SIXTEENTH DAY OF ARGUMENTS 27.8.2013 Zakia Jafri Protest Petition

SIXTEENTH DAY OF ARGUMENTS 27.8.2013 Zakia Jafri Protest Petition

August 27, 2013

Press Release 

SIXTEENTH DAY OF ARGUMENTS

27.8.2013

Fifteen and Sixteenth Days Arguments                  Zakia Jafri Protest Petition

A serving officer of the Gujarat government, then SP, Bhavnagar, Rahul Sharma who actually averts and prevents violence by putting his life at risk; who functions independently of his political masters (including then MOS Home and accused, Gordhan Zadaphiya) and arrests powerful BJP and VHP men and women for indulging in violence and other criminal acts; who preserves the mobile phone records that implicate powerful persons for conspiring and collaborating in violent mass crimes post Godhra in 2002; who disagrees with fabricated charges in the charge sheets in the Gulberg and Naroda Patiya cases prepared by the Crime Branch, Ahmebabad is charge sheeted for revealing this incriminating evidence to the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran.

The government of Gujarat has also indulged in serious doctoring and tampering of documents argued senior advocate Mihir Desai for the sixteenth day before the Metropolitan Magistrate Court Nos 11, making a convincing pitch for the complete rejection of the SIT closure report. Handing over a special compilation of records from the voluminous SIT papers that clearly indicate tampering of records, Desai stated that a complicit and unprofessional SIT had not even looked into this serious criminal lapse though this was clearly visible from their own papers. The Gujarat home department under A-1 Modi had destroyed Vehicle Log Book records, Police Control Room Records and Wireless records on 30.3.2008 just five days after the Supreme Court had appointed the SIT on 26.3.2008. While indulging in this criminal act they had quoted an obsolete rule 262 of the Bombay Police Act when this had been replaced by the Gujarat Police Manual of 1975. The Inward register of the chief minister’s office, the Minutes of the meeting of28.2.2020, the daily Itinerary of the chief minister as also a letter of the Home department had been clearly tampered with. (This letter of 6.3.2002 was overwritten by hand to show it had been written on 28.2.2002). Besides over four dozen SIB Messages in the SIT papers were in plain white blank paper without official format, an aspect that the SIT had chosen to turn a blind eye to. Desai argued that the SIT ignoring such brazen lapses was illustrative of its compromised functioning.

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had stayed the operation of the charge sheet in 2012, making Rahul Sharma among the ten-twelve officers severely punished by the Modi-led Gujarat government for upholding the rule of law and the Indian Constitution. Sharma had been suddenly transferred out of Bhavnagar on March 26, 2002 (just as was Anupam Gehlot, SP Mehsana) simply because he had prevented Bhavnagar, a stronghold of Zadaphiya led VHP and BJP from becoming a cauldron of communal violence despite provocative hate speeches and other violent attempts . Brought to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch and assigned to assist the investigations into the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg massacres this officer had made his discomfiture known and official when the Crime Branch had tried to create a false line of argument in the first charge sheets filed in these cases. The Gujarat police come directly under A-1 Narendra Modi, holding cabinet rank as home minister. While holding the post of DCP Crime Branch, and while he and his superior AK Surolia had summoned Mobile Data records of all users in Ahmedabad city, the SIT had done nothing to analyse this data or put it to efficient use in their investigations. While testifying before the Nanavati-Shah-Mehta Commission in August 2004 Sharma had made copies of this mobile phone data public. In January 2010, it was Rahul Sharma who had provided this critical evidence to the Amicus Curaie Raju Ramachandran. His reward? A show cause notice by the vindictive Gujarat government!

Details of the application for relief against this illegal charge sheet before CAT showed that despite the fact that Rahul Sharma had provided details to the SC-appointed SIT about the reluctance of mobile phone records to provide full user details; and despite the fact that the representative of one such company had stated that he was under pressure from both the Gujarat police and political bigwigs in the state, the high powered SIT had chosen not to investigate this at all.

The critical evidence of the other whistleblower officer, former ADGP Intelligence RB Sreekumar lay in the fact that a)he had recorded that then DGP Chakravarti had told him about the criminal instructions issued by A-I Modi at the meeting of 27.2.2002 (“Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger on the streets and the police should not be impartial”); b) he had filed five critical SIB reports recording the illegal functioning of the police and bureaucracy as also the subversion of the criminal justice system; c) he had urged prosecution of Sandesh newspaper and VHP hate pamphlets; d) he had recommended the transfer of criminally complicit officers, a recommendation that had been implemented by KPS Gill sent in by the Central government; e) he had given independent reports to the Chief election Commission (CEC) that had been relied upon and f)he had recorded the illegal instructions given by A-1 Modi to him in an unofficial register; g) he had sent the SIB reports on the virulent hate speech of A-1 Modi at Becharaji to the National Commission of Minorities despite his bosses illegally ordering that he not do so. He too like Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt who were also charge sheeted was rewarded with a charge sheet and denied promotion. Bhatt’s criticality lay in that he had sent messages from the SIB on 27.2.2002 mentioning the provocative sloganeering by the kar sevaks that led to a crowd gathering near the Godhra railway station.

