Interview with Vrinda Grover, lawyer for Hashimpura victims
Lucknow: Vrinda Grover speaking to our editor Kashif-ul-huda about the status of Hashimpura case.
TCN: what is the status of the case?
A: Prosecution has 164 witnesses for this case. Now we are on our 4th witness who is an eye-witness to this incident. After 20 years we have been able to get to just fourth witness.
TCN: With this pace, when will we reach the 164th witness?
A: This is very difficult to say, but we are trying that this slow pace does not remain so forever. Some people have benefited by this delay in justice and therefore we have come to Lucknow to make our voice heard that we want justice and we want it now.
TCN: Who is responsible for this delay?
A: Everyone is responsible for it. The inquiry for this incident was to be conducted by CB-CID. CID takes 6 to 7 years to complete this inquiry. This is unique in the history of India to have an inquiry that went on for such a long time. Inquiry report was finally submitted in 1994.
Government of the day sits on this report for two years. In 1996, finally charge sheets are filed. Even after being charge sheeted, till 2002 none of the accused shows up in the court.
Even after the issue of summons and warrants, accused fail to show up in the courts. Since these belong to law enforcements, they know how the legal machinery work and they were able to thwart the court process.
In 2002, the Supreme Court transfers the case from UP to Delhi based on the petitions by families of victims.
It took UP government 4 years to appoint a government advocate to this case. In May 2006, for the first time 19 PAC men get charged with homicide. So now, we are in the stage of witnesses and we are on the fourth one.
So everyone is involved in the delay of justice. State, governments, PAC, accused and even courts to a certain extent is responsible for this delay. Court had failed to properly monitor the case for a speedy trial.
TCN: Is it true that even after the issue of warrants these accused PAC men continue to work?
A: They are still working, they have neither been suspended nor any disciplinary action taken against them. Today (through RTI) we have demanded an explanation of what if any action has been taken against them.
They are still serving and carrying weapons even though they have been accused of killing more that 40 people in custody.
TCN: Is it normal?
A: Absolutely not. This is what we are seeing that government machinery is protecting policemen who are criminals but failed to get justice for people who are being oppressed and their rights trampled upon. This is absolutely not normal and absolutely illegal.
TCN: What an average citizen can do to ensure that a common manâ€™s right is not trampled upon by the force wielding state machinery?
A: Common man need to become part of this struggle for justice. In Indiaâ€™s history this is a unique case of injustice. Therefore, all of us need to come together and make this case a memorable case and an example of how to get justice.
These people have shown us the human spirit of struggle. If we are not able to prosecute the culprits and if we fail to challenge the impunity of the state and the police, then democracy of this nation is in danger from the police.
Listen to this interview:
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