Mumbai: The storm brewed out of the Maharashtra government’s decision to obtain a stay from the Supreme Court (SC) on the ongoing CBI enquiry into the Hari Masjid firing case is far from over. After the criticism the decision received from the opposition parties and lawyers, Wednesday it was Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) which came down heavily on the state govt. for its controversial decision. Questioning the government’s stand that the departmental enquiry did not find any evidence against the accused, Advocate Yusuf Machala asked, “How can one believe an enquiry based solely on the statements of police personnel and having not a single account of the affected people?”
Advocate Machhala was addressing the press conference called by Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) on Wednesday at the Azad Maidan Press Club.
“The decision just shows that the Maharashtra government’s stand on Hari Masjid case is similar to that of Gujarat government’s on Ishrta Jahan’s fake encounter”, said Advocate Yusuf Machala. The Srikrishna Commission had indicted then sub-inspector Nikhil Kapse for his unprovoked firing during the incident in 1992-93, which left six dead. In February this year, the CBI charged Kapse with murder, but has not yet arrested him.
Retired Justice Kolse Patil also criticized the state government’s move to obtain the stay on the investigations and blamed it of indulging in ‘double standard’. “The secrecy and the haste government has shown in the whole episode create doubts in the minds”, Kolse Patil said before adding, “The state government should come clean on its intention.”
Advocate Shakeel Ahmed, one of those who have been tracking the state government’s promise to implement the recommendations of the Srikrishna Commission report into the firing, while expressing surprise over the state government’s decision said, “We had demanded for the CBI investigations because the police department was not willing to take action against its own errant personnel. Later, following the directives from the High Court, state government too agreed for CBI investigations. Now, all of a sudden it moves to the Supreme Court and obtains a stay?”
Taking the tirade against the state government even further, Farooque Mapkar – who was injured in the firing and the man who is fighting the case since last 16 years – said, “The government claims taking actions on the recommendations of Srikrishna Commission. At the same time it gives clean chit to the accused and shies away from transparent investigations.”
Stating that after every riot, cases are filed against the Muslims and actions are never taken against other people Farooque Mapkar said, “It has now become certain that the Congress government is only fooling the Muslims in India.” Mapkar also expressed surprise why Minister of state for Home Arif Nasim Khan remained a mute spectator when the government moved to the Supreme Court.
Arif Naseem Khan before becoming minister had appealed in the Supreme Court few years back to press the state govt. to implement the recommendations of Srikrishna Commission, formed to probe the 1992-93 Mumbai riots. The implementation of Sri Krishna Commission Report was also part of the Congress election manifesto. Meanwhile, a group of activists and lawyers plan to challenge the stay on the CBI probe into the 1993 Hari Masjid firing case.
“We have to study the state’s petition and prepare the grounds for our challenge”, said Advocate Shakil Ahmed.