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Compensation to  Gujarat Riot Victims

 

Public Meeting

Fatwa on Terrorism issued by Mufti Fuzail-ur-Rahman Hilal Usmani
(Pronounced in person at a Public Meeting, “Citizens Against Terror”, organized by Citizens for Justice and Peace, Muslims for Secular Democracy and others in Mumbai on July 27, 2006).

Text of Fatwa: Hindi | Urdu | Marathi | Gujarati

Message from Sajjadanashin Of
Hazrat Khwaja Saheb,
Ajmer Shari
f

Press Coverage of Meeting

Statement of Condemnation
(Mumbai Blast)

 

SC judgment
Re-trial of Best Bakery Case
outside Gujarat

(April 12, 2004)

Media Archive

Dateline

Backgrounders

  List of Prosecution,    
  defence witnesses
(pdf)
  Chart for the
  identification of
  the accused
(pdf)
  Chart for the
  identification of
  the weapon
 (pdf)
  List of accused  (pdf)
  Contradictory statements  
  by Zahira and family
(pdf)
  Zahira Speak  (pdf)
  Hostile witnesses:    (pdf)
  Criminal consequences
 
  Modi on NHRC, CJ  (pdf)
  Pending petition for  (pdf)
  re- investigation, transfer
  No appeals  (pdf)
 Partisan prosecutors (pdf)
 Partisan Investigation (pdf)
 Vadodara witnesses (pdf)
  Case History
 Supreme court  
  judgement
(Mar 8, '06)
  Mazgaon (Mumbai)
  session court
 
  judgement
 
(Full Judgement)  
 ( Feb 24, '06)
  Mazgaon (Mumbai)
  session court
 
  judgement
 (Feb 24, '06)
  SC Judgement: transfer
  and  retrial in Mumbai
 
 
(April 12, '04)
  SC order expunging
  remarks against
  Teesta, Mihir
  Gujarat HC order
  Dec. 26, '03/Jan 12, '04
  CJP and Zahira file
  SLP in SC
(Aug. 8, '03)
  Zahira/CJP press  
  conference in Mumbai

  (July 7, '03)
  Sessions Court
  Judgement, Vadodara

  (June 27, '03)


News Letter March 2006

Crime Against
Humanity

Gujarat Riots
 Concerned Citizens Tribunal Report

 

Crime Against
Humanity

( Abridged Version)

 

Genocide:
Gujarat 2002

 

May 2 , 2011

Response to Alleged accusations by Smt Yasmin Shaikh

In the nine years since the Gujarat genocidal carnage, that consisted of a series of well orchestrated violent attacks on Gujarat and India’s religious minorities following the ghastly arson in the Coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra, systematic attempts to malign efforts of human rights defender Teesta Setalvad and the legal rights group that she is Secretary of, Citizens for Justice and Peace have been made. Details of the malicious and intimidatory campaign can be sourced at our website www.cjponline.org along with the systematic rebuttals. Details of the evidence of highest levels of state complicity in the orchestrated attacks can be also accessed at www.gujarat-riots.com

The latest such attempt has been through the selective coverage in The Pioneer of Yasmin Shaikh’s affidavit allegedly filed before the Bombay High Court in June 2010. The Pioneer edited by Chandan Mitra –a BJP MP-- carried the story without contacting us on April 19-20 2010. Other newspapers have since carried the PTI version after trying to contact us. Hence we are now issuing this detailed clarification.

The CJP firmly denies the baseless allegations being made after the conclusion of the Best Bakery trial and asserts that it has always functioned within the law, assisting victims to access justice and punish powerful perpetrators in a system that is loaded heavily in favour of the accused.

We wish to point out that as the paras excerpted below from the judgement reveal, the false and defamatory narrative of tutoring witnesses has been consistently and repeatedly made since 2004. The allegations have remained the same, those making them have changed.

In Mumbai, during the course of the retrial it was powerful defence counsel, headed by Shiv Sena Member of Parliament Adhik Shirodkar who made these allegations every day before the Court. During the hearing of the trial, Ms Zahira Shaikh prime witness turned hostile for the second time. It was Teesta Setalvad that asked for a SC inquiry into the baseless allegations. The Registrar General of the Supreme Court of India’s Report dated 29.7.2005 exonerated uys completely. The full text of the report can be accessed at  http://www.cjponline.org/SCreport.pdf.The report indicted Ms Shaiukh for accepting inducement, possibly to the tune of Rs 18 lakhs form BJP Member of the Legislative Assembly Madhu Srivastava. A subsequent Income Tax Inquiry against Srivastava directed by the Supreme Court of India has found a large sum of several given to “undisclosed sources.” It is a tragedy of our system of the administration of criminal justice that while Ms Shaikh served a one year term of simple imprisonment for committing perjury –that is lying on oath -- the powerful MLA from the ruling party who committed the criminal act of turning a witness hostile has not suffered any punishment. Srivastava is also named as one of the accused in the Zakia Ahsan Jafri complaint that has named Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat as accused number 1 for the crime of planning a conspiracy to commit mass murder of his own people as also subvert evidence and destroy documents and records .

