Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ram ke Naam

                                                                       video I

 video II

video III

video IV

video V

video VI

video VII

        video VIII

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Ayodhya Movement

Three years ago to the date on 24th Nov.2009, Liberhan Commission report was tabled in the Parliament.

“Non-event” to orchestrated movement

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Chairman of the Liberhan Commission M.S. Liberhan submits report to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Home Minister P. Chidambaram looks on. File Photo: PTI
PTIChairman of the Liberhan Commission M.S. Liberhan submits report to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Home Minister P. Chidambaram looks on. File Photo: PTI
Buried in the 1,000-odd pages of the humongous volume is the fascinating story of the Ayodhya dispute’s transformation from an unsung “non-event” to an orchestrated movement that finally, and inevitably, led to the destruction of the dilapidated 16th century mosque
Does the Liberhan Commission report on the December 6, 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid add substantially to our understanding of the event Justice M.S. Liberhan describes as “one of the worst abhorrent acts of religious intolerance in the history of this nation and the Hindu religion?”
A superficial reading of the report would suggest that he has merely regurgitated many of the details already known to us -- the role of the sangh parivar and its affiliates; Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh’s systematic connivance in the demolition and his unapologetic defiance of court orders; the exploitation of the issue by hardline elements in the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Lal Krishna Advani and so forth.
And yet, thanks to the painstaking documentation the judge provides -- recording the many internal meetings of the sangh parivar, the threats, warnings and speeches emanating from the saffron fold, the forewarning available in the form of previous gatherings and agitations at the Babri Masjid site, the gradual collapse of the administration, not to mention the flurry of messages from the Centre conveying its apprehensions to Kalyan Singh -- we have with us today a wealth of information that enables construction of the exact sequence of events leading up to the demolition.
Not only this. Buried in the 1,000-odd pages of the humongous volume is the fascinating story of the Ayodhya dispute’s transformation from an unsung “non-event” to an orchestrated movement that finally, and inevitably, led to the destruction of the dilapidated 16th century mosque whose survival and security became over time the touchstone of India’s secular constitutional framework.
Space constraint prevents the telling of the story in detail but even a summary should suffice. The temple town may have witnessed successive battles over the ownership of the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in the distant past, but its recent history was relatively peaceful. Indeed, the judge notes that Ayodhya was a non-event till 1975, finding no mention in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly proceedings, or in the records of the Centre. It was not an issue even with the Jana Sangh, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue was confined to Ayodhya and limited to the parties to the legal dispute -- Mahant Ramchandra Das Paramhans and his akhara, and the Wakf Board.
The temple town stirred into action in 1980 when it became a campaign tool of the VHP, till then a non-descript rag-tag organisation that attracted little interest in Uttar Pradesh, much less nationally. In November-December 1983, the VHP issued a formal call for “liberating the temple” and simultaneously announced a programme of rath and kalash yatras. The impact of this was minimally felt, even in Ayodhya.
In April 1984, the VHP set up two executive committees, the Kendriya Marg Darshak Mandal and the Dharam Sansad, which would henceforth act as the nodal decision-making bodies for the Ayodhya issue. With the birth of the VHP’s rampaging youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, the same year, the temple campaign acquired a thuggish new face. The Dal revelled in anarchy and violence and, significantly, one of its first acts was to call for a bandh in support of opening the locks of the makeshift temple.
In March 1985, the VHP decided to raise a 50-lakh strong cadre of Ram Bhakts. Ramchandra Das Paramhans threatened to immolate himself -- the first of many such threats -- if the lock was not opened. He also declared that the movement could not succeed without political support at the national level. At this point, the RSS came fully into the picture and formally declared its support to the VHP.
With the opening of the locks on February 1, 1986 -- the judge unfortunately fails to record the role played by the Rajiv Gandhi government in this -- the stage was set for a confrontation with Muslim leaders who organised themselves into the All-India Babri Masjid Action Committee. The AIBMAC observed the opening of the locks as a “black day”. From its side, this would mark the start of a long but futile struggle to protect the Babri Masjid from its future assailants.
In January 1986, the Dharam Sansad drew up plans for an elaborate shila pujan, to protest which the AIBMAC announced a “long march.” The VHP programme gave a foretaste of the sangh’s organising capability which would grow manifold over the next three years. In February 1989, the VHP declared that the foundation stone for the construction of the temple would be laid in November of the same year. By this time, a full model of what Mr. Advani would subsequently and frequently refer to as “a resplendent temple” was ready for public viewing.
In June 1989, the BJP, till then insistent that the campaign was the VHP’s baby, jumped on the mandir bandwagon, obviously sensing the political potential it offered to a party that had been reduced to two Lok Sabha seats in the 1984 general election. In the cool environs of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, the party resolved to not only support the movement but also participate in it, arguing that this had become necessary to counter the Congress’ anti-Hindu propaganda. The BJP also entered into a confrontation with the judiciary by disputing its jurisdiction on matters relating to the temple which, it said, symbolised the faith of Hindus.
The judge does not dwell too much on this part, but BJP watchers would know that the “historic” decision would indelibly alter the course of the country, which would now be perennially haunted by the demons of communalism. The Palampur resolution energised the BJP’s cadre and pitchforked Mr. Advani to the centre of the battle, which role he performed to perfection, coining such immortal phrases as “minority appeasement” and “pseudo-secularism,” and declaring that there were only two ways to resolve the dispute -- by a negotiated settlement or by legislation. Needless to say, both routes led to the construction of the temple.
With Mr. Advani in command, the once “non-event” metamorphosed from a semi-religious, on-again, off-again affair into a full fledged political agitation whose central objective was to polarise Hindus and Muslims and harvest votes from the division. From here on, events would gallop at break-neck speed, each milestone in the sangh calendar adducing to Mr. Advani influence and clout — he would force the Rajiv Gandhi government to acquiesce in the November 1989 shilanyas ceremony, restore the BJP’s respectability with the Janata Dal’s support, inflame passions from atop his rath yatra, unmindful of the death and destruction that came in its wake, and finally create an environment for lawlessness at Ayodhya by deliberately and repeatedly announcing from every available platform that the mandir would be built — with or without the court’s permission.
Whether or not the “loh purush (iron man)” was aware of the plan to destroy the Masjid on December 6, 1992 will never be known. Justice Liberhan himself takes the view that Mr. Advani may not have been involved in the actual decision-making. He calls him -- as also Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Murli Manohar Joshi -- a “pseudo-moderate” who became a willing tool in the hands of the RSS.
Ultimately, it is immaterial whether or not Mr. Advani was involved in the cataclysmic climax. As is clear from the elaborate evidence laid out by Mr. Justice Liberhan in his report, the kar sevaks had become a Frankenstein’s Monster created jointly by the RSS, the BJP and other parivar affiliates. The stage was irreversibly set for the “non-event” of the 1980s to turn into a tragedy of epic proportions.

Excerpts are given in an issue of Communalism Combat .

Anyone who lived through those days remembers the disgraceful roles of Governor of UP,  Prime Minister Rao, Allahabad High Court, Supreme Court apart from the Saffron Brigade.  Yet I remember The Hindu going  ga ga over Narasimha Rao's deposition before the commission.

Former Liberhan lawyer questions worth of probe

Published: Thursday, Jul 2, 2009, 0:39 IST 
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
Liberhan Commission counsel Anupam Gupta, who cross-examined BJP stalwart LK Advani and former prime minister the late PV Narasimha Rao, among others, quit the assignment three years ago, just when the fact-finding panel began penning its report.
Gupta of Chandigarh said he left the commission because he didn’t agree with justice (retired) MS Liberhan’s soft approach towards Advani.
The BJP leader’s testimony and cross-examination run into 192 pages against Rao’s deposition of about 20 pages.
Had Gupta stayed back, the commission could have filed the report two years ago. But since he quit, the depositions had be recorded afresh.
Liberhan and Gupta had practiced together in the Punjab and Haryana high court. Later, Liberhan became a judge in the Madras high court and was subsequently, elevated as the chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh high court.
Gupta has his doubts about the usefulness of the Liberhan Commission report. “I had often disagreed on several important issues relating to the commission’s inquiry. We differed on the role and relevance of ideology and history in the probe. I’m convinced the probe cannot yield anything fruitful or enduring unless it addresses the ideological moorings of the movement. The report will be worth very little if these aspects and issues are sidestepped or underplayed,’’ he said.
“I also believe the principal challenge before the commission in terms of personalities is how it evaluates the roles and responsibilities of Advani and Rao. I would like the report to dwell on it comprehensively and in a principled manner,” Gupta told DNA.
“I am not certain whether justice Liberhan accords Advani and Rao the same central importance as I do, or whether he would like to address their role and responsibility,” he said.
So what went wrong? “Relations had come under a strain midway during my examination of Advani, who was then the home minister,” Gupta said tactfully.
“On June 13, 2001, a major confrontation took place between Advani and me in the court on the issue of Nehru’s attitude to the renovation of the Somnath temple,” he said, recalling what he had written in a magazine then.
“Advani lost his cool and lodged a strong verbal protest with the judge (Liberhan). That evening, justice Liberhan asked me to tone down my questioning of Advani. I refused and told him I’ll quit the commission the next morning but only after making a statement in court. Until then, my examination of Advani, though sharp, was marked by certain warmth. But after this, he became wary of me.”
Gupta said he had differences with Liberhan on whether the final report should analyse the ideological and historical aspects of the movement that led to the demolition of the Babri mosque on December 6, 1992.


Omissions and commissions 

Depositions by P.V. Narasimha Rao and L.K. Advani before the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry amount to exercises in rationalisation and evasion.
THE committee rooms in Delhi's Vigyan Bhavan seem a world removed from the battleground of Ayodhya where the Hindutva forces launched their frenzied assault against secularism and the rule of law. And the lapse of more than eight years may have dimmed the violent passions that were stirred up by the campaign to supplant an Islamic place of worship with a temple to a revered hero of Hindu myth.
After a long spell of fruitless endeavour and legal wrangling, the M.S. Liberhan Commission of Inquiry into the demolition of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya seems to have hit a productive vein of public disclosure. The depositions it has managed to secure in the last few weeks represent milestones in the effort to establish the truth behind the dark deed of December 1992. And after the official efforts to dignify the feeble and ineffectual response to an unprecedented challenge to the authority of the state, the Liberhan Commission perhaps holds the promise that a more complete and accurate picture will be available for the record.
L.K. Advani arriving to depose before the Liberhan Commission.
Evasion of the Commission's summons may have been a viable strategy for some of the principal actors of the demolition drama at Ayodhya. But after several attempts to secure their appearance had been frustrated, Justice Liberhan made it known that he would not hesitate to resort to issue non-bailable warrants. For the many Ayodhya crusaders and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who are now ensconced in responsible positions in government this would have been a serious indignity. Recent months have thus seen the appearance of Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and Minister of State for Sports Uma Bharati. But the deposition by Home Minister L.K. Advani, which immediately followed the appearance of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao has been the highlight of the Commission's deliberations so far.
Viewed in conjunction, the depositions by Advani and Narasimha Rao provide key insights into the political power-play that preceded the demolition. The then Prime Minister, for instance, has placed on record an elaborate rationalisation of his sequence of actions, which then seemed like an abdication of responsibility. Despite initiating broad-ranging consultations over possible means to defuse the sharpening crisis, Narasimha Rao told the Commission, he was not given sufficient political and legal backing for any firm measures that he may have been contemplating. At a meeting of the National Integration Council he was warned by none other than the Communist Party of India veteran Indrajit Gupta that imposition of President's Rule in Uttar Pradesh may not be an option. And the Supreme Court had refused to countenance his plea that the Central government should be empowered as a "receiver" to take the area of the Babri Masjid into its custody.
In advancing the alibi of helplessness, Narasimha Rao also implicated his former Cabinet colleagues. He stated before the Commission that he had during a two-day visit abroad late in November 1992 fully authorised his senior colleagues in the Ministry, notably S.B. Chavan, Arjun Singh and Sharad Pawar, who were respectively the Ministers for Home, Human Resource Development and Defence, to fashion an appropriate resolution of the problem. This was a "window of opportunity" that he had presented them, which they unfortunately squandered, said Narasimha Rao.
The former Prime Minister admitted that there was a contingency plan, authored by Home Secretary Madhav Godbole, which had been placed before him. But he thought the plan, which charted out a sequence of demands that the Centre could place on the State government, culminating in the event of their cumulative non-fulfilment in the imposition of President's rule, to be unworkable. The invocation of Article 356 was contingent on the satisfaction of the President. And as a constitutional expert, President Shankar Dayal Sharma, claimed Narasimha Rao, may have been sceptical of the grounds advanced for the imposition of Central rule.
These must seem rather curious averments, since Sharma had on the day of the demolition issued one of the strongest presidential fiats ever witnessed in independent India. His directive to the government of the day to do all that was necessary to preserve the peace and ensure the rule of law might have been an unusual step for a constitutional head of state. But in the circumstances then prevailing, it was widely endorsed as the proper thing to do.
Narasimha Rao's self-extenuating pleas only reinforce the impression that he was suffering from a complete paralysis of political initiative in the days leading up to the Ayodhya demolition. This had been induced as much by his own reluctance to take firm action as by the Congress party's prolonged record of waffling when confronted by the challenge of Hindutva communalism. For at least the five years of Rajiv Gandhi's tenure as Prime Minister, the policy of the Congress was to stoke rival forms of competitive communalism. The capitulation to Islamic fundamentalists in the Shah Bano case was followed in quick time by a blatant overture towards Hindu extremists. If the Muslim Women's Bill was the "Muslim card", the opening of the locks of the Babri Masjid which enabled access to the Ram idols that had been surreptitiously introduced there in 1950, was the "Hindu card".
There were several opportunities in the following years for the Congress to step off this hazardous tight-rope between two forms of extremism. But these were not taken. By 1989, the game was up. The BJP had snatched the "Hindu card" from the faltering grasp of the Congress. From then on, the BJP was to set the agenda with its provocative campaigns of mobilisation. To respond effectively, the Congress needed to repudiate much of its legacy from the late-1980s. And that was a challenge to its political ingenuity from which it came off rather poorly.
Significantly, after the Ayodhya demolition Narasimha Rao committed himself fairly unequivocally to the reconstruction of the Babri Masjid. This assurance has been conspicuously absent from all the subsequent political campaigns of the Congress. Again, the Narasimha Rao government chose the path of indifference and silence immediately after the demolition, when certain individuals with fairly transparent political motivations petitioned the Allahabad High Court for the unfettered right to worship at the makeshift temple that had been installed at the site of the Babri Masjid. The 1986 court order opening the locks of the Masjid had effectively legitimised the act of trespass of 1950. The 1992 "darshan" order compounded this by effectively legitimising the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
IN the course of his two-day long deposition before Liberhan, Advani, who had led one of the three convoys of kar sevaks that converged on Ayodhya to perform their act of vandalism, made an elaborate play on precisely these points. On the first day Advani spoke with feeling and passion about the acute distress the demolition had caused him. This had been his stated position in the immediate aftermath of the event and it continued to be so, he said. He had no intention at any stage to advocate or condone the demolition. Rather, his purpose was to achieve the peaceable relocation of the Babri Masjid with all the respect and deference due to a place of worship. But he was helpless in controlling the kar sevaks who acted that day in frustration and rage at the continuing prevarication of the government.
Advani's statements effectively affirm that the Muslim community, in atonement for all its historical sins, should have acquiesced in the effacement of a part of its cultural heritage. This would be the only means for them to buy peace with the Hindu majority. It was only their continuing obduracy - encouraged by the Congress government - that led to the tragic event at Ayodhya.
In disowning or pleading ignorance of all the inflammatory rhetoric that had been unleashed by his confederates in the Hindutva family, Advani has again been consistent to his long held position. But there is no escaping the inference that he is being disingenuous, since many of the most violent incitements were fashioned by the participants in his 1990 rath yatra. Disavowing this perfectly reasonable belief, Advani quoted from Koenrad Elst, a Belgian theologian who earned a brief notoriety in India with his rather crass rationalisation of the Ayodhya movement. Far from being an incitement to violence, Elst seemingly said, the rath yatra was "an island of orderliness".
Anupam Gupta, counsel for the Liberhan Commission, had his own scholarly references at hand, and these were of decidedly greater authenticity than Elst's work. But Advani's counsel objected to his effort to place on record a scholarly account of the rath yatra from an authoritative collection of essays published in 1996.
The following day, Advani came up with a more subtle sequence of arguments, which cleverly wove its way through the weak spots of the Congress position. The "disputed structure" at Ayodhya had always been a temple, he claimed. Although it had the superstructure of a mosque, it had been revered as a temple marking the birth place of Lord Ram since 1950. The court order permitting devotees access to the idols in 1986 had conferred this de facto situation with de jure legitimacy.
Under some sharp cross-examination Advani was compelled to admit that his use of the term "de jure" was rather loose. He conceded that the courts could, in deciding on the issue of title to the site, reverse the 1986 order. But it was nevertheless the fact, he said, that it has "by now been accepted by all that on the place believed to be Ram's birthplace, there is only a temple".
In a significant statement that could have repercussions for the political balance of power within the Hindutva fraternity, Advani also asserted that with the temple now an accomplished fact, he did not endorse the demand for a new structure commemorating the birth of Ram. Effectively, this is a signal to the hardline elements within the BJP and its large ideological family that the temple construction project may not be a politically rewarding pursuit in the years to come. If anything, Advani's craftsmanship of the ideological rationale of the Ayodhya movement, speaks of a shrewd political sense. Now with the purpose of power achieved, he believes that further insistence on the theme would be counter-productive. This could well reflect an accurate reading of ground realities. But the purpose of calling to account those culpable for independent India's greatest political outrage still remains to be consummated.  .
‘Liberhan consciously overlooked the wealth of information available’
Interview with Anupam Gupta, lawyer.

Anupam Gupta, who quit as counsel of the commission.
ANUPAM GUPTA was counsel for the Liberhan Commission for eight years between 1999 and 2007, a period when most of the hearings were carried out. Gupta left the commission because of differences with Justice Liberhan. This does find a mention in the commission’s report as a factor that contributed to the delay in preparing the report. According to Gupta, the differences with Justice Liberhan revolved around the latter’s eagerness to soft-pedal investigations against L.K. Advani. The arguments used by Liberhan to paint him as the cause of the delay, Gupta says, are exactly those used by the BJP leader. Gupta presents his point of view on the commission’s report and states emphatically that the clean chit given to the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, which was in office at the time of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, is nothing short of a sell-out. Excerpts from the interview:
As someone who had been the Liberhan Commission’s counsel for long, how would you evaluate its report?
The report needs to be appraised in both political and conceptual planes. The political plane is the one which will occupy the national attention for the next few days. This may involve questions about immediate or short-term political gains and losses. The conceptual plane refers to the principal theme of the report, which would have value for posterity. In this plane, the most striking feature is the searing attack on the RSS. The RSS is attacked not just as the umbrella organisation of the Sangh Parivar but as the alpha and omega of what happens in the Sangh Parivar.
After seven years in the commission and as somebody who had very close intellectual engagement with the subject, I can say that the attack on the RSS has considerable merit and an obvious secular value and significance. Nonetheless, in the context of the Ayodhya dispute and the demolition of Babri Masjid, it is only a grand exercise in reductionism. It presents a grossly oversimplified approach. It sees nothing but the hands and the brains of the RSS, to the extent that it obliterates the role of other organisational players such as the VHP which are directly germane and vital to the Ayodhya movement. This doesn’t present a correct historical picture because the VHP’s growth and role as an organisation is central to the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi movement.
Along with the reductionism is also the tendency for hyperbole. And collectively, they create many contradictions in the report. Take for example the critique of the Muslim organisations in the sub-section referring to this in the Conclusion. The comments virtually castigate them for not going to war with the Sangh Parivar. If they were to follow this advice, the country’s socio-political atmosphere would have got vitiated, leading to catastrophes.
Are you saying that the Liberhan report failed to delineate the finer points of the issue under consideration?
I would go beyond the expression, finer details. I would say that the wealth of information and details that was available with the commission was not properly marshalled and utilised. [It was] even consciously and purposely overlooked. For example, the commission has questioned leaders and officials on the use of paramilitary force on the fateful day. It is in the Annexure but never fully set out and unravelled in the main text of the report. This is despite a wealth of documents, correspondence and interrogations at the commission’s disposal. In the final appraisal, the complicity of the State administration headed by Kalyan Singh gets highlighted repeatedly, but the role of the Narasimha Rao government is not properly addressed. The chapter “President’s Rule” deals with the role of Narasimha Rao and the Central government, but this is nothing short of a complete sell-out. There is a complete and one-sided exoneration of Narasimha Rao and this destroys the credibility of the entire report. These 42 pages of the report stand out as studies in contrast to the vast amount of pages dedicated to the complicity of the State government.
But the commission’s argument is that the Central government had constitutional limitations.
That is a line that came up before the commission during the hearings too. Narasimha Rao himself presented views echoing that. He used to come for the interrogation armed with law books and various judgments. And he argued better than many leading lawyers of the constitutional bench of the apex court. But somewhere along the line I got the impression that it is too well rehearsed and too constitutional an argument to be credible. Therefore, I confronted him with the reports of the Sarkaria Commission and the Administrative Reform Commission which gave suo motu powers that the Centre can deploy in exceptional circumstances. He pleaded that the Constitution did not permit him to do so. He cited the deletion of a provision – Article 257(A) – which would have empowered the Central government. The arguments in the report that seek to give a clean chit to Narasimha Rao echo the very arguments made by the former Prime Minister.
You have used a very strong word, sell-out.
I have used that expression knowing its implications full well and as responsibly as it needs to be used. I would say that Justice Liberhan consciously and purposely overlooked the wealth of information and intelligence available to the Central government regarding the actual evolving situation in Ayodhya in December 1992. There are other clues in the report that point towards mechanisms used to give a clean chit to the Narasimha Rao administration. In the introductory chapter, Justice Liberhan says that it is not possible nor it is necessary to give the gist of evidence in the report, and hence he is attaching the statement of the hundred witnesses as Annexure. The remaining 16 volumes of the report are depositions of 100 witnesses. So Liberhan consciously chooses not to reproduce extracts or develop his arguments on the basis of that. He just refers to some statements of some of the witnesses such as Vinay Katiyarand Mahant Ramchandra Paramhans in a scattered and ad hoc manner. The essential methodology throughout the report is to attempt to generalise what they have said. But when it comes to the chapter on President’s Rule, this methodology is reversed. From cover to cover the actual words of the deposition of Narasimha Rao is set out in great length and in inverted commas, without any attempt to disagree with him. Narasimha Rao’s rehearsed defence of studied inaction is the report’s view on the subject. There is no attempt to criticise the arguments.
What exactly do you mean when you say there were other materials and documents that point to the failures and mistakes of the Narasimha Rao government?
Narasimha Rao’s principal defence is based on references to the State government’s assurances. He also focussed on the Governor’s letter on December 1, 1992. He had built up a structure of argument examining each and every strand of plea given in the letter. I asked him two questions based on this: How much of this is the Governor’s report and how much of it is a reflection of the State government’s view? His response was interesting. He said Governor Satyanarayana Reddy was not an appointee of the BJP, but was recommended during V.P. Singh’s time. He said he was from Andhra Pradesh and he was a very secular man. After that, in a written question, I asked him how much of the Governor’s letter was a reflection of your own view. He responded thus: ‘As a person facing a critical situation and yet what I saw as real constraint, I kept an open mind with no preconceived element in it. When I received the communication of the Governor of U.P. on 1/12/1992, I saw it as an independent and objective assessment of the Governor with a categorical advice.’
If the Governor’s letter is to be believed, the U.P. government, the bureaucracy, the administration simply cannot be indicted. The ‘constitutional limitations’ argument was built upon this bottom line: “The SC of India accepted the State government’s assurances. The Governor is similarly giving me [Rao] a similar assurance by way of his appraisal (which he refers to as ‘categorical advice’). So there is nothing to show that the State government did not intend what it assured. If it turned out otherwise how can I be blamed?”
That argument has been accepted lock, stock and barrel by Justice Liberhan. The extremely discerning approach he has adopted with the State government’s complicity is abandoned for a contrary approach. And take a close look at the Governor’s report. It is banal and hardly a differentiated analysis. Therefore to base everything on that is nothing short of a travesty. And this Governor’s report is dated December 1. Both before and especially after this, the information available with the Central government is, to say the least, not as uncritical as this. All this information was available with the commission.
You have said that the indictment of Vajpayee is not legally tenable.
That indictment revolts not only my legal understanding but sense of ethics too. The commission had passed a detailed order on July 22, 2003, rejecting an application to summon Vajpayee on the grounds that there was no evidence on record against him. At that time, the controversial speech made by Vajpayee on December 5 in Lucknow suggesting demolition of the Babri Masjid had not come to the commission’s notice. Even when the story about a CD containing that speech was published, it was not taken notice of by the commission. The right thing to do was to have summoned Vajpayee even at that time. Without doing that, how can the commission arrive at such a finding?


The farce of commissions of enquiry

Mohammed Yahya Ansari
The Nanavati Commission on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Srikrishna Commission of enquiries into the anti-Muslim Bombay riots of 1992-93, the M.S. Liberhan Commission, which probed the demolition of Babri masjid in Ayodhya, and many others set up during the last three decades, have been a monumental exercise in obfuscation to pull the wool over the eyes of the gullible people. Setting up of commissions of enquiry is the legacy bequeathed by our colonial masters. We have adopted and perfected it as an art.
People indicted by the Nanavati Commission roam free. The findings of the Srikrishna Commission have been nipped in the bud through criminal conspiracies of silence on the part of all political parties cutting across the spectrum.
Justice M.S.Liberhan has not covered himself with glory by dragging the enquiry for 17 long years with 48 extensions causing the exchequer a cool Rs. 8 crore of taxpayers’ hard earned money. What he has produced after mountainous labour is the proverbial mouse. Many holes can easily be punched in the report. It has hilarious howlers. It does not get the date of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination right — January, 31, the report says. Moreover, it mentions the name of the former President as A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Azad. Perhaps, the report needed the services of a good editor.
The Liberhan Commission’s “clean chit” to P.V. Narasimha Rao, who was Prime Minister at that time, is bizarre and defies logical comprehension. Rao proved to be a poor caricature of Nero who fiddled while Rome burnt. He had all the awesome might and the wherewithal of a modern, thoroughly professional and apolitical army and intelligence services at his beck and call. He was certainly not hamstrung by the legal nicety of a Governor’s report to act, because all rules can easily be set aside by the Centre if need be, in times of emergency and national crisis to secure and safeguard communal harmony, and the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. He did nothing.
He is a wilful accomplice in the destardly and horrendous act of demolition of the Babri Masjid by the RSS, VHP, the Bajrang Dal, the Shiv Sena and other Hindutva forces. Rao is equally a culprit and responsible for the Muslims’ scarred and wounded psyche.
The omission of Rao from the Congress pantheon of late is an indication of the high command’s perception of him as more of a liability than an asset. He effected singlehandedly a seismic, tectonic shift in the fortune of Congress by forfeiting en bloc Muslim support. He very efficiently drew the last nails into the coffin of the Grand Old Party of India and besmirched its secular credentials. He knocked down the Congress USP of good governance in a jiffy.
The Congress did not need at all an external enemy to run it down when it harboured leaders a la Rao and his ilk. His life’s crowning glory was his assuming the avtar of a modern day Machiavelli and surviving his full term for five years through dubious means. So, his exoneration by Justice Liberhan is indeed amusing and scary.
The Liberhan Commission did not think it fit in its wisdom to summon Atal Behari Vajpayee to depose before it. Yet, it held him equally guilty as L.K. Advani. Though Vajpayee might have empathised with the Ram Mandir movement, he was not on the scene when the mosque was razed. He should have been given a chance to be heard his part of the story and thus ought to have been given the benefit of the doubt to prove his culpability or innocence. No doubt, he delivered a provocative and vituperative speech to kar sevaks in Lucknow, a day before the apocalypse. It was no quirk of fate that Vajpayee was the greatest beneficiary of the temple movement as he became the first non-Congress Prime Minister for six years under the NDA regime.
Does UPA-2 have the gumption to implement the findings of the Liberhan Commission in toto? The common man’s hunch is that it will funk and the findings will be given an unceremonious burial with no crocodile tears shed. This is a painful and pitiable saga of most of the commissions of enquiry. In the final analysis, the whole exercise, to quote William Shakespeare, is akin to “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signify nothing.”

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Case Against Teesta Setalvad- Lunawada Mass Grave

This is one in a series of blogs to put the facts in one place about various charges levelled against Teesta Setalvad -

1. Spicing up the riot cases

2. Lunawada mass graves

3. Madhu Trehan's attack
Also see Coverage of English media of Mumbai violence simplistically

4. Funding

The case of Kausar Bano

6. Memorial of Resistance 

7. Tavleen Singh

8. Rais Khan

CBI wants tests at DNA centre 
Author: Correspondent 
Date: 05/01/2006
Source: Asian Age 


CBI wants tests at DNA centre
- By Our Correspondent
Ahmedabad/Baroda, Jan. 4: Teams of CBI and All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, visited the burial site at Lunawada on Wednesday and collected samples of the skeletal remains. The teams were also accompanied by Gujarat FSL officials, local police authorities and local administration.
The CBI team visited the site on Wednesday and collected samples for the forensic test that will help in the identification of the deceased. However, relatives of the victims and mediapersons were kept away from the site.
Earlier, social activist Rais Khan and others, who had dug up the graves, left Lunawada after a police complaint was filed against them for illegally exhuming the bodies.
Meanwhile, some family members of the victims refused to give their blood samples to the investigating team. They demanded that the eight Pandarwada residents against whom the illegal exhumation case has been filed be allowed to be present at Lunawada without any police harassment.
Meanwhile, the CBI on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the Gujarat high court seeking that the DNA tests on bone samples collected from the mass grave at Lunawada be sent to the Hyderabad-based Centre for DNA, Fingerprinting and Diagnostic instead of the Red Hill FSL Laboratory.
It should be noted that the Gujarat high court, in an interim order, had earlier directed that the bone samples be sent to the Hyderabad-based Red Hill Laboratory while handing over the investigation of the discovery of mass grave of Pandarwada riot victims to the CBI. 

