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Home > Communalism Repository > India: Is the Raghavan SIT in Undue Haste for a Closure? - Open (...)

Dont scuttle the investigation to fix responsibility for 2002 massacre in Gujarat!

India: Is the Raghavan SIT in Undue Haste for a Closure? - Open letter

8 February 2012

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sacw.net - 8 February 2012

We, the undersigned members of civil society, were aghast to learn from newspaper reports that RK Raghavan, the head of the Special Investigative Team (SIT), is planning to file a closure report, and has no intention of filing charges against Narendra Modi and his co-conspirators for being allegedly complicit in the horrific massacre in Gujarat in 2002 which resulted in the death of over a thousand innocent citizens and extensive destruction of private and public property.

It has been claimed that enough evidence exists to show that Modi allowed the charred bodies from Godhra to be paraded in the streets of Ahmedabad in spite of being warned that such an act would be blatantly provocative and dangerous, and that he instructed his senior police officers to stand back and let Hindus express their anger during the ’bandh’ that had been called by the VHP and endorsed by the BJP.

Repeated and desperate calls for help from Ehsan Jafri, former MP, to Modi’s office were ignored with the result that Jafri’s house was attacked and he was murdered. His widow’s appeal to the Supreme Court for justice is being rebuffed by Raghavan in spite of reports that the amicus curiae, Raju Ramachandran, had hinted that there were grounds for prosecution. Sources allege that Raghavan will file a summary report with the recommendation to treat the complaint of Zakia Jafri and Teesta Setalvad (of Citizens for Justice and Peace) as "neither true nor false" or "false but not maliciously false", thus protecting Modi from having his day in court.

Raghavan’s SIT has also been charged with ignoring massive evidence brought forth by courageous and conscientious police officers such as RB Sreekumar, Rahul Sharma and Sanjiv Bhatt. In a public letter former Director General of Police in Gujarat, RB Sreekumar says, “I have submitted nine affidavits to the Nanavati Commission so far which provide unchallengeable evidence about the sabotage of criminal ju stice system, intimidation of witnesses, use of punishment and rewards to coerce officers to implement Modi governments covert agenda of Hindu sectarian mobilisation. But all these have been ignored by the SIT." The former DGP further states that even after submitting the evidence to the SIT in 2008, he was neither called for examination nor made a witness during the ongoing trial in the riot case of Naroda Patiya.

IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a letter to Raghavan has said, "It seems that the SIT, for some inexplicable reason, is continuing to intentionally disregard very important aspects of the investigation into the complaint of Zakia Jafri. Nothing illustrates this better than the reluctance of the SIT to examine witnesses, who would be able to provide very vital information about the meeting held at the residence of the Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the late night of February 27, 2002."

The SIT seems to have also decided to ignore the testimony of Justice Iyer and Justice Sawant who had headed a citizens’ panel to investigate the 2002 Gujarat massacre. Their report includes testimony of the then Gujarat BJP minister Haren Pandya (who was later murdered) who had testified about the meeting convened by Modi on the evening of the Godhra train burning in which officials were instructed not to obstruct the Hindu rage following the incident.

The proposed closure, if it happens, will add insult to injury for the victims of the massacre and their families and will exacerbate inter-community tensions. People will lose faith in our judicial system. The ability of the powerful to manipulate the course of justice will do serious harm to people’s faith in the system. It is obvious to many of us that an attempt at a massive cover-up is at work. It would be better if Modi answered the charges against him so that the matter is cleared and the issue of the accountability of a chief minister is addressed.

People must speak out against such gross abuse of our judicial system. We owe it to ourselves and to our children.

Signatories

Prof. Juzar Bandukwala
- Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer
- Dr Ram Punyani
- Subhashini Ali
- Rohini Hensman
- Jyoti Punwani
- Ghulam Mohiyuddin
- Ammu Abraham
- Shahid Ali Khan
- NP Ashley
- Suhail Reza
- A Faizur Rahman
- Dolphy D’Souza
- Oosman Pasha
- Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
- Rebecca Kurian
- Kasim Sait
- Sukla Sen
- Shahidur Rashid Talukdar
- Najid Hussain
- Dr Mookhi Amir Ali
- Azim Khan
- Mohamed Firoz
- Nasreen Fazalbhoy
- Pi Nowshad
- Ikramulla Md.
- Altaf Pasha
- Dr Zaheer Sayeed
- Zaffarullah Khan
- Navaid Hamid