Formed on April 1, 2002, the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was the response of a collective of citizens to the terrible communal carnage in Gujarat. Committed to the rule of law and the foundational principles of the Indian Republic enshrined in the Constitution, CJP’s initiatives involved rigorous advocacy, interventions in the courts, memorialisation of the violence, and institutional accountability and change.
In the past 15 years, the CJP has battled over 68 cases related to the Gujarat carnage resulting in convictions of powerful perpetrators. These battles are still on in the courts as the appeals are contested by the accused and defended by us. This Video tells a powerful tale of this journey. CJP’s trustees have faced a trial by fire as a vindictive state has turned upon this group of civil libertarians. Quietly undeterred, CJP has faced the challenge, defending its actions and answering all accusations with dignity. Details of this arduous journey may be read here. Today, CJP’s expertise, born of this experience also extends to assisting other human rights defenders who are targets of state victimisation.
Tribunals: The Concerned Citizens Tribunal (CCT) Crimes Against Humanity, Gujarat 2002 set up in response to a call of several dozen grassroot organisations was an effort of the CJP. Its 3-volume report, published in November 21-22, 2002 was the outcome of a rigorous effort of recording oral testimonies and scrutinising written evidences and documents. The report may be read here. Tribunals within the human rights movement in India have emerged since the mid-1990s to showcase and document large-scale rights violations. CJP remains committed to this mode and method of intervention that provides a firm foundation for future actions in the courts.
CJP’s work within the courts has been intense and has resulted in the deepening of rights based jurisprudence, especially ‘Victimology’ within the criminal justice system. Issues of witness protection, independent investigation and prosecution and time bound trials have been consistently highlighted through our work and drawn response and vindication in the courts. Hate speech and hate crimes have been documented by us and interventions around these crimes continue.
The path-breaking jurisprudence created through these cases like the Best Bakery Case, the Naroda Patiya Case, the Gulberg Trial and the Zakia Jafri Case, have left a lasting mark on the system besides providing an immense sense of recompense to the survivors of mass and brute violence. In all legal interventions, on principle, the survivor is the face of the struggle with CJP providing a backbone of support. The fact that families of the Godhra train carnage also invested their faith in CJP and CJP represented them in the SC is testimony to the balanced and non-partisan approach of CJP. In principle, through these criminal trials, CJP’s team of advocates and survivors only pleaded for life imprisonment. CJP stands against the death penalty.
The amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Section 24(8)(2), in 2009, was a direct response of the Indian legislature to the fault-lines within the system, exposed during the Best Bakery case. For the first time the victim/complainant has been given the right to intervene and assist the prosecution during a criminal trial. Until then, the state and the state alone had the discretion to pursue, or abandon, a legal battle, even when ghastly crimes had taken place. This onus on the state alone has let many crimes go unpunished. This amendment enables citizens to ensure furtherance of justice.
Mob Terror and Bomb Terror are two dark sides of the same coin and CJP’s interventions have also been in areas related to reparation for the survivors of both kinds of violence. In 2006 and 2008 when bombs exploded off Mumbai’s railway tracks, in Ahmedabad and then again in Mumbai, CJP was part of wider citizens initiatives to ensure not just awareness and justice, but fair recompense. Even today, CJP runs two ambulances in Mumbai, funds for which were raised by music concerts by international and national musicians, Jethro Tull, Anushka Shankar, Farhan Akhtar and others.
Minorities of all kinds, religious, ethnic, caste and gender-based, remain a deep concern for CJP. We remain committed to the belief that a democracy’s heath and vibrancy depends upon its ability to dignify all kinds of belief systems, cultures and languages.
The late Vijay Tendulkar(Playwright), was the founding President. Other founding members/ board of Trustees include Alyque Padamsee (Communications/Advertising/Theatre), Anil Dharkar (Columnist, Writer), Raghunandan Maluste (Corporate Executive), Arvind Krishnaswamy, Treasurer (Corporate Executive), Cyrus Guzder (CMD, AFL), Javed Akhtar (Poet, Lyricist), Javed Anand (Communalism Combat), Rahul Bose (Film Actor), Teesta Setalvad, Secretary (KHOJ, Communalism Combat). Today the Trustees include also Fr. Cedric Prakash (Human rights activist), Shakuntala Kulkarni (Artist), Chitra Palekar (Theatre Personality)
Citizens For Justice & Peace in a Trust registered under The Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 with registration numberF-25826/(Mumbai)
Donations to Citizens For Justice & Peace is exempt from Income Tax under section 80-G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Our 80-G registration number is DIT(E)MC/80-G/1047/2003/2003-04 Dated 23.12.03 and valid from 4.8.2003 to 31.3.2006.
Accounting Details About CJP
For Online Donations to Citizens for Justice & Peace go to cjp.org.in “DONATE” SECTION Citizens for Justice & Peace
(Enjoys 80 G Exemption Under the Indian Income Tax Act)
Contact us at:
Citizens for Justice and Peace,
Ph: 26602288 / 26603927 Fax: 26608252