The Importance of Zakia Jafri’s Protest Petition


 (EPW 25MAY2013)

Vol – XLVIII No. 21, May 25, 2013 | Teesta Setalvad

 

The protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri against the Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team report, which absolved Narendra Modi of all responsibility for the 2002 killings in Gujarat, is an important step towards justice for all the victims. This article recapitulates the long and diffi cult battle for justice through the courts and exposes the complicity of the SIT in protecting Modi from his crimes.

Teesta Setalvad (teestateesta@gmail.com) is secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace.

It is not often that the battle against aggressive communalism gets sustained and validated through courts of law. This communalism is not just visible in instances of violence but encompasses the sustained mobilisation that precedes the violence, it includes hate speech and writing, as well as the deliberate debilitation of preventive measures of law and order to prevent such violence and protect the lives and properties of citizens. In the south Asian context, majoritarian communalism, fed in an insidious manner by its minority prototype, has the proclivity to deteriorate into authoritarianism, even fascism. Events, past and present, in Sri Lanka, Pakistan or India are testimony to this. In the cases of all countries of the region, communalists of the majority find ready partners with their mirror-images among the minority.

For over four decades now, aggressive communalism has made deep inroads into the pillars of the Indian republic, executive, legislature and even the judiciary. The calculated, and bloody mobilisation of an ostensibly religious kind by India’s main opposition party from the late 1980s was purely political; it consolidated a vote bank of middle- and upper-class Hindus while demonising the “minority vote bank” as the raison d’être for its existence. This section of Indians, fortuitously a numerical minority yet substantial in numbers at 27 to 30% of the overall vote, has aggressively celebrated the bloody attacks on minorities and on its opposition. Writers and commentators have analysed this phenomenon as the republic’s descent into proto-fascism, with forces of the Hindu right (the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – the parliamentary wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – and its other avatarsthe Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal (BD)) manipulating institutions of democratic governance. Our administration, our police, even our courts of justice barely withstood this systemic onslaught.

Some Success

It is in this unique context that the battle for acknowledgement, justice and accountability for the well-orchestrated state directed and executed crimes of 2002 in Gujarat, needs to be understood. For over 11 years now, a steely band of survivors, backed by groups of civil and legal rights groups and activists have extracted for the first time a degree of acknowledgement, transparency and accountability from an indifferent system. One hundred and sixteen life imprisonments pronounced to, among others, policemen, powerful politicians (one former minister) and strongmen of outfits of the VHP and BD, is a success story in its own right.

What the Zakia Jafri protest petition filed on 15 April 2013 attempts is to take this battle for accountability several steps further, and deeper. In carving out a substantial case of criminal conspiracy planned and executed by the state’s chief minister, who is also its home minister, this unique and historic legal intervention raises serious questions about the systemic build-up of communal mobilisation and inaction by state agencies and actors, the state and government’s specific response to a tragedy like Godhra on 27 February 2002 and their lack of intent to contain the impact and spread of violence.

This protest petition also brings focus on the lacunae in checking hate speech and propaganda, asks for facts about summoning assistance from the military and paramilitary forces, and does a comparative analysis of districts and police commissionerates worst affected by violence (which were 15 in number) and those where the police and civilian officials refused to bow down to political masters. It also highlights the role of whistleblowers, of survivors/activists/legal and civil rights groups, and of the media in pinning down accountability on the political leadership for these mass crimes.

Gathering the Tinder

Gujarat in early 2002 was sitting on a communal cauldron, carefully stoked since October-November of 2001. Records of the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) that are well-documented parts of the protest petition (annexures to the affidavit of former SIB Gujarat chief, R B Sreekumar) as well as responses received from the office of the chief minister during the course of the investigation, clearly establish that sustained efforts to keep districts and cities of Gujarat on the boil were afoot (reference p 178, paras 426-42 of the protest petition). What these indicate is that the then newly sworn in chief minister, Narendra Modi who had been brought in by the party’s national leadership after a series of bye-election losses in September 2001, was at the helm of the law and order machinery as the state’s home minister but did little to act against this communal mobilisation.

SIB warnings include detailed notings of the aggressive anti-minority speeches being made by BJP leaders as also of the VHP and BD. One such comment, by one Prahlad Patel on his way to Faizabad-Ayodhya, recorded by the SIB would prove to be prescient, “Yeh andar ki baat hai, police hamaare saath hai” (The inside information is that the police is working with us). Despite this climate and the warnings, Godhra – with a poor record of communal violence – was left unguarded and unprepared. Despite platoons of the military and paramilitary being not far away (at Vadodara), they are not galvanised. When the Sabarmati Express arrived five hours late at the Godhra station on the fateful day of 27 February 2002, Gujarat was already sitting on a communal tinderbox.

It is how the Godhra tragedy has been deliberately manipulated that requires a careful and dispassionate study for all those concerned with non-partisan governance. The first information on Godhra received by the chief minister from the district magistrate, Jayanti Ravi, details the sequence of events – aggressive and provocative sloganeering by kar sevaks that caused a mob of Muslims to gather and pelt stones. The reasoning that explains partially, at least how and why a crowd gathered when the train stopped after it had left and the chain was pulled, is thereafter deliberately and consciously obliterated by the government in official statements and releases. The chief minister in the assembly around 1 pm hints at a sinister and Machiavellian conspiracy (paras 50-54 at pp 37-39 of the protest petition and paras 127-74, pp 71-92 of the protest petition).

It is other jigsaws in the puzzle that have fallen into place during the analysis of investigation papers and preparation of the protest petition that point to the chilling manoeuvres by men and women in positions of governance to abdicate their oath to the Indian Constitution and consciously allow a chain of criminal actions to spiral out of control.

Lighting the Fire

Between 9 am, when news of the tragedy at Godhra had been received, and 10.30 am, when an official meeting of home department officials was called by the chief minister, phone call records (that were deliberately ignored by the Special Investigation Team (SIT)) show that the chief minister was in close touch with Jaideep Patel (accused in the criminal complaint). Jaideep Patel, far from being a man from officialdom, was actually a strong man of the VHP, general secretary of their state unit. Despatched to Godhra soon after these telephone conversations it was the same Jaideep Patel who thereafter attended an official meeting at the Collectorate at Godhra (para 69, p 45 of the protest petition) and to whom the chief minister ordered the 54 dead bodies of Godhra victims to be handed over to. It was this VHP man who was given the responsibility of transporting these bodies to Ahmedabad in a motor cavalcade that caused violence in its wake (paras 73-81 at pp 47-50 of the protest petition) and it was Jaideep Patel who handed them over to the authorities at Sola Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad.

Jaideep Patel thereafter was also charged with being an instigator of mobs to commit violence at Naroda Gaam, the next day, 28 February 2002. This close contact between the chief minister and Jaideep Patel, both accused in Zakia Jafri’s criminal complaint dated 8 June 2006 continued right through till 28 February 2002 when the massacres at Naroda and Gulberg were being executed. At 15: 26:06 hours, Jaideep Patel called the chief minister at his official number and had a conversation lasting 141 seconds. Jaideep Patel’s was one of just three calls on this number. Incidentally, all the office and residential numbers of the chief minister for both days show a shockingly low number of calls, raising more questions than they answer. The mobile number of the chief minister has been left deliberately uninvestigated by the SIT (para 106, p 61 of the protest petition).

After these surreptitious indications of the criminal conspiracy that was to unfold, the chief minister, then health minister, Ashok Bhatt, minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya and Jaideep Patel were in touch and a controversial decision to conduct post-mortems on the bodies of the unfortunate Godhra victims, in the open at the railway yard in full public view of an aggressive crowd of VHP members baying for blood, was taken. The chief minister, who is accused number 1 in this protest petition, was present at Godhra at the railway yard while these illegal post-mortems were allowed (paras 473-77, pp 211-12 of the protest petition).

Law and procedure are exacting about whom the dead bodies are to be given; they require that the bodies remain in the safe-keeping of the police authorities (in this case the Godhra police where the case was registered) until claimed by relatives to whom they need to be handed over with due procedure. Photographs of gruesome and gory remains are strictly prohibited from being displayed or published (para 480, p 214 of the protest petition). Not only were the gory charred remains of the burnt passengers displayed but they were widely publicised in violation of Section 233, 4 (vi), Volume III of the Gujarat Police Manual.

Initiating Investigations

The narrative behind this legal journey is in itself an exploration into systemic efficacy and response. Zakia Jafri, widow of slain former parliamentarian Ahsan Jafri, first filed this criminal complaint before the director general of police, Gujarat. The man to hold this position on 8 June 2006, the date of the complaint, was none other than the many times promoted despite being indicted commissioner of police, Ahmedabad, P C Pande. When the Gujarat police failed to register a first information report (FIR), she along with the organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace approached the high court and later, when relief was denied further, the Supreme Court of India. On 27 April 2009 the Supreme Court seeing merit in the issues raised by the complaint handed it over to the already appointed SIT under former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director, R K Raghavan.

