People’s Union for Civil Liberties, in a memorandum on February 7, has drawn the attention of Governor of Gujarat to bring to an end harassment of human rights activists, lawyers and media persons, as well as intimidation of witnesses in cases of Gujarat carnage 2002.
The memorandum says: “We, the concerned citizens of Gujarat, want to bring to the notice of your Excellency harassment suffered by the human rights activists, lawyers and media persons seeking justice for the victims of the carnage of 2002.
“We notice that one by one witnesses are manipulated by intimidation, coercion, bribes and such other heinous means which is manifest in Zaheera (Best Bakery Case, Vadodara) or Rais Khan (Panderwada-Lunawada case) turning hostile. We understand that human rights activist Ms. Teesta Setalvad, advocates like Mr. Sahil Tirmizi, Mr. Mukul Sinha, Mr. Amrisha Patel, Mr. S.H. Iyer, Mr. Shamshad Pathan and journalist Rahul Singh of Sahara Channel face threats to their lives. As we all are aware Ms. Teesta Setalvad through her NGO, CJP, and advocate Mr. Tirmizi with the help of the kin of the victims could get the High Court’s order in 2006 and that of the Supreme Court in 2008 respectively for dignified burial of the mortal remains of the massacred victims. Through these efforts decent burial was provided.
“Moreover, through these legal battles, the activists and advocates have been hindered by the disturbing nexus of the State’s police, the administration and politicians. Whistle blowers and defenders of human rights are persecuted. Gujarat Government’s malafide allegations seem to aim at derailing the course of justice and come at a time when the apex court is poised to hear a complaint of conspiracy to commit mass murder, subversion of justice and destruction of evidence. We see this as Gujarat Government’s ploy to influence the courts before its imminent judgment in the cases pertaining to the carnage of 2002.”
The memo has demanded that the police act independent of politicians, that witnesses be given proper protection, and that the activists, whistle blowers and the lawyers must have freedom to work without any intimidation and coercion.
The signatories to the memorandum include Gautam Thaker, Gen. Secretary, PUCL Gujarat; Prakash N. Shah, Editor, Nirikshak; Ila Pathak of AWAG; Manishi Jani of Lok Adhikar Sangh; and Minaxi Joshi of All India Mahila Sanskrutik Sangathan.
Jamaat’s Welfare Programmes
Impress Saudi Delegation
A Saudi delegation headed by Sheikh Saleh Hassan Aalaid, general secretary of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, visited Jamaat-e-Islami Hind headquarters at New Delhi recently and commended the organisation’s activities to spread the message of Islam and uplift Indian Muslims. “I am very happy to see the tremendous efforts of Jamaat-e-Islami in this part of the world in order to disseminate the message of Islam through various activities including publication of books and organising seminars and conferences,” Sheikh Aalaid was quoted as saying during a meeting with Jamaat officials.
Sheikh Aalaid and his accompanying delegation also visited the office of Vision 2016 project where Professor K. A. Siddique Hassan, vice president of Jamaat and secretary-general of Vision 2016, briefed the delegates on the project that aims at implementing a number of educational and health projects in various parts of India. Hassan explained the project’s achievements and the number of its beneficiaries. The Saudi delegation, which included Salim Alsahli, Fahad Alutaibi and Abdul Aziz Saleh, also visited Alshifa Hospital and Research Centre, which is under construction in Dawat Nagar, Abul Fazl Enclave in New Delhi. They also visited Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith and Institute of Objective Studies.