Gujarat cops with SIT threatening witnesses, says NGO


Gandhinagar: Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a voluntary organisation supporting the 2002 Gujarat riot victims’ quest for justice, has complained of manhandling of some key witnesses in the Odh massacre case by policemen assisting the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

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In a letter to SIT chairman R.K. Raghavan, Teesta Setalvad of the CJP has alleged that a key witness in the Odh massacre case in Anand, Altaf Shafi Mohammed Vora, was threatened and beaten up by policemen in a bid to intimidate him against appearing in the special designated court in support of the riot victims.

Setalvad said Thursday night that on March 22, Vora, a former resident of Odh village now living in Anand, was called by some policemen to the outskirts of Odh, and was asked to help the police to trace three other witnesses in the case, Feroze Vora Materwala, Fakir Vora and Feroze Vora.

The three witnesses were not responding to the police call because they had filed an appeal in the Gujarat High Court for a further investigation in the Odh case, and planned to approach the Supreme Court if the high court turned them down.

Setalvad said Altaf Vora was not only assaulted by the cops but also warned that his transport business would be ruined if he fails to locate the three missing witnesses.

She claimed that on Thursday evening, Altaf Vora was summoned again by the same policemen who this time sought to pressurise him to sign a letter stating that the police had never threatened, intimidated or beat him up.

Setalvad pointed out that the policemen working under the SIT were trying to intimidate the riot victims and witnesses despite the apex court’s specific orders to the SIT to give them full protection.

Urging Raghavan to take necessary steps against the erring policemen, she said the CJP would soon be approaching the apex court with the Altaf Vora incident for further necessary directions to the SIT.