Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gujarat judge Jyotsana who convicted Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi gets 22 threat letters // Riot victims protest bail to Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi

NB: The Indian criminal justice system is being politically degraded with every passing day. Here is an upright judge being threatened, whilst murder convicts guilty of heinous crimes are out on bail - Ex-Minister Maya Kodnani's Bail Will Not be Cancelled, Says Gujarat High CourtBabu Bajrangi, Jailed for Life for Gujarat Riots, Gets Bail for 'Urgent' Eye Operation; and suspended policemen getting re-instated: Retired Gujarat DIG Vanzara Demands Promotions for Encounter-Accused Cops (and threatens 'unknown consequences' in case his demands are refused). The entire world should be made aware of the onslaught on justice taking place in broad daylight under the Modi-led dispensation. Let us remember that elderly rationalists have been murdered and there is no sign of the culprits being arrested. The ideological hooligans of the so-called 'parivar' are convinced they are above the law, and even criminals linked to it can walk out of jail under court orders. Corruption does not merely have monetary implications. Here is the perversion of justice taking place before our eyes. This is also corruption. 

At the end of this post I have added a citation from a Franz Neumann's book Behemoth, about the role of the judiciary in the growth of Nazism

Is this what this ultra-nationalist political dispensation wants? To throw justice into the dustbin? Is this the way they wish to enhance India's standing in the global community? Is this what Mr Modi and his political allies wish to be remembered for? Shame on you! Let all judicial, police & IAS officials remember their oath of loyalty to the Indian Constitution. MP's and officials of all parties may remember that the Constitution is the fundamental statute of the Indian Union, which protects all of us from violent and tyrannical behaviour by criminals and/or persons in power. If they allow the sabotage of the Constitution, they are digging their own graves; not to mention betraying their oaths of office to all of India's citizens. Building trustworthy public institutions is a prolonged process that takes decades. But they can be destroyed very rapidly. I've said this many times on this blog - we have been warned, and are being warned repeatedly. Keep silent at your own peril - DS

Jyotsana Yagnik, the special judge who convicted and handed life terms to former Gujarat minister and BJP leader Maya Kodnani, former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi and 30 others in the 2002 massacre of 97 Muslims in Naroda Patiya, has received at least 22 threat letters and “blank phone calls” at her home since the August 2012 verdict.

Sixty-two-year-old Yagnik, who has since retired, has informed the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) about the threat letters and phone calls.
Her security cover has been scaled down to Y category from the Z-plus she was granted as Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge in Ahmedabad and she is said to have taken up the matter with the government.

Sources said Yagnik, who retired a few months after the Naroda Patiya massacre case verdict, has been receiving these letters — most are anonymous but one carries the letterhead of a private organisation. In the letters, she has been threatened over the verdict in the massacre case, the sources said, adding that she has also been receiving “blank phone calls” at night. Worried about her safety and that of her family, Yagnik informed the SIT.

When contacted, Yagnik, who now heads a law institute on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway, told The Indian Express: “Yes, I have been receiving threat letters and have informed the SIT in a letter I wrote to them.” She declined to speak on the contents of the “threat letters”, the nature of the threat or when she wrote to the SIT.

When his comments were sought, SIT convenor and Additional Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia said that in the last six- eight months, he had not come across threat letters to any judge, including Yagnik. “I don’t know if she received (the letters) before that,” Bhatia said. Asked if the SIT had received any communication from Yagnik about the threat perception, Bhatia said: “Six to eight months ago, the government scaled down her security category from Z-plus to Y. At that time, she had represented to the government to step up the security cover. However, the security category has been maintained at Y and her request is pending before the government.”

A K Malhotra, SIT officer and a retired DIG, said he had “heard” about the threat letters and calls to Yagnik but did not details. On August 29, 2012, Yagnik delivered the Naroda Patiya case order, convicting 32 people, among them Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi, for their roles in the massacre. Bajrangi was sentenced to life imprisonment till death by Yagnik.

On Kodnani, this is what the judge said: “… it stands proved that A-37 (Maya Kodnani) was not a member of the unlawful assembly but was a kingpin and one of the principal conspirators”. Sentenced to life in jail, Kodnani was released on bail by the Gujarat High Court in July last year. On April 23 this year, Bajrangi was granted bail for three months after he claimed he was turning blind.

Riot victims protest bail to Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi
“If you are granting bail to the convicts, you are making a mockery of punishment. They are in and out of jail, or on parole. What kind of punishment is this?” asked Bilawar Umrao Sayyed, a witness in the Naroda Patiya riots case. Survivors came together for a commemoration on Saturday marking the 13th anniversary of the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Many of those affected by the carnage on Saturday questioned the granting of bail to the accused. They also condemned the reinstatement of several police officers.

Last July, the Gujarat High Court granted bail to former minister Maya Kodnani, convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case on grounds of ill health. Recently, her former aide and co-convict Kirpal Singh was also granted bail; Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Babu Bajrangi has been granted interim bail several times.

“Every time we think of what happened, we get gooseflesh. What was our fault that we were targeted this way? We faced threats, pressure, offers of bribe, but we stood our ground and testified and now the accused are getting bail. We are still living in fear,” said Sahakeela Bano Ansari, who lost her family members in the Naroda Patiya massacre.“These are attempts to break our morale. The Gujarat government and police can try all they want, they cannot weaken us,” proclaimed Rupa Mody, who lost her son in the Gulberg Society massacre. At a protest organised by the Jan Sanghrash Manch, victims and activists criticised the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

NB: This citation is from p. 27 of Franz Neumann's book on Nazism Behemoth, The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, published 1942, and republished 1963, p 27. 
A pdf file may be read here: <> DS. 

(The counter revolution) ‘…tried many forms and devices, but soon learned that it could come to power only with the help of the state machine and never against it… the Kapp Putsch of 1920 and the Hitler Pustch of 1923 had proved this.. In the centre of the counter revolution stood the judiciary. Unlike administrative acts, which rest on considerations of convenience and expediency, judicial decisions rest on law, that is on right and wrong, and they always enjoy the limelight of publicity. Law is perhaps the most pernicious of all weapons in political struggles, precisely because of the halo that surrounds the concepts of right and justice… ‘Right’, Hocking has said, ‘is psychologically a claim whose infringement is met with a resentment deeper than the injury would satisfy, a resentment that may amount to passion for which men will risk life and property as they would never do for an expediency’. When it becomes ‘political’, justice breeds hatred and despair among those it singles out for attack. Those whom it favours, on the other hand, develop a profound contempt for the very value of justice, they know that it can be purchased by the powerful. As a device for strengthening one political group at the expense of others, for eliminating enemies and assisting political allies, law then threatens the fundamental convictions upon which the tradition of our civilization rests…

Also see
Prajapati encounter case: Gujarat Police inspector Ashish Pandya reinstated in service
Gujarat reinstates another suspended cop after securing bail in Prajapati encounter case
DG Vanzara's letter - Times of India (2013)

Sumana Ramanan - Film-maker releases a dozen clips of controversial Modi speeches made just after Gujarat riots (2014)
The Broken Middle (on the 30th anniversary of 1984)

short list of examples of respect for rule of law by 'mainstream' parties 

The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi