Thursday, November 1, 2007

Beyond the Rule of Law

'Beyond The Pale Of The Rule Of Law'
The Outlook Magazine, October 30, 2007
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The Supreme Court should order arrest of those shown confessing to having committed crimes and suspend the serving government officials pending investigation, constitute and monitor a Special Investigative Team, and move on the stayed cases.

http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20071030&fname=tehelka&sid=1&pn=1

Admiral R.H.Tahiliani, B. George Verghese, Shanti Bhushan, Muchkund Dubey, Ramaswamy Iyer, and others

The recent Tehelka expose of the "Gujarat riots" of 2002, demonstrates very starkly that these were neither "spontaneous" nor "riots", but were in fact mass murder, loot and mayhem orchestrated and organized by the top echelons of the Gujarat units of the VHP, the Bajrang Dal, and the BJP with the full connivance and complicity of the Gujarat government headed by Narendra Modi. The Tehelka tapes show senior functionaries of these organizations and of the government bragging and confessing to their having committed and participated in committing heinous crimes like brutal mass murder, rape, burning, looting etc. Many of them claim and boast about how Narendra Modi explicitly encouraged the carnage and told the killers and rioters that they were being given a free rein of three days. These people also claim how several senior police officials not only aided and abetted these killers by their actions and inaction but in many cases themselves participated in the carnage.

These senior functionaries who boast about having committed these crimes also claim how Modi provided shelter to these people and even got inconvenient judges changed to ensure that these mass murderers got out on bail. They also boast about having successfully subverted the integrity of the Nanavati Commission. In short, the tapes reveal a horrific state of affairs in Gujarat, which seems to have gone beyond the pale of the rule of law, and the most basic norms of humanity. And that it has become a state where the government is not being carried on in accordance with the Constitution.

It has become imperative that a special investigating team be immediately constituted to investigate the involvement of Narendra Modi and other senior functionaries in his government and the police in the killings, their abetment and the shelter and help given to the criminals. This SIT can be constituted by the Supreme Court and should be monitored on a regular basis and asked to compete their investigation within a few months. This would be one of the most important investigations ever undertaken in this country.

But most immediately, the persons shown on tape confessing to having committed crimes must be immediately arrested and those of them who are serving officials, must be placed under suspension. If the state government shows any hesitation in doing this, that will only reinforce the overwhelming evidence of their complicity in the Carnage.

The pending cases of Naroda Patia, Gulbarga society etc. which have been stayed by the Supreme Court, pending hearing of the applications for their transfer outside Gujarat for the last 4 years, must be immediately taken up by the court, ordered to be expeditiously reinvestigated by an independent agency and cases tried expeditiously.

We therefore call upon the central government and the Supreme Court, whose duty it is to enforce the rule of law and protect the Constitution, to immediately take the above steps. We also call upon all right thinking people of Gujarat to come out in support of these demands. What is at stake is not merely the survival of Constitutional values and the rule of law but the survival of civilisation itself in this country.

Signed by:

Admiral R.H.Tahiliani (Former Navy Chief, Chairman Transparency International, India)
SP Shukla (Former Finance Secy, GOI)
Shanti Bhushan (Former Law Minister)
Muchkund Dubey (Former Foreign Secretary, GOI)
Ramaswamy Iyer (Former Water Resources Secy, GOI)
EAS Sarma (Former Power Secretary, GOI)
B George Verghese (Senior Journalist)
Madhu Bhaduri (Former Ambassador, GOI)
Medha Patkar (Social Activist)
Aruna Roy (Social Activist, Former member NAC)
Arundhati Roy (Writer, Social Activist)
Arvind Kejriwal (RTI Activist, Magsaysay awardee)
Sandeep Pande (Social Activist, Magsaysay awardee)
Major Gen SG Vombatkere (Retd. Mysore)
Prof Amit Bhaduri (Former Professor of Economics, JNU)
Prof K.M.Shrimali (Department of History, Delhi University)
Arun Kumar (Professor Economics, JNU)
Prof Girijesh Pant (School of International Studies, JNU)
Prof Pramod Yadava (Professor, Dean, School of Life Sciences JNU)
Prof Sujata Patel (Dept. of Sociology, University of Pune)
Prof Achin Vinayak (Professor, Third World Academy)
Nasir Tayabji (Director, Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies, Jamia Milia Islamia)
Jean Dreze (Visiting Professor, Allahabad University)
Arshad Alam (Centre for Jawaharlal Nehru Studies, Jamia Milia Islamia)
Shailesh Gandhi (Convenor, NCPRI)
Vikram Lal (Director, Common Cause)
Shabnam Hashmi (Social Activist, ANHAD)
Dunu Roy (Social Activist and Director, Hazard Centre)
Ravi Chopra (Director, People's Science Institute)
N Bhaskar Rao (Director, Centre for media studies)
Dr Ajay Mehra (Director, Centre for public affairs)
Manoj Mitta (Journalist)
Sundeep Dougal (Journalist)
Ajit Bhattacharjee (Journalist)
Sudhirendra Sharma (Journalist)
Smitu Kothari (Dir Centre for Intercultural Resources, Co-Founder Lokayan)
Himanshu Thakkar (Centre for Water Policy)
Nandini Oza (Social Activist, MP)
Ashish Kothari (Founder Member Kalpavriksh)
Vinod Raina (Founder Eklavya)
Rohit Prajapati (Social Activist, Baroda)
Trupti Shah (Social Activist, Baroda)
S Srinivasan (Baroda)
Sanjay Kak (Filmmaker)
Arshad Amanullah (Documentary Filmmaker)
Nikhil Dey (Social Activist)
Ashok Rao (Secy National Confederation of Officers Association)
Kamini Jaiswal (Lawyer)
Prashant Bhushan (Public Interest Lawyer)

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