Gujarat -False and Forged Letter from Gulberg Society against Teesta Setalvad


PUBLIC STATEMENT

A deliberate campaign to vilify the efforts to procure justice for the Victims of the carnage of 2002 that has been sustained and supported by vested powerful interests in Gujarat and the opposition party at the national level has reached new heights over past weeks. Malafide attempts to embroil us in more false cases before the Gujarat police (that can be then manipulated to intimidate our efforts) have compelled us to issue this Communication to the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ahmedabad, Gujarat Police. The detailed communication is self-explanatory. We urge that you circulate this among all peace-loving persons supportive of the struggle for justice against the powerful perpetrators of 2002.
Attached are also letters written by the official members of the Gulberg Society to the Media and the Police.
March 13, 2013

To
Shri A.K. Sharma,
Joint Commissioner of Police
Crime Branch,
Ahmedabad

Dear Sir,
We the undersigned Trustees and office bearers of the Citizens for Justice and Peace and Sabrang Trust need to bring some distressing and disturbing facts to your notice. We have been given to understand that some persons claiming to be official representatives of the Gulberg society have written to you making false and malafide allegations against our organisation that has been assisting Survivors of the Gujarat genocide of 2002 to access justice. CJP has been assisting dozens of survivors of the Gujarat 2002 carnage and have been co-petitioners in the Smt Zakia Jafri case against chief minister Narendra Modi and 61 others [protest petition to be filed by April 15, 2013].

Official representatives of the Gulberg society we are informed have already written to you today stating that the letter-head of the society has been forged by some residents and the claims being made by them are patently false since nothing has been parted from them.

The false claims that CJP has raised Rs 63 lakhs and Sabrang Trust has raised Rs 88 lakhs for the purpose of the construction of the museum, nationally and internationally is a total lie. To clarify, CJP has never sought nor received any money for this purpose. Till November 2012, Sabrang Trust had received a total donation in of Rs. 4,10,285 from donors within India and Rs 50,000 from one individual overseas for the proposed dream museum. This is a matter between our donors and the Trust which we will address when a final decision on the issue is made. All other funds, nationally and internationally raised, have been funds legitimately collected for activities that we publicly engage in. Our accounts are audited and submitted to the relevant authorities.
We would like to state clearly that at no point have any of the organisations that we are connected to claimed any amount or money or land from any person residing at or claiming to be part of Gulberg society. Survivors of the carnage and we did have dreams of a Gulberg Memorial commemorating the state sponsored carnage. This idea that emerged in 2007 had finally to be abandoned when prices for real estate spiralled and we thus informed the society of these difficulties. A formal resolution of the society was passed after this was conveyed to them, leaving the members free to sell off their properties as per law. In no way have either CJP or Sabrang in any way cheated them or let down the society.
We believe that with the date of the filing of Smt. Zakia Jafri’s ‘Protest Petition’ draws near, this charade is being orchestrated by a nexus of vested interests to create a diversion and to malign CJP and Sabrang Trust. The cases being handled by us involve the most powerful in the state and relate to public justice and it appears that some vested interests have colluded to make false allegations and distract us from the onerous and dangerous task at hand..
We would like to state that this appears to be part of a sinister campaign being unleashed against us by some persons being manipulated by a former employee Rais Khan Pathan who is using some residents of the society (not official members) and sections of the police and some persons claiming to be official members of the society.

We would like to state categorically that both CJP and Sabrang officially receive money for legitimate activities and following the legally required procedures. By unleashing this set of manipulated lies and using sections of the police towards this end, the dubious nexus of these persons with a former employee and the powerful in the state of Gujarat are trying to de-rail the proposed protest petition. Khan tried to petition the FCRA department (see attached documents) in January 2013 and this was followed by an official representative of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) Gujarat in February 2013. Hence the nexus that we are alleging is based on developments that have been in the public domain and have been clearly aimed at derailing the Smt Zakia Jafri Protest Petition against Narendra Modi and others. (Please refer http://dailypioneer.com/nation/120144-rais-khan-alleges-fcra-violation-by-teesta-cjp.html

Rais Khan alleges FCRA violation by Teesta, CJP Friday, 04 January 2013 22:26

followed by http://www.indianexpress.com/assembly-elections/news/bjp-mp-seeks-action-against-setalvad/1068267/0 BJP MP seeks action against Setalvad.