The investigations by the SIT resulted in four reports, three before the Supreme Court. While the SIT, despite contradictory findings, concluded there was no evidence against any of the accused, the amicus curiae (friend of the court) senior counsel Raju Ramachandran reported to the contrary. His report dated 25 July 2011 told the Supreme Court that there was a clear case for the prosecution of Modi and three others, at the least. Based on this contrary advice, the Supreme Court on 12 September 2011 told the SIT to file its final report after considering the amicus’ contrary view and, in the event of this being no different from its conclusions before the Supreme Court, specifically entitled Zakia Jafri to a complete set of the investigation papers to file a competent protest petition. After a battle of five years, the complaint that began with a plea for registration of an FIR had now proceeded to the stage of a charge sheet being filed against the accused.

The SIT did not change its conclusions and filed yet another report stating that no criminal charges were made out. Equally questionable was its adamant refusal to comply with the Supreme Court’s order of 12 September 2011 and give all the investigation papers to Zakia Jafri. The 514-page protest petition is an elaborate testimony to the reasons behind the SIT’s refusal to comply. Its own investigation papers have provided a wealth of further evidence about the complicity of the top political and administrative offices of the state government in paralysing its own administration into inaction, deliberately refusing preventive arrests or the declaration of curfew, allowing funeral processions to be the launching pads of attacks and rioting, etc. By 2013 it is clear that the SIT has not only performed an unprofessional job in a desultory manner, it is today, through its partisan conclusions, becoming a spokesperson for the Modi administration abandoning its role as an independent investigating agency that it was bound to be, given its appointment by the Supreme Court.

Ignoring Evidence

R K Raghavan, A K Malhotra and Himanshu Shukla, the three main spokespersons for the SIT, have cynically misled the Supreme Court when they stated that the funeral processions of the railway burning victims in Godhra and at least five to eight other locations (Khedbrahma, Vadodara, Modasa, Dahod, Anand) were peaceful. The evidence from police control room (PCR) records submitted by P C Pande (accused in the complaint) to the SIT after 15 March 2011 reveal a cold-blooded mobilisation of RSS and VHP workers at the Sola Civil hospital from 4 am onwards on 28 February 2002 in aggressive anticipation of the arrival of the dead bodies.

Repeated PCR messages, that the home department under Modi and P C Pande were trying to conceal, show that both in Ahmedabad and in several locations all over Gujarat, crowds were mobilised to aggressively parade bodies with bloodthirsty sloganeering, inciting mobs to attack innocent Muslims. The then joint police commissioner, Ahmedabad, Shivanand Jha, also an accused in the complaint was jurisdictionally in charge of Sola Civil Hospital in zone 1. As the messages extracted show, repeated PCR messages desperately ask for more “bandobast”, they speak of the staff and doctors of the hospital being under threat, of a 5,000-6,000 strong mob accompanying the bodies and finally one message also says that “riots have broken out” (paras 559-60 at pp 244-47 of the protest petition).

These records also reveal what the SIT was trying hard to conceal: that the Ahmedabad police under P C Pande, the then minister of state for home, Gordhan Zadaphiya (accused in the complaint), and Narendra Modi had enough forces to escort a VHP leader known for his incendiary slogans, Giriraj Kishore, from the airport to the Sola Civil hospital to accompany the processionists, but they did not have enough forces to send to Naroda Patiya where at least 96 persons were massacred in broad daylight and 69 persons at Gulberg society the same day and around the same time as these aggressive processions were being allowed.

Sustained warnings from the SIB, even after the Godhra tragedy on 27 February 2002, show that large sections of the police were aware and knew of what should be expected all over the state now that the Godhra tragedy had happened. As early as 12.30 pm on 27 February a SIB officer, through fax number 525, communicated to the headquarters that there were reports that some dead bodies would be brought to Kalupur Hospital station in Ahmedabad city. The same message said that kar sevaks had given explosive interviews to a television channel at Godhra and had threatened to unleash violence against Muslims.

But it is the panic messages from 1.51 am onwards on 28 February 2002 from police wireless vans positioned at Sola Civil Hospital demanding immediate protection from Special Reserve Police platoons and the presence of the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) zone 1, that are a grave testimony to the planned gory scenario that was to unfold. The message at 2.44 am on 28 February 2002 informed that the motor cavalcade had reached Sola Civil Hospital. Page No 5790 of Annexure IV, file XIV reveals that at 04.00 am a mob comprising of 3,000 RSS workers had already gathered at the Sola Civil Hospital. Again, another message three hours later at 7.17 am (p 5797 of Annexure IV, File XIV of the documents) says that a mob of 500 people was holding up traffic. By 11.55 am a PCR message was sent out saying that the Hindu mob had become violent and had set a vehicle on fire and was indulging in arson on the highway.

The message at 11.55 am (page no 6162 Annexure IV File XV) says that “Sayyed Saheb, the protocol officer had informed Sola-1 that riots have started at Sola civil hospital at the high court where the dead bodies were brought”. Again, there is another message with no indication of time (page no 6172 of 28 February 2002) that states that the officers and employees of the hospital had been surrounded by a 500 strong mob and they could not come out. The message also made a demand for more security for the civil hospital at Sola.

In a cynical disregard of this hard documentary evidence, the SIT, in its first investigation report dated 12 May 2010, in the chairman’s comments dated 14 May 2010 and in its final report dated 8 February 2012 says that the funeral processions were peaceful.

On the morning of 28 February 2002, another SIB message says that a funeral procession was allowed to take place at Khedbrahma, a town in Sabarkantha district, and adds that soon after the funeral procession two Muslims on their way to Khedbrahma were stabbed and the situation had become very tense. All this and more has been ignored by the SIT completely.

Other documentary evidence of deliberate acts of provocation by the likes of Jaideep Patel, Kaushik Mehta (both also accused) and Dileep Trivedi were recorded by the SIB. They made inflammatory false statements of “women being molested at Godhra” and the SIB records that other meetings at Vapi, Khedbrahma, Bhavnagar, etc, are being held by RSS, VHP and the BD to whip up sentiments (paras 631-37, pp 274-76 of the protest petition). One message at Annexure III, file XVIII (D-160) at page no 19, message no 531 from SIB police to K R Singh at 6.10 pm on 27 February 2002, actually records that “on 27 February 2002 at 4.30 pm when the train arrived at the Ahmedabad Railway station, the kar sevaks were armed with ‘dandas’ and shouting murderous slogans ‘khoon ka badla khoon’”.

SIT: Omissions and Commissions

While Modi travelled 300 kms to Godhra and returned the same night, he did not visit any of the refugee camps where women, children and men of the minority community had taken shelter until well after the 21-22 May 2002 visit of J S Verma, the then chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and former chief justice of India. He also announced a discriminatory compensation package for those killed at Godhra and those thereafter. The crucial, and sensational, meeting at his residence on the night of 27 February 2002 is where direct evidence of the conspiracy in operation has been alleged. Officers and others who were present have, over the past 11 years, indicated that clearly illegal orders were conveyed by the accused chief minister. Unlike crucial law and order meetings at times of crises, this meeting has not been minuted.

What transpired at this meeting was first publicly revealed through the report of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Crimes Against Humanity – headed by Justices V R Krishna Iyer, P B Sawant and Hosbet Suresh. Thereafter in the course of the SIT investigations, a serving officer of the Gujarat police, Sanjiv Bhatt testified directly and corroborated this. The protest petition makes a strong case for testing this evidence in court. Amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran in his report to the Supreme Court had also clearly opined that it is not for the investigating agency to prejudge the evidence but place it to be tested during trial.

Despite the evidence of intense communal mobilisation, bloodthirsty speeches and actual attacks on Muslim citizens on the day of the Godhra tragedy, there is no appeal for peace and calm by the state’s chief minister and home minister. No preventive arrests were made, despite 19 attacks on minorities in Ahmedabad on 27 February 2002 itself, nor were prohibitory orders issued. There is no clarity either, from the investigation papers, as to when the army was actually called and deployed. The SIT had not bothered to record the statement of major Zameeruddin Shah, in charge of the army operations in Gujarat, nor that of K P S Gill, sent by the central government in May 2002 simply because the violence continued and refused to stop. Hence the protest petition, apart from praying for the charge sheeting of all the accused, also makes a strong case for a transfer of the further investigation to an independent agency.

The failure of the SIT was in its inability to examine the evidence objectively. An honest and robust investigation would have made a strong comparative analysis between those districts of Gujarat that burned and those that withstood the illegal instructions from above while succumbing to rampaging militias of the RSS-VHP-BD combine from below. Bhavnagar and Panchmahals are interesting studies. Superintendent of police Rahul Sharma, despite all attempts to unleash bloodshed, held his own, even though reinforcements and troops were deliberately delayed by his seniors in Gandhinagar. Annoyed at his non-partisan conduct he was transferred by 26 March 2002. Brought to the crime branch, he again made significant inputs about non-partisan charge sheets in both the Gulberg and Naroda Patiya investigations; he was transferred yet again.

In Conclusion

The narrative of the conspiracy of partisan governance and subversion of the justice process runs parallel to a cynical policy of punishing those officers who refused to become collaborators in the planned bloodshed. Unfashionable as it is to quote from Jawaharlal Nehru when he said that “The [real] danger to India, is from Hindu right-wing communalism”, it seems more than appropriate given the continued attempts by the government in power in Gujarat and the party in power, to belittle what has been an onerous and exacting battle, fought at great risk, within the courts.

