The Supreme Court Tuesday pulled up the Gujarat government for filing a frivolous FIR against social activist Teesta Setalvad in connection with the 2002 Gujarat Riots case involving the digging up of unidentified bodies buried at Lunawada in Gujarat.
The apex court bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam told counsel for the Gujarat government that these kind of cases do not bring any credit to the state government. Describing the FIR filed against Committee for Justice and Peace (CJP) secretary Setalvad as ‘frivolous’, the court asked the state counsel to read the FIR dispassionately and give his opinion as an officer of the court.
The court said this in the course of a hearing of a petition by Setalvad seeking the quashing of the FIR wherein, along with others, she has been named as an accused for unauthorisedly digging up the graves of unidentified bodies.
The Lunawada mass grave digging case refers to an incident Dec 27, 2005 when six people, led by Rais Khan Pathan, the then field co-ordinator of the CJP had dug up 28 unclaimed bodies near the bed of the Panam river at Lunawada in Panchmahal district of Gujarat. Claiming that the bodies were of the missing victims of the Pandharwada Massacre and that they were their relatives, they had then reburied the bodies according to Islamic rites after having conducted DNA tests to identify them. At the time, Pathan had said that he had dug up the graves at Setalvad’s behest.
A total of 32 people — all of them Muslim and residents of Pandharwada town in Panchmahal district — were reported to have been killed March 1, 2002, during statewide communal riots. However, bodies of 28 persons were not found.