In the eleven-long years of the battle for justice, the allegations have remained the same those who made them have changed. In 2004 it was Zahira Shaikh a star witness in the Best Bakery Case. Our organisation and its role has been repeatedly exonerated and recognised for assisting the legal struggle of poor witnesses. In 2010 it was a former employee of our organisation, Rais Khan Pathan. In 2011 Yasmeen Shaikh another witness was egged on by the former employee, Rais Khan. Each time we at CJP have sought impartial judicial exoneration. Sir, please do take a few moments to go through the sustained and malicious campaigns that is enlisted in the accompanying note “Background Facts” (Annexure I). It is clear that he is being propped up by the powerful in the state.

This illustrates how even the current spate of similar allegations sought to be made through some residents of the Gulberg society, are in actuality being manipulated by Rais Khan who is being propped up by powerful persons including influential lawyers representing the ruling party who are supporting him.The Hon’ble Supreme Court has already stayed two such malicious complaints in which even sections of the Gujarat police have played a role siding openly with Shri Khan. The matters are pending final hearing.

Sir we therefore urge that the Crime Branch of the Gujarat Police looks at the complete background and nexus when it deals with the current set of false allegations. We would like to reiterate that our organisation (s) function lawfully and urge that this malafide complaint is not made a manipulative tool by the Crime Branch. Any genuine investigations or inquiries our Trustees would gladly respond to.

Thanking You,

Yours Sincerely

 

IM Kadri                                                                               Raghunandan Maluste

(President, CJP)                                                                     (Vice President, CJP)

Teesta Setalvad                                                                      Nakul Mehta

(Secretary, CJP & Trustee Sabrang Trust)                            (Trustee Sabrang Trust)

____________________________________________________________________

Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai – 400 049. Ph: 2660 2288 email: cjpindia@gmail.com,

teesteesta@gmail.com

 

Immediate – Release – Malicious Campaign against Teesta Setlavad by the Newspaper’ The Pioneer “


25.10.2012

Press Release

 

CJP Rebuts Malicious Campaign by The Pioneer

 

The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a Mumbai based registered trust strongly rebuts the malicious campaign once again launched by the Pioneer a newspaper edited by Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Chandan Mitra. In a story laced with outright falsehoods the newspaper has alleged that the CJP has violated the law, namely the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

 

Since we work in the public domain we place the following facts for your information while emphasising that what the Pioneer  has been resorting to since 2010 constitutes unprofessional journalism: not once were we contacted before this or other stories was carried. In October 2010 we had through our lawyers issued a legal notice to the newspaper (pasted below) following a spate of articles which visibly toned down that newspaper’s coverage after the notice. This time too legal action will follow.

 

The CJP has not violated any law or rule and has collected donations for its primarily legal rights work from national and international sources through lawful means. The Pioneer deliberately picks out CJP’s Secretary Teesta Setalvad for its remarks on violations when it is not her but a Board of Trustees that have been functioning collectively and supporting this work. Teesta is deliberately being projected as recipient with malicious intent.

 

CJP provides legitimate legal aid to help victims of mass crimes to access justice, a Constitutional mandate supported by international human rights standards. Bringing perpetrators of violence to justice – is being deliberately dubbed as mala fide activity.

 

“Seeking donations in the name of helping riot victims” is a vague generalization. Different donors made contributions for specific purposes and not something as vague as “helping riot victims”.  The donations received by CJP were for two very specific objectives:

 

(1) Legal Aid to victims of the mass crimes: We emphatically state that the foreign contributions received by CJP for legal aid were accordingly earmarked and used for that very purpose.

 

(2) Aid for Two Ambulances for Mumbai City: In the wake of the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, a need was felt for a citizens’ initiative to augment the existing ambulance service in Mumbai. This was in view of the fact that very many people who received bullet injuries at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus simply bled to death because they were not enough ambulances to rush the injured to hospitals. We again emphatically state that the foreign contributions received by CJP for legal aid were accordingly earmarked and used for that very purpose. Two ambulances purchased with such contributions have been in service in Mumbai since 2009. Donations from international music personalities and groups including Jethro Tull through his manager Ian Anderson, Naomi Campbell, Chatwals (through the IMG Lakme group) were received to run these two ambulances that even today run in Mumbai.

