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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Amnesty slams Gujarat govt 

New Delhi: Amnesty International has slammed the Gujarat government for its “failure” to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2002 sectarian violence in the state.

In its Annual Report 2004, released on May 26 AI blamed the BJP government for failing to bring the culprits to book. “Instead, the government set up a committee to monitor the activities of foreign-funded non-governmental organisations,” the report said.

“In many cases, attempts to hold the perpetrators accountable were hampered by the highly defective manner in which police recorded complaints,” the report said. “Out of 4,252 complaints filed by individuals, 2,032 were closed even though the alleged abuses were found to have occurred.” The report cited the acquittal of the 21 accused in the Best Bakery case to raise concerns about the “impartiality of institutions in the state” and the government’s commitment to ensure justice.

Amnesty also highlighted the violence against women in Gujarat, specially “targeting of Muslim women”, which it said remained unacknowledged by the state government and its criminal justice system.

Amnesty alleged that the committee was silent on issues related to protecting the rights of the poor, oppressed classes, ethnic and religious minorities and other disadvantaged communities “who face daily abuse and violence”. The report also attacks the anti-terror POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) and death penalty. Full text in http://web.amnesty.org/report2004/ ind-summary-eng

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