Eleventh Day of Arguments in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition(August 2nd 2013)
August 2, 2013
Despite strong strictures by four or five statutory bodies commenting harshly on the complete breakdown of the rule of law in 2002, a breakdown that could be attributed not just to dereliction of duty but criminal negligence, the Special Investigation Team completely ignored contemporaneous investigations conducted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma in 2002. Worse, it did not take their detailed assessment after field visits to the state into consideration. The Zakia Jafri criminal complaint dated 8.6.2006 seeks to assign criminal culpability to this dereliction of duty that has been heavily and vastly commented upon argued advocate Mihir Desai in the eleventh day of arguments before the 11th Metropolitan Magistrate in Ahmedabad today.
The SIT simply did not bother to record statements of Justices Verma or Justice Anand or the rest of the NHRC or even try and collect evidence from them. The NHRC had first issued notice, suo moto to the state of Gujarat on March 1, 2002, then after a formal hearing on March 6, 2002 actually conducted a field visit to the state of Gujarat between March 19-22, 2002. Thereafter it had sought a detailed response from the state government which was given in mid-April 2002 by then chief secretary Subha Rao (A-37 in the complaint). This response of the state government was strongly and adversely commented upon by the NHRC in its hearings in May 2002, said Desai. He also read out a letter addressed by retired high court judge Justice Divecha to the NHRC (attached) which exposed the complete targeted violence against members of the Muslim minority in Ahmedabad right from the evening of February 27, 2002. Finally Divecha’s home was torched and destroyed the next day as a complaint machinery watched. Justice Kadri a sitting judge of the High Court also had to flee and change homes for safety. (NHRC report link given below and Attached is the letter of Justice Divecha).
The NHRC had first recommended transfer of investigation of major cases to the CBI following which citizens of Gujarat and Mumbai including Professor DN Pathak and Teesta Setalvad had approached the Supreme Court (May 2002) for transfer of investigation. The NHRC itself had sought the transfer of trials out of Gujarat. It was on this writ petition filed by citizens that the Supreme Court, in May 2008 finally appointed a SIT, it was pointed out.
The NHRC, The CEC, the Supreme Court appointed Amicus Curiae all feel that there is ample evidence to put before a court for trial only the SIT wishes to close the case with no prosecution, Desai alleged.
Arguments will now continue on August 12.
NHRC Report Links:
Taizoon Khorakiwala Nandan Maluste Teesta Setalvad
Cyrus Guzder Javed Akhtar
Alyque Padamsee Anil Dharker Ghulam Pesh Imam
Rahul Bose Javed Anand Cedric Prakash
Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai – 400 049. Ph: 2660 2288 email: firstname.lastname@example.org,