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Published in the 16-30 Apr 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

DIG shunted out for ordering arrest of riot accused

The Milli Gazette Online 

Ahmedabad: DIG, Shatish Sharma who issued an order last month to arrest BJP’s Randhanpur MLA Shankar Chaudhary and 10 other accused for post-Godhra violence has been shunted out to a police training school in Junagadh. Chaudhary had allegedly led a mob on March 1, 2002 and attacked Muslim properties and fired at two Muslim youths, while the 10 other accused set on fire a vehicle carrying injured Muslim youths. According to the FIR lodged on March 1 by Nanbhai Pyar Mohammed Shaikh, a relative of the victim, a mob of more than 700 led by Chaudhary indulged in violence and looting. Chaudhary fired at Ghulam Nabi, and Ghulam Jilani who were standing at some distance from the mob. While they were being rushed to hospital, the mob again attacked the jeep and burnt alive Jilani. Nabi, who tried to flee was hit by a sharp edged weapon and he died on the spot. An officer previously associated with the investigations said that there is enough evidence to arrest the accused, but "police is under pressure not to arrest Chaudhary and the others".

However, the police claims the two persons died in police firing. The forensic report confirmed that the bullet found from the body of one of the victims was a police bullet. The relatives of the victims refute the claims of the police. "If both had died in police firing, how come no bullet was recovered from the body of Jilani, who was burnt by the mob while being taken to the hospital? The post mortem report says he died of burns, then where is the bullet?," said Usmanbhai. 

Chudhary and other 10 accused are still at large because DIG Sharma has been transferred before their arrest. Patan SP AB Vasava maintained that there were "no directions from the DIG to arrest the accused" and that investigations were on to establish the allegations that the victims died from the bullets fired from Chaudhary’s gun.

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