 

Press Release- Understanding Communal Mobilisation –Lessons from the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition


Press Release

May 7, 2013

The filing of the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition before the Magistrate on 15 April 2013 is a significant landmark in the sustained battle for the Rule of Law, Constitutional Governance and against communal forces and their vicious mobilisation within organs of the state and through unholy alliances with non-state actors. The petition, filed after a sustained battle to get a fair and transparent investigation against a chief minister, cabinet colleagues, senior administrators, policemen and front men and women of the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal will now make a strong case for charge sheeting of 59 accused.

Apart from the individual accused involved in this case, against whom a strong case for criminal culpability and administrative connivance and failure has been made out, the wider issues raised are critical to understand. Communal mobilisation precedes violence. It’s transformation into brute attacks against targeted sections of the population remain fundamental threats to the lasting security of all Indians, communal harmony and the secularisation of the Indian polity.

We believe therefore the wider issues raised through the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition are debated widely to ensure a greater understanding of such mobilisation and to build a resistance to the same in future. Only then can we collectively demand a transparent and accountable system of governance from our representatives and the parties that they represent. The entire text of the Protest Petition can be accessed at

http://www.cjponline.org/zakia/protpetition/Protest%20Petition%20PART%20I.pdf

http://www.cjponline.org/zakia/protpetition/Protest%20Petition%20PART%20II.pdf

Important Issues Raised in the Petition

  • Aggressive Mobilisation of Communal Forces and Response of State Agencies & Government Monitoring and Check on Hate Speech, Hate Writing, Pamphleteering
  • State and Government Response to a Tragedy like Godhra on 27 February 2002
  • Contemporaneous Records that Reveal Government Callousness or Indifference
  • Transparency in Summoning assistance from the Military /Paramilitary forces
  • Comparative Analysis of Districts & Commission records worst affected (15) and those that held their own (SPs/DMs refused to bow down to political masters)
  • Role of Whistleblowers in Pinning down Accountability
  • Role of Survivors/Activists/ Legal and Civil Rights Groups
  • Role of the Political Class
  • Role of Media

Build Up of Violence prior to 27.2.2002

The state intelligence records available to the state government and administration reveal that there was a systematic build up of aggressive communal mobilisation, hate speech etc even prior to February 27, 2003.These details are available in textual and tabular form in the Protest Petition. These provide significant pointers to the workings and operations of the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) that is sending out warnings and the police administration, home ministry (headed by the chief minister) that is systematically ignoring them. This aspect needs to be understood by us to ensure that such warnings are heeded in future. Reference: Pages 193-202 of the Protest Petition & Paras 457 – 469 at Pages 204-209 of the Protest Petition.

Monitoring & Check on Hate Speech, Hate Writing and Pamphleteering

Responsible sections of the Gujarat administration, senior IPS officers who were on the field manning districts and controlling attempts to provoke violence there as also senior police officer like then ADGP (Intelligence) RB Sreekumar had strongly recommended action under Sections 153 a, 153 b of the PC against certain newspapers and publications that had consciously published provocative and incendiary material not based on facts. Action against pamphlets circulated by the VHP was also advised. However the government and its home department has, to date not taken any action that was recommended.

In fact the Amicus Curiae in the case Advocate Raju Ramachandran has himself recommended prosecution against the chief minister for violation of the law on hate speech. The Protest Petition deals at length on the deleterious impact of hate speech and hate writing and the inaction of the state government. The chief minister had in fact sent congratulatory letters to those Gujarati newspapers that had indulged in such incendiary writing and excluded from praise at least three publications (Prabhat and Gujarat Today) that had been responsible in reportage (Editor’s Guild Report).. Reference at Paras 126-153at Pages 72-85 of the Protest Petition & Para 234 at Page 116 of the Protest Petition

No Appeal for Calm, No Visit to Relief Camps, Discriminatory Behaviour

Quite apart from the infamous meeting on the night of February 27, 2002 about which facts have to be tested – through examination and cross-examination of witnesses during trial — the administration’s lackluster response to protection of lives and maintenance of peace following the Godhra tragedy is itself a testimony to a conspiracy in evidence.  There were no appeals for Restraint, Peace and Calm; No Preventive Arrests were made on February 27, 2002 despite the fact that violence had already broken out and the SIB was warning of widespread communal mobilisation; no issuing of Prohibitory Orders and declaration of Curfew except in Godhra town; worst, the government support to the bandh proved to be a cynical mechanism by which the streets were allowed to be taken over by rabid bands of the RSS-VHP and Bajrang Dal. The SIT has not thoroughly probed the deployment of army and paramilitary and not even examined independent witnesses like the Major in charge of Army Operations and KPS Gill sent in by the Centre.

Indicting Documentary Evidence Ignored

Evidence from Police Control Room (PCR) records submitted by then Commissioner of Police (2002), PC Pande to the SIT after 15.3.2011 reveal cynical and cold-blooded mobilization of RSS workers and VHP men at the Sola Civil hospital from 4 a.m. onwards on 28.2.2002 in aggressive anticipation for the arrival of the dead bodies. Repeated PCR messages, that the home department under Narendra Modi (A-1, who held the home portfolio) and PC Pande (A-21) were trying to conceal, show that both in Ahmedabad and in several locations all over Gujarat crowds were mobilized to aggressively parade bodies with bloodthirsty sloganeering, inciting mobs to attack innocent Muslims. The then joint police commissioner, Ahmedabad, Shivanand Jha, also an accused in the complaint (A-38), was jurisdictionally in charge of Sola Civil Hospital in Zone 1. As the messages extracted in the Protest Petition atPara 559 at Pages 244-247 of the Protest Petition show, repeated PCR messages desperately ask for bandobast; they speak of the staff and doctors of the hospital being under threat; of a 5,000-6,000 strong mob accompanying the bodies and finally one message also says that “riots have broken out.”

Yet the entire Home department under the chief minister and senior bureaucrats and policemen who had been neutralised including Chakravarti (A-25) and PC Pande (A-29) in collaboration with the SIT have strived hard to conceal this evidence. While such aggressive funeral processions were allowed in Ahmedabad, an equally explosive situation prevailed simultaneously in Khedbrahma, Vadodara, Modasa, Dahod, Anand etc. The PCR records, also reveal that while the Ahmedabad police under PC Pande and the home department under Modi and then MOS, home Gordhan Zadaphiya (A-5) had enough forces to escort a VHP leader known for his inciteful slogans, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, from the airport to the Sola Civil hospital to accompany the processionists, shouting filthy hate speeches and murderous slogans. But they did not have enough forces to send to Naroda Patiya where 96 persons were massacred in broad daylight, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. over several hours (according to the charge-sheet though actual figures may be higher). Similarly the daylight massacre of 69 persons at Gulberg society the same day was permitted by a callous administration (PC Pande did not step out of his office barely 1-2 kms away from Naroda and Gulberg; besides he was in close touch with the chief minister’s office (CMO) between 12 noon and 3.40 p.m. that coincided with the height of the violence. Modi allowing and openly supporting the bandh and neutralising his administration, decided to give the RSS, VHP, BD mobs a free run of the Gujarat streets to massacre innocents.

Warnings Ignored (from SIB and PCR messages)

From as early as 12:30 pm on the 27th February: An SIB officer through fax no 525 communicated to the headquarters that there were reports that some dead bodies would be brought to Kalupur Hospital station in Ahmedabad city. “So communal violence will occur in the city of Ahmedabad; so take preventive action.” Another SIB message numbered as Out/184/02 again warned about communal incidents if bodies were brought to Ahmedabad. “Communal violence will occur in the city. So take preventive action.”  The same message said that karsevaks had given explosive interviews to a TV station at Godhra and had threatened to unleash violence against the Muslims.

At 1:51 hours and again at 1:59 hours (early morning ) on the February 28, 2002, there were panic messages by wireless police vans positioned at Sola Hospital demanding immediate protection from Special Reserve Police platoons and the presence of DCP Zone 1.Message at 2:44 hours on 28.2.2002: the motor cavalcade has reached Sola Civil Hospital. Page No. 5790 of Annexure IV, File XIV reveals that at 04:00 am a mob comprising of 3,000 swayamsevaks, that is the members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had already gathered at the Civil Sola Hospital. At 7.14 a.m. the PCR van again informs the Police Control Room that a large mob had assembled at the hospital. (Page 5796 of Annexure IV, File XIV of the documents). Again, another message three minutes later at 7:17 a.m. (Page 5797 of Annexure IV, File XIV of the documents) says that a mob of 500 people was holding up the traffic. Ten bodies were taken to Ramol, an area near Naroda and a massive funeral rally of over 5,000-6,000 mourners took the bodies to Hatkeshwar crematorium in the afternoon. At 11:55 am a PCR message is sent out saying that the Hindu mob had become violent and had set a vehicle on fire and was indulging in arson on the highway. Message at 11.55 a.m. on 28.2.2002 (Page No. 6162 Annexure IV File XV) saying that “Sayyed Saheb, the Protocol Officer had informed Sola-1 that riots have started at Sola civil hospital at the High Court where the dead bodies were brought.”Again, there is another message with no indication of time (Page No..6172 of 28.2.2002) that states that the officers and employees of the hospital had been surrounded by a 500 strong mob and they could not come out”. The message also made a demand for more security for the civil hospital at Sola. Annexure IV File XIV- Message No. 5907 and 5925 at 11:58 a.m. on 28.2.2002 shows that when 10 dead bodies were taken from Ramol Jantanagar to the Hatkeshwar cremation ground, a crowd of 5,000-6,000 persons accompanied this procession. On the morning of 28.2.2002, a SIB message (on page 258 of Annexure III File XIX, message No. Com/538/28/2/02) says that a funeral procession was allowed to take place at Khedbrahma, a town in Sabarkantha district. The message adds that soon after the funeral procession 2 Muslims on their way to Khedbrahma were stabbed and the situation had become very tense.

