Slain Gujarat activist’s kin join illegal mining case


Gandhinagar : The Gujarat High Court Monday allowed the brother and maternal uncle of slain right to information (RTI) activist Amit Jethwa to plead in a petition challenging illegal mining around Gujarat’s Sasangir lion sanctuary.

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Jethwa was shot dead near the high court July 20. It was due to Jethwa’s efforts that the high court ordered a survey of all the illegal mines in the region. Three people, including a police constable, have been arrested for his murder.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice K.M. Thaker allowed the petition filed by Jethwa’s brother Bhavesh Jethwa and uncle Vijay Rathod, considering the recent events and the public interest involved in the case.

The court directed the petitioner’s advocate to propose actions that can be taken to stop illegal mining.

The court also asked counsel for the state to tell who would be held responsible in such cases.

The court gave example of illegal mining in Tamil Nadu and actions taken over there. The court observed that the active participation of local police is necessary as without their participation the mafia would take undue advantage of the legal system.

“The mafia should not take legal advantage of inadequate actions,” the chief justice said.

The bench asked counsel for the state to specify as to what role the collector and other government officials have to play in such cases.

“Suspend them and impose fines upon them if necessary as they could also be held responsible,” the chief justice said.

Mentioning the development in Jethwa’s murder case, government counsel P.K. Jani submitted before the court that three people have been arrested in this connection.

Jethwa’s father blamed Dinu Solanki, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Junagadh MP, for his son’s murder.

The next hearing of the case is fixed Sep 16.