Published On:17 September 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

GUJARAT 2002 RIOTS: SC directive being construed clean chit by Nrendra Modi a mistaken notion

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: Did Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi get a clean chit from the Supreme Court regarding his so-called inaction during riots in the state in 2002 genocide of Muslims?

Narendra Modi is being seen by a large number of people as turning a blind eye to violent attacks on Muslims, but because there is no evidence, he has managed to escape court action.

The mistaken notion that Modi has won a victory has arisen from the fact that the Supreme Court has refused to hear and decide on the case. But the trial in a case is to be conducted in a lower court and not in the Supreme Court.

The apex court had ordered the special investigation and then an independent review by amicus curiae. There were charges that the findings of the SIT did not match its conclusions. The amicus curiae is considered to have brought this to the notice of the court.

Now the charges against Modi, the reports of the SIT and the amicus curiae and other testimonies about the alleged role of Modi in the riots will all be considered by the trial court. The apex court has also directed that the trial court should give a hearing to the petitioner before it decides on closure of the case.

This is the right legal procedure and the court has stuck to it. It has refrained from further monitoring of the investigation because it is no longer needed now. It has in the past stopped its monitoring of investigations in some cases after they were completed. The trial court can in any case order further investigation if it feels it is necessary.

During the last couple of years, some top cops too had openly accused the CM of inaction and even of deliberate moves against the minority community, but nothing seems to have worked.SIT's Raghavan has stated that the SIT will provide details of its investigation before the trial court. It looks like the lower court too will let Modi off.

The law will now take its regular course and both sides will have equal rights in pursuing its course. It was when the request of Ehsan Jafri’s widow for filing an FIR against Modi in the case was rejected by the Gujarat police and the state high court that she approached the Supreme Court. When the request has been more than conceded, it can not be called Modi’s victory.

This put the saffron party, plagued by internal conflicts and squabbles on leadership, on the path to recovery. And then along came Anna Hazare and his team to raise some serious question marks on the maddening complacency and contemptuous indifference with which the top cats in the Manmohan Singh government were responding to the series of monstrous scams.

Depending on which side of the saffron divide you are, you can argue that the jury is still out on Mr Modi's active or passive role in the burning and butchering of over 2,000 Muslims, something that was horrendously described by him as the natural outpouring of anger by four crore Gujaratis at the Godhra carnage.

The court order was, expectedly, received with great glee by the BJP camp, with such leaders as Mr Balbir Punj claiming this verdict would now pave the way for the BJP's poster boy to play a much bigger role in “national politics”. Other leaders, who themselves want to play this “bigger role,” were more guarded about crowning Mr Modi as their “national leader”.

Teesta Setalvad, CJP, Mumbai: It is too early to consider the Supreme Court’s decision not to pass an order against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on the complaint against him that he abetted the killing of a Congress MP, Ehsan Jafri, during the post-Godhra communal riots, as a clean chit for him.

The court has only returned to a trial court in Ahmedabad, the complaint, the evidence collected by a Special investigation Team (SIT) appointed by it and the views of an amicus curiae, again appointed by the court, on the SIT’s findings. That means Modi has not been absolved of the charges levelled against him. All the 62 accused in the case, including Modi, will have to face the trial court’s proceedings.

J.S.Bandukwala, Human Rights Activist, Baroda: The Supreme Court has followed the law by sending the entire matter back to trial court in Ahmedabad. The trial Judge will be free to act after going through the SIT and the Amicus Curie reports. This in no way implies that Modi has passed through his Agni Pareeksha. There is no limit to the propaganda deceit of the RSS / BJP.

But our complaint is on delay. We have not received any justice in these cases for almost a decade. Justice delayed is justice denied. The only two cases where we got justice were in Best Bakery and Bilkis Banu. Muslim accused have been in jail for years without bail. Just recently in the Haren Pandya case some of these accused were released as innocents by the High Court, after wasting eight years of their lives in prison. Similarly in the Sabarmati train burning case, 60 accused were released after over nine years in jail, as the Court found them innocent.

On the other hand a known history sheeter, Babu Bajrangi who had claimed on Tehelka that he had killed Kausar Banu and her unborn child has not spent a day in jail. Is this fair?

Muslims have only one demand. We want justice in all these cases. We will not rest unlil all those responsible for the horrors of 2002 are punished.

Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, Director, PRASHANT – A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace: The Supreme Court today,( with regard to the Gulberg society massacre) has directed the trial Court in Gujarat to now accept the final Reports of the SIT and of the Amicus Curie, and to continue with the process of law. This verdict might be interpreted as a setback and disappointment, for the victims of the Gujarat Carnage of 2002 and for those fighting for justice.

However, this verdict in no way gives a clean chit to Modi,nor does it close the judicial process on this matter.Besides, the SC still has nine other cases to deal with, on the Carnage of 2002.

Whilst some are also claiming 'victory' of sorts...The fact is that, the struggle for justice will continue relentlessly, with full faith in the judicial system and a hope that TRUTH will ultimately triumph!

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on September 17, 2011. Filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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