Firebrigade Neutralised

Throughout February 28, 2002 while fires were set all over Ahmedabad city, PCR records show that repeated calls from different areas to the Fire Brigade drew went answered. PCR records show that repeated distress calls to the Fire Brigade from different parts of Ahmedabad went unanswered. Reference – Para 827 at Pages 369-372 of the Protest Petition. This is further evidence of the deliberate neutralisation of the administration.

Comparative Violence

The Protest Petition also makes a systematic study of those districts where violence did not break out largely because of the men and women at the helm who refused to abet the wider conspiracy. For an effective understanding of whether the widespread and brutal and systemic violence in 14 of Gujarat’s 29 districts and commissionerates was on account of a pre-planned and systematic neutralistion of the preventive and protective Constitutional mechanisms, the SIT ought to have undertaken just such an exercise. Instead it willfully concealed from the Supreme Court of India the wealth of documentary evidence collected through the SIB (January 2010) and the PCR records of Ahmedabad city (post March 15 2011). Similar PCR data of other parts of Gujarat was deliberately not collected by the SIT.

The role of whistleblower policemen and administrators through the investigations and the past eleven and a half years has been significant. The affidavits and phone call CDs submitted by then SP Bhavnagar and DCP Crime Rahul Sharma have been critical. Today he is being consistently targeted with one chrage sheet and six notices being served on him. Former DGP RB Sreekumar who’s first four affidavits before the Nanavati- Shah Commission provided a thorough documentation of the functionings of the government at the time was also similarly victimised. Lastly Sanjiv Bhatt has also been targeted. Interestingly the evidence of all three whistleblowers has been given little credence by the SIT except when they in small measure support one or the other of SIT’s claims.

The Citizens for Justice and Peace has assisted complainant Zakia Ahsan Jafri in this legal battle. Both Mrs Jafri and her family and the CJP, especially its secretary and band of lawyers continue to carry on this legal battle at great personal risk. On May 1, 2013 the Magistrate that had heard the SIT arguments for six days since April 24, 2013, was transferred. By May 15, 2013, when the next Magistrate takes over, the day to day hearings in this matter are likely to resume.

We hope that this case that has a great significance for the control and containment of state sponsored communal violence is allowed to continue without interruption and delay.

Ram Rahman                                                   Teesta Setalvad

 

Gujarat – Contours of a conspiracy


Frontline May, 2013

A protest petition filed by Zakia Jafri weaves together evidence, from contemporaneous phone and police control room records, pointing to the role of the powers that be in manipulating the Godhra incident to plan the violence against the Muslim community. By TEESTA SETALVAD

Criminal conspiracy under the law is defined as an agreement between at least two persons to commit one or more illegal acts or acts by illegal means. By its criminal intent, such a conspiracy is masterminded under a cloak of secrecy. When, and if, such a conspiracy involves a powerful, constitutionally elected head of a state, it is unlikely that the masterminding of such a series of dastardly criminal acts will be closely recorded (minuted).

The first, sharp indication that the series of acts of commission and omission by the Gujarat government under its Chief Minister in 2002, following the tragedy at Godhra, came in succinct terms from the former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma, who was heading the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC): “The Commission would like to observe at this stage that it is the primary and inescapable responsibility of the State to protect the right to life, liberty, equality and dignity of all of those who constitute it. It is also the responsibility of the State to ensure that such rights are not violated either through overt acts, or through abetment or negligence. It is a clear and emerging principle of human rights jurisprudence that the State is responsible not only for the acts of its own agents, but also for the acts of non-State players acting within its jurisdiction. The State is, in addition, responsible for any inaction that may cause or facilitate the violation of human rights” (Interim and final reports, 2002). The NHRC was also scathing in its observations regarding the blatantly discriminatory governance displayed by the government of the day —differential rates of compensation and an obdurate refusal to visit the relief camps (1,68,000 persons were forcibly displaced because of the violence and arson) where innocent members of the minority community were housed, having been made to “pay” for the “heinous” crime at Godhra.

The report of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal (Crimes Against Humanity—Gujarat 2002), headed by Justices V.R. Krishna Iyer, P.B. Sawant and Hosbet Suresh, further detailed the gruesome conspiracy, making sharp and telling recommendations. While these reports were being documented, in parallel, chilling corroboration of the depth of the planning behind the perpetrated violence came from serving Indian Police Service (IPS) officers of the Gujarat government, former ASGP Intelligence R.B. Sreekumar, and S.P. Bhavnagar and DCP Crime Branch Rahul Sharma. They filed their affidavits before the Nanavati-Shah Commission within months of the violence. By 2004, when two of the criminal trials arising out of the state-perpetuated carnage, the Best Bakery and the Bilkees Bano cases, had been transferred out of Gujarat for trial, these officers had been examined by the Nanavati-Shah Commission, and Sharma had produced a CD of five lakh phone records that provided more evidence of complicity and planning behind the attacks.

All this material was put together in a criminal complaint by Zakia Ahsan Jafri, assisted by the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), and sent to the by then Director General of Police (DGP) P.C. Pandey, an officer seriously indicted for connivance in allowing Ahmedabad to burn for weeks in 2002. He had been the happy recipient of a series of promotions by the man at the helm, the State’s Home Minister who was, and is, also the Chief Minister. Expectedly, this criminal complaint dated June 8, 2006, was treated with contempt, compelling Zakia Jafri and the CJP to petition the Gujarat High Court and later the Supreme Court of India for an order for the registration of a first information report (FIR) against the 60-plus accused. Today, arguments for and against charge-sheeting the 59 accused (two have since died, former Health and Law Minister Ashok Bhatt and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or VHP, ideologue Prof. K.K. Shastri) have begun before a magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad.

Unique legal effort

The courts will adjudicate on a unique legal effort at pinning criminal and administrative culpability and responsibility on the political and administrative leadership and the frontrunners of non-state actors (from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, or RSS, and the VHP) who were given the run of Gujarat’s streets. Between 2006, when the complaint was first sent to the DGP, Gujarat, to September 12, 2011, when the Supreme Court gave the complainants the right to approach a court in Ahmedabad, a detailed (if wanting) investigation was completed and, in criminal law terms, the stage was set for charge-sheeting some or all of the accused. In the interim, finding the high-profile Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by it wanting, the Supreme Court of India had on May 5, 2011, directed the amicus curiae in the case, Raju Ramachandran, to assess the evidence—he found enough material to prosecute accused number 1, the State’s Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, and at least three others. The SIT, in its final report filed on February 8, 2012, gave a clean chit to everyone.

Students of law and politics can learn much from a close study of this legal drama. Serious efforts at weaving together the threads of the sinister and massive conspiracy that had been alleged in the complaint were expected from such a high-profile SIT. From the start, however, the SIT deliberately set its bar low, preferring to look at only stray, discreet and superficial aspects alleged in the complaint, deliberately ignoring the import and consequences of a series of criminal and negligent acts and their impact. It ignored contemporaneous documentary evidence, the systematic use of instigative vitriol by the state and non-state accused, and rigidly refused to record statements of independent agencies like the officers of the Indian Army and Central intelligence who were privy to the consummate failures of the time.

It is no wonder then that it took the complainant, Zakia Jafri, a whole year after the final report was filed by the SIT on February 8, 2012, to get the Supreme Court to order full and complete access to all the documents and investigation reports, on February 7, 2013. The SIT did everything within in its power not just to give a clean chit to all the powerful accused but to deny the complainant her legal and moral right to access all investigation papers to facilitate and lend meaning and authority to a comprehensive protest petition.

Evidence of a cold-blooded conspiracy to manipulate the tragic Godhra incident—from the moment of the terrible news—has emerged. The petition weaves together evidence from an analysis of phone records, as also documentary contemporaneous records, and alleges that the conspiracy involved the Chief Minister, accused number 1, who was in close consultation with the then Health Minister Ashok Bhatt (accused no. 2), Urban Development Minister I.K. Jadeja (accused no. 3) and other co-accused Cabinet colleagues, and especially VHP leader Jaideep Patel (accused no. 21), to fully exploit the tragedy at Godhra for fuelling the meticulously planned massacre of Muslims all over Gujarat. The petition makes the following points:

Phone call records show that Narendra Modi was in close touch with Jaideep Patel immediately after information of the Godhra tragedy came in, even before he met Home Department officials and Ministers. Thereafter, there was a hasty and publicly conducted post-mortem at Godhra, out in the public against all law and procedure while a crowd of VHP workers was present. Narendra Modi was present while this happened. While passions were being so cynically stoked, another decision to hand over the bodies of Godhra victims to VHP strongman Jaideep Patel was taken at a mini Cabinet meeting presided over by the Chief Minister in Godhra, at which the co-accused Ministers were present. Jaideep Patel too was present at the meeting. Senior members of the administration and police were intimidated and neutralised. Other co-accused, the then Gujarat Director General of Police, K. Chakravarti (A-25), the then Police Commissioner, Ahmedabad, P.C. Pandey (A-29), the then additional Chief Secretary, Home, Ashok Narayan (A-28), and other key members of the bureaucracy and police were co-conspirators.