 

(3) The foreign contribution received from Ford Foundation was for “Peace building activities in Gujarat & Maharashtra”. We affirm that the money was earmarked and utilized accordingly.  It was a grant received for a period of 3 years, received in three annual instalments after submission and approval by Ford Foundation of annual narrative and financial reports.Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand are only two of the  6 trustees of Sabrang Trust.

 

Since 2010, the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFT) has been supporting our legal work and the amount received from them has been utilized for legal aid alone as per the itemized budget approved by UNVFVT (United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture). It is a matter of great pride for CJP that its legal efforts to bring justice to the victims of the communal carnage in Gujarat is supported by UN agency and administered by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva.

 

The CJP would like to emphasise that the accounts of both CJP and Sabrang Trust are audited annually within the stipulated time every financial year and the audited accounts along with the auditor’s report are submitted regularly in the prescribed format to the Income Tax Department, the Charity Commissioner’s Office and the FCRA department of the Union ministry of Home Affairs.

 

The CJP with its committed Board of Trustees consisting of IM Kadri (President), Nandan Maluste (Vice President), Arvind Krishnaswamy (Treasurer), Teesta Setalvad (Secretary), Cyrus Guzder (Trustee), Alyque Padamsee (Trustee), Anil Dharker (Trustee), Javed Akhtar (Trustee), Taizoon Khorakiwala (Trustee), Rahul Bose (Trustee), Javed Anand (Trustee), Gulam Pesh Imam (Trustee), Cedric Prakash (Trustee) stands by the work it has undertaken to ensure implementation of the rule of law through providing legal assistance to victims and witnesses of mass crimes.

 

Both the CJP and Sabrang Trusts are two separate entities. All expenses of both trusts are incurred after sanction is received from the Trustees.

 

From September 2010 right until when our lawyer Ms Aparna Bhat served a legal notice on The Pioneer  on October 23 2010, this newspaper has first indulged in pathetic, one-sided slander-mongering against Secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace (Copy of Legal Notice pasted below) even going to the journalistically unprofessional levels of publishing Teesta Setalvad’s colour photograph on the editorial page, simply based on one-sided and vicious statements of a former employee who had been discontinued due to unprofessional activities on 18.1.2008. After the legal notice, some semblance at objectivity was pursued by the newspaper.

 

Now again on 25.10.2012, a series of falsehoods have been published by The Pioneer, with a deliberate and malicious intent. The CJP would like to state that The Pioneer is functioning like the cheap propaganda wing of the party in power in Gujarat and not a newspaper. The fact remains that CJP’s consistent legal aid to victims and witnesses has been one of the factors –along with the Supreme Court’s monitoring and witness protection — enabling them to depose in Courts against powerful accused. It is these vested interests supported by the powerful in the state which are, in a concerted fashion, launching this current malicious and ill-intentioned attack on CJP.

 

We would also like to point out that previously vicious allegations of “tutoring” by CJP have been unequivocally turned down and rejected by the trial courts in Gujarat (Sardarpura and Naroda Patiya cases-2011,2012), Best Bakery case (2006.2012) and SC Registrar General’s Report (2005). Despite this spokespersons and lawyers of the ruling party in Gujarat continue to spout falsehoods on television in the media. The Pioneer in general and through its article published today, is part of this pattern.

The persistent falsehoods against our organization despite this vindication in courts of law is a tactic and part of the vicious rumour-mongering that the political party responsible for the violence in the state of Gujarat and its parent organizations are well-known for. The motivations behind earlier campaigns by the Pioneer, edited by a man who is member of Parliament from the party that is in power in Gujarat, and other spokespersons are not simply to malign CJP—the real motive is to intimidate witnesses and even attempt to obstruct the course of public justice.

 

I.M. Kadri                                           Nandan Maluste                                Teesta Setalvad

(President)                                         (Vice President)                                 (Secretary)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Trustees:

Arvind Krishnaswamy                         Javed Akhtar              Cyrus Guzder                               

Alyque Padamsee                              Anil Dharker                Javed Anand

Rahul Bose                                         Cedric Prakash           Ghulam Pesh Imam

Taizoon Khorakiwala

 

 

 

 

Legal Notice Sent on 23.10.2010

23.10. 2010

 

Editor,

Pioneer

Chandan Mitra

 

Dear Sir,

 

I am retained by and act under instructions from the Citizens for Justice and Peace who has advised me that your newspaper Pioneer has been carrying a series of slanderous articles against them particularly targeting their Secretary, Ms.Teesta Setalvad.

