Monday, December 28, 2009

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Bhopal Gas Tragedy
FACT File: Dec 3, 1984. Some 500,000 people are exposed to poisonous gases in the state capital of Madhya Pradesh, India. Between 5000-8000 people died immediately and thousands over the years from long term illness. More than 100,00 remain chronically ill in Bhopal today. The water and soil of the area is still contaminated.

Where's the justice for innocents who still suffer?

Ruchika Molestation Case
Fact File: Aug 12, 1990. A promising 14 years old tennis player, Ruchika Girhotra, is molested by the then Director General of Police Shambhu Pratap Singh Rathore in Chandigarh, Haryana. The case drags on as the molestor moves freely. Ruchika on the other hand is expelled from school (maybe because Rathore's own daughter was Ruchika's classmate), false cases filed against her father and brother Ashu, the brother goes to the the prison and is tortured, her father is suspended from his job on false charges of corruption, Ashu is released a day after her suicide, the sole witness (Ruchika's friend Aradhana) gets harassed with threatening calls, false cases filed against Aradhana's parents, her father too suspended and demoted and eventually given premature retirement.

After 19 years, 40 adjournments, more than 400 hearings, and a promotion for Rathore, the court did find him guilty but could only sentenced him to six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1000. Within 10 minutes he got the bail and was smiling. What about the innocent smile that was lost forever?

Babri Masjid Demolition
Fact File: Dec 6, 1992. A mosque in the city Ayodhya of Uttar Pradesh, India, is destroyed by a strong crowd of 150,000 people. The police stood a mute spectator! More than 2000 people die across India in the riots that follow.

The Justice Liberhan Commission set up by the Government of India to investigate the demolition, took 48 extensions and 17 years to submit its report. The report itself has nothing new to offer. What a waste of public money and time.

Godhra Massacre
Fact File: February, 27 2002. 58 Hindu passengers are burnt alive in a coach of Sabarmati Express in Godhra, Gujarat, by a alleged Muslim mob. In the resulting riots more than 1000 (by official estimates and 2000 by independent sources) people, mostly Muslims, are butchered. The violence is covered extensively by the Indian media.

The cases are still being probed. Only a handful of the large numbers of accused have been found guilty and punished.

No wonder there are some 30 million unresolved legal cases in India. The police-politician nexus has to be broken for the court to work freely. And until that happens the unresolved cases would only add up.

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