Case against 11 for mass grave digging
Author: PTI 
Date: 02/01/2006
Source: Mid-Day 


Case against 11 for mass grave digging
January 2, 2006
Ahmedabad: A case was filed today against 11 persons, including a field officer of an NGO who is working for the riot-affected victims, on charges of illegally digging up the mass grave near Lunavda in Panchmahal district of Gujarat, police sources said.
The accused, including the field coordinator of NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, Rais Khan, have been charged with conspiracy and destruction of evidence by digging up the grave without official permission near Panam river on December 27.
Villagers from Pandharwada and Lunavada were also among the co-accused for participating in the matter.
The complaint was filed by Subhash Jain, sanitary inspector of Lunavada, sources said. 

Gujarat: FIR against 11 for digging mass grave
Author: Reporter 
Date: 03/01/2006
Source: Rediff on the net 


Gujarat: FIR against 11 for digging mass grave

January 02, 2006 13:15 IST

A case was filed on Monday against 11 persons, including a field officer of a Non Government Organisation which is working for the riot-affected victims, on charges of illegally digging up the mass grave near Lunavda in Panchmahal district of Gujarat, police sources said.
The accused, including the field cordinator of NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace, Rais Khan, have been charged with conspiracy and destruction of evidence by digging up the grave without official permission near Panam river on December 27.
Villagers from Pandharwada and Lunavada were also among the co-accused for participating in the matter.
Subhash Jain, sanitary inspector of Lunavada, filed the complaint, sources said.


Mass Graves at Lunawada

Burying the truth

As matters relating to the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat reach a critical juncture, Modi’s government tries to frame Teesta Setalvad in the Pandharwada massacre and other carnage cases in a bid to save its own skin

For over six months now the Gujarat state administration and the police machinery under Chief Minister Narendra Modi have been running a malicious and motivated campaign against Teesta Setalvad (secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace, and co-editor, Communalism Combat), against lawyers engaged by CJP and against other human rights activists fighting for justice for the victims and survivors of the genocidal killings in Gujarat in 2002.

The objective is clear: to derail the ongoing justice process in the Supreme Court – where Modi’s own fate hangs in the balance – and the fast track courts in Gujarat – where nearly 350 accused, including many senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, face the prospect of conviction and long years in prison. If the objective is clear, the method too is apparent: malign and discredit activists and lawyers fighting for justice, embroil them in cooked up charges and constrain their personal liberties through illegal arrests.

The attack on Teesta Setalvad in particular has been three-pronged: a widespread and malicious disinformation campaign against her, slapping false charges on her and the threat of impending arrest, all aimed at distracting her, as secretary of CJP, from the relentless pursuit of justice since 2002. In making her the main target the aim is also to intimidate and frighten hundreds of eyewitnesses in the major carnage cases being tried in eight fast track courts as directed by the Supreme Court of India.

The timing of these attacks is significant. The three-judge bench of the apex court hearing the Zakiya Jaffri/ CJP petition is clearly dissatisfied with the fact that though the Special Investigation Team (SIT) report had seriously indicted Modi and his lieutenants for their role in the 2002 Gujarat genocide, it claimed there was not enough evidence to register criminal offences, charge-sheet the chief minister and other perpetrators and haul them into court. On May 5, the Supreme Court issued orders asking amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran to carry out an independent scrutiny and report back to the court before July 28.

That the court was unhappy with the functioning of the SIT, its own creation, was evident from news reports on the court proceedings the next day. ‘SC snubs SIT, calls in amicus’ read the headline on page one of The Indian Express while the opening paragraph of the report read: “In an unprecedented stance since the Supreme Court started monitoring the Gujarat riots cases, the apex court on Thursday [May 5] sidestepped its own Special Investigation Team (SIT) to directly ask amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran to ‘independently’ consider whether there is evidence against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in the Gulberg Society massacre case.”

‘Go beyond SIT report on Jaffri case, court tells amicus curiae’ was the headline in The Hindu while the report said: “The Supreme Court on Thursday empowered the amicus curiae in the Zakiya Jaffri case to go beyond the report submitted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) [on the complaint of Ms Jaffri, alleging that the Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi, and 61 others had orchestrated the 2002 riots]… A three-judge bench of Justices DK Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam asked the amicus, Raju Ramachandran, to analyse and examine the SIT’s report and give his comments in the light of the statements of the witnesses filed along with the report. The bench, in its order, said: ‘If the amicus curiae, on the basis of evidence on record, finds that any offence is made out against any person, he shall mention the same in the report… The copies of the report, along with the comments of the [SIT] chairman, [shall] be given to the amicus curiae who shall analyse them in the light of evidence, statements of witnesses, and have his independent assessment of the entire evidence which has come on record’.” The amicus curiae was also given full authority to speak to any person if he thought it necessary to do so.

All this can hardly be good news for Modi. At the heart of the sustained and malicious campaign is the cynical and calculated intention of the Gujarat state to derail the course of justice being monitored by the apex court and ensure the acquittal of the accused, which includes Modi himself, senior politicians and functionaries of the BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal as well as top police officers and civil servants.

It may be recalled that the appointment of the SIT by the apex court was the result of a complaint and tireless legal battle waged by Zakiya Ahsan Jaffri and Setalvad of CJP before the Supreme Court. It is no surprise then that a government that has acted vindictively and maliciously against serving and retired IPS and IAS officers who have stood by the Indian Constitution is training its guns on activist Setalvad.

The charges levelled in the criminal complaint against Modi and others are very serious indeed. Despite all the efforts of the Gujarat government and its political mentors and allies to subvert the course of public justice, preliminary investigations by the SIT have revealed details of high-level involvement, of the chief minister and his chosen others, in a series of criminal and unconstitutional actions that engineered the massacre of 2,500 Muslims in the wake of the Godhra incident. No less serious are the SIT’s findings on the subsequent manipulation of evidence, subversion of witnesses and so on.

The allegations against Modi and the government of Gujarat – issuing criminal instructions to police officers and the illegal stationing of ministers in the state and city police control rooms thereafter – are substantiated by the macabre violence, killings, rapes and burnings unleashed on minorities in 19 districts of the state. These allegations and the current investigation are unprecedented in the history of independent India. The illegal handing over of the bodies of victims of the Godhra mass arson to a functionary of a rabid right-wing outfit – the VHP – not to an official of the administration or the police, and the inflammatory media coverage of the Godhra incident by leading Gujarati newspapers, further points to how premeditated the conspiracy actually was. The VHP leader who was given charge of the dead bodies in Godhra on February 27, 2002 is among those accused of instigating mass murder in Naroda Gaon the next day.

On March 15, 2011 the Supreme Court had pulled up the SIT, saying that the evidence it had gathered did not match its inferences. On March 21, 22, 23 and 25, the SIT was compelled to record the statement of yet another serving IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, who, according to reports in the media, has deposed that he was present at a meeting held at the chief minister’s residence on the evening of February 27, 2002 when the latter clearly directed police officers to allow Hindus to “vent their anger” against Muslims. Finally, on May 5, 2011 the apex court directed the amicus curiae to arrive at an independent assessment, without consulting the SIT, of whether or not a criminal offence can be made out.

The other equally relevant point is that the patently false allegations against Setalvad of tutoring witnesses are being orchestrated at a time when crucial trials are nearing completion in the fast track courts in Gujarat. What is at stake is the conviction of over 350 accused in the eight major trials (Gulberg, Sardarpura, Odh – two separate trials, Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gaon, Deepda Darwaza and the British national case) that are underway, some of them nearing completion. Included among the accused in the ongoing trials are top politicians, leaders of the BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal, senior police officers and civil servants. Despite the threat of intimidation and repression, eyewitnesses and survivors have deposed without fear in Gujarat courts, facing a hostile police and court atmosphere but standing by the affidavits they had filed, through CJP, in the Supreme Court of India.

It is these developments in the Supreme Court and the fast track trial courts in Gujarat that explain the frantic efforts of the Gujarat government under Modi to somehow detract from the incriminating evidence piling up against the perpetrators. This is sought to be achieved by somehow implicating on false charges the person who has been at the forefront of the struggle for justice in Gujarat: Teesta Setalvad. And in this desperate gamble the perpetrators have found a willing ally in the Ahmedabad-based Rais Khan, a former employee of CJP who was asked to leave the organisation in January 2008 after financial irregularities were suspected and survivor witnesses supported by CJP complained against his questionable conduct.

Ironically, the baseless allegations being levelled today are similar in substance to the tactics previously adopted by an unrepentant Gujarat government against Setalvad and other human rights activists since the genocidal carnage of 2002. Absent is any concern for the lives lost or any shame in the continuing subversion or perversion of the justice process. While the individuals making the accusations have changed, the charges have remained the same. Since September 2010, the principal agent for dissemination of this malicious propaganda has been Rais Khan. And the accusations made by him, more than two years after he was asked to leave CJP, have been widely publicised by The Pioneer, edited by Chandan Mitra, a BJP MP, and other mouthpieces of the sangh parivar.

Here in brief are the four alleged offences in which Setalvad is sought to be falsely implicated:

Ř Rais Khan has accused Setalvad of hacking his email account.

Ř Rais Khan has accused Setalvad of tutoring witnesses in the Naroda Gaon case, one of the eight major carnage cases being tried in a fast track court in Gujarat.

Ř At the instance of Rais Khan, Setalvad was first named in the FIR (first information report) and, more recently, charged by the Gujarat police as an “absconding accused” in the Pandharwada mass graves case.

Ř Five years ago a Mumbai fast track court delivered its judgement in the Best Bakery case wherein most of the accused – earlier acquitted by a lower court in Vadodara whose ruling was upheld by the Gujarat high court – were found guilty and given severe punishments. Now, more than 60 months later, Yasmin Shaikh, sister-in-law of Zahira Shaikh, has claimed before the Bombay high court that she was forced by Setalvad to lie before the Mumbai trial court. It may be recalled that following accusations against her by Zahira Shaikh in 2004, Setalvad had herself approached the Supreme Court urging a full inquiry into the charges whereupon a team headed by the registrar of the apex court was appointed by the court to investigate the charges. The investigation concluded that the charges against Setalvad were totally baseless and false. Zahira Shaikh served a one-year prison sentence for lying in the court during the retrial proceedings in Mumbai. Now, by filing an affidavit before the Bombay high court and making accusations against Setalvad, Yasmin Shaikh is by implication also pointing fingers at Judge Abhay Thipsay in whose court the retrial of the Best Bakery case was conducted.