My clients advise me that since the past two months especially, but even earlier, months on    6.9.2009,  7.9.2009, 8.9.2009. 10.9.2010, 12.9.2010, 22.09.2010, 18.10.2010 and 19.10.2010, 20.10.2010 and 22.10.2010 Days you have made allegations against the Secretary stating that she has influenced witnesses, altered their versions of their statements and is trying to mislead the course of justice. My clients advise me that these allegations are an utter distortion of the truth and slanderous, made with a political motive to protect those accused of heinous crimes in 2002. They advise me that since you belong to the same political party that is currently the ruling dispensation in Gujarat and which is being criminally investigated for conspiracy into mass murder etc. you have a vested interest in these slanderous and defamatory reports.

 

My clients further advise me that you are making these baseless allegations on the basis of alleged disclosure made to you by a former employee of my client without verifying the same from my client and not verifying the facts.  In your newspaper, you are also carrying the same allegations either attributed to this former employee, or some of the accused in the ongoing trials or the State of Gujarat itself.

 

My clients further advise me that the articles are being published at a time when the trials are in progress and eye witnesses are deposing, and moreover that a criminal investigation into the political dispensation in Gujarat is underway and is aimed at, if not likely to affect the course of justice and is a clear case of interference with the administration of justice.

In the circumstances you are hereby called upon to desist from carrying out these articles, which are clearly slanderous and defamatory in nature immediately failing which my clients would be forced to take appropriate legal action both criminal and civil as they may be advised.

 

I am sure that you would comply with the requisition contained herein and thus obviate the necessity of having to initiate any action against you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Aparna Bhat

 

Judgement on the Second Odh Case #gujarat #Narendramodi



May 4, 2012

 

The Citizens for Justice and Peace welcomes the decision of the trail court (May 4 2012)November 9, 2011) in the second Odh massacre case (CR 44/2008) to convict  9 persons to life imprisonment for murder and unlawful assembly. (Sections 302 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code as also other sections.) The verdict was delivered by Judge Sareeen at the Anand district court today.

 

There are some critical issues following the outcome of the this case that CJP would like to focus on:

 

Firstly, Witnesses and survivors are still terrified of returning to their village of Odh; seven of the ten displaced Vora Muslim families live in Anand –those who have returned (six to seven families are on conditions of silence) . Hence it is safe and reasonable to conclude that it is only with the monitoring of the cases by the Supreme Court, which monitoring has ensured that CISF protection is given to every eye witness not to mention the legal aid provided by Citizens for Justice and Peace could this result –9 convictions – have been achieved.

 

In the past two weeks alone, one in Umtha, the Trial court acquitted all the 130 accused in a heinous case of mass murder in 2002 reportedly on grounds that the witnesses had turned hostile. Barely eight days back the Gujarat High Court reversed the conviction of 21 accused in the ghastly Ghodasar mass massacre post Godhra killing wherein the trial court had ordered convictions in late 2003. All this is evidence of the fact that unless there is close monitoring of the trials by the higher judiciary witnesses are protected (CISF protection has been given) and given the courage and facilities to depose without fear and favour, justice does not result.

 

Behind each of these 9 persons being convicted for life are the testimonies of three – six eye witnesses and victim survivors who have a) named them in statements before investigating agencies; b) named them in their testimonies in Court and c) identified them in a dock eyed investigation in the Court premises at Mehsana. This seemingly glib and easy exercise of witness testimony that started over two years ago in July 2009 has meant victim survivors living through pain and trauma, fear from the powerful perpetrators. The victim and eye witness community are traders forced to re locate at Anand  an hour’s drive from Odh village.. At every step they have been warned to stay away etc but the fact that the SC was watching, the central paramilitary was protecting them and there was a group of citizens committed to the rule of law, willing to risk things and apply to the SC if and whenever things went wrong gave the confidence to the witnesses to depose. This must not be lost sight of.

Eye witness testimonies are the only factor for convictions during mob violence. Eye witness testimonies are the only guarantor of convictions –there are over four dozen judgements on this and without these testimonies there would have been no convictions.