The SIT seems to have deliberately ignored the documentary evidence collected during the investigation. Key field reports from the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) from all the districts were given to the SIT by January 2010, that is, a full three and a half months before the SIT submitted its first investigation report to the Supreme Court on May 12, 2010. These reports reveal a grim ground-level reality: gross provocations and bloodthirsty slogans by VHP workers from 4 p.m. onwards on the afternoon of February 27, 2002 (“Khoon ka badla khoon se lenge”, blood for blood) while Narendra Modi had still not left for Godhra. The late-night meeting at Narendra Modi’s residence effectively neutralised the police and the administration from doing its constitutional duty. The protest petition states that the credibility of the evidence relating to the critical February 27, 2002, meeting must be tested during trial and that it was not the job of the investigating agency to pre-judge the issue, acting like a court, overstepping its jurisdiction to protect and save the powerful accused. This is also what the amicus curiae, Raju Ramachandran, had opined.

Damning evidence

Evidence from the Police Control Room (PCR) records submitted by P.C. Pandey to the SIT after March 15, 2011 (that is, after the Supreme Court ordered the SIT to further investigate the complaint of Zakia Jafri dated June 8, 2006) reveals a cynical and cold-blooded mobilisation of RSS workers and VHP men at the Sola Civil Hospital from 4 a.m. onwards on February 28, 2002, in aggressive anticipation of the arrival of the dead bodies. Yet, both the SIT reports state that the funeral processions were peaceful. Repeated PCR messages, messages that the Home Department under Narendra Modi (A-1, who held the Home portfolio) and P.C. Pandey (A-21) were trying to conceal, show that both in Ahmedabad and in several locations all over Gujarat, crowds were mobilised to parade bodies with bloodthirsty sloganeering, inciting mobs to attack innocent Muslims. Repeated PCR messages desperately ask for bandobast; they speak of the staff and doctors of the hospital being under threat; of a 5,000-6,000-strong mob accompanying the bodies and, finally, one message also says that “riots have broken out”. Equally volatile mobilisations were allowed simultaneously at Khedbrahma, Vadodara, Modasa, Dahod, Anand, and so on. A cynical government under Narendra Modi and his co-accused have done their best to conceal this evidence. The SIT ignored such hard documentary evidence completely.

The PCR records also reveal that the Ahmedabad Police under P.C. Pandey and the Home Department under Narendra Modi and the then Minister of State, Home, Gordhan Zadaphiya (A-5) had enough forces to escort a VHP leader known for his inciteful slogans, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, from the airport to the Sola Civil Hospital to accompany the processionists. But they did not have enough forces to protect the hapless citizens of Naroda Patiya and Gulberg, where over 200 persons were massacred the same day. Narendra Modi allowed and openly supported the bandh during which RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal mobs had a free run of the streets.

Judicially, the Modi government has received several reprimands, and even warnings, right from the 2004 Best Bakery case to the more recent findings of the higher courts, for its attitude towards the rebuilding of 297 masjids and durgahs wilfully destroyed in 2002. Yet, the same government which has received consistent and serious setbacks on issues relating to constitutional governance won three elections. A serious dilemma or battle between electoral and constitutional governance?

 

Why is Narendra Mod i- Accused No 1


Why Modi is accused no-1?

DNA Correspondent, April 16,2013

MODI1

Zakia Jafri’s petition claims Modi administration had supported and ignored communal violence in 2002. The state police and administration did not pay heed to intelligence bureau record about hate speeches by right wing activists and mobilisation of mob. DNA brings excerpts of the protest petition.

l Modi contacts the then VHP leader Dr Jaideep Patel immediately after information of the Godhra tragedy comes in, even before he meets home department officials

l Sinister decision was taken in ‘mini-cabinet’ meeting at Godhra where Patel was present

l Administration and police were deliberately paralyzed and neutralized by conspiracy hatched by Modi and the then DGP K Chakravarti, the then police commissioner PC Pande, additional chief secretary (home) Ashok Narayan and other important officials

l Victory of Modi in Rajkot by-election a week before Godhra riots with a very slender margin

l Ehsan Jafri had been active campaigner against Modi.

l Meeting at Modi’s residence on February 27, 2002 night effectively neutralized the police and administration.

l Alert messages of State Intelligence Bureau (SIT) of provocation and build up of mobs as well as showing possibilities of violence were ignored.

l The SIT deliberately conceals and ignored during the probe regarding documents of SIB regarding hate speeches issued by RSS and VHP workers.

 

Will the Govt. imprison Pravin Togadia? #hatespeech


 

Petition filed against Togadia, Owaisi,Others – Hate Speeches

Written by Agencies | January 10, 2013 |

Hyderabad : President of Deccan Wakf properties Protection Society, Osman Bin Mohammed Al-Hajri, has failed a complaint against Praveen Togadia, International General Secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akberuddin Owaisi, MLA of Chadrayangutta, Muneeruddin Muqtar, Convenor, Muttaheda Majlis-e-Amal and others, in the court of Sixth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate here, on January 7, stating that they were indulging in hate speeches, and hence action should be taken against them.

Togadia, Akberuddin Owaisi
Al-Hajri filed the petition through his Advocates Syed Kareemuddin Shakeel and Mohammed Khan. The petitioner and the Advocate Kareemuddin shakeel, informed the media here today, that the Sixth chief additional Metropolitan Magistrate, after hearing the arguments, referred the said complaint to the Police Station, Tappachabutra in the city and directed the police to register the case against the above mentioned accused persons and take appropriate legal action against them.
In the complaint, the petitioner alleged that Praveen Togadia had visited Hyderabad in December last, openly threatened the Muslims of bloodshed. By making serious and highly objectionable remarks against the Muslim community, he Infused tension in both the communities, which can cause hate feelings in both the communities which is hazardous to the peace and tranquility of Hyderabad and the State.
The alleged that Muneeruddin Muqtar had conducted series of public meetings in the districts of the State, in which Akbaruddin Owaisi had made inflammatory and provocative speeches and made some derogatory and insulting remarks against the Hindu community, and insulted their religious faith and their gods. The derogatory remarks made by Owaisi are totally against the Islamic teachings. Any Muslim who has faith in Quran will not make any such derogatory remarks against the other religious faith and hurt their sentiments of other religious group. Quran says “Don’t insult other religion’s Gods and faith”, he added.

 

#India-Jatland Of Haryana: A Rapists’ Republic #Vaw #Torture


pic courtesy fabio cicala

By Anand Teltumbde

03 November, 2012
Countercurrents.org

After the Manesar incident that exposed the unlawful labour practices being followed in the sunshine capitalist establishments that characterizes Harayana’s industrialization and also its patron, the state government, Haryana is again in the limelight, this time for its primal feudal traits. There have been 19 gang-rapes of Dalit girls, one more gruesome than the other, during a single month. While the government responses have been lethargic as usual, the notorious khap panchyats of the ruling Jats, with their pervasive influence have in a way justified these rapes by advising that the girls should be married off before they reached the age of puberty to avoid rapes. Important politicians unashamedly endorsed this shocking solution in public and some of them dismissing rapes as basically consensual matters turned sour. These are not one off examples of foolhardiness of some stray individuals; it verily represents an abiding pattern that makes the state a veritable hell for Dalits.

Roguery of the Rich

Haryana, the land of Jats that exemplifies the huge enrichment and empowerment of farming castes in the post-colonial India, has also been a representative of cohabitation of global capitalism and debauched feudalism. After separation from Punjab in 1966, as purely Hindu Jat state Haryana took rapid strides in development. Today with per capita income of Rs 92,327 (2011), it tops the list of the states except for Goa with Rs. 1,32,719. All these riches are obviously not shared by all. They have been disproportionately pocketed by a section of Jats, which with its power and pelf shelters rest of the community under its thralldom. Thanks to the feudal autocratic style of its leaders, it has emerged one of the major centres of manufacturing, business process outsourcing, agriculture and retail sectors. Gurgaon, with its glass and metal clad high rises housing MNC and TNC offices and families of their honchos perhaps best represents the development of Haryana. Even beyond Gurgaon, the general infrastructure in the state surely rivals the best anywhere. However, beyond this facade lies the Haryana of antiquity that is ruled by khap panchyats, that kills female fetuses, that executes honour killings, that practices rampant incests and that treats its Dalits as its slaves to be lynched, butchered and raped at will.

