Friday, April 20, 2012

SC slap on Modi police for false mass graves case will have huge impact

SC slap on Modi police for false mass graves case will have huge impact
By Teesta Setalvad, peace and justice activist 4/15/12

The Supreme Court’s order of April 13, Friday, to the Gujarat police to stop the malicious prosecution launched against me and others over the unearthing of mass graves will have a huge impact on the fight for justice for the victims of the 2002 anti-Muslim violence. Despite all the cynicism of the last ten years over delays and setbacks in the many cases of the 2002 killings, it is only the judicial struggle that has put the brakes on the Gujarat government in not just its witch-hunt against the victims but its calculated attempt to subvert justice and ensure that the perpetrators are not punished.
The present case, in which several Muslim natives of a Gujarat village and I have been accused of illegally exhuming mass graves of some of the Muslims killed in the 2002 violence, is a classic case of trying to intimidate the victims by turning them into the accused instead of securing them justice, as the Supreme Court judges observed. What the Gujarat police did in this case is quite the pattern in their attempts for ten years to implicate me falsely because I have supported the victims. 
This is a very strange case. It may be recalled that while over 2,000 Muslim men, women and children were massacred for weeks beginning February 28, 2002, over 440 Muslims went missing, too. Of them, 216 dead bodies were recovered from mass graves over time and returned to their relatives. Some 228 people are still missing, a fact that the records of the Gujarat state recognise
This case before the Supreme Court relates to the discovery of the remains of 22 dead bodies illegally dumped on forest land – and not buried legally  as the police claim – by a river bank in Panchmahal district of Gujarat. DNA tests later established that some of these bodies belonged to Muslims killed at two places on March 1, 2002. The order for DNA samlpling was obtained by victims and us from the Gujarat High Court on December 29, 2005 even as the Gujarat state planned and filed a malafide FIIR against victims just three days later. The FIR is a contempt of the Gujarat High court also.