 

The CJP would like to take this opportunity to express its appreciation and gratitude to its entire staff and team of lawyers who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. Specifically, CJP would like ti take this opportunity to express gratitude for the commitment of its young legal team–advocates Irshad Mansuri who handled both the Odh cases. (photographs attached). Shri Suhel Tirmizi in the Gujarat High Court. Shri Mihir Desai in Bombay and Ms Kamini Jaiswal, Ms Aparna Bhat and Shri Ramesh Pukhrambam in the Supreme Court of India helped us pursue this case tirelessly.

 

A real life issue for CJP and all of us working in the socio political arena is the paralysis within locations where mass crimes happen, here Odh in Gujarat where Victim Survivors cannot relocate, where their destroyed homes are still a relic to the violence of 2002. What do we conclude from this? It is the failure of the entire socio political class even the Opposition to ensure the climate of safety to ensure this happens. An intrepid legal fight has ensured legal victory, what about reparation and restitution?

 

The CJP expresses concern that the evidence of several eye witnesses that had identified a total of about 20 accused has resulted in benefit of doubt to the accused. Witness victims and CJP will challenge these in the High Court. (The detailed written arguments filed witness survivors can be accessed from our website www.cjponline.org. Attached to this mail are documents relevant to this case.

 

Thirdly CJP would like to state unequivocally its stand on the sentence. We stressed that death penalty is not a form of punishment we subscribe to. CJP would like to place on record its distaste at the vindictive manner in which special public prosecutor in the Godhra case and pushed for death penalty for 11 persons. We believe that the issue of inter community peace and restitution of harmony has moral and ethical dimensions not only legal ones and hence we would like to express displeasure at the conduct of the prosecutor under the SIT.

In the judgement delivered today Judge Sareen convicted nine persons under sections 144,148,302,307, 395, 436, 440, 153(A). Read with 149,  AND 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code and Rs 21500 fine. One accused  convicted under section 353 sentenced for six months with Rs 500 fine.Thirteen accused against whom evidence was led have been given the benefit of the doubt and 17 have been completely acquitted.

The Names of the Nine persons convicted are
Harish Vallabh Patel
Vasant Poonam Patel
Lalabhai @ Nileshkumar Manibhai Patel
Tino @Maheshbhai Gopalbhai @ Ramabhai Patel
Minesh Poonam Patel
Prakash @ Pako Jamnadas Patel
Riteshkumar Arvindbhai Patel
Ashok Dahyabhai Patel
Kirit @ Boriyo Manubhai Patel
Under section 353 Bhavesh Pancham Patel

Trustees CJP

BACKGROUND NOTE:

Note on ODH Massacre (Judgement due on May

The Citizens for Justice and Peace has retained two advocates Shri Irshad Mansuri and Nasir Shaikh for both Odh Trials. Several of the injured witnesses were not examined by the SIT but deposed in the Court after we made applications before the Trial Court. Like others, this trial was stayed on November 21, 2003 and stay lifted on May 1, 2009 when Trials began. On March 26, 2008 the SC transferred Investigation to the SIT.

 

SUMMARY:-

Khambolaj police station I.C.R.No. 27/02 (SC No. 44/08)

Complainant  :-  Rehana Yusufbhai Vohra

Judge R.M. Sarin

Special P.P –  Shri. B.C. Trivedi

15.6.02  Charge Sheet filed on in case No. 833.02 umreth Court

Total Nos of Deaths. Three

(1) Ayesha Abdulbhai Vohra (2) Nuriben Gafurbhai Vohra  3) Kaderbhai Ishmailbhai Vohra

Total Accused :- 41  (Kantibhai Manabhai Chavda & Others)

Charge Framed against Accused  – 37 (charge Date 29/9/09)

After CRPC 319 Application filed by Injured Witnesses, Granted 4 Accused Add (Charge date 30/4/11) with sections –IPC 143, 147,148, 149, 302, 436, 440, 451 with 149, 307, 435, 120B  with 34, 395, 295, 297, & BP Act 135(1)

Total witnesses Examined  – 67 (23/9/11)

Doctors-14, Police-03, Mamlatdar- 02 Fire Brigade-01, Ex-maji-01, police Photographer-01, Hostile-16 Punch – 8

Total documents produced :- 98 documents produce from Ex 74 than after another document produced between Examination of witness

