NATIONAL

Allow British police to investigate, say riot victims' kin

LONDON MAY 29. Families of the British victims of Gujarat riots have demanded that investigation experts from Britain be allowed to go to India and collect evidence relating to the killing and disappearance of their relatives.

Their legal adviser, Majeed Memon — a leading Indian human rights and criminal lawyer — said here today that the families were not satisfied with the investigation conducted by the Gujarat police. He would be assisting them in filing cases against the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, and other leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party for their alleged role in the violence. The cases would be filed in India, Britain and in the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

``We will examine each case, and decide very carefully. We don't want to rush things or be vindictive,'' he said. He supported the demand for an impartial investigation into the circumstances in which three British Muslims were killed, and one went missing. He had written to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, urging a CBI investigation but had not received a response so far. On reports that the families of foreign nationals killed in the violence would not get any compensation, he said they were "unfortunate.'' "It is discriminatory, and bad in law.''

Three British Muslims, who were visiting their relatives in Gujarat, were killed by a mob near Ahmedabad and their families have launched a campaign for the prosecution of Mr. Modi on charges of "crimes against humanity.'' Their local lawyer, Suleiman Qazi, met the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, last week and gave him documents purporting to back allegations of the State Government's "complicity'' in the violence.

Mr. Memon said there was sufficient "evidence'' to show that the local police "actively participated in, and connived at, the massacre of Muslim minorities.''

He emphasised that many Hindus had helped Muslims by risking their lives, and it was wrong to portray the entire Hindu community of Gujarat as communal. The British diplomatic mission in Mumbai was extending "all possible help'' to uncover the truth.

Here too, the families have claimed the British Government's support for their move to file cases against Mr. Modi, his Home Minister, Gordhan Zadaphiya, and the Revenue Minister, Haren Pandya, among others.

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