But the most serious allegation against Setalvad to date has to do with her being falsely implicated in the Pandharwada mass graves case. This is a five-year-old case that was recently pulled out of cold storage when suddenly, and inexplicably, Setalvad was not only named in an FIR but also charged as an “absconding accused”. The Lunawada police summoned her to be present at the police station on May 31 and her arrest appeared to be the obvious motive. Setalvad moved the Gujarat high court in the matter and on May 27 the court ruled that naming her as an absconding accused was “illegal and mala fide”. The police were however permitted to make corrections and prepare a fresh charge sheet in the case. Setalvad now proposes to appeal to the Supreme Court, hoping to quash the FIR itself.

The facts of the Pandharwada case, as detailed in the petition filed by Setalvad in the Gujarat high court on May 17, 2011, are a telling account of the blatantly communal, shameful and inhumane character of the Gujarat police and state administration:

Ř March 1, 2002: The Khanpur police station records the commission of the crime (the massacre of over 40 persons in two separate incidents at Pandharwada in Panchmahal district).

Ř March 2, 2002: Some of the injured eyewitnesses are shifted to the Cottage Hospital, Lunawada, in a government van. All those who were killed, including the kin of the injured eyewitnesses, are brought to the Cottage Hospital, Lunawada, as well. Post-mortem reports on the dead are also prepared on the same day and they are subsequently buried on the ground that nobody had come forward to claim the bodies and therefore the dead bodies were not handed over to their kin.

No panchnama (written and attested record) of this ‘burial’ is prepared. Moreover, despite the fact that there were three graveyards in Lunawada, the dead bodies are ‘buried’ in forest land near the Paanam river on the outskirts of the town. The bodies of the victims of both offences – CR No. I-11/2002 and CR No. I-13/2002 – were buried separately in the same area.

Ř March 3, 2002: A local newspaper, Gujarat Today, reports that four persons, including Jakir Deshot, were killed by rioters on March 1 and that their bodies had been buried in the nearby jungle. The report also states that the guardians of these four persons had pleaded with the district collector to hand them the bodies but their requests went unheeded. (Ultimately, after the DNA from Jakir Deshot’s remains was found to match that of his kin, his remains were handed over to his parents and then buried according to religious custom on August 27, 2010.)

Ř October 8, 2002: In response to an application by close relatives, the bodies of eight of those killed are handed over to them.

Ř October 29, 2002: The two separate incidents of killing are tried in a sessions court and all of the accused in both incidents are acquitted.

Ř September 22, 2004: An application for further investigation into the case is granted by the police.

Ř February 1, 2005: Some of the relatives of those killed file affidavits with the police asking that the dead bodies of their kin be handed over to them. This clearly shows that 11 months before the dead bodies had been dug up, the victim survivors had placed on record that the bodies had yet to be handed over to them by the police.

Ř December 27, 2005: On receiving information from victims’ relatives, Rais Khan goes to Lunawada where it was found that several dead bodies were buried after the commission of the offence on March 1, 2002. A ‘Janva Jog’ entry is registered by the police and the statements of Rais Khan and Gulam Gani are recorded.

Ř December 27, 2005: The additional director general of police, Gujarat, writes to the inspector-general of police, Vadodara range, and the superintendent of police, Dahod, asking them to keep the aggrieved parties informed of the recovery and attachment of bones and skeletons, etc in order to ensure the impartiality and credibility of the police.

Ř December 28, 2005: A writ petition is filed in the Gujarat high court by a relative of a victim, and CJP, asking for transfer of investigations to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Ř December 29, 2005: The Gujarat high court directs the CBI to collect the human remains that have been recovered and send them to a laboratory in Hyderabad for DNA analysis. The court also orders relatives of the deceased to cooperate in the DNA testing process by giving blood, etc.

Ř January 2, 2006: With a view to preventing them from cooperating with the CBI in giving blood samples, etc for the DNA tests, the Lunawada police register an FIR against the relatives of the deceased, charging them with illegal digging of the bodies. The time at which the FIR was filed, 1:30 a.m., indicates that it was filed with deliberate intent to pre-empt the efforts of victim survivors in getting justice. It is only after assurances are given by the CBI officers that the relatives provide blood samples for DNA matching; the local police were asked not to arrest the accused named in the FIR.

Ř April 18, 2006: After the accused were arrested and released on regular bail as was required under the conditions of the anticipatory bail order, the police applied for remand of the victim survivors and because the victim survivors could not be present on the required date, the local court issues non-bailable warrants against them.

Ř December 8, 2006: The Gujarat high court orders a stay on proceedings in the case in response to a petition filed by the victim survivors.

Ř August 27, 2010: The remains of eight persons, whose DNA was found to match that of their relatives, are handed over to their kin.

Ř November 24, 2010: The accused victim survivors who are the petitioners in the matter, Special Criminal Application No. 408/2006, withdraw the petition, as it had become infructuous without adjudication on the merits.

Ř December 14, 2010: Rais Khan and other co-accused surrender themselves to the police and make a statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The timing of this incident is significant, as this happens around the time Rais Khan is making allegations against Setalvad with regard to the Naroda Gaon and Sardarpura matters and receiving wide coverage from a section of the media led by The Pioneer.

Ř December 21, 2010: Rais Khan and the co-accused are granted regular bail by the magistrate, Lunawada. Khan makes public his desire to see Setalvad arrested. This reveals the impunity that he enjoys within Gujarat.

Ř February 15, 2011: Setalvad is granted anticipatory bail by the additional sessions judge, Panchmahal.

Ř March 18, 2011: The investigating officer issues summons under Section 160 of the CrPC, asking Setalvad to be present at the Lunawada police station on March 25. Setalvad replies, requesting the investigating officer to consider the provision of Section 160 of the CrPC which specifies that being a woman, her statement as a witness was required to be recorded at her residence, in Mumbai. Mysteriously, the investigating officer is suddenly transferred.

Ř April 3, 2011: In the same charge sheet filed against all the accused who were earlier arrested and then released on bail, strangely, Setalvad is mentioned as an “absconder”.

Ř April 28, 2011: Setalvad again receives summons from the investigating officer asking her to be present at the Lunawada police station. She replies.

Ř May 9, 2011: Setalvad receives another summons asking her to be present at the police station on May 31, with no correction having been made in the charge sheet.

It was this attitude of the Lunawada police that forced Setalvad to file a petition in the Gujarat high court. The petition pointed out that as a human rights activist, she and her organisation had every right to provide legal aid to the poor victim survivors of Pandharwada. Pointing to the devious intent of the police, she underlined that they had initially opposed her application for anticipatory bail which was however granted by the additional sessions judge, Panchmahal. The police then issued a witness summons to her and in less than two weeks’ time she was inexplicably turned from a “witness” into an “absconding accused”. From all this it was evident that the police were engaging in blatant abuse of the law in a brazen attempt to illegally detain or arrest her.

As already mentioned above, through its order of May 27, the Gujarat high court quashed the charge sheet that had named Setalvad as an “absconding accused”. Setalvad is now planning to move the Supreme Court, seeking to quash the FIR itself.

The state has persistently maintained that the mass burial was not an illegal dumping. It further claims that it had followed proper procedure in carrying out the mass burial in forest land by the Paanam river. But thepanchnama of the original crime does not list the skeletal remains. So legally speaking, this disproves the version proffered by the Gujarat state and its police. Victim survivors and rights activists have pointed out that Lunawada has a large kabristan (graveyard) spread over more than 100 acres of land. Hence, even assuming that the Gujarat police could not trace relatives, why did they need to so callously dump the victims’ remains in riverside land instead of giving them a dignified burial in the kabristan? Why dump them in an obscure spot outside Lunawada town rather than handing them over to community leaders for a dignified burial?

The worst aspect of the belated attempt to falsely implicate Setalvad is that it hides the inhumanity that compounds the criminality of the Gujarat police. Having waited for years, relatives of the deceased – thanks to their own efforts and the order of the Gujarat high court – were at last able to establish the identity of their dead relatives in 2005-2006.

But it was only after a Supreme Court order in February 2008 and a subsequent order of the trial court in December 2008 that a proper burial was finally conducted in August 2010 i.e. eight years after the brutal massacre.

Given the seriousness of the charges against the Gujarat state and its functionaries, these brazen attempts at intimidation and threat need to be seen for what they are. There is no guarantee that more false cases will not be cooked up by a vindictive state government in the coming days and weeks. After Tehelka scooped the SIT report indicting Modi (‘Here’s the smoking gun. So how come the SIT is looking the other way?’, February 12, 2011), IPS officer Rahul Sharma was served with a show-cause notice for placing crucial telephone records before the Nanavati-Shah Commission and the SIT. Clearly, the Gujarat government is worried that offences could be registered against its chief functionaries for not only aiding a massacre in 2002 but thereafter destroying evidence and subverting the course of justice by doing all they can to intimidate victim survivors and human rights groups who have stood by them.

The malicious campaign against Setalvad was initially launched in May 2009 by the Gujarat government’s counsel in the Supreme Court. Now, in Rais Khan, they have found a convenient ally. As stated at the beginning of this report, the objective of this campaign is plain and simple: to derail the trials, subvert the course of justice and thus escape conviction.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Spread terror, get ticket
Lunawada (Panchmahal), Dec. 8: Kalubhai Maliwad is no ordinary BJP candidate contesting from Lunawada. His USP is that he has spent seven months behind bars.
He is to Lunawada what former Bajrang Dal leader Haresh Bhatt is to Godhra: a symbol of Hindu militancy, a self-proclaimed saviour of the Hindu community. That’s his claim to fame and that’s why he has been given a ticket.
Accused of leading a frenzied mob that burnt alive 45 Muslims in Limdia Chowki, 49-year-old Maliwad has no qualms projecting himself as the man who can save Hindus from “Islamic militants”. Pictures of him alongside the burning Sabarmati Express are everywhere in this Patel and Brahmin-dominated Assembly constituency where Muslims were targeted during the post-Godhra riots.
After the train carnage in February, Godhra town had been “incident free” but rural Lunawada, Kalol and Halol had burnt. Maliwad, the BJP’s Lunawada taluka president, was jailed along with seven others for rioting and murder. He was acquitted only two months ago by a local court.
Godhra-based advocate Yusuf Charkha says the way the case was handled there was no way Maliwad would not be acquitted. Witnesses were not examined at all, he alleges.
However, for the BJP, Maliwad’s acquittal is proof of his innocence. “If he was guilty, the court would not have acquitted him,” says Vasudevbhai Mahendru, the BJP’s Panchmahal district president.
Local BJP leader Murli Mulchandani says the charges against Maliwad were “politically motivated”. Those who claim to have seen him leading the killer mob were Congressmen, he alleges.
But Sirajuddin Dandi, a minority leader, says no one believes Maliwad is innocent. “He was given a ticket for what he did. This man was actually rewarded for his act whereas Bhupendra Solanki, former BJP MP who was promised the Godhra ticket, was denied because he was considered too soft on Muslims,” he says.
Maliwad’s reputation as a “terror” may come in handy for the BJP. It could stop people from voting in a constituency where sitting Congress MLA Surpalsinh Solanki has a strong caste base and enjoys goodwill among the Muslims.
Says Iqbal Surti, a resident of Lunawada: “Muslims of Pandarwada (Maliwad hails from the village) apprehend trouble on December 12 and that may deter them from going to polling booths. Every Muslim house in the village was burnt the day after the Godhra incident. It was in this village that 27 people were killed. But if arrangements are made, they will be able to vote.”

