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Citizens for Justice and Peace

30july12

08, May 2017


July 30, 2012
Press
Release

 

Bittersweet victory; 22 Persons Convicted, 61 Acquitted

(Deepda Darwaza Trial)

 

The
Citizens for Justice and Peace
(CJP) Mumbai welcomes as
bitter-sweet the victory of justice in the tragic Deepda Darwaza (Visnagar)
massacre trial in which 11 persons, including five women and five
children (even a 6 month old infant was not spared) were brutally
attacked and massacred on 28.2.2002. The special court at Mehsana
today convicted 22 persons while acquitting 61 others including the
former MLA Prahlad Ghosa who had been named by Victim Witnesses as
far back as 2002. It was through a section 319 application filed  by
witnesses and victims (exhibit 656 in Sessions Case No 180/2002)
that the then Special Court Judge, B Karia had allowed it arraigning
Ghosa and one other as accused in its order dated 10.2.2010. On June
17, 2010 the High Court and thereafter the Supreme Court had
rejected the appeal of the accused. Judge Karia had later been
transferred and the judgement was delivered by Judge Srivastava.

 

Those
convicted have been convicted only of attempt to murder (section
307. IPC) while charges of murder (section 302, IPC) and Conspiracy
(section 120-B) have not been upheld. One of those convicted is the
first Investigating Officer in the case, MK Patel who has been
convicted for dereliction of duty.

 

The CJP
reiterates that the Deepda Darwaza Massacre was one of the worst of
the incidents of premeditated reprisal killings that occulted in 300
locations in at least 14 districts of the Gujarat state following
the tragic arson of the S-6 Sabarmati Express at Godhra near the
station. Among those convicted are 15 from the first charge sheet
filed by the Gujarat police on 23.5.2002 (that include Accused Nos.
2, Bipinkumar Babubhai Patel,  Accused No 3, Bhikhabhai Narayandas
Patel, Accused Mo 5, Rajeshkumar Ranchhoddas Patel, Accused No 6,
Chimanlal Kachrabhai Patel, Accused No 7, Dhirubhai Bhikhabhai
Patel, Accused No  8  Parimal @ Jetho Babulal Patel,
Accused No. 11,  Ashokkumar @ sentig Shankarlal Parmar, Accused No
15,  Ranjitkumar @ lalo Rambhai Patel, Accused No 16 Vijaykumar @
bhano Chandrakantbhai Patel, Accused No 17, Rangneshkumar @ lalo
Kantilal Patel, Accused No 19,  Anandkumar @ bado Bhogilal Patel,
Accused No 20  Jayeshkumar Babulal Patel, Accused No 22,  Jayeshkumar
Kantilal Patel, Accused No 25,  Yogeshkumar @ Chokshi Lucky
Chimanlal Patel, Accused No 42 Jitendrakumar Hasmukhbhai Aasobiya
Patel, Accused No 44,  Dasharathkumar Shivabhai Patel, two accused
from the second charge sheet filed by the Gujarat Police on
22.7.2003, Accused Nos 51,   Dahyabhai Parshotamdas Patel, Accused
No  69,  Chamanlal @ Choksi Ramchanddas Patel, one accused from the
third charge sheet filed by the Gujarat Police dated 1.10.2004
Accused No. 76,  Gandabhai Madhavlal Patel and only one accused from
the fifth charge sheet filed by the SIT on 11.5.2009, i.e. accused
No. 83, the first Investigating Officer, Accused Nos 83, Patel
Manubhai Karshanbhai Patel.