 

Tracing the chain of command responsibility from an analysis of the Phone Call records of Top Police Officials of Ahmedabad City and the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) that have been dealt with at length in the Protest petition, Mihir Desai pointed out how the analyses reveal that PC Pande did not move out of his office after returning from the Sola Civil Hospital on 28.2.2002; that at the height of the attacks of Naroda Patiya and Gulberg while he sat holed up in his office at Shahibaug, there was a sustained contact between him and the CMO (Fifteen Calls between 11.40 am and the evening) suggesting that A-1 Modi was in the constant know of happenings on the ground). Why did he not budge out from the safety of his chamber? Unlike Rahul Sharma, SP Bhavnagar and Anupam Gehlot, SP Mehsana who risked their lives trying to save lives here was a Commissioner and a Chief Minister who were sitting in the safety of their cabins and offices!!! The criminally culpable conduct of Joint CP Tandon and DCP Gondia was also revealed in that every time they received serious messages to go towards Naroda or Meghaninagar (where Gulberg is located) they moved in opposite directions towards Rewadi Bazar.

Detailed arguments were also made on the failure of the SIT to investigate the absence of proper Relief and Rehabilitation measures despite sharp comments and recommendations from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the National Commission for Minorities and even the Food Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court. The Central government had to institute special schemes to enhance reparation for those dead and injured due to the failure of the state to fulfill adequate measures.

On the occasion of the fourteenth days of arguments, Desai had read extensively on the deleterious impact of inflammatory articles published in large sections of the Gujarati media (print and electronic) that had instead of being prosecuted been applauded by A-1 Narendra Modi.

Arguments will continue on August 29.

 

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Citizen for Justice and Peace

Citizen for Justice and Peace

August 22, 2013

Press Release

FOURTEENTH DAY OF ARGUMENTS

Faced with a tragedy like the Godhra train burning that had claimed 58 lives, how would a government and administration respond, and equally critically how would an independent agency appointed to fairly and rationally evaluate the quality of this response go about its job, asked senior advocate Mihir Desai for Mrs Zakia Jafri and Citizens for Justice and Peace making a powerful case for evaluating criminal culpability by top echelons of the police and administration.

Arguing for the fourteenth day in the 11th Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, Ahmedabad, Desai pointed out that the only way an agency could have developed and evaluated whether or not the ingredients in a sinister chain of criminal conspiracy, abetment and criminal culpability by public officials was actually made out was in evaluating the government, administration and police response, before, during and after the outbreak of such systemic widespread and persistent mob violence. When five separate blasts shook Mumbai in 1993, the conspiratorial hands of a Tiger Memon or a Dawood Ibrahim could be seen behind each separate, similar and disparate act by just such an evaluation, he argued.

Could the government, administration and police have anticipated Godhra? Was there a systemic prelude or build up of communal atmosphere before the train burning? Once the incident took place was there an immediacy and seriousness in stemming any retaliation given the nature of communal violence and Gujarat’s history in this regard, were hate speeches and hate writings curtailed and prosecuted when they occurred or were generated or were they encouraged, were perpetrators punished? On the issue of deployment of the army, the issue to be assessed in terms of impact on the ground was threefold pressed Desai: was the Army actually called in on time, in which districts was it deployed and was it given adequate powers under the law (Sections 129/130 of the CRPC read with Rules of the Gujarat Police Manual) to function independently to save lives, property? Ironically, said Desai, the SIT just like it did not record statements of members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Election Commission, deliberately chose not to record the statements of independent witnesses Major Zameeruddin Shah of the 54th Infantry Division in charge of the Gujarat operation. Neither did the SIT seek independent data from the Army choosing in its all out bid to shield the accused, to believe the chief collaborators of the criminal conspiracy.

