Gujarat Case Updates

April 29, 2004 | Comments Off on Gujarat Case Updates

In the Bilkis Rasool case, the sessions court deferred the hearing on the bail application of 14 accused.  The investigating officer told the court that some of the accused lodged in jail had threatened him.  The 14 arrested persons include three police officers, a local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, and a lawyer. 

Four more police officers and two doctors have also been charged in this case.  The two doctors surrendered before a court yesterday:

The CBI, in its chargesheet filed in the CJM’s court on April 19, had mentioned that the couple conducted post-mortem on seven members of Bilkis’s family at a primary health centre. It had also alleged that the doctors did not conduct any tests on Bilkis who was five months pregnant when she was gangraped on March 3, 2002. The doctors, also charged with dereliction of duty and suppression of facts, were shown as among the six additional accused along with the 14 original accused named in the FIR.

The government will also be providing security to key witnesses in this case, and other Gujarat cases:

Sources said the security of some key witnesses would be handed over to the CRPF while, in other cases, it would be handled by the state police….

The team today visited Visnagar and Vijapur and spoke to 18 people — witnesses to the killings there on February 28 and March 1 2002. Iqbal Baloch, one of the witnesses, said he regularly received threats from the accused in Dipda Darwaja case. He said he received the last threat on April 17. ‘‘I told them it would be better if we had central police for our protection. We do not trust the local police. The accused continuously send messages that we should make a compromise or there would be more trouble. The threats have increased since the SC stayed the bail orders of seven accused,’’ Baloch said.

In another case arising out of the Gujarat pogroms, the Gujarat High Court conducted hearings regarding a revision application filed by the main witness to the massacre in Eral:

Madinabibi’s [main witness] daughter and niece were raped and killed along with five other family members on March 2, 2002, in the post-Godhra reprisal killings in Eral village of the Panchmahals.

She had moved the GHC accusing the public prosecutor of bias in that he made no attempt to cross-examine witnesses who turned hostile. The trial court had rejected her application to recall the witnesses following which she filed a criminal revision application.

The defense counsel of the 41 accused supported the trial court’s rejection of her petition, stating that Madinabbi had limited rights in a criminal prosecution and should have approached the public prosecutor to raise her issues during the trial itself.  The counsel maintained that Madinabbi had no rights as a private person to raise any issues during the trial.


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