Yasmin Shaikh was one of the many occurrence witnesses (eye-witnesses) who testified in Mumbai between August 2004 and February 2006 when the trial was transferred to Mumbai and the re-trial ordered by the Supreme Court of India. (The judgement of the Supreme Court dated April 12, 2004 http://www.cjponline.org/best/bakeryjudgement.pdf and the Trial Court Final Judgement dated at are available at  http://www.cjponline.org/best/Best%20Bakery%20Judgement.pdf). Specifically we would request all readers of this response to go through Paras 848-861 of Jude Tipsay’s Judgement where he concludes, after detailed examination of the evidence that there has been no turtoring by Teesta Setalvad or her organization. We also request that you read carefully Paras 305-364 of the judgement that deals specifically with the evidence of Prosecution Witness 29, Yasmin Shaikh.

She and several other eye-witnesses had not testified in the Vadodara fast track court that had ordered acquittal of all the accused in June 2003.Both she and four other eye-witnesses deposed in the Bombay trial court though they had not been produced by the Gujarat police during the Vadodara fast track trial that was over within a few weeks!

The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and its Secretary, Teesta Setalvad have, since 2004 when the highly contested Best Bakery case was transferred out of Gujarat, and re-trial ordered been the target of a serious campaign of malice and vendetta aimed at a) affecting our role in assisting the dispensation of public justice; b) defaming us in the public realm in a crude bit to influence the Courts hearing the trials and other cases; c) de-railing the cases against the mighty and powerful in Gujarat that are close to conclusion and d) intimidating and influencing poor and hapless witnesses and victim survivors who still live within the shadow of a vindictive government in Gujarat.

We believe that these crude attempts are nothing short of machinations of powerful functionaries within the Gujarat government to selectively target an individual and her organization (CJP) who has stood by firmly in the struggle for justice in the tenth year of India’s worst state sponsored communal massacre. We believe further that the aim is to intimidate us away from our legal and Constitutional objective of providing legal aid to victims and eye-witnesses of mass crimes to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and the guilty do not go scot free. We hope and believe that our struggle within the Courts for justice will vindicate our stand.

Fourteen persons were burnt alive at the Best Bakery killings on March 1, 2002, 110 raped and massacred in broad daylight at Naroda Patia and Gamm on February 28, 2002, 69 persons raped and butchered at the Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, Ahmedabad; 33 innocent Muslims burnt alive in a house at Sardarpura village, mehsana and 27 more at Odh in Anand district (these are bot a glimpse of the major massacres that were orchestrated by the powerful within the state). In most if not all these mass massacres spread over 19 of Gujarat’s 25 districts the police abdicated their Constitutional obliogations save a few brave officers. Those policemen who swam against the tide were and are being persecuted by a vindictive administration. The CJP has been responsible for aiding the justice process in Gujarat and the perpetrators are the masterminds behind targeting eye-witnesses, survivors and victims. We believe that the targeted attacks against us through our Secretary. Teesta Setalvad, this time through this affidavit of Yasmin Shaikh is nothing short of a sustained and prolonged, malicious attack on our credibility. CJP refutes each and all the allegations.

IM Kadri (President) Nandan Maluste (Vice President), Teesta Setalvad (Secretary)

Other Trustees: Arvind Krishnaswamy (Treasurer) Alyque Padamsee, Cyrus Guzder, Javed Akhtar, Javed Anand, Rahul Bose, Cedric Prakash, Ghulam Pesh Imam, Anil Dharker

 Excerpts from the Trial Court Judgement:

