Skip to main content

UN report "regrets" extra-judicial killings in Gujarat, objects to reinstatement of responsible cops in higher positions

Ishrat Jehan
By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) report has taken strong exception to the Gujarat government failing to act against high level police officials  responsible for encounter killings of individuals in the aftermath of the 2002 communal riots. The report, released recently, notes that “police officers who have been suspended upon their arrest in cases of suspected extrajudicial killings and charged with extrajudicial killings have been reinstated in senior positions.”
The United Nations Human Rights Commission’s (UNHRC’s) “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns”, says that it is concerned the step will “encourage impunity and may impede the criminal trials against the reinstated officers.” The report was released in May this year.
It points to how “police officials charged for the suspected unlawful killing of Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh, Amjadali Rana and Jishan Johar, as well as police officials charged for the suspected unlawful killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Kausarbi and Tulsiram Prajapati, were reinstated in the police service by the State of Gujarat in February 2015.”
The UN report further says, the Government of India was asked to “regularly review and monitor the status of implementation of the directives of the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission guidelines on arrest, encounter killings, and custodial violence and death.” But “so far no mechanism has been put in place to undertake the review and monitoring.”
The “encounter” killings took place against the backdrop of the communal riots which shook Gujarat in 2002. The cops made out that these were terrorists who had come to attack then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in order to “avenge” more than a thousand deaths, majority of whom were Muslims, during the riots.
The UN report also regrets that the Gujarat government has failed to make public the contents of the report the Nanavati-Mehta Commission, “established in 2002 and appointed to investigate the events that took place in Gujarat that year”, to look into the complaints of the riots.
This has happened even though the commission has “concluded its investigation after 12 years and more than 20 extensions later, and submitted its final report to the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2014”, the report notes.
The report simultaneously regrets, “in the context of investigating and addressing communal violence”, that the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill of 2011 “has not been passed.”
Praising the Bill, it says, it was “aimed at preventing communal violence and ensuring accountability for the failure to prevent such violence and protect life and property”, even as introducing “the principle of command and/or superior responsibility, and stipulated the rights of victims to reparations and remedies.”
Meanwhile, influential human rights organization Amnesty International has welcomed the UN report saying, India has not taken concrete steps to “address and prevent extrajudicial killings and ensure accountability”. It adds, guidelines provided by courts and the National Human Rights Commission, and recommendations by inquiry commissions, have remained on paper "with little or no implementation on the ground”.
Raghu Menon, Advocacy Coordinator at Amnesty International India, has said that the UN report is “another grim reminder that India needs to do a lot more to prevent extrajudicial executions, and end the impunity that continues to deny justice to victims… Authorities need to urgently implement the recommendations of this report.”
Other issues the UN talks about include failure to repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, saying that such legislation “remain a real impediment to proper accountability” in Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern states; and refusal to remove legal barriers for the prosecution of public servants, including the requirement for ‘prior sanction’ from the government, which is a major hurdle for victims in securing remedies for human rights violations”.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?