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Gujarat Riots: Apex court slams NGO for writing to UN agency

Thursday December 02, 2010 09:56:49 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday took strong exception to an NGO and petitioner in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases sending copies of its letters, addressed to the special investigating team (SIT), to a Geneva-based UN human rights organisation.

"We will not allow the outside agency to interfere in the affairs of our court," said the special apex court bench of Justice D.K. Jain, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Aftab Alam.

Counsel for NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), Kamini Jaiswal said that the United Nation Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) was an international body to which the country's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was affiliated. The NGO's communication with UNCHR were regarding witness protection, she said.

At this, the court asked: "...Switzerland will provide witness protection?"

"You may have associations with hundreds of associations all over the globe. Why do they have to know what is happening in the courts here?" the court asked.

"We can't allow outside agency to interfere in the affairs of our courts," the court said.

"We are hearing you and passing orders. What is your grievance?" the court asked Jaiswal.

At this senior counsel Ranjit Kumar told the court that the apex court bench headed by the then Justice Arijit Pasayat had given elaborate directions for the protection of witnesses in the nine Godhra and post-Godhra riot cases entrusted to the SIT headed by the former CBI director R.K. Raghavan.

The court asked Jaiswal to seek instructions from the CJP on its action related to forwarding the communications to the UNCHR.

The court took on record the status report filed by the SIT Nov 26 in nine cases, which were under trial.

The cases relate to Godhra and post-Godhra riots which engulfed Gujarat in the wake of fire in a coach of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station Feb 27, 2002, killing 58 people returning from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.

On the petition of the wife of a riot victim seeking the transfer of trial in Ahmedabad's Gulberg Society carnage during the post-Godhra riots, the court said that it would hold hearing Dec 15.

On Feb 28, 2002, the Gulberg Society faced the fury of Hindu fanatics who killed 69 people, including former Congress MP Ehsan Zafri.

Jafri's widow Zakia Jafri has moved the apex court seeking the transfer of trial in the case.





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