//Tracking the Trials of Gujarat

Tracking the Trials of Gujarat

Indian Express , 4 March 2007

The status of the 13 cases sent outside Gujarat

Human skulls

Haunting Hindutva

* Naroda Patiya: 83 people were killed by a mob of more than 10,000. Babu Bajrangi, leader of Bajrang Dal, and Naroda MLA Dr Maya Kodnani were two leaders identified by some witnesses as part of the mob. Bajrangi was arrested and released on bail while Kodnani was never questioned. Trial is yet to begin in the case as SC has put a stay. 42 people are in judicial custody.

* Naroda Gaam: 12 people were killed. Trial yet to begin as SC stayed the proceedings.

* Gulbarg Society: 38 people including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri were killed here. Trial is to begin but some witnesses have asked for fresh statements to be recorded.

* Sardarpura, Mehsana: 33 people were killed when a mob attacked a Muslim village. Trial began in a local court but witnesses asked for change in the public prosecutor as the government appointed district prosecutor was also a VHP leader. Trial now stayed by the Supreme Court.

* Randhikpur, Dahod: 18 persons were killed. Case which was initially closed for lack of evidence reopened after SC order to reopen 2,000 cases.

* Pandharwa: 21 persons were killed by a mob allegedly led by MLA Kalubhai Maliwad. A local court acquitted all the accused, including Maliwad.

* Khanpur, Panchmahals: 73 villagers of Kidiyad who were fleeing in two trucks were waylaid and killed by mobs at two separate places. During the trial the court acquitted all the accused since witnesses claimed they were not the people they had mentioned. The real accused were not arrested by police, the witnesses claimed.

* Anjanwa, Panchmahas: 11 killed. Of the 30 persons named by witnesses, 20 are still absconding.

* Ambika Society, Panchmahas: 13 persons were killed. FIR clubbed with three other cases that occurred in Kalol, Boru and Vejalpura.

* 14 people were killed when a mob set fire to Best Bakery, owned by Zaheera Sheikh’s family in Hanuman Tekri, Dabhoi Road on March 1, 2002. Thereafter in the Vadodara fast-track court, all the accused were acquitted, after witnesses including Zaheera, turned hostile. The case, the first riot case after the incident, was shifted outside Gujarat following SC orders. The trial held in a special court sentenced nine accused to life imprisonment and acquitted eight others in Mumbai. In the Vadodara Court, 68 witnesses had turned hostile, while in Mumbai only seven of 74 went back on their statements. Also, additional sessions Judge Abhay Thipsay issued a show-cause notice to five of the witnesses including, Zaheera and her family, for turning hostile in court and ‘deliberately giving false evidence’. Zaheera later was sentenced to spend a year in jail and is now lodged in Nasik Jail. Her elder brother died during the case trial in Mumbai due to illness, other family members, including mother Sehrunnisa and sister Sehera, are on the run.

Number of cases: 4,252

* Cases in which chargesheets were filed: 2,037

* Cases closed for lack of evidence: 2,032

* Closed cases reopened after SC order: 2,000

* Reopened cases in which new arrests have been made: 830

* Reopened cases in which chargesheets have been filed: 59

* New cases registered based on investigation of old cases: 15

* Departmental action initiated against investigating officers and supervisory officers: 114

* Murder cases (cases in which 10 or more people were killed): 11

* Rape cases: 43

* Number of attempt to murder: NA

* Number of loot and arson: Approximately 3,800

* Number of cases in which there have been convictions: 11