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CBI still to record residents’ statements in Hari Masjid case

Thursday, August 27, 2009 10:45:21 AM,  Jyoti Punwani

Farooque Mapkar

Mumbai: The CBI under instructions of the Mumbai High Court has been investigating the Hari Masjid incident of the 92-93 riots for more than six months now. Yet, they have not found time to record the statements of those living near the Masjid. Among them are Roshan Bi Hasan and her daughter-in-law Nafisa, both of whom deposed at length in front of Justice Srikrishna.

The Srikrishna Commission had indicted then sub-inspector Nikhil Kapse for his unprovoked firing during the incident, which left six dead. In February this year, the CBI charged Kapse with murder, but has not yet arrested him.

Roshan Bi told the Commission that after the police firing at Hari Masjid, her son Adam, who had gone to offer namaz there, was asked to load the dead bodies into the police vehicle and then told to get into the vehicle. That was the last time he was seen. When they went to inquire about Adam, Roshan Bi and Adam’s wife Nafisa were sent by the RAK Marg police to various lock-ups and hospitals, and even told that he must have run away to their village. Finally he was registered as ‘missing’, even though he was last seen in police custody.

Both Roshan Bi, now 82 and paralysed from the waist down, and Nafisa still hope Adam might return. Nafisa, who’s had to bring up six children single-handed, is sceptical about Kapse ever being punished. “The government and the culprit are on the same side,” she says.

Then there’s Yakub Bhai, owner of the small dyeing factory facing the Masjid, who saw the entire incident. Fifty-four persons had been rounded up after the incident from the site and charged with rioting. The case dragged on for 13 years and the accused were finally acquitted in 2006. Among the accused was Farooq Mapkar, who was injured in the police firing. Tired of waiting for the government to act against Nikhil Kapse as recommended by Justice Sri Krishna, Farooq filed a petition asking that the CBI investigate the incident. Immediately, the government filed a new charge sheet against him, and he was acquitted earlier this year.

So far, the CBI has examined 51 witnesses, including Kapse, Mapkar, 13 policemen, including then DCP K L Bishnoi (who told the Commission that he, not Kapse, had ordered the firing ), fire brigade officials, doctors and 17 of the accused (or their relatives) in the incident.

Interestingly, the CBI’s status report filed in court reveals that the Mumbai police and the Home Department are in no hurry to see Kapse punished. They have yet to send the records of the incident which the CBI has requested.

(Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror)































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