Iraq War


India Elections

US Imperialism

Peak Oil


WSF In India







Gujarat Pogrom






Join Mailing List

Submit Articles

Contact Us


Who Cares For Supreme Court
In Gandhi's Gujarat?

By Digant Oza

17 April, 2004

When the Supreme Court is giving one after one bashing to the Govt. of Gujarat, and the top leaders of BJP appealing the Muslim Community to vote for BJP and join BJP, the Party leadership continuing the habit of Muslim bashing is in full swing in the State, Which is growing more and more intolerant. The Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Adavani's true colour like chameleon was exposed the moment he entered with his Rath to Gujarat. He rained all praises for Modi and said he is no less great than Vajpayee. Advani praised Modi for good Governance where as the Supreme Court has no faith in this Modi's Govt. Union Finance Minister Jashwantsingh, who was in Ahmedabad when Best Backery judgment was given by the Supreme Court gave clean chit to Narendra Modi. While admitting that the verdict was a blot, on BJP, did not think it fit to demand resignation from Gujarat chief Minister.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to have been cautioned by the BJP leadership in Delhi to refrain from going on the offensive even though this could have been an opportunity to consolidate the Hindu vote bank. Party insiders say the chief minister was keen to turn this to an advantage by raising the bogey of "anto-Gujarat forces out to tarnish the state's image."

However, the BJP leadership feels this could invite prosecution for contempt of court at an inopportune time. Besides, while there are limited gains to be reaped from such an exercise within Gujarat - where party feels that she is comfortably placed in most of the seats, the danger of an adverse impact on the party's prospects in other states is much greater. BJP sources say even from the Gujarat government's point of view, it is unwise to take on the apex court which is going to hear the cases of transfer of 13 other riot cases out of Gujarat, a day after the state goes to the polls.

Hindutva activists, however, goes on with their intolerant and undemocratic behavior for which arrests had to be undertaken both in Vadodara and Ahmedabad.

" I shall SEE how you address public in Gujarat" was the challenge to TEESTA SETALVAD, (Editor: Communal combat) who was to attend state-level Seminar, organized by Islamic cultural center, in the Gaikwadi town Vadodara.

Dr. Pravin Togadia, international secretary, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had thrown a challenge to Teesta, but due to ill health, she could not make it.

However, Shabnam Hashmi was in Vadodara on Sunday with her "Meri Awaz suno" group of youth and faced the result of the planning.

"Ram-khuda ki Jung Me Hua Pankheru Dher" popular lines by a Sufi-Saint is derogator to Bharat-Mata according to some of the activists of Vadodara Vishwa Hindu Parishad which deserves bashing to those who display it on their T-shirt.

Slogan shouting and account seeking media persons was an experience, which is exclusive to Vadodara, and difficult to believe outside this Gaikwadi town.

ACTIVISTS of the NGO, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) - including its founder Shabnam Hashmi, sister of play right-activist Safder Hashmi is leading a group of 27 youngsters from across the country of urge voters to elect a government that promotes communal harmony, Who left New Delhi on April 7 and traveled thru state of Rajsathan but in Gujarat they only experienced hostility and intolerance.

The group was roughed up by VHP activists at a city hotel here on Sunday, half an hour after they addressed a press conference to promote their nationwide mission of motivating young voters to cast their vote against communal forces. The miscreants also damaged the vehicles belonging to the group. Two persons have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Even Mukesh Dixit, a close associate of BJP MLA, Yegesh Patel, was spotted in the group that told activists to stop "Hindu-bashing".

In Ahmedabad Bharat Taili has been arrested for thratening to kill Teesta Setalvad for what she has done in best beckery case, after illegally entering PRASHANT office. Police is on lookout for one Dr. Atul Vaidya in the same offence.

Meanwhile, several NGOs of Gujarat have welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court for the retrial of Best Bakery case out side Gujarat. This decision is the landmark in the annals of Indian Judiciary. It may be recalled here that petition demanding transfer was admitted by the supreme court before the unfortunate verdict by the trial court of VADODARA, acquitting all 21 accused in Best Backery case. After the verdict memorandums signed by eminent citizens were sent to the President of India, Chief Justice of India, Chairperson of NHRC requesting to shift the Best Bakery case outside Gujarat along with other cases. NGOs also demanded to transfer all the cases to CBI from Gujarat police. A huge Human chain was organized across the Nehru Bridge in Ahmedabad by Gujarat NGOs and a State Level Convention was held at Dr. Ambedkar Hall by Movement for Secular Democracy. Prior to it Press Conference was addressed in Mumbai and direct dialogue was made with Justice Anand in the western zonal meet of the NHRC by Gujarat NGOs.

The present decision of the SC may be able to restore faith on the Judiciary; even now PILs are due for hearing on 21st April, before apex court, according to Gujarat NGOs.

Alliance in Defense of Democracy is a network set up by concerned citizens and organizations involved in the efforts to bring about legal justice to the victims/survivors of the Gujarat carnage 2002. ADD along with other, NGOs of Gujarat have supported suggestion of amices curiae Harsh Salve to form various committees.

Regarding the transfer of trial of specific cases out of Gujarat, Alliance in Defense of Democracy have suggested that in the best interest of justice, the cases already identified in the petitions must be transferred out of Gujarat. However, Supreme Court should not ignore the fact that transfer outside the state also would entail tremendous logistical complexities for the witnesses like their livelihood, residential facilities, traveling, security and many other issues. The following points require to be considered for effective implementation of the judicial process:

That the Supreme Court may direct the appropriate High Court / State Government to appoint one or more full time fast track courts to direct the same to conduct trial on a day to day basis without any unnecessary adjournments.

That it may be clarified that the state of Gujarat be asked to bear all reasonable expenses related to trial including appointment of special Public prosecutors, travel and logistics for the witnesses as well as quality translations etc.

That it may be clarified at the out set that the trial outside Gujarat would also mean that all appeals related to the cases also lie in the relevant High Court outside Gujarat

Looking at the logistics and finding of judicial officers knowing Gujarati, the consensus was on Mumbai as the preferred location.

Whereas we fully endorse the NHRC recommendations that these cases be investigated by the CBI. However, in case the same does not happen, the committee to oversee the investigation by a retired senior police officer to be constituted under your application also cover these ten cases before the trial starts.

ADD has requested the highest court of the country to include the above points while deciding the Gujarat riot related petitions.