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Published in the 16-28 Feb 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Widow of killed constable waits for justice

The Milli Gazette Online

Ahmedabd: The 65-year old widow of head constable, Laxman Desai, who was killed during anti-reservation stir in Gujarat in 1985, has spent her life in the hope that finally justice will be done to her. 

Twenty long years have elapsed but nothing has changed for Ladkiben, while the career graph of the accused Lok Sabha member and former Union minister of state Harin Pathak and Gujarat Law Minister, Ashok Bhatt’s career graphs have soared.

Since then three judges have declined to hear the case and the original case papers and case diary gone missing.

The police had filed a chargesheet before the city sessions court but the trial court took fifteen years to frame the charges as according to prosecution the papers and the case diary were missing. During these fifteen years, the state government requested for adjournment of proceedings several times seeking time to appoint a public prosecutor. Finally it was on 7 November 2000 that the sessions court framed charges against Pathak and Bhatt and other BJP workers on the basis of an FIR. Within a few weeks, on a petition by the accused that they were not given copies of the case papers, the high court ordered the trial court to frame fresh charges against them. And since 2002 the case has been pending in the high court 

Desai was killed by a mob on 22 April 1985 near Pakhali ni Pol in the Raipur area of Ahmedabad. Pathak then a councillor and Bhatt a MLA were allegedly inciting the rioters. When the home guard and Desai tried to stop them, the mob attacked Desai and he died instantly.
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