Lunawada Mass Graves I


Respondent (s)
Appearance :
Mr. MM TIRMIZI for Applicant (s) : 1 – 2Mr. Kamal Trivedi, Addl. AG with Mr. AY Kogje, Addl. PUBLIC PROSECUTOR for Respondent (s) : 1, None for Respondent (s) 2.
Date : 29/12/2005


1. Heard ld. Counsel Mr. MM Tirmizi for the petitioners, 1d. Addl. AG Mr. Kamal Trivedi assisted by ld. APP Mr. AY Kogje for the respondent No. 1 State.
2. The present petition is filed for appropriate writ, order or directions seeking following main reliefs :-
“ (A) Your Lordship be pleased to issue appropriate writ, order or direction and be pleased to call for The records and proceedings of the offence registered as CR No. I.11 of 2002 with Khanpur Police Station, Lunavada and after perusing the same be pleased to transfer the investigation to the respondent No. 2 i.e. the Central Bureau of Investigation, in the interest of justice.(B) Your Lordships be pleased to order that pending admissions and or final disposal of this petition, the investigation of the offence registered as transfer the investigation of the offence registered as CR No. I.11 of 2002 with Khanpur Police Station, Lunavada to the CBI in the interest of justice;(C) Your Lordships be pleased to order that the unearthed remains of the deceased be sealed in the presence of the relatives treating them as panch witnesses and be sent forthwith for DNA Testing to Red Hill Hyderabad, the premier forensic laboratory in the country;(D) Your Lordships be pleased to direct that an FIR be registered with the relatives of the deceased as complainants about the unearthing of the remains yesterday;(E) Your Lordships be pleased to direct that the intimidation of witnesses and possible of tampering of evidence by the Gujarat Police that appears to have been party to the shady disposal of these bodies be immediately stopped ”
3. After some deliberations and detailed submissions that are made before the court by 1d. Counselappearing for the parties, by way of an interim arrangement, some orders are required to be passed becausesome digged out bodies at present must be lying somewhere in a probably bad and decomposed shape and condition. Close relatives of the deceased must be under a particular state of mind and anxiety. Ld. Addl. Advocate General Mr. Trivedi has tried to convince the Court and submitted that each body was disposed of either by relatives of the deceased or by the municipal authority on completion of necessary formalities and the same have been disposed of in accordance with law and norms that are required to be followed while disposing of the body when none of the relatives of such deadbody had claimed the body for disposal. Even then, to rule out the doubt in the minds of the petitioners and anybody interested in the ultimate out-come and the attempts that have been made by the present petitioners, the State is ready even to send sample of the remnance of each body for analysis and DNA testing to Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad, though the State has premier and reputed laboratory herein in Gandhinagar. The State has acted transparently in entire event. He has taken this Court through the details of different crimes being CR.No. I.11/2002 and CR.No. 1.13/2002.
4. Ld. Counsel Mr. Tirmizi for the petitioners has also given details of deadbodies found when the crime was actually under investigation and bodies were disposed of on completion of formalities as aforesaid. The anxiety of the State is that entire exercise can be undertaken though Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad under the supervision and control of the Highest Officer of the State of the rank of Addl. D.G. of State CID Crimes or it can be done under the supervision and control of the Commissioner appointed by the Court and Laboratory can be directed to send the findings recorded to the Registrar General of the High Court directly, but there is no need to entrust anything at this stage to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI for short) because the entry of a third agency in the event may lead to lot of frustration to the officers who have performed their statutory duties earlier and the same shall have effect of demoralization on the strength and morale of the police officers.5. Without entering into the detailed discussions, the Court is of the view that such a task should not be handed over to the Court Commissioner. If the say of the State is accepted and finding recorded by Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad corroborates the stand taken by the State of Gujarat, then State government and its officers who had performed their duties including the local-self government, doctors who have performed post-mortem etc. would touch the point of the highest transparency, but if things, for the sake of arguments are found otherwise, then the Court has scope to pass appropriate further orders in the interest of justice. In this fact situation, ultimately the CBI is asked to undertake that task, that would not prejudice in any way either the State administration or the morale of the police because at present by way of interim arrangement, they have to perform the duties as intervener because in their presence, remnance of each body taken out shall be taken, sealed and sent to Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad. Ld. Counsel Mr. Tirmizi appearing for the petitioners states that all the close relatives who can have DNA testing of the deceased are ready to co-operate with investigation and for blood samples or sample of any part of their body at the instance of CBI which can be gathered by the doctors or responsible officer of the State and can be sent for analysis to Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad. The finding in turn will throw light directly or indirectly on the allegations made by the petitioners in the present petition. It may unveil the attempt if is made by anybody to tarnish the image of police or administration. It is true that CBI can be said to be a third agency, but ultimately, it is yet to be traced out whether the bodies that have been found out are of the persons who were named deceased in earlier incidents and disposed of in accordance with norms and scheme under the Municipalities Act and other norms that are being adopted by the State. But if it is found that deadbodies or any one of such deadbodies is not accounted for in connection with any of two earlier incidents, then it may lead to new case and, therefore, the scope to investigate the crime de-novo qua that is there. I am told that relatives of the persons who are declared missing, have been paid compensation, but that by itself would not be sufficient to resolve the situation that has come to light by act of digging out the bodies already buried earlier by the State machinery or municipality concerned. CBI, on receipt of the report from laboratory, after approaching this Court can positively take appropriate further steps, if required.
6. Nobody including the officers of police force of State should feel that entry of CBI in such incident or event is either distrust on them or the same should be treated in any way adverse to them, but when transparency is claimed by the persons who had actively participated while disposing of the deadbodies, then the confirmation to such transparency if expected by the petitioners from the Court, then it would obviously be justified.
7. Ld. Addl. AG, after relying on the ratio of the decision of the Apex Court in the case of State of Karnataka v/s Arun Kumar Agarwal & Others, (2000) 1 SCC 210, has submitted that there is no need to entrust any work at this stage to CBI and in the cited decision, the order of High Court was quashed. He has submitted that investigation, as a matter of course, should not be entrusted to CBI and even Supreme Court in number of cases till date, has not transferred investigation or any part thereof to CBI though prayed for. The anxiety of the Court is that deadbodies after drawing sample should be set at rest in peace at the earliest so that close relatives of the deceased can be relieved from mental stress and situation prevailing at present and they may also ultimately get satisfactory answer to the anxiety that they might be carrying today on receipt of report from the Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad. It is true that same testing could be efficiently performed by the Laboratory in State of Gujarat and it is rightly submitted also that even CBI, in number of cases, is taking help of that laboratory which is there in the State of Gujarat. I am strained to say that the petitioners have not expressed their trust and faith in the officers who are carrying on scientific testing in a most primer and scientific laboratory in a transparent manner. But ultimately, it should be seen that justice is done and one should also feel that it is being done. Therefore only, it appears that ld. Addl. AG Mr. Trivedi has rightly accepted on behalf of the State that State has no objection that such testing is carried out by any laboratory out of State of Gujarat, i.e. Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad.
8. In view of above, it is hereby ordered by way of an interim arrangement that in presence of responsible officers of CBI, sample from each deadbody digged out and at present lying out, be taken and sample be sealed and sent to Red Hill Laboratory, Hyderabad for analysis and DNA testing along with the samples drawn in same manner of from the body of the close relatives of the deceased. The report of test, in turn be sent to CBI and copy thereof be sent to this Court. CBI may be assisted actively by the State Police so that the things can take shape smoothly and exercise is completed smoothly. If the State machinery so desires, may give the case papers of exercise that has undertaken by the State machinery to CBI, otherwise details can be scrutinized by this Court while passing further orders in the matter. It will be open for the State or close relatives of the deceased to put and bury the deadbodies either by themselves or they can be buried by State machinery as per the norms adopted by such machinery. While drawing samples from the body of the close relatives, the Officer from State police shall remain present so that identity of the person from whom sample is drawn should not, in any way, be under confused state, order and directions accordingly.
9. Copy of this order can be served to the CBI at its appropriate office i.e. either at Bombay or atDelhi.
10. S.O. to 10.02.2006.
11. At this stage, ld. Addl. AG Mr. Trivedi has requested to stay this order for some time because the State would like to assail the order before the higher forum. Request, in view of the facts and circumstances as aforesaid, is not found acceptable and is hereby rejected.
D.S. Permitted.

(C. K. BUCH, J)


Lunawada Mass Graves II


Ameenaben Habib Rasool & Anr. …Petitioners.
The State of Gujarat & Anr, ...Respondents .

