In fresh trouble for activist Teesta Setalvad, the Gujarat High Court has said it is “not inclined” to grant her relief in a mass grave digging case linked to the 2002 riots in the state. The judge also orally remarked: “Why are such dead horses required to be pulled?”
The court was hearing a petition filed by Ms Setalvad seeking the cancellation of the First Information Report (FIR) alleging her involvement in digging graves and exhuming 28 bodies of post-Godhra riots victims from a mass burial site near Pandarwada village in Gujarat in 2005.
Hearing the petition on Monday, Justice Sandeep Bhatt orally remarked that he is not inclined to grant relief to Ms Setalvad. “After going through the record, I am not inclined, prima facie,” he said.
The activist’s lawyer responded, “The FIR has nothing. No offence is made out. It is just political victimisation.”
To this, the judge said, “This is a broad word used nowadays.”
A case of destroying evidence and outraging religious feelings had been filed after the bodies were exhumed and the people named included Rais Khan, who was associated with Ms Setalvad’s NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace.
The activist’s name was included later when she and Mr Khan had a falling out and he told the police that the exhumation had been carried out at her behest.
Ms Setalvad’s lawyer argued that the bodies were exhumed because relatives of the victims had alleged that proper autopsies had not been conducted. The next hearing in the case will be on January 9.
In July 2023, the activist was granted bail in a case in which she was accused of allegedly fabricating evidence in cases related to the 2002 riots.
Teesta Setalvad,Grave Digging case,Gujarat High Court,Pandarwada grave digging