by Kaleem Kawaja
On the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the massacre of over one-thousand Muslims in Gujarat on February 27, 2002, the Washington DC based Indian-American Muslim NGO, Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIMA) has issued an appeal to India’s President and Prime Minister to help expedite criminal cases against the culprits responsible for the massacre.
AIMA reminded the two top political heads of the Indian government that 13 long years after the well organized brutal attack by some sectarian organizations on a large number of innocent Muslim men, women and children in Ahmedabad and other cities in central Gujarat, only very few of the hundreds of culprits have been sentenced to jail. The Gujarat state government legal authorities are continuing to delay criminal proceedings in courts of law against the many culprits despite clear instructions by the Supreme Court of India.
In the years since the violence, in several instances the Gujarat state government legal authorities have destroyed critical evidence against the culprits, who in various instances were ministers, senior police officials and officials of the Gujarat government. The enquiries conducted by the enquiry commissions appointed by Gujarat government were a sham and committed many irregularities.
Several reputed Indian and International human rights organizations including the United Nations Human Rights body have made categorical statements asking the Indian government and courts to speed up the cases against the culprits. Yet the courts in Gujarat state are either dropping the cases claiming that there is not sufficient evidence, or are causing extreme delays.
Speaking on behalf of the many families of the victims of the February 2002 Gujarat massacre, AIMA also made an appeal to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India to take steps to correct the malafides and corruption in the lower level justice system in Gujarat that is continuing to prevent bringing the many culprits to justice in the above sectarian violence.
Kaleem Kawaja is the Executive Director of Association of Indian Muslims of America.