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Gujarat 2002 riots: High Court vacates stay on Panderwada case

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court vacated its stay on the investigation into exhuming of Pandarwala mass grave, after two of the accused withdrew their quashing petition. The probe, pending against seven persons, was for illegally exhuming bodies with an intention to destroy the evidence. Lunawala municipality had accused the relatives of the persons, who presuming these the graves of their relatives, tried to exhume bodies from the graveyard. Accusing the government of having buried the bodies of 42 dead persons in 2002 riots these persons had begun exhuming the bodies alongwith social activist Teesta Setalvad’s Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP) in 2005.

The state government contradicted not only the figure of the dead bodies but the chief officer of Lunawala Muncipality had field an FIR against them. The accused moved the high court demanding a CBI probe. Though the probe was not transferred to the CBI; the DNA samples obtained were sent to a laboratory for identification. Bodies were again buried last month. The applicants amended their petition and made it a quashing petition. Two accused, Mehboob Chauhan and Rasool Sheikh, withdrew the petition before Justice MR Shah. The high court lifted the stay order which had restricted the Gujarat police from further investigation.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2010 on page no. 19

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