Recall, when on 16 October 2002 five Dalits were lynched to death by a large and violent mob on the main road outside the Dulina Police Post, near Jhajjar town in Haryana in front of the police and several senior district officials for being accused of skinning a cow, the killers were glorified as heroes who had avenged the cow “our mother”. Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), leader Parmanand Giri had openly stated that those who had killed the ‘gau-hatyare’ (killers of cow) must be honoured. The VHP President Giriraj Kishore justified killing saying, “the life of a cow is more precious than that of a human being.” Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Sarva-Khap Panchayats openly lent support to the killers and opposed any action against them. Such is the terror of the Jats, who pride by valor (read criminality), that the then District Commissioner of Jajjhar had expressed his helplessness to the PUDR team saying that no administration could function in the area without pacifying the sentiments of organisations like the VHP, and negotiating with the ‘Khap’ Panchayats. On 27 August 2005, 55 to 60 Dalit houses were burnt down by a violent mob of 1500 to 2000 Jats in Gohana with full support of local Police or on April 21, 2010, when two Dalits were killed in Mirchpur and their houses set ablaze or last year 70 Dalit families of Bhagana village in Hisar were ousted with the social boycott by Jats, there was similar arrogant support for the perpetrators of crime. The khap panchayats’ honour killing, its public justification by the Jat spokespersons and politicians; their resolution against the struggling Maruti workers’ union, and several such actions are nothing but the naked roguery of the rich Jats in Haryana.

Haplessness of Dalits

Dalits live in perpetual fear of Jats in Haryana. The sex starved Jats on account of acute shortage of women (there are just 877 women for each 1000, far below the national average of 940 as per census 2011) are known to indulge in incests with impunity. But when the khap panchyats issued its fatwa against the within-clan marriages, they turned to softer targets in Dalit girls. The National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) reports shows how the rapes on Dalit girls/women have consistently gone up from 21 in 2007 to 56 in 2011. While the national rape on Dalit girl/woman went up by 15.41% over the period, the increase in Haryana was whooping 167 %. In a single month of September 2012, there have been 19 gangrapes on Dalit girls. Among these was a 16-year-old girl, who was gangraped by a dozen upper-caste men in Darba village of Haryana’s Hisar district on 9 September. The rapists had filmed the horrific act and circulated the video. Unable to cope with the situation, her father committed suicide. Another Dalit girl of the same age, who was also gangraped in the Sachcha Kheda village in Jind district, burnt herself to death. A 5-months pregnant Dalit woman was abducted and raped by two youths in Kalyat. Practically, the gangs of bahubalis with patronage of politicians can rape and kill Dalit girls without any fear. Haryana has seen such rape cases in several districts, including Rohtak, Hisar, Jind, Bhiwani, Yamunanagar, Panipat, Sonipat, Ambala, Karnal, Faridabad and Kaithal in the past one month.

Unlike Jats, Dalits are poor and sans protection. They can be easily scared by the upper castes, which exert pressure on the family of a rape victim not to report the matter to the police. If the family still approached police, the latter would dissuade it and would not easily register the case. Only under the public pressure the police seem to register crime against Dalits and arrest the culprits. When the case is registered most victim families are pressurized by the Jats to go in for an out-of-court settlement, and accusing it of destroying the village’s intercaste harmony if it refused to succumb. While the family incurs wrath of powerful Jats in village, the police in process do everything to weaken the case. Further the investigation is done in a motivated manner so as to pass it in weakest form possible to prosecution and judiciary. Provide for prosecution’s incapacity and judiciary’s bias and the aftermath after decades is invariably frustrating to victims. This is the general picture in the country; the case in Haryana can be left to imagination.

Options before Dalits

Traditionally Dalits have relied on the state as a neutral arbiter and hoped it would do them justice. The colonial state created this hope and the post-colonial state, pretending to conduct itself as per the constitution, which Dalits believed to be the code of Ambedkar, reinforced this reliance. Despite persistent disillusionment over the last six decades this trait appears intact, perhaps for the lack of any better alternative. The state has not only not cared for them; it has also been itself a perpetrator of atrocities. In every atrocity that came to limelight the complicit as well as active perpetrator’s role of the state is revealed. Besides, with policy as its weapon of mass destruction the state has consistently acted against poor of which the Dalits have been a preponderant part. In recent years, the security syndrome has come handy for the state to label them as naxalite and persecute. Leave apart being a benefactor, the state is completely exposed in its anti-Dalit role. The anti-people collusion between legislature and executive, even judiciary that held hope for people otherwise has failed to create confidence in Dalits with its biased judgements.

The entire system, with its much trumpeted social justice for Dalits, stands exposed as an intrigue intricately devised to ‘manage’ Dalits as it knew left unmanaged they could easily turn inflammable. The entire representational logic embedded in the reservation system had Macaulayan colonial strategy underneath. Their political representatives, sarkari intellectuals, and the entire middle class created by this logic are meant to ‘manage’ vast Dalit masses. Who will then take care of their interests? Who will do what to a Congress leader who rubs salt over Dalit injuries saying “90% girls go out of their own will”, the state president of the Congress, who dismisses it as a “conspiracy to malign the government”, Haryana’s khaps that prescribes how girls should dress so as not to provoke young men; the Sarva Khap Jat Panchayat, that says the marriage age for girls be lowered to curb rising incidents of rape in the state, and Om Prakash Chautala of INLD who endorses it in a shameless manner?

What should Dalits do? Ambedkar posed this problem way back in 1936 and had come out with a communitarian solution of merging into an existing religious community to overcome the intrinsic weakness of Dalits. He did convert two decades later, but to a religion which did not have any such community in India. The conversion as could be objectively seen made little dent to the condition of Dalits. Ambedkar’s vision of ‘annihilation of castes’ is eclipsed by the upsurge of sub-caste movements of Dalits. His construction of ‘Dalit’ as a quasi class of organic proletarians stands effectively demolished. Ambedkar is reduced to an identitarian icon devoid of any emancipatory content. Dalits reflect the same cultural strands that enslaved them for millennia. If the Jats have khaps, they too have their khaps; if others have their jat panchayats, Dalits have theirs, may be with a changed label. In this state, taking clue from Ambedkar’s diagnosis and vision, the only option that remains for Dalits is not a communitarian unity but a class unity. In Haryana, the Manesar episode shows that the young educated workforce is alienated from khap panchayats who have condemned their struggle against exploitative management. There is sizable progressive force, albeit fragmented, in Haryana, which should build the class unity encompassing Dalits to defeat the vile designs of the rapist regime.

It may sound utopian but it is surely doable. Haryana is the ideal land to make a beginning of this process.

Dr Anand Teltumbde is a writer and civil rights activist with CPDR, Mumbai

 

Babu Bajrang Dal had only MURDER on his mind- Gujarat Riots 2002 #mustread


Following is the transcript of Babu Bajrangi’s Interview with Tehelka
in Sept 2007.

 


.Today,nearly 5 years later he has been CONVICTED .

Conspirators & Rioters


‘After Killing Them, I Felt Like Maharana Pratap

Transcript: BABU BAJRANGI

Neither loot nor rape, this Bajrang Dal leader had only murder on his mind

SEPTEMBER 1, 2007

Bajrangi: My role was as follows: I was the first to start the
[Naroda] Patiya operation… We and the local residents were all
together. Patiya is just half a kilometre away from my home… I had
gone to Godhra when it happened… I could not bear what I saw… The next
day, we gave them a fitting reply…

TEHELKA: What were you unable to tolerate in Godhra?

Bajrangi: Any person who saw the Godhra kaand [massacre] would have
felt like just killing them at once, hacking them apart… that’s how it
was…

TEHELKA: You were there?

Bajrangi: Yes, yes, I was with them… So the Godhra kaand happened and
after what I saw, I just came back to Naroda and we took revenge.

TEHELKA: How could you organize it all in such short time?

Bajrangi: Little time… We organized everything that night itself… We
mobilised a team of 29 or 30 people… Those who had guns, we went to
them that night itself and told them to give us their guns… If anyone
refused, I told them I would shoot them the next day, even if they
were Hindu… So people agreed to part with whatever cartridges and guns
they had… In this way, we collected 23 guns. But nobody died of
gunshots… What happened was this: we chased them and were able to
scare them into a huge khadda [pit]. There we surrounded them and
finished everything off… Then, at 7 o’clock, we announced…

TEHELKA: This was in Patiya? That’s what it’s called, isn’t it?

Bajrangi: Yes, yes, Patiya.

TEHELKA: Please describe the area.

Bajrangi: In Patiya, there is an ST [State Transport] workshop with a
huge wall beside it; next to this wall, Patiya begins… Opposite
Patiya, there is a masjid and beside it is a sprawling khadda… That’s
where we killed them all… At 7 o’clock, I called the home minister and
also Jaideepbhai [Jaideep Patel, VHP general secretary] and told them
how many people had been killed and said that things were now in their
hands… I don’t know if they did anything, though… At 2.30 in the
morning, an FIR was lodged against me… The FIR said I was there… the
police commissioner even issued orders to shoot me at sight…

TEHELKA: Who, Narendrabhai?

Bajrangi: The commissioner ordered…

• • •

Bajrangi: We and the Chharas carried out the Patiya massacre… After
that, we all went to jail… People gave us a lot of money after we were
jailed… I am rich, so I have no worries, but the Vishwa Hindu Parishad
leaders didn’t care for those who were poor and had no money. Even
from jail I was telling them [the VHP] to look after their families,
do something for the accused. They provided for them for some four to
six months, after that all help was stopped… They had promised to
fight our cases in court… but till today, nobody has done a thing…
Pravinbhai [Togadia, VHP international general secretary] had promised
this openly… and he had also said that if there were any problems at
their home or any loss [he would take care of them]… but no one knows
where they put all the money they collected… Nobody was given any
money… for five to seven months, they gave rations, but nothing apart
from that…

TEHELKA: You were in touch only with Jaideepbhai?

