The ghost of the 1992-1993 communal riots continues to haunt former police commissioner RD Tyagi.
A petition challenging the discharge of Tyagi and eight other policemen in the 1993 Suleman Bakery firing case, in which eight persons were killed, is likely to be heard by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. In 2001, the Special Task Force, constituted after the Sri Krishna Committee Report on the 1992-93 Mumbai Riots, charged 18 police officers including then police commissioner Tyagi for indiscriminate firing and killing Muslims at the bakery.
However, in April 2003, a Sessions Court discharged Tyagi and eight others from facing trail in the case stating that prima facie they had acted in discharge of their official duty. The police had said they acted in self-defence and accused 78 persons of attacking them in the Suleman Bakery case. A madrassa teacher Noorul Ahmed, who was a witness to the incident, filed an appeal against the Sessions Court order in August 2003 after the state government failed to challenge it.
“There is overwhelming material to show that Tyagi was in charge and that it was on his instruction that the police fired at unarmed persons inside the bakery,” the petition stated. The police had broken down the bakery door and allegedly opened fired killing eight persons and injuring many others. According to the petition, the fact whether firing inside the bakery, madarasa and mosque was necessary or not ought to have been tested during trial.
It alleged that the Sessions Court order was passed in total disregard of the medical reports, ballistic expert findings and witness accounts. Postmortem report prima facie indicated that victims were shot at from close range and the rear portion of their body, it added. Calling the incident a violation of fundamental and human rights, the petition has sought quashing of the Sessions Court order and issue of non-bailable warrant against Tyagi and eight other policemen.
State has two weeks –The Bombay High Court on Monday gave the state government three weeks’ time to file a reply in an appeal filed by two persons accused of attacking the police in the 1993 Suleman Bakery case. The petitioners, Ashfaque Ahmed and Noorul Ahmed, have moved HC challenging a September 2005 Sessions Court order rejecting their plea to be discharged in the 1993 case. In 1993, the police accused 78 persons of attacking them in the Suleman Bakery case. While 70 accused are untraceable, the two petitioners are among the eight facing trial. Justice R S Mohite extended the stay on the ongoing trial.