February 25, 2006
Indian Muslim Council-USA, an organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of pluralism, welcomed the conviction of nine people in the notorious Best Bakery arson-massacre where 14 people were brutally killed.
On March 1, 2002, a violent mob of about 500 people, according to testimonies to the National Human Rights Commission, killed 14 people at the Best Bakery in Vadodara Gujarat. In the pre-meditated and well organized pogrom more than 2000 people were killed, hundreds of girls and women gang-raped and more than 150,000 people were made refugees in their own country. Human Rights organizations have held the state government complicit in the pogrom
This verdict was given by the special court appointed by the Supreme Court after the State government and law-enforcement agencies conspired to deny justice to the victims of the Gujarat pogrom. The prosecution closed more than 2000 cases and did not mount an effective case in the few instances they brought charges thus leading to acquittals. According to Justice V.N.Khare, the retired chief justice of India’s supreme Court who ordered the special court, a fair trial could be held because he had ordered the trial to be moved out of the state of Gujarat.
Commenting on the landmark verdict, Rasheed Ahmed, the Vice President of IMC-USA said "The verdict now gives hope that justice will finally be done for the tens of thousands of victims." He congratulated the Human rights campaigners, such as Teesta Satalvad for her unwavering pursuit of justice in spite of intimidation by powerful interest groups. "The verdict is against the state government as well, the central government should dismiss the state government for its complicity in the pogroms and for its ongoing role in the denial of justice. As long as Narendra Modi is allowed to stay in power justice can not be effectively rendered." declared Ahmed.
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