Formed on April 1, 2002, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) was the response of a collective of citizens to the 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.
Since 2002, the CJP has battled over 68 cases related to the Gujarat carnage resulting in convictions of powerful perpetrators. These led to over 170 convictions, with 124 perpetrators being awarded life imprisonment. CJP stands for reformative, not retributive justice.These cases include:
Best Bakery Case: 2006- 9 people convicted and given Life Sentences. 2012- HC orders Rs 3 lakh compensation for each victim.
Sardarpura Case: 2011- 31 people convicted and give Life Sentences by lower court. HC upholds conviction of 17
Ode Case 1: 2011- 18 people convicted and given Life Sentences, 5 others sentenced to 7 years in jail
Ode Case 2: 2011- 9 people convicted
Gulberg Case: 24 convicted, 36 acquitted. Court decides to discard conspiracy angle and charges those convicted with only minor offences, not murder. CJP helps survivors challenge this.
Zakia Jafri case: First time powerful people including politicians, administrators and top cops are named in open court and evidence presented of their failure to control the violence.
Naroda Patiya: 2012- Maya Kodnani convicted and sentenced to 28 years in jail, Babu Bajrangi also convicted and given Life Sentence. Victims of gender violence given Rs 5 lakh as compensation.
These battles are still on in the courts, as the appeals are contested by the accused and defended by us.
Victimology and Human Rights Jurisprudence: 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 was given the right to intervene and assist the prosecution during a criminal trial. This amendment enables citizens to ensure furtherance of justice.
July 2005: Flash flood in Mumbai and surrounding districts. CJP rushes food, medicines and other relief material to those worst affected.March 2006: Sankat Mochan Mandir, Varanasi targeted by terrorists. CJP joins hands with the temple's late Mahant, Virbhadra Mishra to condemn the violence.
July 2006: Serial train blasts in Mumbai. CJP joins condolence meetings and protest demonstrations, raises funds for financial assistance to families of deceased. At a special meeting organized by CJP among others, Chief Mufti of Punjab issues a fatwa against all acts of terrorism.
September 2006: 4 members of a Dalit family massacred in caste violence in Khairlanji in Maharashtra. CJP is the first to visit the survivors, organises a press conference in Mumbai, offers legal advice.
August 2007: Taslima Nasreen attacked at a function in Hyderabad. Assailants led by leaders of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM). CJP files a petition in the AP High Court for the disqualification of elected representatives among the attackers.
July 2008: Bomb blasts in Ahmedabad. CJP Trustee Rahul Bose and Secretary Teesta Setalvad rush to Ahmedabad, visit hospitals. Funds are raised to provide relief to the family of deceased. A joint meeting between Survivors of Violence, Mob terror (2002) and Bomb terror (2008) is also held.
November 2008: 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. At a special condolence and protest meeting, citizens resolve to raise funds for CJP for an ambulance service. CJP thereafter raises funds for two ambulances that are still running in Mumbai.
2012-14: CJP was also involved in providing Free Legal Advice in other recent cases of mass crimes such as Dhule (Maharashtra) police firing in January 2012 and Muzaffarnagar (UP) communal violence (September 2013).
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