September 1, 2012
The Citizens for Justice and Peace describes as exemplary the sentencing meted out to those accused convicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre. At this stage, reiterating the contribution of the entire CJP team in Ahmedabad and Mumbai including the ;egal team we would like to provide basic information from the Court records on the Incident and the role of the accused.
CJP will upload the judgement on its website as soon as it is available.(www.cjponline.org)
Sixty Five witnesses, most of whom are also survivors of the worst ever massacre of 2002 were provided legal assistance by the CJP Team. This entailed daily attendance at the trial, ensuring continued protection of witnesses, presence at the local police station when threats and intimidations occurred (this happened at least two dozen, that is 24 times during the trial) and timely applications and coordination with the SIT nodal officers to ensure protection.
To understand how victims and witnesses were protected we need to go back to 2004-- CJP had through the Amicus Curaie in the SC Harish Salve moved an application for the protection of all key witnesses and victims of the nine major cases including the victim witnesses of the Naroda Patiya masasacre in 2004. Through a detailed order, individual and cluster protection by the CISF these victim survivors have enjoyed unprecedented and unique protection enabling them to carry out their business and lives without fear. Then after SIT completed its investigations and when the SC was lifting the stay on the trials to enable them to begin, we reiterated concerns through written applications in our petition in the SC. The Final Order of the SC (dated 1-5-2009) ordering Special Courts to begin the trials directs specifically that SIT oversees this protection by the CISF. Dr Raghavan asked CJP to outline a scheme that we have done in writing (2009).This has been unique to the trials in Gujarat supervised by the SC and has ensured that Victims had the security to seek justice, complain several times about attempts at threat and inducement. This example also makes a strong case for an enduring witness protection programme in the country.