Supreme Court Stays Proceedings in Bilkis Plea

July 29, 2004 | Comments Off on Supreme Court Stays Proceedings in Bilkis Plea

The Supreme Court has stayed the proceedings in the case of Bilkis Yakub Rasool until August 2.  This case involves the gang-rape of 3 members and murder of 14 family members of Rasool, including her own gang rape, arising out of the 2002 Gujarat pogroms against Muslims.  She had filed a petition for transfer of the case outside of Gujarat after the CBI discovered that the state police had tampered with evidence and obstructed the investigation:

A three-Judge Bench of Justice Ruma Pal, Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice S.H. Kapadia stayed the trial when it was pointed out by the amicus curiae, Harish Salve, that the trial court was to frame charges in the case on July 29. The Bench, while staying the proceedings till August 2, adjourned the case till then. The Bench also asked the accused in the case who had been cited as respondents to file their response to the transfer petition…

She [Bilkis] pointed out that the CBI had even arrested the Investigating Officer of the Gujarat Police and filed a chargesheet on April 19. She expressed the apprehension that the trial might not be fair if it was held in Gujarat….

Fully supporting Ms. Bilkis, the CBI said the investigating agency apprehended that witnesses might be threatened and harm could be caused to them during the trial. Witnesses might even be prevented from appearing before the trial court for their deposition as they were mostly residing in Dahod district and the 12 named accused were also residents of the same district. The accused police officers were also serving in the same district.

The Gujarat government opposed the transfer of this case, saying the atmosphere was conducive to a trial.  Recently, the Supreme Court ordered the retrial of the Best Bakery case, also arising out of the pogroms, in a scathing decision against the Gujarat government.

In related news, an Ahmedabad sessions court handed down a four-year jail sentence for a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for his attack on a woman and her son during the 2002 pogroms:

The accused, Kamlesh, and two others — Prakash Parmar and Raju Parmar — had reportedly gheroed the women and her son, forced them to say ‘‘Jai Shri Ram” and attacked them with a trident.

The duo managed to escape and lodged a complaint against the three at Gomtipur police station in March 2002.

The public prosecutor said during the course of trial, two accused — Prakash and Raju Parmar — died of illness.

The Gujarat section of the blog gives the news on these and other cases, arising out of the pogroms.


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