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Narendra Modi – Gujarat Riots Massacre Case: Focus on Supreme Court Commentary 18 Years Ago




Teesta Setalvad is discharged from a hospital after a medical examination in Ahmedabad on Sunday. Setalvads’ complaint to Mumbai police on Saturday alleged that Gujarat police broke into his premises and there was a large bruise on his left hand.

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The opposition has raised multiple questions after the Supreme Court issued a verdict upholding a net voucher given to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the Gulberg Society massacre case and said that the pot was boiling for further design.

Both the PMO and Congress have questioned how the statements of the Supreme Court benches in the Gulberg Society case fit with the modern Neros reference made by another Supreme Court bench 18 years ago in another Gujarat riot massacre case.

Gujarat Police cited a conviction in the latest judgment to arrest human rights defender Teesta Setalvad and former DGP RB Sreekumar in a lightning response to the verdict.

Setalvad and Sreekumar, accused of abusing the legal process by fabricating evidence, were taken into custody in Ahmedabad for a week until July 2. The prosecution had requested pretrial detention for 14 days.

On Sunday, the CPM Political Bureau released a statement that made the following points:

The action of the Gujarat administration in her arrest (Setalvads) was made possible by the dubious verdict of the three-member panel of the Supreme Court which made the plaintiff the defendant and ordered all persons involved in such abuse of process to be in the dock and proceeded according to law.

This means that any SIT established by the Court must be considered outside the scope of legal remedies, said the political bureau of the CPM.

If someone appeals against this, as Zakia Jafri (wife of murdered former Congressman Ehsan Jafri) and Teesta Setalvad did in this case, then they are accused of abuse of process. A 16-year fight for justice is described in unusual pejorative terms as boiling the pot for later design, the CPM’s political office said.

It should be noted that the court-appointed amicus curiae in the SIT case, while agreeing with many of the SIT’s recommendations, had also noted that certain sections of the ICC provoking hatred between communities should be taken into account. Earlier in April 2004, it was the Supreme Court itself that called the then government leaders modern-day Neros. This verdict does not address any of these issues. He punishes those who, like Teesta, believe in the justice system. This is a fitting case for a curative petition, according to the CPM statement.

On April 12, 2004, the bench of Judges Doraiswamy Raju and Arijit Pasayat said: Modern-day Neros looked the other way when Best Bakery, innocent children and helpless women burned, and likely deliberated how the perpetrators of the crime could be protected.

The 2004 bench overturned the acquittal of the 21 defendants in the Gujarat Best Bakery massacre case and ordered a retrial in Maharashtra. Eighteen years ago, the Supreme Court also criticized the Gujarat High Court for making irresponsible statements against Setalvad and other activists and erased those comments.

Congress had asked on Saturday whether a chief minister or state government would ever be held accountable even if the state was thrown into a circle of violence and premeditated riots. Will the chief minister, cabinet and government of the state ever be held accountable even if the state is thrown into a circle of violence and premeditated riots? asked Congress Secretary General Randeep Surjewala.

Congress said Supreme Court verdicts should not be politicized, but questioned whether only the tax collector or the police were responsible for the riots in their jurisdictions and whether their political masters were not. Is accountability solely with the Collector and Deputy Commissioner of Police and not with the political executive? What then is the constitutional and moral responsibility of the Chief Minister and the State Government? asked Surjewala.

The law in this New India is that failure to arrest or inaction to act against those who commit violence is not cause for action against a state government. Was the Supreme Court right then to say As Rome burned, Nero fiddled, or is it right now? Is failure or inaction no longer subject to legal action? Let the nation reflect, he added.

Also on Saturday, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said Supreme Court rulings should never be politicized, adding that the Supreme Court denies any conspiracies or statements by the prime minister in the absence of some police officers. It should simply be respected as an order of the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, the CPM’s political bureau condemned Setalvad’s arrest, stressing that she had fought tirelessly for justice for the victims of the 2002 violence in Gujarat.

His arrest is an ominous threat to all democratically-minded citizens who dare not question the role of the state or government under which communal violence is taking place. This is abhorrent to the democratic rights of citizens, the CPM statement said.

CPI Secretary General D. Raja also condemned the arrest and tweeted that Setalvad was fighting tirelessly to get justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots. His detention by the ATS hours after HM (Union Home Secretary Amit Shah) expressed his dissatisfaction with Teestas’ work is highly questionable. She should be released. Harassment of human rights defenders must stop, Raja said.

The general secretary of CPIML Liberation, Dipankar Bhattacharya, affirmed that justice seekers were now judged.

CPIML Red Star condemned the arrest of Setalvad and Sreekumar.

In Ranchi, around 40 activists representing various organizations issued a joint statement demanding the immediate withdrawal of the FIR against Setalvad.

SIT to probe

A special investigation team led by an anti-terrorist squad from Gujarat DIG will investigate the case against Setalvad and former IPS officers Sreekumar and Sanjiv Bhatt. After Setalvad was detained in Mumbai and transferred to Gujarat, the criminal branch in Ahmedabad arrested her.




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