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Published in the 1-15 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Bias in govt decisions

New Delhi: In December last year the BJP came to power in Rajasthan after Assembly elections. Ever since it has created a bad, unprecedented, example of communal bias and discrimination in government decisions. Five criminal cases were registered against more than 50 persons belonging to the majority community for attacking and causing loss of life and property of minorities during communal riots in Kalinjera town of Banswara district on 9 September 2002. The BJP government after coming to power withdrew all the five cases against the accused but the cases against minorities in the same episode were not withdrawn! This was an example of naked partiality in government decisions.

The cases were registered during the Congress regime in the fast track court of the additional district judge. The government prosecutor appealed for the withdrawal of the cases on 22 July. Only two days ago the court had freed the accused in three cases though they had been accused of serious crimes like the demolition of a mosque, arson and loot. It is reported that RSS organisations had been pressurising Vasundhra Raje Sindia government from the very beginning for withdrawal of these cases. Now the Rajasthan government is planning to withdraw criminal cases against some RSS and VHP leaders, including VHP general secretary, Praveen Togadia, by describing their cases as of “political nature” which is a new legal definition created by the fertile mind of the erstwhile law minister Arun Jaitley.

Even those who are found guilty are unlikely to be punished because the Rajasthan government prosecutor will not oppose their petitions if they challenge lower court’s verdict in the High Court and thus they will be released. 
What BJP government did during Gujarat riots is a common knowledge. Rajasthan government is going on the same track. What greater example of misuse of law could be when criminals are certified as innocent and the minorities who suffered loss of life and property are falsely implicated and subjected to trial? 

Human rights organisations should take note of such misuse of law and miscarriage of justice. They should ask the government as to how and on what ground criminal cases against members of the majority community were withdrawn while Muslims in the very same cases continue to be tried and imprisoned? The consequences of such blatant partiality will be disastrous . The central government must take corrective measures to tackle this dangerous trend.
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