India: No justice yet for police killings in Gujarat

The Gujarat High Court order today for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the 2004 shootings of four “terrorist” suspects is seen as a positive start by Amnesty International:

“Today’s high court order offers a ray of hope for the families of Ishrat Jehan and Javed Shaikh who have fought a legal battle for the last seven years,” Ramesh Gopalakrishnan, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher.

The police shootings of Ishrat Jehan and Javed Shaikh are to be investigated by the CBI.

Amnesty International has been demanding a thorough probe into 31 unlawful killings by police in Gujarat during 2002-2006.

“Investigations into a select few cases, while many others are ignored, signals that impunity continues to prevail in Gujarat. Authorities must investigate all 31unlawful police killings in 2002-2006, those responsible for these deaths must be brought to justice and the rule of law restored,” Ramesh Gopalakrishnan added.

Amnesty International findings indicate a pattern of extrajudicial killings in Gujarat. At least 16 of 31 killings have been carried out by the same set of police officials who claim that those shot dead were “terrorists”, conspiring to either kill chief minister Narendra Modi or other leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party or intending to set off explosions.

Six members of the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad and the state’s former home minister, Amit Shah, are facing trial for the executions of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi in 2005. Hearings on petitions filed by the relatives of two other victims are pending before courts in Gujarat. Another petition calling for investigations into 21 of the executions is pending before the Supreme Court.


Please click here for Amnesty International’s 2007 report on unlawful killings in Gujarat: India: A pattern of unlawful killings by the Gujarat police: urgent need for effective investigations (2007)