Sangh gives NHRC its CEC treatment
Just as it had done with the CEC during the polls, the Sangh Parivar slammed the NHRC today, ccusing it of being biased and partisan
New Delhi & Ahmedabad, July 31: Just as it had done with the CEC during the polls, the Sangh Parivar slammed the NHRC today, ccusing it of being biased and partisan.
While BJP party chief Venkaiah Naidu said that this was an attempt to ‘‘defame’’ Gujarat, his party colleague Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi warned that it may ‘‘disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the state.’’
As for the VHP, it called the commission partisan and said that unless the NHRC shows concern for Hindus as well, it will be seen as ‘‘danavadhikar commission’’ (demons’ rights commission).
While this was the political criticism, Sangh leaders argued in legal terms as well. Their refrain: the NHRC decision ‘‘subverts’’ the judiciary and sets a dangerous precedent.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a function held to felicitate SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Naidu said: ‘‘There has been no such precedent. It will set a precedent. Such demands can be raised in future also. There have been riots earlier in Gujarat during Congress-rule and convictions have been low. There have also been riots in Delhi, Meerut and Bhagalpur. But, there have been no such demands for trial outside the state. However, it is for the Supreme Court to decide whether to accept the demand. It is not proper for politicians to comment on such a sub-judice matter.”
Said RSS spokesman Ram Madhav: ‘‘The NHRC is setting a wrong precedent. It has consistently shown a complete indifference to the Jammu and Kashmir killings and the incidents taking place in West Bengal and the north-east. In Gujarat, it’s crossing its own mandate of inquiring into issues concerning human rights and submitting its reports to the Government.
In Ahmedabad, the BJP-VHP reaction was equally strong. ‘‘This is an attack on the independence of the judiciary. This amounts to terrorising the lower judiciary,’’ said VHP state general-secretary Dilip Trivedi.
‘‘The action suggests that the lower court must convict everybody irrespective of proof,’’ he said. ‘‘If others take the cue from NHRC there will be chaos in the judiciary as there will be demands for retrial.’’ Trivedi then mentioned the Dabgarwad case, in which some Hindus were burnt alive: ‘‘Why not reopen that case? The accused were acquitted for want of evidence.’’
Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Amit Shah said the petition would prompt aggrieved parties to raise similar demands in several other cases.
The minister doubted Zaheera Sheikh’s credibility: ‘‘One wonders what has prompted her to retract her statement she had giver earlier to the court, when 72 other witnesses (who also turned hostile) examined in the Best Bakery case have stuck to their statement?’’
Asked why the state government had not appealed the judgment, Shah said: ‘‘The legal department is still studying the contents of the judgment.’’
Said Gujarat government spokesman and Health Minister I K Jadeja: ‘‘The government is still studying the Best Bakery case, and it is too early to offer any comment on the commission’s plea for a retrial.’’
BJP’s Gujarat president Rajendrasinh Rana was guarded in his reaction: ‘‘The court has given its verdict irrespective of caste, creed, or religion. The trial court has gone according to the Constitution. We must obey the Constitution.’’ State Congress chief Shankersinh Vaghela said the demand for retrial and shifting of major cases outside Gujarat reflected on the failure of the BJP government to maintain law and order.