Gulberg Society victims demand transfer of trial

Manas Dasgupta

Accuse Judge B.U. Joshi of showing “bias” in favour of the accused

AHMEDABAD: Some witnesses and victims of the Gulberg Society communal riots massacre in 2002 have demanded transfer of the trial from the special court of Judge B.U. Joshi, alleging a “bias” in favour of the accused.

A transfer petition to this effect was filed in the court of principal sessions Judge G.B. Shah, here on Monday.

The petitioners said considering the behaviour of the Judge during the trial of the case, they had lost faith in him and that further hearing should be transferred to some other court.

Special courts were constituted by the Gujarat High Court at the behest of the Supreme Court for trial of nine of the more heinous incidents of massacres during the 2002 Gujarat riots and Judge Joshi was appointed for the trial of the Gulberg Society incident in Ahmedabad in which 69 people, including former Congress member of the Lok Sabha Ehsan Jafri, were killed.

In the transfer petition, the eyewitnesses alleged that the Judge was showing a “distinct bias” against the victims and in favour of the accused ever since the court started recording the testimonies of the victims and the witnesses.

It was pointed out that after two major eyewitnesses, Imtiyaz Khan Pathan and Rupa Dara Modi, recorded their depositions, no other witnesses were allowed to step out of the witness box to identify the accused at the back of the courtroom and objections raised by the witnesses through their advocates were overruled.

The Judge was also openly hostile and showed aggressive attitude by repeatedly making derisive comments about affidavits filed by the victims in the apex court and also the complaints filed before the police commissioner of Ahmedabad in 2002 and 2003, when an application to arraign more accused was being heard in the court earlier this month.

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