Absconding Accused (1) Natubahi Satabhai patel  (2) Ankurbhai Shahpurbhai Patel

(3) Samirbhai Vinubhai patel (4) Rocky @ Rakesh haribhai patel (5) Mohan @ Shashin Rameshbhai patel (6) Nikul Ravjibhai Patel

25/11/09   Application field by injured Witness under CRPC 173 Ex 211

21/10/09   Application rejected Ex 211

Arvindbhai Bhagabhai Patel passed away (died) during the trail (9/2/12)

9/6/10       Ex 288 CRPC 319 Application filed to arraign Four More accused by Injured Victim Witnesses

29/7/11     Ex 345 CRPC 319 Application file

4/12/10     Ex 288, Ex 345, The Application was Partly Allowed against 4 Accused (who were not arraigned by the SIT)            (1) Bhavesh Manubhai Patel  (2) Bipinbhai Manibhai , (3) Suresh @ Somaya  (4) Suresh @ Tato

12/11/11    Judge visited place of offence, 23/2/12     24/2/12   For FS

2/3/12        Defense Witness Examined (Mahendra Ambalal Patel owner of Shiv Sadan)

28/3/12     Argument s of the Defence completed

2002         IO K R Bhua (CPI) SIT IO H C Pathak

 

6/3/2002 Accused No. 1 to 7 Arrested at 11.30

14/4/2002 Accused No. 8 to 44 Accused Arrested  at 17.30 but those all Accused were released on Anticipatory Bail through an Order dated 6/4/2002

Accused No. 1 to 7 was release on bail on date 20/3/2002 order of session Court CRMA No. 169/02 (in the Application Mahendra Ambalal Filed affidavit)

Background

Ode village, Khambolaj police station, Anand Police Station Khambolaj Taluka

Umreth; District: – Anand:

Date of Incident (s)1-3-2002 and 2-3-2002

Time of the Incident(s)  Between 11 and 3 p.m. in the afternoon (This is the second incident) On 1-3-2002, the three torching alive incidents of 23 + 3 + 1 human beings being burnt alive took place.On 2-3-2002, a man was torched alive on the street at about 12.30 p.m.-1 p.m.

Twenty-seven persons were killed here over three separate incidents, one in which 23 + 3 + 1 were burnt alive on 1-3-2002 and one more was torched on the street the next day, i.e. 2-3-2002.The FIRST FIR 23/2002 and the Second FIR 27/2002 relates to the incidents of the first day. In between a police officer also filed an FIR 25/2002. No FIR was originally lodged related to the offence of torching alive Ghulam Rasool Miya on 2-3-2002 the next day despite repeated complaints to police and the Trial Court. Of these 27 persons, 23 were killed on 1-3-2002 in the Piravali Bhagol area of Ode, 3 persons in 1-3-2002 in the Mal Bhagol area of Ode and one person on 2-3-2002 in the Surivali Bhagol area of Ode. Two FIRs have been lodged at the Khambolaj police station. The first is C.R.No.23/2002. U/s. 302, 148, 149 etc. and the name of the complainant is Rafiq Mohammed Abdulbhai Khalifa.The second FIR lodged with the Khambolaj police station is C.R.No.27/2002. The complainant’s name is Rehanaben Yusufbhai Vohra. 22 accused were arrested in both cases. (FIR attached)

Bail was granted immediately in this mass carnage case also. I crave leave to refer tothe bail orders at the time of hearing of the Petition.  Many of the accused shown as absconding accused are wealthy NRI Patels who enter and leave the country despitehaving been party to such a heinous crime. Eye witnesses live out in their agricultural fields and cannot step back and live in Ode own—the price for having taken thedecision to fight for justice.The remand application for the accused was rejected by the judicial magistrate, first class, Umreth, though the crime has been classified as not just grave but heinous. A revision for remand was made by the police before the sessions court, Anand, in both the cases.  During the tendency of the remand revision application, 18 accused were released on interim-bail for 8 days to celebrate the festival of Shivratri in 2002. Finally,16 accused who were members of the unlawful assembly which committed this heinouscrime of burning alive 26 persons were released on regular bail by the sessions court,