Bajrangi: Only Jaideep was talking to me from the VHP.

TEHELKA: The day the Muslims were killed…

Bajrangi: I spoke to Jaideepbhai 11 or 12 times… aur humne tabiyat se
kaata… Haldighati bana di thi [and we killed at will, turned the place
into Haldighati]… And I am proud of it, if I get another chance, I
will kill even more…

TEHELKA: Where was Jaideepbhai camping then?

Bajrangi: Jaideepbhai was sitting at Dhanwantri, which is Pravinbhai’s
dispensary, he was there… in Bapunagar… There he was and I didn’t even
tell him that we were going to do this… In Naroda and Naroda Patiya,
we didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire, we
set them on fire and killed them… That’s what we did… Up till then,
they didn’t know what was happening; when they got to hear of how many
had been killed, they got scared…

• • •
Photo: Paras Shah

Bajrangi: There is a distance of about half a kilometre between Naroda
[Patiya] and Naroda Gaon… We did a lot at both places… must have
butchered not less than… Then we dumped the corpses into a well… At
first, I didn’t talk [This was TEHELKA’s fourth meeting with him.] I
thought… Many journalists and all kinds of people and come ask me if I
was in the Patiya incident… I tell them I was not involved, I was
quite far away admitted in a hospital…

• • •

TEHELKA: Do you know Gordhan Zadaphia has revolted?… During the Patiya
massacre, what did he say when you spoke to him?

Bajrangi: I spoke to Gordhan Zadaphia… I told him everything that had
happened… He told me to leave Gujarat and go into hiding… I asked what
he meant, but he told me to run away and to not ever say anywhere that
we had talked…

• • •

TEHELKA: Tell us how it was all done… revolvers… cylinders…

Bajrangi: The cylinders were theirs [the Muslims’]… Whichever house we
entered, we just grabbed the cylinder and fired at it, and, dhadak,
they exploded… We had guns in any case… I can’t tell you what a good
time it was… But four of our activists died in it… No hearing took
place even in that…

TEHELKA: Did you climb to the top of a masjid and tie a pig there?

Bajrangi:We rammed an entire tanker into it… the tanker was fully
laden… We rammed that tanker inside…

TEHELKA: It was a petrol tanker, no?

Bajrangi: It was diesel… We drove a whole diesel tanker in and then
set [the mosque] on fire…

TEHELKA: Meaning, it was the tanker explosion which set Patiya on fire?

Bajrangi: In the masjid…

TEHELKA: In the masjid…

Bajrangi: As for the rest of it, I was in charge at the time… Whatever
I wanted to do, I did…

TEHELKA: At the pit, was oil… Those people had gathered there…

Bajrangi: It was a huge pit… You could enter it from one side but you
couldn’t climb out at the other end… They were all there together…
They started clinging to each other… Even while they were dying, they
told each other, you die too, what are you going to be saved for, you
die too… so the number of deaths increased.

TEHELKA: Then people poured oil in…

Bajrangi: Oil and burning tyres…

TEHELKA: Where did the oil come from?

Bajrangi: Oh that… We had lots of material with us… we filled lots of
jerrycans in advance… From the petrol pump, the night before… Petrol
pump owners gave us petrol and diesel for free…

• • •

TEHELKA: Muslims were hacked to pieces…

Bajrangi: Hacked, burnt, set on fire, many things were done… many… We
believe in setting them on fire because these bastards say they don’t
want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it, they say this and that will
happen to them… I have just one wish… one last wish…. Let me be
sentenced to death… I don’t want to be incarcerated… I don’t care if
I’m hanged… Give me two days before my hanging and I will go and have
a field day in Juhapura [a Muslim dominated are], where seven or eight
lakh of these people stay… I will finish them off … Let a few more of
them die… At least 25-50,000 should die…

TEHELKA: How many witnesses have testified against you?

Bajrangi: Fourteen Muslims and 16 policemen… Out of the 14 Muslims,
some have moved to Juhapura… They’ve left Patiya, they don’t have the
guts to stay there, defying us… The rest have gone to Karnataka… They
got money after all, Rs 7 lakh each… Narendrabhai never said how much
they would be given… He announced [the compensation package] then gave
out cheques of Rs 20,000 each and that’s where things got stuck…
Afterwards, he gave nothing to anyone… But then the Central government
supported them…

• • •

TEHELKA: In other words, the way [you] have killed will go down in history.

Bajrangi: Arrey hamari FIR me likha gaya hai… ek woh pregnant thi,
usko to humne chir diya thha b*******d sala… Unko dikhaya ki kya hota
hai… ki hum log ko tumne maara to hum tumko kya pratikaar de sakte
hain… hum khichdi kadhi wale nahin hai [It has been written in my FIR…
there was this pregnant woman, I slit her open, sisterf****r… Showed
them what’s what… what kind of revenge we can take if our people are
killed… I am no feeble rice-eater]… didn’t spare anyone… they
shouldn’t even be allowed to breed… I say that even today… Whoever
they are, women, children, whoever… Nothing to be done with them but
cut them down. Thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards… Hindus can
be bad… Hindus can be bad, and I’m saying that because, as I see it,
Hindus are as wicked as those people are… Many of them wasted time
looting… Arrey, [the idea is] don’t keep them alive at all, after that
everything is ours…

TEHELKA: And some people also raped…

Bajrangi: No, there were no rapes…

TEHELKA: One or two Chharas may have…

Bajrangi: If some Chharas took some women, that’s a different matter…
We were marching in groups… There was no place to rape anyone there…
Everyone was on a killing spree… we were killing, hacking… There were
lanes where we had to face Muslims… there would be a confrontation,
they’d fight back with all their strength…The moment we’d killed a
few, we’d move on… In this melée, if some girl was trying to run away
and if a Chhara caught her, then that’s another matter… That day, it
was like what happened between Pakistan and India… There were bodies
everywhere… it was a sight to be seen, but it wasn’t something to be
filmed, in case it got into someone’s hands… There was a video-wala
there, some mediawala, we set him on fire too… Lots of those miyas
[Muslims] deceived us… They’d chant Jai Mata Di and get away… that
happened too… they’d put tilaks on their foreheads and shout Jai Shri
Ram, Jai Mata Di….

TEHELKA: Tell me how that SRPF [State Reserve Police Force] man saved people?

Bajrangi: There was just one Muslim… some big SRP man… Sayeed…

TEHELKA: He was an officer…

Bajrangi: Yes, he was… All this cutting and killing happened behind
the SRP camp… The ones who weren’t in the pit, they ran and got into
the SRP compound… The SRP jawans there were driving them away… when
the officer came in his vehicle and said take everyone inside… He was
in command… an officer… So, lots of people were saved this way… at
least 500 were rescued… Otherwise would they have all gone too… The
officer was also fired at… He is also a witness against me…

TEHELKA: But then Narendrabhai promoted him and…

Bajrangi: Silenced him… So, there was good work done in Patiya. Today
too I am fighting against Muslims and will continue to do so… I have
nothing to do with politics… What I say is this: the VHP is an
organisation… a Hindu organisation… Our politics should be limited to
killing Muslims, beating them up…

TEHELKA: How do you feel after you have killed Muslims…

Bajrangi: Maza aata hai na, saheb [I enjoy it]… I came back after I
killed them them, called up the home minister and went to sleep… I
felt like Rana Pratap, that I had done something like Maharana Pratap…
I’d heard stories about him, but that day I did what he did myself.
Nov 3, 2007

see the video here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfnTl_Fwvbo

 

 

No sadbhavana for Godhra lovebirds


Mohsin put in jail; wife, Hansa, sent to Nari Kendra for communal peace

DNA Roxy Gagdekar l Godhra , Jan 19

The Muslims of Godhra may be preparing to welcome chief minister Narendra Modi for his Sadbhavna fast on January 20, but the district administration has shown no such sadbhavna for a Muslim youth and a Hindu girl who are in love with each other.
The lovebirds have been separated allegedly to prevent any conflict between Hindus and Muslims in Godhra ahead of chief minister Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavna fast on January 20. The girl’s parents are opposed to their marriage. The youth is lodged in Godhra sub-jail while the girl has been sent to the local Nari Kendra.
After a few years of dating, Mohsin Pathan (25) and Hansa Magnani (25) got married in court in February 2011. They eloped in November 2011 only to reappear in the office of the Godhra superintendent of police in December 2011.
The couple are so much in love that, despite rallies, fasts and memorandums by local saffron groups against their relationship, they don’t want to leave each other.
They came to the district police chief’s office on December 22, 2011 and sought police protection. A leader of the Muslim community from Godhra told DNA on the condition of anonymity that Mohsin had been arrested only because he had refused to leave Hansa. “The police want to prevent any conflict between the two communities at least till the end of Modi’s Sadbhavna fast,” he said, adding that Hansa also had refused to go to her parent’s house. If Mohsin’s father, Mehboob Khan Pathan, is to be believed, his son was arrested on false charges because the police succumbed to political pressure mounted by the BJP, VHP and the RSS units in the district. Mohsin is booked on the charge of using a mobile SIM card under a false name.
“Before eloping with Hansa, Mohsin had purchased a SIM card in his name. But the seller activated the card in some third party’s name and not in Mohsin’s name,” said Mehboob Khan Pathan. “The third party was forced to file a complaint against Mohsin just to keep him in lock-up,” he added. However, sources in the police said that Mohsin was booked only after they received a complaint against him and not because of political pressure.

