People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 47

November 21, 2004



Modi Govt Obstructing Justice


“The Modi government committed yet another crime by getting Zahira Sheikh to change her testimony”, said CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury. He was addressing a convention organised by SAHMAT on November 13, to express solidarity with Teesta Setalvad. The convention took serious note of the renewed attempts being made by the Modi government in Gujarat to subvert the course of justice with respect to the cases of genocidal killings of 2002.


Those who addressed the meeting included Teesta Setalvad, senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan, Professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy, NFIW leader Sahba Farooqi, Badri Raina and Congress leader Prithvijit Vishwajit Singh. The convention was chaired by Pramila Lumba.


The meeting was of the unanimous view that the transfer of the Best Bakery Case to Maharashtra may yield no result if the Modi government was permitted to brazenly interfere with the prosecution. The subversion of Zahira Sheikh, one of the eye witness in the above case, provide clear evidence of the continued involvement of the Modi government and its state machinery in ensuring that the criminals are protected.


Teesta Setalvad in her speech underlined that it was not an issue connected with just Zahira Sheikh. She informed that many witnesses in other crucial cases relating to the riots are under the shadow of fear due to Modi government’s machinations. They are holed up in Gujarat unable to come out in the open to give witness. She reminded that Modi government has a lot of stake in seeing that these cases are derailed. While expressing concern at the lack of security to key eye-witnesses, Teesta Setalvad termed the Zahira Sheikh episode as a challenge to the Supreme Court. She stressed that broad unity is the strength with which such machinations to subvert justice can be countered.


The convention made the following demands:

  1. That the central government forthwith depute the CBI to examine the circumstances in which Zahira Sheikh was whisked away to Gujarat, given full state protection, helped to organize a press conference a day before she was due to testify in the Maharashtra court, and to fix responsibility.

  2.  That steps be taken forthwith to ensure the physical and juridical security of all the witnesses in the other cases (including those related to the Godhra carnage) who are still in Gujarat.

  3. That the central government seriously explore the legal feasibility of invoking article 356 of the Constitution with respect to the government of Gujarat, since its is clear to any right thinking citizen that the Modi Government continues to violate constitutional provisions with respect to the dispensation of justice, and to use machineries of the state for the purpose.