All the accused in Haren Pandya murder acquitted by High Court

New Delhi: All the 12 persons accused for the murder of Haren Pandya, former home minister of Gujarat and lodged in Gujarat jails for 5 to 7 years were acquitted by Gujarat High Court. They were all Muslims and belonged to different states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Gujarat police had arrested them as suspects without any proof. Haren Pandya was murdered about a year after the Gujarat communal riots of early 2002 following Godhra train fire. It may not be out of place to mention here that Haren Pandya’s father (who is no more now) had on many occasions firmly accused Narendra Modi of being the killer of his son and it was at his order that he was killed but obviously how could Gujarat police arrest him even as a suspect without proof but it was quite easy for it to arrest Muslims as suspects without any proof, which it had actually done.

After their acquittal, Jamat-e Islami’s general secretary Nusrat Ali, while expressing satisfaction at their release, demanded of the Gujarat government, to pay them suitable compensations for years of torture and hard life of jail for no fault of theirs. On this occasion he recalled 2002 communal riots of Gujarat and said that in view of the unprecented brutality, death and destruction suffered by Muslims of Gujarat the state government should have expressed its regret, shame and sense of guilt but on the contrary it adopted a vindictive policy towards Muslims and heaped more cruelty and injustice by way of fake encounters and false criminal cases. He also said that the honourable acquittal of the 12 Muslims in the absence of any proof against them demands not only payment of suitable compensations to them but also trial and punishment of criminal and biased police personnel who made their life hell without any proof.

It may also be stated here that Jamat Islami-e Hind’s Maharashtra branch had arranged free legal assistance for the 12 persons falsely accused of their involvement in Haren Pandya murder case. Similarly, Jamiatul Ulama-e Hind also had arranged free legal assistance for innocent Muslims who were falsely accused in many cases in different states, particularly in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Gujarat government of Narendra Modi neither felt any sense of guilt and shame over its genocide of Muslms in 2002 nor paid any compensation to those falsely implicated in Haren Pandya murder case, all of whom were honourably acquitted in the absence of any proof but Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy’s government announced that all those accused persons lodged in A.P. jails and found innocent and acquitted by courts will not only be paid compensations but certificates of their being innocent will also be issued to them. Muslim youths of Andhra Pradesh who were arrested by Gujarat police for their suspected complicity in Haren Pandya murder case but acquitted by Gujarat High Court will also be given compensation and certificate of innocence by A.P. government. This gesture of A.P. government was very much appreciated by Jamat-e Islami and Jamiatul Ulama and other Muslim leaders.

Jamiatul Ulama Maharashtra’s Legal Aid Committee’s secretary Gulzar Ahmad Azmi told media persons that Muslim youths of Maharashtra arrested in Haren Pandya murder case had appealed against POTA court’s verdict in Gujarat High Court. A team of lawyers headed by Supreme Court’s advocate and famous lawyer Mrs. Nitya Ramakrishnan and including advocates Khalid and Somnath Dutt was constituted who had argued in defence of those accused, in the Gujarat High Court. When their hearings in this Court were postponed many times, Jamiatul Ulama (Maharashtra) had appealed to Supreme Court to either take up their case for hearing in this (Supreme) Court or get them released on bail. In response to this request, Supreme Court had directed Gujarat High Court to expedite their case through hearings on daily basis.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2011 on page no. 11

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