Wednesday, 9 March 2011

SDPI Expresses Reservations over Godhra Verdict

SDPI Expresses Reservations over Godhra Verdict

Bhopal, February 25 (Pervez Bari): The Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), while welcoming the acquittal of 63 accused, including the main accused, Maulvi Umarji, has expressed reservations on the verdict in the Godhra train carnage which convicted 31 others in the case.
E. Aboobacker, the SDPI national president, in a statement said the verdict in the case coming nine years after the incident was a "travesty of justice". The judgment speaks poorly on India's judicial system that most of the 63 acquitted people were in jail for all these years who were denied bail and spent all these years behind the bars. Nine precious years of their lives were lost just on suspicion, he added.
The judgment has established a conspiracy angle on the part of Muslims to burn down the rail coach based on police reports. However, it may be noted that Gujarat police force which is part of a so heavily compromised system that even the Supreme Court deemed it fit to have certain cases transferred out of Gujarat. It is believed that the police and administration in Gujarat, on whose inputs the justice delivery system based its conclusions, was still adversely disposed towards Muslims, he added.
Mr. Aboobacker pointed out that two inquiry commissions viz. Banerjee Commission set up by Indian Railways and Nanavati Commission set up by Gujarat’s Modi Government were established which came out with dramatically contradictory conclusions. The Banerjee Commission ruled out any “conspiracy theory” in burning down the coach of Sabarmati Express. It rejected the “petrol theory” of the police, saying it was not possible to pour 60 litres of petrol or other inflammable substance on the floor of the coach from outside when the train did not stop, and was in motion. It ruled out the burning of coaches as an ''activity of miscreants''. It maintained that since 90 per cent of the passengers were “karsevaks with trishuls'', they would not have allowed themselves to be set on fire “without a murmur”. It was also not possible to enter the S-6 coach as it was locked from inside, the commission had ruled.
While the Nanavati Commission was categorical that the carnage was a “pre-planned conspiracy” and a deliberate attempt was made to burn coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express and cause harm to karsevaks travelling in that coach. This view was propagated by the Gujarat police after investigation. It supported the police theory that petrol was used in setting fire S-6 on fire. It said the incident was planned by Razzak Kurkur and Salim Panwala and others. It said the blaze was not caused by an accidental fire but was part of a “larger conspiracy to create terror and destabilize the administration”. It gave a clean chit to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers in the Godhra incident.
Mr. Abubacker said looking at the Nanavati Commission findings one can conclude easily that the purpose of setting up the Commission by the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled Gujarat Government was served as it gave clean chit to Chief Minister Modi while blaming Muslims of hatching a conspiracy. The presiding judge also seems to have been influenced by this report. The judge totally ignored the Banerjee Commission findings before pronouncing his judgment.
Another serious omission by the Special Court of not taking notice of CM Narendra Modi’s immediate dash to Godhra and his instruction to the district authorities to transfer the dead bodies to Ahmedabad forthwith, where they were paraded to incite communal passions and to launch the infamous Gujarat pogrom, the statement said.
Mr. Aboobacker asserted that there was a conspiracy but not by the Muslims of Godhra but by the VHP and its associates to put into effect their plan for massive attacks on the Muslims of Gujarat and thus to find an excuse for the Genocide.
The judgment is faulty in a sense that many of those convicted were not physically present in Godhra on the said date of the horrendous incident and Gujarat police has implicated them on false evidence and extracted confessions by way of torture. They should appeal to the High Court against their conviction, the statement added. (pervezbari@eth.net)

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