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

Summons issued to VHP, Bajrang Dal leaders 

The Milli Gazette Online

Vadodara: Government Railway Police (GRP) of Gujarat has reopened the murder case of a madrasa student, Mohammad Manazir Sheikh, and issued summons to 11 VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders in pursuance of the Supreme Court directive of 17 August 2004. It is believed that 21-year old Manazir Sheikh hailing from UP was probably the was the first to be killed in the Gujarat riots 2002 that started after the burning of the Sabarmati express train. He was a madrasah student of a madrasah in Vadodra. He had gone to the railway station to see off some relatives on 27 February 2002. He was stabbed to death while he was standing on the station by the rioterous. Three other persons were also injured in the incident. GRP registered a murder case and interrogated about 50 persons including some VHP and Bajrang Dal activists. 

When the Supreme Court in its directive of 17 August 2004 ordered the constitution of a high level police team to reopen and reconsider the closed cases, the Guajrat police issued summons to VHP, Bajrang Dal and BJP leaders. While deposing before the Railway’s Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rajkot division, NV Meena, the president of VHP H Joshi repeated his old statement that on 27 February 2002, no VHP activist was involved in the violence at the Vadodra railway station in which Manazir Sheikh was killed. They had gone to the station platform no 2 to give food packets and water to the karsevaks. He also said that there was a big crowd at the station to see the karsevaks. The crowd was agitated and it might have indulged in the violence but he was not aware of anybody’s murder because after departure of the train at around 4 p.m. he returned to his residence. According to GRP sources, no one has so far been arrested in the case.

This police soon closed the case because culprits could not be identified and arrested. Gujarat police has closed more than 2000 similar cases pertaining to Gujarat riots 2002 because persons involved in massacres could not be identified. 

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