Tehelka exposé on Gujarat violence

Tehelka exposé on Gujarat violence
The Association for India’s Development (AID) views with great concern the various revelations in the Tehelka exposé of October 25th 2007 regarding the planning and execution of the Gujarat pogrom in 2002 and how a systematic effort is going on to deny justice to the victims and survivors of these violent events in which over 2000 people were killed according to human rights organizations.
The tapes reveal several prima-facie incriminating statements by the perpetrators themselves of how the pogrom in Gujarat was planned, how administrative cover was provided by the state, confessions of brutality, rape and murder; statements to the effect that they will murder again if opportunity arises; statements indicating subversion of law by law officers such as by a prosecutor and another person representing the State of Gujarat in front of judicial commission investigating the violence; and bragging by a Gujarat MLA about how bombs were made at a place in his control and arms procured and distributed.

The tapes provide fresh evidence implicating those involved in the Gujarat government at the highest levels of the political establishment, administration and law enforcement who colluded with the key perpetrators of the violence. The tapes also correlate with various statements regarding the scale and the nature of violence as well as attempts to subvert justice previously made by various human-rights organizations in India, and by eminent persons and activists who were in Gujarat in the immediate aftermath of the violence in 2002 to independently investigate and provide relief and assistance to the survivors.

The violations of law and order recorded by Tehelka are heinous in the extreme and cast a most egregious blot on the very core of civic society. Every effort must be made to immediately bring the perpetrators and their supporters to justice. Such crimes should not go unpunished for such lengths of time by the judicial system, if we are to ensure that they don't ever repeat in Gujarat or elsewhere, and that people's faith in the rule of law is restored. It is shocking to be reminded that some of the most egregious violent incidents such as the Naroda Patiya and Gulbarga Society are still pending hearing for the past 4 years, not the least because of the way the state government handled the prosecution.
Following the exposé, the administration in Gujarat has responded by ordering a media black-out of the Tehelka tapes in that state. This goes against the Constitutional right of freedom of speech and expression and the fundamental tenets of the RTI Act of 2005 that says in its preamble: "democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning."

We demand that new evidence brought to light by the Tehelka exposé be rapidly looked at and action taken to arrest and bring to justice those who perpetrated, aided and abetted the violence; and that the pending cases be heard and resolved by the Courts in an expedited manner. Further, all Constitutional means should be considered to ensure that the Gujarat administration does not continue to subvert the rule of law in delivering justice to the victims. All the survivors and families affected in Gujarat in 2002 should be adequately compensated and rehabilitated, and clear steps taken to end the isolation and ghettoization of the communities affected by the riots. We also demand that the media black-out of Tehelka Tapes on televisions in Gujarat be lifted immediately.

We appeal to the people of Gujarat to maintain public order and peace as they look at the evidence and demand that the Indian law enforcement and judicial system bring to justice all those who are implicated.
Association for India's Development (AID)
Aniruddha Vaidya (Bay Area): 650-996-8249
Prof. Mohan Bhagat (College Park): 301-345-5308
Nirveek Bhattacharjee (Baltimore): 410-627-7679
Email info@aidindia.org
Web: http://www.aidindia.org/

For more information please read: Tehelka
*photo credit: http://www.tehelka.com/
Published in:
Assam Times, Assam, India: 31 October 2007