Memorial to a Genocide (Gujarat 2002 – 2012) Feb 27


Saira Salim Sandhi Lost her entire family in the riots of 2002. Here she is seen at the charred remains of what was once her home in Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad

Saira Salim Sandhi Lost her entire family in the riots of 2002. Here she is seen at the charred remains of what was once her home in Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad

Change of Date Due to All Trade Union Bandh on February 28, 2012

Society, Ahmedabad 

February 27, 2012

2 p.m. onwards

How do we commemorate such a cataclysmic series of violences, lives torn asunder, narratives of depth and despair, callousness and courage, struggle and hope?

Together we hope. As we near the Ten year mark of the genocidal carnage in Gujarat we appeal and call to all of you to join us on February 28, 2012 in the Live Memorial at Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad, physically or through countrywide protests and memorials all over India. From 2 p.m. onwards that day we shall be observing the Memorial. Through Reminiscences and recordings, Panels and Exhibits, Music and Words, Acknowledgements and Tears.

Nationwide Resonance A Call and Appeal

When we do so in Ahmedabad we hope that each and all of you in different parts of India will share the experience and in turn interact with us through a technologically linked endeavour. We shall be linking the Memorial through live web cam links and internet connections so that it can be viewed and shared at a few minutes gap in faraway Kerala, Kashmir, Manipur, Lucknow, Delhi, Mhow, Faizabad, Ayodhya, Malegaon, Mumbai.

Requirements:

All we ask is that you arrange Protest and Commemorations to mark this date. To enable an interactive sharing of the Live Memorial on February 28, 2012 at Gulberg Society, Communalism Combat and Citizens for Justice and Peace are in collective action, with individuals and groups, organizing a live relay of the Memorial by live Internet link. We request that each and all of you groups organize a Live Screening of this Memorial in different cities/locations all over the country on large projector screens. Participating in this memorial you organise your own special protest commemorations in every location. We shall also make arrangements that over three thousand survivors and activists at Gulberg will also view over the evening the protests and commemorations that you are observing in different locales.. Such an Interactive Live Memorial will be unique. It will ensure that there is a nationwide resonance to the Ten Year Commemoration of the Genocide.

The Ten Year Live Memorial will be up linked for permanent viewing on the Internet after February 28, 2012. The Memorial is part of week long observances Insaf ke Dagar Pe, also detailed below. The Citizens for Justice and Peace will also be organizing a Seminar Workshop on Lessons from Gujarat (Criminal Justice System and Accountability) at the Gujarat Vidyapeeth on February 27, 2012.

Memorial to a Genocide Gujarat 2002 – 2012, Manifesto of the Gulberg Society, Ahmedabad

Over the past ten years, as protests, testimonials and meet have observed the traumatic events in Gujarat in 2002, a traveling memorial to all the carnage sites was also attempted by us in 2008. Instead of peacefully allowing victim survivors to pay respects at the Coach S-6 in Godhra we were, one hundred of us, arrested and forced to bide time at the police station. The site of the burnt remains of the S-6 Sabarmti Express Coach has sadly become the sole mourning preserve of the government and organizations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Reconciliation and Reparation appear a faraway dream when collective memorials are thus forbidden. It took time and energy to get ourselves released from the police station before we could reach the sites of brute violence at Pandharwada village, Panchmahals and then Ode, Anand before traversing Sardarpura. At each site, locales of the violence and sites where dear and near ones were unceremoniously dumped, were remembered. The next day when we walked in silence towards Teesra Kuan in the Maidan at Naroda Patiya, where Missing Persons Bodies had been dumped in 2002 and have not been recovered to date. A hostile neighbourhood and an edgy police barely allowed us to light candles there.

Given this painful past, we gave decided to collectively commemorate the 300 traumatic bouts of violence over 19 districts in a Live Memorial at Gulberg Society Ahmedabad. We earnestly appeal to each and all of you to participate in this endeavour.

Digital Installations and Exhibits in English, Gujarati and Hindustani

TIMELINE in content and chronology tracking the rehabilitation and justice process with a

PHOTO RETRO of the lives of internally displaced persons in various transit camps

STATISTICS of a human tragedy, an installation

MISSING PERSONS remembered through a ritualistic Wailing Wall

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS to Saviours of Lives, Activists, Jurists, Photographers and Media People in wall panels

SURVIVOR’S LEAD US THROUGH THE MEMORIAL AND SPEAK

HIDDEN NARRATIVES brute targeting of women and children

DIGITALISED MEMORIALS News Coverage and Parzaania on large side screens

MUSIC IN MEMORIUM

Shubha Mudgal (vocal), Aneesh Pradhan (tabla), Sudhir Nayak (harmonium)

We shall be digitalizing the exhibit installations with text and photos and sending it out on CD to all of you to enable you to reproduce these in different cities. Do revert back to us on the nature of the protests and commemorations that you plan.

Already, on youtube you may view

Rupa Modi Tanvir Jafri Salim and Saira Sandhi Javed Anand Shiv Vishwanathan Ram Rahman Rajendra Prasad Teesta Setalvad

Insaf Ki Dagar Pe

2002 Carnage is completing its 10 years in this Feb.2012. Issue of Justice to the victims is not tackled fully. Livelihood, education, housing rights is some of the pending tasks. Security and dignity are still a far cry. In the name of development, state govt. is playing with the lives of the poor. Globalization and market forces are looting these sections of the society everywhere. Especially marginalized minority is suffering in many ways.

To commemorate 10nth anniversary of the carnage and to rekindle the light of hope we -civil society organizations of Gujarat are joining our hands. Two meetings of these organizations have already held and thought about such efforts.

Again we held a meeting at PRASHANT on 10-1-2012, Tuesday at 4.30 to plan the programme and decided some of the events tentatively, yet with certain approach to make the society to remind and re-organize to fulfill the uncompleted tasks of Justice and Peace. Insaf Ki Dagar Pe is a title unanimously chosen for the events.

List of the events:

1. 27-2-2012: (Half day event) A Seminar on ‘Status of Justice of the carnage victims’. Organized by -CJP [Center for Justice and Peace].

2. 28-2-2012: Exhibition and Sufi Sangeet at Gulberg Society. [Organized by CJP].

3. 29-2-2012: A Seminar on Internally Displaced people in which not only 2002 victims but victims of violence, development-projects of Gujarat and other regions of the country[Like Kashmir, Kandhmahal, and N.E etc.] will share their experiences and a panel discussion to analyze the situation is planned tentatively.

4. 1-3-2012: Sharing by the representatives of Peoples Movements [like Mahuva, Mundra, Mithi Virdi, and Tribals of South Gujarat etc.] Against Unjust Development in Gujarat; and panel discussion on the issue.

5. 2-3-2012: A National Multilingual ‘Kavi Sammelan’ on the issues of commemoration carnage and against unjust development.

6. 3-3-2012: ‘Bich Shaher’ -a play by Delhi-based theatre-group ‘Allaripu’ -based on carnage-2002, written and directed by Ms. Tripurari Sharma.

7. 4-3-2012: One-act plays on the issue of unjust development, organized by local theatre groups of youth.

8. 5,6,7-3-2012: A Documentary film festival on the issues of Human Rights. [Like -Jashn- E-Azadi by Sanjay Kak, Saffron Encounters by Subhradeep Chakravarthi. etc.]

A Call to all…..

These are some of the ‘decided events’. But we are always open to add in this list. If you suggest something relevant and effective to achieve our goal to make the society aware and active on the path of justice; you are always welcome. Add your input to make more effective events like “Seminar on Internally Displace People” or “Peoples Movements Against Unjust Development”… by suggesting the unsung struggle and people or any other ways. You can also organize similar event at you own place under this title during same period by just informing us.

We will have to join our hands and hearts to give larger perspective to the issues of Human Rights, Development, Justice and Peace. In the civil society of Gujarat we will have to keep the fire on and on until the flame of this fire does not the lit the lamp of Compassion, Understanding, Sympathy and Remorse in the hearts of the people of Gujarat and the world.

So please, give your approval/suggestions for this big event. We are waiting for that till 25-1-2012. Immediately after 25th Jan-2012, we will have to rush to arrange all the events. Your co-operation is requested to mobilize the audience, resources and venues. You can fund partly/fully any of these events.

We have to create the publicity material like Posters, Banners, Pamphlets, and Invitations etc. You can contribute or take responsibility for any of these.

Citizens for Justice and Peace, along with victim-survivors, and social activists from Gujarat are planning a week-long Memorial to the 2202 genocide in Gujarat, 10 years later. Those of you who could join in Gujarat are most welcome to do so. For those who cannot, the suggestion is that on February 28, you organise your own programmes in your own towns and cities and get connected with the Live Memorial in Ahmedabad. Please spread the word around.
* Organizations participated in the meeting of 10th January-2012:

‘DARSHAN’, PRASHANT, SAFAR, DARPANA, ST.XSSS. JAN VIKAS, PARVAZ, CJP, LOKNAD, AISF, IRC, INSAF.
for more information contact- teestateesta@gmail.com