Manas Dasgupta

Survivors seek stay on execution of NBWs

Justice A. S. Dave lists matter as urgent, next hearing on April 28 State Government gives written commitment regarding arrests Justice A. S. Dave lists matter as urgent and posts next hearing on April 28State Government gives a written commitment that arrest warrants will not be executed till next hearing

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued notice to the State Government on a petition by the survivors of the Pandarwada communal riot case and an activist of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) for a stay on the execution of non-bailable warrants against them and transferring the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Justice A. S. Dave listed the matter as urgent and posted the next hearing on April 28. Though the High Court had not granted stay, the State Government gave a written commitment in the court that arrest warrants against them would not be executed till the next hearing.

Noted writer and CJP president Vijay Tendulkar and the Mumbai-based human rights activist and CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad described the Pandarwada case as a unique example of how the Gujarat police and the State administration were colluding with each other to victimise the victims of the 2002 communal riots and all those who tried to help them.

"The ghost of communal riots has not gone in Gujarat but is moving on in a more dangerous direction. Pandarwada is not a minor event, the situation is getting more muddled," Mr. Tendulkar said.

Ms. Setalvad alleged that the attempt of the State administration was to browbeat the riot survivors either to comply with the authorities and maintain silence over the riots or face threat to their survival through economic and social boycotts.

It was alleged that in Kuha village in Ahmedabad district, the Muslim vegetable vendors and traders in other commodities were getting no buyers because they signed testimony against the Hindu attackers during the communal riots in 2002. Kuha, where several Muslim houses were set on fire and property looted during the riots, was one of the cases reopened under the Supreme Court orders and the testimony of the Muslim victims were recorded by the police last week.