Monday, April 30, 2012
Gujarat EDN
DNA 27APR2012

Witnesses want convicts to be tried for conspiracyThey claim the massacre was pre-planned to kill members of the minority communityl Sardarpura riot case
DNA Correspondent | Ahmedabad
Witnesses of Sardarpura massacre case have demanded sentencing of convicts in the case under charges of conspiracy. Talking to media persons on Thursday, the witnesses alleged that it was a pre-planned conspiracy to kill people of the minority community in Sardarpura village in Mehsana district. 

Gulam Ali, one of the witnesses, claimed that on the eve of February 27, 2002, while working near Jain temple, he had heard two accused, Maganlal and Becharbhai, passing a remark that they would kill Muslims.

Another witness, Bashirabibi Shaikh, claimed that when she had gone to the shop of one Dahyabhai, he allegedly told her that she would be killed. Other witnesses also claimed that the streets lights of Sheikh Mohalla, where the massacre happened, were repaired and switched on a day before the incident. 

Teesta Setalvad of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), an NGO fighting for communal riots, said, "We have moved a petition challenging the verdict of the Sardarpura riots in which the lower court has not upheld the theory of conspiracy." 

She further said, "There are many witnesses who came on record and gave statements and testimony in the court that established the fact that the killing at Sheikh Mohalla was pre-planned. The SIT will establish the theory of conspiracy in the appeal filed before the HC." 

The petition before the HC cited statements of many witnesses. Sabirmiya Akhumiya Pathan, one of the witnesses, stated that Haresh Bhatt, a leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had come to the village and held a meeting at Mahadev Temple (the place from where the crowd came on the night of the event). "A meeting of Patel youth was held where Bhatt gave an instigating lecture," Pathan said. 

In November last year, the designated court had awarded life imprisonment to 31 accused while acquitting 42.
Gujarat EDN
TOI 27APR2012

Sardarpura massacre case witness alleges boycott TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Ahmedabad: A Hindu witness in Sardarpura massacre case has complained that villagers have boycotted him and even targeted him for speaking against the rioters. 
    During a media briefing on Thursday, Mangabhai Raval said he testified against the rioters and many of those whom he had named were convicted. Raval said he was running a tea stall, but people stopped coming to his shop and he had to close it. 
    “Before I was to depose, they told me not to speak against them. After conviction, they pressurized me to leave the place. There are systematic efforts on part of the authorities for eviction,” he said. He has filed a complaint before the higher authorities in this regard. 
    Other witnesses of the case claimed that they had cited specific instances that showed that there was a conspiracy behind the attack in which 33 persons were killed on March 1, 2002. The special court refused to believe that it was a conspiracy and held that the attack was a spontaneous reaction of Godhra carnage. 
    Social activist Teesta Setalvad said the witnesses have appealed against the trial court’s decision that it was not a conspiracy though the SIT and state government do not press hard on this aspect. The Gujarat high court is likely to hear the appeals on Friday for admission.
Witnesses to insist on conspiracy angle
Thursday, 26 April 2012 23:55
Rathin Das | Ahmedabad
Survivors and witnesses of the Sardarpura massacre, for which 31 people have been sentenced to life imprisonment, have decided to insist on the charges of conspiracy against the convicted.
During the retaliatory riots following the killing of 58 kar sewaks in the Sabarmati Express fire at Godhra on February 27, 2002, violent mobs had burnt 33 people to death at Sardarpura in Mehsana district of north Gujarat.
A Special Court had last year sentenced 31 convicted to life imprisonment on charges of murder, arson and rioting while 31 others were acquitted due to benefit of doubt.
While an appeal challenging the Special Court order has been filed in the High Court, the witnesses have said that the charges of pre-planned conspiracy too should be pressed against the convicts.
At a Press conference organised by the Mumbai-based Citizens for Justice and Peace, several eyewitnesses narrated their experiences to prove that the violence against the community was very much pre-planned.
Shabir Miyan Pathan, the then borewell pump operator of the village, said that Bajrang Dal leader Haresh Bhatt had come to the village few days earlier and distributed ‘trishuls’ after holding a meeting at the temple.
The Sarpanch of the village, a Patel, too took away the keys of the borewell from him the day prior to the riots, Shabir Miyan said.
One widow, Basheera Biwi said the Patel owner of the shop took away the accounts book her husband used to handle and the groceries shop keeper commented “What to do with these, you people wouldn’t live to see tomorrow”.
Various incidents put together indicate a well-planned conspiracy, pointed out advocate Yusuf Sheikh. which the Special Court in Mehsana has not taken note of,
The lone Hindu witness in the massacre case, Mangabhai Rambhai narrated that a tractor with containers full of kerosene and petrol were brought by the Patels who have since boycotted his shop for deposing in this case.
Another witness Iqbal Miyan Sheikh alleged that the then BJP MLA from Unjha, Narainbhai had said, “It is our Government, we can do anything we want.”
All these Similarly, in the Ode massacre too, in which appeal has not yet been filed in the High Court, there are tell-tale evidences of a pre-planned conspiracy said the lawyers of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP).

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