PUCL Bulletin, May 2002

A panel of sitting judges of the High Court or Supreme Court from outside Gujarat should investigate violence in Gajarat.

As concerned citizens from within Gujarat and the rest of India, we strongly oppose the appointment of the Justice K.G. Shah Commission of Inquiry on several grounds.

We demand the appointment of a panel of diverse and representative sitting judges of the High Court or Supreme Court from outside Gujarat to conduct the official investigation.

The basis for our intervention is fourfold: Firstly, there has been widely documented coverage, in the media of The State Sponsored genocide has taken place in the State of Gujarat. There have been frightening and disturbing reports of Government Complicity and Participation in the violence. This is ground enough to demand that a panel of judges from outside the State be assigned this responsibility to enable free and fair judicial investigation. The atmosphere of coercion and brutality that pervades Gujarat even today requires that a panel of outside judges, less amenable to local pressures and terror conduct the investigation.

The reason we are demanding a representative panel of sitting Judges and not a single retired one is because the appointment of the former is made by the Chief Justice, and that of the latter by the State. Secondly, the physical health of the Judge appointed - KG Shah - is precarious. Thirdly, his past judicial record reflects a distinct anti-minority bias. Lastly, the concerned citizens group has also pressed for an expansion of the terms of reference of the

Commission appointed by government to include.

  • The build up of the political and social atmosphere, short term and long term, the background of which led to the incidents at Godhra and the rest of Gujarat
  • Whether individuals groups and/or organizations were responsible for such incidents and their circumstances
  • Whether the State Government took preventive and precautionary measures to protect lives and property of citizens

-- Girishbhai Patel, Valjibhai Patel, Gautam Thaker of PUCL, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Sophia Khan, Mihir Desai, Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, Fr. Francis Parmar, Sudhir Ghodke, Dr. Hanif Lakdawala, Bhavna Ramrakhiani, Wilfred D'Costa, among many others.

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