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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Dubious role of Gujarat police 

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani 

The Milli Gazette Online

Ahmedabad: How can a person be accused of murder when police records show him as a victim? Improbable as it may sound, but this is among the 2000-odd closed riot cases of 2002 that the Supreme Court has ordered the Gujarat government to re-examine.

There were six Muslims accused of killing a Hindu girl in Vasad village of Anand district, about 50 km from Ahmedabad on March 1, 2002. But the police records show that the accused were being rescued from an angry mob when the girl was killed. Even the post-mortem report showed that the girl was killed in the police firing.

Despite this, police had filed an ‘A summary’ in the case which in the police jargon means that the cops believe the complaint against the six is true but it is closing the case for lack of evidence. It is learnt that some higher authorities will record statements in the case and try to ascertain the facts.

The accused were not given compensation for their burnt homes and restaurants which were set on fire by an angry mob. The post-Godhra riots in Anand district had started from Vasad on February 28. The rioters first burnt down Hotel Satkar. Police records show that a 4,000 strong mob attacked Muslim homes on March 1.

On March 9, an FIR was filed in the Vasad police station stating that the six Muslims, including the owner of the hotel (Yusuf Vora) came in an Indica car and shot dead 16 year-old Pinkal Soni at 4 pm. The three persons who filed the FIR — Pinal Patel, Hitesh Patel and Krunal Patel are not related to Pinkal Soni.

Another FIR filed on March 1 stated that four constables fired 22 rounds from their .303 rifles between 6 am and 4.30 pm to protect around 30 Muslims who were surrounded by a mob. There are at least four separate police statements which show that the Tata Indica car, which Vora allegedly used at the time of the murder had been burnt four hours before Soni was killed.

The police records show that cops had freed three of the accused at Borsad at 3 pm while the police kept one of the accused with them between 3 pm and 5 pm for his help in rescuing some Muslims from the rioters at Jharora village. 

Vora was shocked when the police filed an ‘A summary’ in the case and closed the file in August 2002. 

Vora said that the accused wanted to get clear their names because even police records showed that they were innocent, adding that they have not been given compensation by the government despite the fact that their property worth around Rs 0.9 million was destroyed.
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