1-3-2002: The petitioner no.1 herein is the witness of the offence registered as CR No. I 11 of 2002 with Khanpur Police Station for the offences registered under sec. 302, 147, 148, 149 etc IPC
wherein it is stated that the accused persons had caused death of innocent persons.The police had not only failed to protect the innocent citizens, but also not investigated the offence sincerely leading to lack of evidence and ultimately acquittal of the accused persons in a mass carnage case for want of evidence. The statements of the witnesses were not recorded as they had actually stated. The dead bodies of the deceased appear not to have been sent for the post mortem and disposed of. 27-12-2005: The local people, who had been in touch with petitioner no.2, informed the petitioner no. 2 and other people and therefore the petitioner no. 2 sent its co-ordinator to Lunavada and it was found that several dead bodies were buried after the commission of the offence on 1st March, 2002. The non removal of the clothes of the deceased itself suggests that the dead bodies were buried without the postmortem being conducted properly. Normally after post mortem, bodies are kept in white shrouds; here the clothes of the victims who had been massacred were found intact. Moreover, the original FIR recorded by the local police shows death of only 8 persons whereas in fact those dead were atleast 26. Family members and human rights groups including petitioner no 2 who documented the tragedy have averred that those dead in this massacre at Pandharwada totaled 43 The dead body of not a single deceased was given to the petitioners or any of the relative of the deceased. Thus, the petitioners have been deprived of free and fair investigation and for non corroboration of the injuries etc also, the accused persons have got away from the clutches of law. Thus, it appears that no proper postmortem of any of the deceased was performed by the police. The petitioners therefore pray for the sealing of the entire remains unearthed by relatives of the deceased on 27-12-2005, in the presence of the relatives who must be treated as complainants and panch witnesses, the dispatch of the remains for DNA testing to Red Hill, Hyderabad and the handing over the investigation of the above offence to be instituted by the CBI. The petitioners also pray that the sealed remains are sent immediately to the forensic laboratory at Red Hill Laboratory Hyderabad for DNA testing.The petitioners therefore pray for the handing over of the entire investigation of the above offence to the CBI.
Hence this petition.
Ahmedabad. (M.M.TIRMIZI)Date: - 12-2005 Advocate for the petitioners. IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD(DIST: AHMEDBAD)
In the matter of Articles 14, 21, 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India;
In the matter of transfer of the investigation to the C.B.I.
In the matter between;
(1) Ameenabibi Habib Rasool(2) Citizens for Justice and PeaceThrough its Secretary, Ms Teesta Atul Setalvad,Having its office at “Nirant”,Juhu-Tara Road, Juhu,Mumbai. …Petitioners


1. The State of GujaratNotice to be served throughLd. Public Prosecutor,Gujarat High Court,Ahmedabad. 2. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Having its office near Police Bhavan Gandhinagar, Gujarat …Respondents.


MOST RESPECTULLY SHEWETH: -1. The petitioners are the citizens of India and are entitled to invoke the fundamental rights enshrined under various provisions of the Constitution of India. The petitioner no. 1 is the victim of the mass carnage that occurred in the State of Gujarat in the year 2002. The petitioner no. 1 has lost her kith and kin. The petitioner no. 1 is also an eye witness of the offence registered as CR No. I 11 of 2002 with Khanpur police station. The petitioner no.2 is an Association of persons from Gujarat and Mumbai constituted to lead and support the struggle for justice and peace in Gujarat. The petitioner no.2 is a Non-Governmental Organization that has won national and international acclaim for its objective and fearless crusade against the politics of division and hatred, be it of the majority or the minority. The Petitioner no.2 , Non-Governmental Organization works for the cause of Human Rights. The petitioner no. 2 herein has been instrumental in the struggle for justice for the victims and has also assisted in their rehabilitation of the victims including the petitioner no. 1 and several other victims, thus the petitioner no. 2 is personally interested in the welfare of the petitioner no. 1 and other victims. 2. The petitioners state that the petitioners have been subjected to several injustices at the hands of the local police controlled and monitored by the State Of Gujarat. Firstly the police did not come to the rescue of the petitioners and other victims at the time of the offence on 1st March, 2002, secondly the dead bodies were also not returned to the family members of the deceased. The petitioners further state that as per the say of the police at the time of the commission of the offence on 1st March, 2002 the police had sent the dead bodies to the hospital for post mortem and thereafter the dead bodies have been disposed of. However, on 27th December, 2002 when the dead bodies were dug up in the bed of river Paanam, Lunavada, the clothes worn by the deceased had covered the dead bodies of the deceased persons. Thus, if the postmortem were done properly, the doctors would have covered the dead bodies with its own white clothes in accordance with the law. The petitioners state that the police was also required to draw the panchnama of the clothes of the deceased. However, on 27th Dec, 2002 the dead bodies were dug up and to the shock and surprise the deceased were found with same clothes which they had worn on 1st March, 2002. The petitioners state that it is therefore necessary that the investigation of the offence registered as CR No. I 11 of 2002 with Khanpur Police Station is required to be handed over to the CBI so as to repose the faith of the peace loving citizens in the secular fabric of the nation. The petitioners crave leave to annex the copies of the affidavits of relatives of the deceased namely Kutubsha Aiyubsha Diwan, Jabir Kalu Sheikh and Nasir kalu Sheikh as ANNEXURE: “A” to this petition.3. The petitioners say and submit that even after the discovery of the dead remains of their loved ones by the relatives on 27th March, 2005, the highhandedness of the district administration and the police continues. Instead of looking at this as an opportunity to regain the confidence of victims, the district administration and police brass have been detaining both the relatives of the dead and petitioner no 2’s field coordinator for hours at the police station for the mere recording of a statement. The petitioners would pray to ask under what law, Shri Ghulambhai Ghanibhai Kharadi, one of the relatives who lost his real brother and uncle in the massacre at Pandharwada was detained by the following policemen –PSI Puvaar and DYSP Mothalia at Lunawada from 6.30 p.m. on 27th December 2005 to 9.30 a.m. on 28th December 2005? The petitioners would also like to aver that already, even as we move this petition, the state administration is attempting a cover up operation by pulling out unknown persons as panch witnesses when the persons present from yesterday, relatives of the deceased and residents of Pandharwada and Lunawada are being forcibly kept away from the digging of bodies at the site. Even in it’s present conduct the district police and administration of the state of Gujarat is behaving in a high-handed and intimidatory manner, justifying the prayer for the immediate ordering of an independent, CBI Inquiry. Instead of being concerned about how these hapless victims were killed and summarily buried without dignity of last rites and acknowledgement and closure to the next of kin, the state of Gujarat through it’s administration appears keener to indict the relatives looking for their lost ones.4. The brief facts leading to this petition are such that the petitioner no. 1 herein is the eye witness of the offence that took place on 1st March, 2002. The petitioner no. 1 has seen her 24 year old son being slaughtered alongwith several others. The petitioners state that at the time of the morning prayers between 5 and 6 am., Jaswant Patel, the taluka member of the village panchayat came to tell her and others that ‘you are not safe; do not come out; you are in danger because there are rumours that some Muslims have killed two adivasis.” The petitioners further submit that one Sanabhai Jaisinghbhai who was watching this from a scooter ran away to summon the mob towards the petitioner no. 1.5. The petitioners state that soon thereafter, a mob of 5-6,000 with swords and dharias set upon the petitioner no. 1 and other victims. The petitioner no. 1 alongwith several other victims was trembling with fear in the fields and the hay stacks hidden there shivering. The mob comprising of the accused persons came and deliberately set fire to the dry grass. First, Jabbirbhai Ghanibhai, 34 years, ran out frightened pleading for his life. There in front of eyes of the petitioner no. 1 the accused persons slashed him on the head, neck an leg. The attackers had a black scarf on head and mouth. The petitioners further states that in a similar fashion the accused persons then finished off Yasinbhai, Akeelabehn’s husband. There were 10-12 persons after one life. The petitioners state that after killing Yasin, they slaughtered Jabbir Ayub Shah Dewan and thereafter Muradbhai Mehmoodbhai after whom Abbas Nathubhai was finished off. After these gruesome murders, the son of the petitioner no. 1 herein namely Ayubhai Habibhai Rasool, 24 years was killed. Thereafter, Abdulbhai Abbasbhai, the uncle –in –law of the petitioner no. 1 too was slain. The sarpanch and others made the petitioner no. 1 and others pick up the dead bodies –nine of them—and line them to one side in one of the vehicles. The petitioner no. 1 and other witnesses were put in another vehicle. The petitioner no. 1 herein pleaded with the sarpanch to be able to take the body of her son; the sarpanch and the police promised they would bring the dead body of her son to her. The petitioner no. 1 and other witnesses were taken to the Godhra camp; the bodies went to Lunawada and neither the petitioner no. 1 nor other witnesses have ever seen the dead bodies nor their near and dear ones given the dignity of the burial. The petitioners state that in the ghastly attack several persons had lost their lives and the dead bodies were not returned to the near and dear ones. 6. The petitioner no. 2 respectfully states that the petitioner no. 2 learnt in the early morning of 27th December, 2005 that the dead bodies of some of the persons in the Feb-March, 2002 carnage were buried by the accused persons in the bed of the river Paanam, Lunavada. The petitioner no. 2 therefore sent its co-coordinator Raeeskhan Pathan to the ‘scene’ of the offence in the morning to inquire into the incident. The petitioner no. 2 being a non-governmental organization, through its secretary Ms. Teesta A. Setalvad sent an application to the NHRC on 27th December, 2005. The said correspondence is reproduced as under:- December 27, 2005Shri A. S. AnandHon’ble Chairperson,National Human Rights Commission [NHRC]New Delhi.Cc: Shri Ajit Bariogi, Registrar, NHRC
Dear Shri Anand,This is to bring to your notice the discovery of a mass grave at Lunawada Gaon [Panam river bed] in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district by relatives of the deceased today. It is believed that the remains, body bones and skulls, are those of victims who died in the incident CR No 1-9/2002 at Khanpur Police Station. For over one year the relatives have been searching in vain for the remains of their loved ones with no help from the authorities. The massacre in Pandharwada took place on March 1, 2002 wherein over 40 persons were killed and within 6 months of the ghastly incidence the sessions court had acquitted the accused.This makes the relatives who excavated the bodies the complainants and given the situation in Gujarat it is imperative that the NHRC uses all the authority at its command to ensure that the investigation into both the circumstances of these bodies lying undiscovered for so long as well as the extremely unusual circumstances of their being found by relatives be investigated impartially by the CBI. We also urge that the forensic testing of DNA samples be done at Red Hill, Hyderabad, and not within the state of Gujarat.
At present the relatives are standing guard at the site to ensure that the remains are sealed in their presence and they are made panch witnesses in the inquest that follows. Given the circumstances of this case and the trajectory of the justice process in Gujarat we urge the NHRC to take immediate cognizance of the case and ensure that the victims get justice. We would also like to draw your attention to Sections 174 to Section 176 in this regard. We attach the copies of the affidavits filed by the eye witnesses. Yours truly,Teesta SetalvadSecretary
7. The petitioners state that on 27th December, 2005 as some dead bodies have been found surreptitiously buried by the accused persons in the bed of the river Paanam of Lunavada. The dead bodies were unearthed. The police is therefore required to follow the procedure as envisaged under sec. 174 and 176 Cr. P. C. For the sake of convenience of this Hon’ble Court the petitioner craves leave to re-produce the above provisions as under:- 174. Police to enquiry and report on suicide, etc. – (1) When the officer in charge of a police station or some other police officer specially empowered by the State Government in that behalf receives information that a person has committed suicide, or has been killed by another or by an animal or by machinery or by an accident, or has died under circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some other person has committed an offence, he shall immediately give intimation thereof to the nearest Executive Magistrate empowered to hold inquests, and, unless otherwise directed by any rule prescribed by the State Government, or by any general or special order of the District or Sub-divisional Magistrate, shall proceed to the place where the body of such deceased person is, and there, in the presence of two or more respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood, shall make an investigation, and draw up a report of the apparent cause of death, describing such wounds, fractures, bruises, and other marks of injury as may be found on the body, and stating in what manner, or by what weapon or instrument (if any), such marks appear to have been inflicted.(3) The report shall be signed by such police officer and other (4) persons, or by so many of them as concur therein, and shall be forthwith forwarded to the District Magistrate or the Sub-divisional Magistrate.(3) When –(i) the case involves suicide by a woman within seven years of her marriage : or(ii) the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage in any circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some other person committed an offence in relation to such woman : or(iii) the case relates to the death of a woman within seven years of her marriage and any relative of the woman has made a request in this behalf : or(iv) there is any doubt regarding the cause of death : or(v) the police officer for any other reason considers it expedient so to do.he shall,] subject to such rules as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf, forward the body, with a view to its being examined, to the nearest Civil Surgeon, or other qualified medical man appointed in this behalf by the State Government, if the state of the weather and the distance admit of its being so forwarded without risk of such putrefaction on the road as would render such examination useless.(4) The following Magistrates are empowered to hold inquests, namely, any District Magistrate or Sub-divisional Magistrate and any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered in this behalf by the State Government or the District Magistrate. COMMENTS Police submitting final report – Magistrate not accepting final report directing police to obtain sanction for prosecution. – C.B.I. registered corruption cases against the accused persons, but after investigation for paucity of evidence submitted final report to special judge who disagreed with the report and simultaneously directed the police to obtain sanction under section 197, Cr.P.C. held directing police to obtain sanction is improper and Magistrate has no jurisdiction to so order. – State (C.B.I.) v. R.S. Mathur, 1994 Cri LJ 794 (Del). Refusal to exhibit of panchanama – If a document, is admitted and corroborated by other evidence, it has to be given an exhibit numberor it could be considered for a period regardless of its evidentiary value, a panchanama is also always available for court, conviction on that basis is liable to be set aside. –Koli Arshi Lila v. State of Gujarat, 1999 Cri LJ 2595 (Guj). Sanction for prosecution – Consideration for. – For grant of sanction, application of mind to facts and evidence, by Sanctioning Authority is only required and defence of accused cannot be considered at the stage of granting of sanction. – Pancham Lal v. State of U.P. 1999 Cri LJ 4111 (All). 176. Inquiry by Magistrate into cause of death. – (1) [When any person dies while in the custody of the police or when the case is of the nature referred to in clause (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of Section 174], the nearest Magistrate empowered to hold inquests shall, and in any other case mentioned in sub-section (1) of Section 174, any Magistrate so empowered may hold an inquiry into the cause of death either instead of, or in addition to, the investigation held by the police officer : and if he does so, he shall have all the powers in conducting it which he would have in holding and inquiry into an offence.(2) The Magistrate holding such an inquiry shall record the evidence taken by him in connection therewith in any manner hereinafter prescribed according to the circumstances of the case.(3) Wherever such Magistrate considers it expedient to make an examination of the dead body of any person who has been already interred, in order to discover the cause of his death, the Magistrate may cause the body to be disinterred and examined.(4) Where an inquiry is to be held under this section, the Magistrate shall, wherever practicable, inform the relatives of the deceased whose names and addresses are known, and shall allow them to remain present at the inquiry.Explanation. – In this section the expression “relative” means parents children, brothers, sisters and spouse. 8. The petitioners state that the petitioners have been subjected to several injustices at the hands of the local police controlled and monitored by the State Of Gujarat. Firstly the police did not come to the rescue of the petitioners and other victims at the time of the offence on 1st March, 2002, secondly the dead bodies were also not returned to the family members of the deceased. The petitioners further state that as per the say of the police at the time of the commission of the offence on 1st March, 2002 the police had sent the dead bodies to the hospital for post mortem and thereafter the dead bodies have been disposed of. However, on 27th December, 2002 when the dead bodies were dug up in the bed of river Paanam, Lunavada, the clothes worn by the deceased had covered the dead bodies of the deceased persons. Thus, if the postmortem were done, the doctors would have covered the dead bodies with its own white clothes in accordance with the law. The petitioners state that the police was also required to draw the panchnama of the clothes of the deceased. However, on 27th Dec, 2002 the dead bodies were dug up and to the shock and surprise the deceased were found with same clothes which they had worn on 1st March, 2002. The petitioners state that it is therefore necessary that the investigation of the offence registered as CR No. I 11 of 2002 with Khanpur Police Station is required to be handed over to the CBI so as to repose the faith of the peace loving citizens in the secular fabric of the nation. 9. The petitioners have not filed any petition before this Hon’ble Court or before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India; and that the petitioners have no other efficacious remedy except by filing this writ petition before this Hon’ble Court. 10. The petitioners therefore humble pray that this HON'BLE COURT BE PLEASED: - (A) YOUR LORDSHIPS be pleased to issue appropriate writ, order or direction and be pleased to call for the records and proceedings of the offence registered as CR No. I 11 of 2002 with Khanpur Police Station, Lunavada and after perusing the same be pleased to transfer the investigation to the respondent no. 2, i.e, the Central Bureau Of Investigation the interest of the justice;(B) YOUR LORDSHIPS be pleased to order that pending admissions and or final disposal of this petition, the investigation of the offence registered as transfer the investigation of the offence registered as CR No. I 11 of 2002 with Khanpur Police Station, Lunavada to the CBI in the interest of justice; (C) YOUR LORDSHIPS be pleased to order that the unearthed remains of the deceased be sealed in the presence of the relatives –treating them as panch witnesses and be sent forthwith for DNA testing to Red Hill Hyderabad, the premier forensic laboratory in the country;(D) YOUR LORDSHIPS be pleased to direct that an FIR be registered with the relatives of the deceased as complainants about the unearthing of the remains yesterday(E) YOUR LORDSHIPS be pleased to direct that the intimidation of witnesses and possible of tampering of evidence by the Gujarat police that appears to have been party to the shady disposals of these bodies be immediately stoped;(F) YOUR LORDSHIPS be pleased to grant any other and further relief as may be deemed fit the facts and circumstances of the case.