Following Paragraphs from the 26.2.2006 Judgement in the Best Bakery Re-Trial

“….851. First of all, from the testimony of the occurrence witnesses, they do not appear to have been tutored. The signs of having been tutored were not found while analysing their evidence. While discussing the evidence of these witnesses, it has been noted that they appeared to be truthful. They have avoided attributing false overt acts to the accused identified by them which would have been quite easy for them. A number of instances are found in the evidence of these witnesses where they could have implicated more accused than identified by them or where they could have attributed more serious acts to the accused, identified by them, which has not been done. Secondly, they could be tutored only by a person who knew the facts. It is difficult for a person who was not present at the time of the incident to tutor an occurrence witness and if at all this can be done, it would be based on the records of the case, which does not seem to have happened in the instant case. Even some grave incriminating matters, though found in the police record of the statements of these witnesses, have not been stated by them in their evidence, sometimes even after confronting them with such record. Thirdly, in this case, the happenings of the incident and the manner in which it took place, is not in dispute at all. So the aspect of tutoring would be confined to the identification. It seems quite unlikely that Smt. Teesta Setalvad would be able to tutor to identify a particular person as the culprit. It is not easy to tutor one to identify another not previously known to the one or even to the person tutoring. Tutoring of this type would require the person tutoring the concerned accused and the concerned witnesses to be together for a reasonable time or on one or more occasions. Moreover, the tutoring in such cases would be in consonance with the police record or the prosecution case, which has not happened in this case. ‘Painter’ and ‘Pratap’ whose names figured in the F.I.R., and who according to the prosecution case are Accused No. 5 and Accused No. 10 respectively, have not been identified by any of these witnesses. Probably being aware of this weakness in the contention of the defence, a feeble attempt was made to show how it would be possible by suggesting to PI Kanani that he had shown enlarged photographs of the accused persons to the supporting occurrence witnesses with the help of Smt. Teesta Setalvad and one Raees Khan, which has been denied by him. The witnesses themselves were not suggested that they were shown any photographs of the accused persons and were tutored to identify them. That this is clearly an afterthought of the defence is also clear from the fact that when Taufel and Raees were examined, the learned Advocates for the accused had made a request that after identification of a particular accused by pointing out the name of such an accused may not be uttered loudly. It is obvious that this precaution, which the learned Advocates for the accused wanted to be taken in the process of recording of evidence, was not consistent with the theory of the witnesses having been shown enlarged photographs of the accused. Further, the witnesses have not identified the same accused. There has been not even one wrong identification where the accused were identified by naming and pointing out. While appreciating the evidence, the manner in which it is given, the manner in which the varying suggestions are given in the cross-examination, are often of significance. It was put to PI Kanani that he had done the tutoring with the help of Smt. Teesta Setalvad, which has been not only denied, but ridiculed by PI Kanani, by stating that he was not even on talking terms with Smt. Teesta Setalvad. PI Kanani stated that it was because she had made allegations against the investigating agency. This statement of PI Kanani has to be accepted as true. Even Zahira does not say that any photographs of the accused were actually shown to her by Smt. Teesta Setalvad. All that she says is that Smt. Teesta Setalvad was to procure the photographs. Thus, till Zahira left for Vadodara, no photographs of the accused are shown to be available to Smt. Teesta Setalvad. Under the circumstances, it cannot be accepted that any photographs of the accused were shown to the occurrence witnesses by Smt. Teesta Setalvad, or by PI Kanani, who was not in touch at all, with any of them. It may be recalled that the accused were never made to sit in the Court hall according to the serial numbers given to them in the charge-sheet, or in any other fixed order. Their names were never loudly being called out in the Court. It is, under these circumstances, that the identification in the Court has taken place. In some cases, while identifying a few out of the 17 accused, the names have also been given by the identifying witnesses. There has been no wrong identification by any of the identifying witness in such cases. The identification has taken place under the observation of the Court enabling the Court to view the actions of the identifying witnesses. It does not seem to me that there is any substance in the contention of tutoring.

“….852. In the context of witnesses having been tutored, an argument advanced by Shri V.D. Bichu, the learned Advocate for the accused needs to be dealt with. [pages 19-20 of the arguments filed by him at Ex.522/A]. It is contended that since the order for holding a retrial and that too, out of State of Gujarat was secured from the Supreme Court of India by the N.G.O. – Citizens for Justice and Peace – for obvious reasons, it become a matter of prestige for them. It is contended that it was therefore ‘only human to expect that efforts would be made towards their further success, which could be achieved by securing conviction of at least a few of the accused persons’; and that therefore, the witnesses were bound to be tutored. It is dangerous to accept such propositions. On the basis of the same arguments, it can be said that it also became a matter of prestige for those by making allegations against whom and because of whose blameworthy conduct, a retrial was ordered out of State of Gujarat, to show that there was nothing wrong whatsoever, in the previous trial. The said N.G.O. had made allegations against the State machinery itself, which were believed to be true at least substantially by the Supreme Court of India while ordering a retrial out of the State. Can it, on the same logic, be said that it was only human to expect that efforts would be made for the failure of the N.G.O., which could be achieved by making the witnesses turn hostile again? This, if accepted, would change the entire perspective in which the evidence is required to be appreciated. The manifest antipathy shown by the hostile witnesses to the entire prosecution case cannot be the result of a mere desire to ensure the acquittal of the accused. In this context, the contention advanced by Shri Shirodkar to the effect that the accused have not influenced the hostile witnesses, and that the accused are poor persons having no influence, needs to be taken into consideration. While this appears to be true, judging by the social and financial status of the accused persons, the fact remains that there are others who are powerful enough to extend great financial support and legal services to the hostile witnesses. However, the evidence can neither be appreciated on the basis that the said N.G.O. is likely to have a motive which would induce them to tutor the witnesses, nor on the basis that the State authorities or the State Government have a motive to show that there was nothing wrong in the previous trial, or that the witnesses had not turned hostile due to any lapses on the part of the State machinery which would induce them to make the witnesses turn hostile again. Even if the alleged bad motives of the N.G.O. as attempted to be attributed to it by the Advocates for the accused are accepted for the sake of arguments, there would be no interest for them to secure conviction of the accused. Rather their interest would be to show that Zahira and others are being manipulated. Though it might have become a matter of prestige for the said N.G.O. to show that they had fought for truth, or, at any rate, what was believed by them to be the truth, it would not mean that they would tutor witnesses to falsely identify a few accused for securing a few convictions. “

 --
Teesta Setalvad
Secretary, CJP

 


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