 

The
crimes committed on the innocent victims of Deepda Darwaza at
Visnagar was un precedented and preplanned. The victims were
Husenabibi Muradkhan Pathan, age.35 years,Afsanabanu Yusufkhan
Pathan age 19 years, Munafkhan Jabirbhai Khilji age 2 years,
Jinatbibi Muradkhan Pathan age 65 years, Banubibi Yusufkhan Pathan,
age 46 years, Amanullakhan Yusufkhan  Pathan, age 9 years,
Azaullakhan Yusufkhan  Pathan, age 4 years, Yakubkhan
Muradkhan  Pathan, age 35 years, Asifkhan Yakubkhan 
Pathan, age 14 years, Abidkhan Yakubkhan  Pathan, age 1 year,
Suhanabibi Jabirbhai Pathan . 

 

The
Gujarat Police had filed Three Charge Sheets (50 and 23 and 6
accused respectively) Before the constitution of the SIT, the trial
in respect of the above referred offences had already commenced and
52 witnesses had already been examined by the Trial Court. After the
Constitution of the SIT on 26.3.2008 and upon further investigation,
two different charge sheets were filed. In addition to the 79
accused named earlier, Four More accused including the then
Investigating Officer were charged as accused. The Total Accused in
this case were then 83.

 

The CJP
would like to point out that an atmosphere of intimidation and fear
still rules certain villages of Mehsana and other districts of
Gujarat. It is therefore a matter of pride that Victim Survivors
deposed without fear and favour. Deepda Darwaza case is one of the
nine trials being monitored by the Supreme Court in which CISF
protection has been given to the witnesses. It is safe and
reasonable to conclude that it is only with the monitoring of the
cases by the Supreme Court, which monitoring has ensured that CISF
protection is given to every eye witness could this result –22
convictions – have been achieved.

 

Behind
each of these 22 persons being convicted for life are the
testimonies of four – six eye witnesses and victim survivors who
have a) named them in statements before investigating agencies; b)
named them in their testimonies in Court and c) identified them in a
dock eyed investigation in the Court premises at Mehsana. This
seemingly glib and easy exercise of witness testimony that started
over two years ago in July 2009 has meant victim survivors living
through pain and trauma, fear from the powerful perpetrators. The
victim and eye witness community are from a minority of a few
families who were brutally targeted by the powerful Patel community.
At every step they have been warned to stay away etc but the fact
that the SC was watching, the central paramilitary was protecting
them and there was a group of citizens committed to the rule of law,
willing to risk things and apply to the Apex Court if and whenever
things went wrong gave the confidence to the witnesses to depose.
This must not be lost sight of.

 

Eye
witness testimonies are the only factor for convictions during mob
violence. Eye witness testimonies are the only guarantor of
convictions –there are over four dozen judgements on this and
without these testimonies there would have been no convictions.

 

The CJP
expresses grave concern about the charge of section 120 B
(Conspiracy under the IPC) being dropped and here the questionable
role of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is reflected.As
reflected in the narrative of the Deepda Darwaza incident pasted
below, from the Concerned Citizens Tribunal Report, 2002 headed by
Justices VR Krishna Iyer (retired Supreme Court) PB Sawant (retired
Supreme Court) and Justice Hosbet Suresh (Retired High Court) there
was premeditation behind the killings. This crucial issue including
the complicity of local policemen who deliberately did not answer
pleas for help until SP Mehsana Gahlot rescued the survivors remains
and gave them from DNA sampling. The fact that the murdered and
killed persons were thereafter removed from the scene and dumped in
a nearby pond/lake in sacks shows the degree of planning.

 

Though
the CJP has only been partially assisting the victim witnesses in
this case, the community of Survivors has been in touch with CJP
since 2002. We applaud their courage and steadfastness in the
struggle for justice.

 


Trustees:

 I.M.
Kadri                         Arvind Krishnaswamy
                Javed Akhtar

Cyrus
Guzder                   Alyque Padamsee                      Anil
Dharker

Nandan
Maluste              Javed Anand               
               
Rahul Bose                 

Cedric
Prakash               Ghulam Pesh Imam                     Teesta
Setalvad

 

Read Concerned Citizens
Tribunal 2002 on Deepda Darwaza Incident


http://www.sabrang.com/tribunal/volI/incimehsana.html


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