A F F I D A V I T     I, Teesta Atul Setalvad, the petitioner no. 2 herein, Aged: 43 years approx, residing at Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai 400049, do hereby solemnly affirm and state on oath as under: -1. I am petitioner no. 2 and am conversant with the facts and circumstances of the case facts and am competent to depose that what is stated petition is true to the best of my knowledge, belief and information and I believe the same to be true. 2. I have gone through a copy of this petition and I solemnly affirm that what is stated in para 1 to 9 are true to my own knowledge and what is stated in memo is true to the best of my information and belief. Its para 10 is the prayer clause.
Solemnly affirmed at Ahmedabad on this 28th day December , 2005.
Identified by me.Advocate Clerk.

NATION | Saturday, March 26, 2011 | Email | Print |  | Back  
Summons to Teesta in Lunawada grave digging case
June 22, 2011   12:00:00 AM
Rathin Das | Ahmedabad

A court has issued summons to Mumbai-based social activist Teesta Setalvad for her role in the infamous Lunawada grave digging case of December 2005.

Setalvad, secretary of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), was last month granted anticipatory bail by a local court in Panchmahal district.

The summons to Teesta were issued by the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case under Section 160 Cr PC for appearing before him.

Legal sources in Godhra said that she would have to appear before the IO for recording her statement regarding the mass grave digging at Lunawada in December 2005.

Setalvad had to seek the anticipatory bail from a court in Godhra following allegations that she had instigated the 2002 riot survivors to dig up the mass graves on the banks of Panam River at Lunawada of Panchmahal district.

Her former associate Rais Khan has alleged that Teesta had masterminded the digging operation at the bank of river Panam where bodies of the people missing after the Pandarwada massacre in 2002 were believed to have been buried.

The digging operations had yielded many skeletal remains, including eight skulls and several limb bones, which the riot survivors believed to be of their missing relatives.

During the hearing on the anticipatory bail application, Teesta had said that she was not responsible for exhuming the skeletal remains as she was not present at the mass grave site.

She had visited the site along with a television channel crew when the digging operation was over, Teesta told the local court during the hearing of her anticipatory bail last month. 

NATION | Thursday, July 7, 2011 | Email | Print |  | Back  
Fresh summons to Teesta on illegal grave digging case
July 06, 2011   10:37:15 PM

Rathin Das | Ahmedabad

The Panchmahals district police has issued fresh summons to Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad in the Lunawada mass grave exhumation case of December 2005. 

As per the fresh summons, Setalvad has to appear before the Investigating Officer BJ Ninama at Lunawada on July 18.

Teesta Setalvad, secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), and some of her associates were involved in digging up of mass graves in the Panam river bank behind Lunawada town where 22 people, missing after the Pandarwada massacre of 2002, were believed to have been buried.

Skeletal remains, including eight skulls, were recovered from the mass grave but the Lunawada Municipality had booked them for illegal digging of graves. Later, Setalvad's former associate Rais Khan Pathan, himself an accused in the case, had testified that she was very much a part of the plan to dig up the mass graves.

The latest summons to Setalvad was sent by Speed Post on June 30, Panchmahals Deputy Superintendent of Police BJ Ninama told The Pioneer on Wednesday. The fresh summons has been sent to Setalvad following her non-appearance in response to the earlier one on June 2.

In the June 30 summons, Deputy Superintendent of Police BJ Ninama has refuted Setalvad's allegations that the Lunawada police have not complied with the order of the Gujarat High Court which had asked for the rectification of a mistake in the April 3 chargesheet describing her as 'absconding accused'.