Reading from sections of the Protest Petition that had been filed by Mrs Jafri on April 15 this year, assisted by Citizens for Justice and Peace, Desai pointed out to the Court the ascending degrees of violence in at least 16 of Gujarat’s 26 districts; violence that started on the day of the Godhra train burning itself and continued until July-August September 2002. Ahmedabad, Panchmahals and Mehsana were the worst affected districts followed by Vadodara, Banaskantha, Dahod and Anand among others. Reading from the statement of then SP, Mehsana, Anupam Gahlot who appeared before the SIT on 22.1.2010, he showed the Court how this officer traversed the length and breath of the district to save lives of the Minorities, ensuring he was a hand’s on Policeman in Charge unlike the Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, PC Pande who sat mute spectator in his cabin at Shahibaug while Ahmedabad burned! Pande was rewarded for this by the chief conspirator, home minister A-1 Modi, retiring as Director General of Police (DGP) for the state; thereafter still benefiting from post retirement postings! On the other hand, Gahlot who had ensured the safety of over 1,000 persons taking shelter in a Dargah that was sought to be mob attacked was transferred along with other officers like Rahul Sharma from Bhavnagar district who had similarly done a worthy and upright job. These first round of transfers coming as they did around 24.3.2002 had also been objected to by then DGP K Chakravarthi.

Serious incidents of violence had taken place in Ahmedabad and rest of the state on 27.2.2002 itself with warnings of these coming in through the state intelligence (SIB) –all carefully documented in the protest petition, yet Pande and other senior officers like Shivanand Jha and others made a mockery of laws around preventive detention. Special schemes within the Gujarat Police Mannual and a Special Communal Riots Scheme (1997) demands that every commissionerate and district maintain not just a list of “communal goondas” who need to be arrested when there is threat of violence but also a list of fanatically minded persons who stoke the flames of communal violence. Yet in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Sabarkantha, Vadodara, Panchmahals, Dahod, Banaskantha, Ahmedabad Rural, Vadodara Rural Patan and Kheda there was complete inaction in this regard. In Ahmedabad there were only 2 arrests made at Astodia on 27.2.2002 and that two of Muslims, Desai pointed out.

Over 47 Distress Messages from the Police Control Room made on 28.2.2002 to the Fire Brigade Urgently demanding help at a time when Naroda Patiya, Naroda Gaam and Gulberg Society were under systemic Mob attack were met with a sinister and conspiratorial silence, revealed Desai reading from two tables in the protest petition that detailed this evidence. Pande as Commissioner of Police is answerable for this lapse, yet SIT chose to completely ignore this evidence from their own record. No statements of any of the Fire Brigade officials have been recorded, nor any attempts made to unearth the Fire Brigade register and analyse this. Arguments will continue tomorrow.

 

Trustees:

Taizoon Khorakiwala         Nandan Maluste              Teesta Setalvad

I.M. Kadri                           Cyrus Guzder                  Javed Akhtar            

Alyque Padamsee             Anil Dharker                     Ghulam Pesh Imam 

Rahul Bose                        Javed Anand                   Cedric Prakash

CM should stop deportation of Lankan refugees: PUCL

CM should stop deportation of Lankan refugees: PUCL

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

 The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) on Wednesday sought Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s intervention in revoking the Centre’s decision to deport three Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, which, it said, was “akin to signing their death warrants”.

Holding the Centre’s orders to deport the refugees Eela Nehru, Soundararajan and Chenthuran as “arbitrary, unfair and against internationally accepted human rights norms” since none of them had committed any crime in India, PUCL national general secretary V. Suresh said that if the refugees were deported back to Sri Lanka, they would face grave risks to their personal safety and lives at the hands of the Sri Lankan police and security forces.

The PUCL pointed out that since the war in Sri Lanka ended in May 2009, the three had been detained on flimsy grounds invoking the Foreigners Act for long periods in the high security special camps for Sri Lankan refugees though to the best of its knowledge none of them had committed any crimes in India against Indians.

The deportation decision contravened Tamil Nadu’s two-decade-old policy on such refugees as well as the Chief Minister’s own assurance that no Sri Lankan Tamil refugee would be forcibly sent back, Mr. Suresh said. The PUCL also feared that carrying out the deportation would leave the entire Sri Lankan Tamil refugee community in the State emotionally traumatised by the betrayal of their faith in the Tamil Nadu government.

For lodging complaint, victim’s family again facing wrath of BSF

 For lodging complaint, victim’s family again facing wrath of BSF

 

27th August 2013
 
To
The Chairman
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House
Copernicus Marg
New Delhi-110001                                                          
 
Respected Sir,
 
On 6th February 2013, we lodged a complaint before your Commission about physical torture by Border Security Force personnel among a person from socio- economically marginalised section, merely on suspicion of being smuggler.  Mr. Jiyad ali Gaji of District-North 24 Parganas West Bengal was brutally assaulted and threatened by the BSF personnel, while he was engaged with his fishing activity. He was called by the BSF personnel and while he along with his companion gets off from the river and innocently came to the said personnel, they were caught hold and tortured. Our complaint was not acknowledged till date from your Commission.  Mr. Jiyad Ali Gaji injured enough and received medical treatment for a long. Those BSF personnel are still enjoying impunity and roaming scot free.
 