Anand. This action of the lower judiciary has generated a sense of injustice and

outrage.  There was undue haste in granting Bail. Applications & Orders

a)Fifteen accused persons preferred bail application No:- 112/2002 before the

Additional Sessions Judge at Anand on 8.3.2002. The learned prosecutors Shri Pathak appeared on behalf of the State. The learned judge Shri N.N. Thakere by his order dt. 20.3.02 released 9 accused out of 15 accused on bail. Relevant para 4 of the order is important.

b)  The other 18 accused had preferred an anticipatory bail application No:- 246/2002 u/s 438 of the Code on 15.4.02. Shri M. S. Pathak appeared for the state as P. P. The learned judge Shri B.M. Modi was pleased to release the accused on anticipatory bail by his order dt 20.4.02

c)   Then accused in Cr. Misc application No 417/02 (Rejected on 20.3.02) and 5 accused (rejected on 20.3.02) preferred a Misc Cri application No 418/02. Both these applications were allowed. The P.P. Shri V.G. Parlot appeared as P.P. and learned Judge Shri B.M. Modi released the accused on bail. In both these applications, the P.P. did not oppose the bail but consented. A total of 39 accused arrested by Police and Released on Bail. Absconding Accused shown are as high as 57. From the 39 accused who were released on Bail, 5 went to America.

 

A total of 27 persons lost their lives. The complainants say that only four deaths are confirmed and the remains of the other victims have been disposed of at some unknown location. The first FIR 23/2002 relates to the incident of 1-3-2002 and the FIR 27/2002 relates to the incidents of 3 persons being torched alive in a house.  In between a police officer also filed an FIR 25/2002. The police continued the FIR dtd 1-3-2002 and clubbed the two offences into one.  Victim survivors have filed complaints about the clubbing of offences to Nadiad Court.   Annexed hereto are the FIRs related to the Ode Massacre as Annexure A (colly). Attached and annexed hereto as Annexure B (colly) is the complaint filed by witness No. 26 Rafik Md. Gulam Rasool Syyed dated 25-09-2003 before the Nadiad Court about this FIR being registered and other complaints he filed before the other officials. In this complaint, the witness has also mentioned that earlier requests/complaints lodged before different authorities giving information about this incident and asking that a complaint be lodged separately were made but unfortunately not heeded.:

a.   On 5/3/2002 complaint to DSP Anand

b.   On 9/7/02 Departmental Police Officer SP, Anand

c.   On 24/7/02, Police Inspector (illegible) Police Station M.D.S.P. Anand, Home Minister, Chairman of Minorities Commission Board

Efforts have therefore been made by witness complainants from the outset to get investigation matters rectified but have gone unheeded by the authorities in the state of Gujarat. No separate complaint about the incident on 2/3/02 has been admitted, nor have investigations been carried out in relation to it.In the ODE massacre, major accused are out on bail, five are ABROAD. Many were

given anticipatory bail. None of this has been challenged by the State.

There was no fire fighters inside Ode until 1500 hours on 2-3-2002 which is virtually 24

hours after the attack began. According to the State, “ First firefighter was called for

extinguishing the fire in houses and the shops. Fire fighter could reach Ode on 2-3-2002

at 1500 hours (emphasis added).”  On the very next page, page 7 the state government

contradicts itself stating that 200 homes and shops were put on fire but “due to non

availability of fire fighters the fire in the shops and home continued till extinguished on 2

3-2002 after 1500 hours.” (emphasis added)

 

Close to 24 hours fires that had burnt alive people in Ode village raged unchecked

because of fire fighters either not being summoned until the next day or not being

available. Any which way that one looks at it, it is unavoidable to conclude that there

was mass mayhem in Ode village, that the police present there were either mute

spectators or connived in the violence. It is also not clear as to the efforts made to put

out the fires and rescue trapped people in the burning houses before the fire fighters

arrived, the manner in which the survivors were brought, information on any inquiry

lodged into the non requisitioning of the fire brigade, or their non availability or their

delay in coming to the rescue and any  inquiry lodged into the conduct of police personnel after complaints received by victim survivors.

The Citizens for Justice and Peace has retained two advocates Shri Irshad Mansuri and Nasir Shaikh for both Odh Trials. Several of the injured witnesses were not examined by the SIT but deposed in the Court after we made applications before the Trial Court. Like others, this trial was stayed on November 21, 2003 and stay lifted on May 1, 2009 when Trials began.

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