March 9, 02
As concerned citizens from within Gujarat and the rest of India, we strongly oppose the appointment of the Justice KG Shah Commission of Inquiry on several grounds.
We demand the appointment of a panel of diverse and representative sitting judges of the High Court or Supreme Court from outside Gujarat to conduct the official investigation.
The basis for our intervention is fourfold: Firstly, there has been widely documented coverage, in the media of The State Sponsored genocide that has taken place in the State of Gujarat. There have been frightening and disturbing reports of Government Complicity and Participation in the violence. This is ground enough to demand that a panel of judges from outside the State be assigned this responsibility to enable free and fair judicial investigation. The atmosphere of coercion and brutality that pervades Gujarat even today requires that a panel of outside judges, less amenable to local pressures and terror conduct the investigation. The reason we are demanding a representative panel of sitting Judges and not a single retired one is because the appointment of the former is made by the Chief Justice and the latter by the State. Secondly, the physical health of the Judge appointed –KG Shah--is precarious. Thirdly, his past judicial record reflects a distinct anti-minority bias.
Lastly, the concerned citizens group has also pressed for an expansion of the terms of reference of the Commission appointed by government to include:
Girishbhai Patel, Valjibhai Patel, Gautam Thaker,
Fr Cedric Prakash, Sophia Khan, Mihir Desai,
Teesta Setalvad, Javed Anand, Fr. Francis Parmar,
Sudhir Ghodke, Dr Hanif Lakdawala,
Bhavna Ramrakhiani, Wilfred D’Costa among many others.