In a recent incident, on 2nd August 2013 at around 4.50 pm, while Mrs. Safura Bibi, wife of Mr. Jiyad Ali Gaji was busy in her household work and Mr. Jiyad Ali Gaji went to nearestmasjid (mosque) to perform namaj, three Border Security Force Personnel namely Mr. Chamir Mondol, Mr. Safik and Mr. Peter from ‘F’ Company of Bithari Border Out Post, Battalion Number- 152, suddenly came into the house of the victim. After entering their residence the BSF personnel started to verbally abuse the wife of the victim, the abuses were with ‘choicest’ words having sexual connotation in Hindi. Then they accused her of involvement with smuggling. At that moment only; Mr. Jiyad Ali Gaji returned back to his house and found that the said BSF personnel were harassing and intimidating his wife. Mr. Jiyad Ali Gazi requested those BSF personnel to stop that and dissuade them by pleading; but the BSF personnel were infuriated by they started bashing Mr. Gazi with fisticuffs and lathis. The bashing continued for minutes.  While the victim flashed out his mobile to connect his relatives; one of the BSF personnel snatched and broke it by ramming it against the floor.   Then the BSF personnel made threatening to the victim by saying ‘if they disclose this happening to any human rights organisation again; they will lose their land and house’. During the melee, one of the BSF personnel tried to pull of the sari of the victim’s wife. After that, the BSF personnel tried to lift the victim and his wife to their parked but the co villagers rushed to the spot and resisted BSF personnel’s ulterior intention and the BSF personnel left the scene in a huff. Mr. Gazi received serious injuries in his left buttock and lips due to this inhumane physical aggression by the BSF personnel and was examined by Dr. A.K Mondal on 3rdAugust 2013 at the medical camp for the victims of torture organised by us. Medical treatment sheet is attached herewith for your perusal. Till date, the BSF personnel used to get stationed at the close proximity of victim’s house and making disturbance to his personal life and harassing him and his wife. The victim was also disturbed during his fishing activity more often. Fishing is the major activity for sustenance, the torturous and harassing acts by the alleged BSF personnel jeopardizing his life and liberty.
 
On 12.8.2013 Mr. Jiyad Ali Gazi made a written complaint to the Sub Divisional Police Office of Basirhat; 24 Pargana (North) district. On our earlier complaint, the District Magistrate of 24 Parganas (North) sent a communiqué vide J-11012 (11)/10/2012-JM/54795 dated 20.2.2013, to the Superintendent of Police; 24 Parganas (North) and Sub Divisional Police Office of Basirhat; 24 Pargana (North) district and requested to cause an enquiry and a furnish a detail report over the incident, but till date no initiative has been taken by the police. 
 
In this given situation, I reiterating my previous demands which already made in my complaint dated 6.2.2013 and request you to include the recent incident with my earlier complaint. I request you for an immediate acknowledgement and registering the complaint as a case. The victims must be provided with utmost safety and security and the perpetrator BSF personnel must be booked under the provisions of law.
Sincerely Yours
 
(Kirity Roy)
Secretary- MASUM

Asian Human Rights’ Commission concerned over RTI dilution

Asian Human Rights’ Commission concerned over RTI dilution:

Guwahati, 18 August

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has expressed its concern over the Union government’s proposed amendment to the RTI (Right to Information Act, 2005) seeking to keep political parties out of its ambit.


The AHRC, which is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia and also based in Hong Kong, asserted in a recent statement that the right to information movement empowered with the Act is ‘considered to be the second independence movement in India’, but a Bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha seeking a limit to the exercise.

“The AHRC is concerned to learn that, on 12 August 2013, the Ministry of Personal, Public Grievances, and Pension, on behalf of the Government of India, has introduced a Bill in the lower house of the Parliament, seeking an amendment to the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). 

The Bill proposes to remove political parties from the scope of the operation of the principal Act, the RTI Act,” said the statement.

The Rights commission argues that the disclosure of information concerning the functioning of a government must be the norm, not an exception. 
It also added that ‘in a Parliamentary democracy this norm assumes high value, in principle and practice’. 

Fastening the same norm – to be informed – to political parties that form and participate in governance is its mere commonsense application, it stated.

Talking about the Congress, the statement also expressed dismay that the Union government, led by the century old political party ‘is tabling a law in the Parliament to limit the rights of citizens to know how political parties operate internally’.

Insisting that the transparency in governance is a crucial issue in India, the AHRC pointed out that ‘given an opportunity, political parties, and the government they form in India, try to restrict it, for which they go to shameful lengths’.

The statement also avowed that ‘saving political parties from the ambit of the Right To Information Act will actually limit the scope of intraparty democracy, and a political party that does not tolerate internal democracy is unfit to seek participation in a democracy’.