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Mainstream, VOL L No 13, March 17, 2012

On the Dark Realities facing Us

Tuesday 20 March 2012, by Humra Quraishi

Why this growing graph of abandoned-on -the-street children? Why thousands of Falaks? Why hundreds of women who have to sell off their own flesh and blood? Why the naïve get trapped into prostitution and related rackets?

You don’t have to be an investigative reporter to come to some basic conclusion, as some hard- hitting realities stand right out: C.C. Patil—Karnataka’s Women and Child Welfare Minister—was caught watching porn on a cell-phone with another of his ministerial colleagues, Laxman Savadi. Watching porn right inside the House, where a supposedly serious discussion was underway!

Well, what must be on in their own homes! Behind those four walls—well secured by security men to protect limbs and more! Perhaps, in those secure confines live porn and related off-shoots could be on, ongoing day after day. Also, if the so-called political ‘leaders’ are watching porn then what about the rest: the not-so-political and the average?

It is one of those definite shockers and requires not just one of those routine probes or the setting up of one of those commissions of enquiry. In fact, concerned citizens ought to take on, and question and query. Yes, citizens have that power to take to see what’s going amiss and try restore normalcy.

Concerned Citizens Write …

THIS brings me to write about a group of concerned citizens of Ahmedabad who have collectively written about another of those dark realities affecting the very fabric of this land. In fact, Ahmedabad-based Jesuit priest Father Cedric Prakash, along with several concerned citizens, has sent this letter to the Chief Justice of India.

I quote from it—“It is going to be 10 years of Gujarat Riot. Due to the absence of rule of law justice has eluded the riot victims. Thanks to the steps taken by the SC to reopen the cases, the appointment of Mr Raghavan in SIT followed by the appointment of Mr. Raju Ramachandran as the Amicus Curiae, raised hope that justice will finally prevail in Gujarat. But the way the SIT is functioning and probing the cases has made us apprehensive about its genuine interest to book the culprit. From the media we have come to know that the SIT is going to close the files of certain cases, particularly of Zakia Jafri. “Being concerned, we, the citizens, are drawing your attention. We have come to know that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is planning to file a closure report. It appears that the SIT is performing a pre-determined task rather than working with a diligent and open mind. The failure of the SIT to identify the perpetrators in the face of clinching evidence will send a dange-rous signal—that despite the highest level inter-ventions, the Indian system allows the guilty to go unpunished. This will signal the end of hope. The SIT has first and foremost inexplicably delayed the filing of a charge-sheet as directed by the Honourable Supreme Court in September 2011 (12.9.2011). The SIT was reprimanded by the Apex Court in March 2011 for ignoring infe-rences in the evidence and when even after this reprimand, the SIT failed to measure up, the Amicus Curiae, by an order dated 5.5.2011, was given a free hand to meet witnesses, including policemen, bypassing the SIT. This meant that the SC asked for an independent assessment of the available evidence… Now reliable sources, as reported in the media, say that despite volumi-nous evidence and recommendations by the Amicus Curiae of the Supreme Court (Shri Raju Ramachandran) to prosecute Chief Minister Modi and his collaborators (politicians and policemen) for the anti-minority carnage 2002, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is planning to file a closure report. If despite the recommen-dations of the Amicus Curiae, the SIT today files a closure report, this would be first and foremost a blow to the mass indignity suffered by victims and would signal a grave threat to faith in the rule of law, democracy the relationships between communities. Faith in our system will be deeply eroded. So as citizens committed to the rule of law we need to raise the following issues:

• Why the over four-month delay in filing the charge-sheet as directed by the SC on 12.9.11?

• Why the reluctance by the SIT to thoroughly probe the issue of destruction and reappearance of critical documentary evidence by senior policemen, including police control room records, station diary entries, mobile phone records? (These records have been analysed by complainants/petitioners and placed before the SIT and the Court and are available in the public domain.)

• Why the reluctance of the SIT, to bring on record the statements of available witnesses on meetings that reportedly took place at the Chief Minister’s residence?

• Finally, when the Amicus Curaie Raju Rama-chandran has reportedly recommended the prosecution of the CM and his senior officers, where does the SIT find the impunity to exonerate the criminals?

“Let us not forget that the offences concerned include grave crimes against innocent citizens, in which policemen, administrators and politi-cians in positions of constitutional posts, have not only violated their oath but callously allowed lives to be brutally taken, dignity denied. The failure of the SIT to identify the perpetrators in the face of clinching evidence will send a dange-rous signal—that despite the highest level inter-ventions, the Indian system allows the guilty to go unpunished. This will signal the end of hope… As citizens of Gujarat we write to you concerned that a historic investigation under the super-vision of the Supreme Court since 2008 is being subverted by vested interests inimical to the rule of law. This could prove disastrous for lasting and sustainable justice that has to be the prerequisite for peace and harmony.”

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62