocide in Gujarat continues through social and economic boycott of Muslims in atleast 10 of the 24 districts of the State and a politically vindictive state headed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi seeks to subvert all criminal investigations int the incidents of violence last year. Moreover a sinister and systematic plan to target over 325 Muslim-run Institutions, including madrassas and others has been put in place with the help of the Education department, Charity Commissioner's Office and the city and State police. A survey of madrassas has already been made supervised by the State Home Minister to put this Operation in place. Meanwhile, Christian Institutions have also been picked for objectionable questioning by the state's education department. (see Communalism Combat, April 2003)

Four. Human Rights Defenders, our associates in Gujarat, social workers, and Lawyers of the minority community fighting cases for Justice have all been threatened and face a serious threat to their lives. Activists and workers coordinating the Gulberg massacre, the Naroda gaon and Pattiya carnage especially are receiving regular threats.

Five. The main accused in the Gulberg massacres run free in the Chamanpura locality and terrorise victim survivors trying to rebuild their homes destroyed through blood and murder on February 28 last year. About 45 families constrained by poverty who have had to go back to Naroda face verbal sexual threats from the major accused who are also free.                                                                
Six. The role of the State Public Prosecutors in the major carnages has been highly questionable. Many are connected closely to the ruling political dispensation in the State.


Seven 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.

Seven. Recent developments in Other Criminal Trials where witnesses have also turned hostile are of concern to all concerned with human rights and justice in the country. In several independent reports by groups including the esteemed NHRC, these very same witnesses had testified what they had seen. If today they tell a different tale, when other reports in the State are so disturbing it must be deduced –or at least assumed until other investigations are made that this has been under pressure.


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.


Abasana Trial

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 it’s 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 it’s 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.


Yours Sincerely,


Rais Khan

Citizens for Justice and Peace


Teesta Setalvad

Citizens for Justice and Peace




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