Friday, September 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


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SC pulls up Gujarat police for ‘harassing’ riot victim
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 25
The Supreme Court today pulled up the Gujarat police for the “harassment” of a woman allegedly subjected to gang rape during Gujarat riots and asked its Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to keep away from her till her petition seeking CBI probe into the assault on her and some other women of a minority community was decided by it.

Seeking reply from the Gujarat Government and the state police within a week to the application moved by Bilkis Yakub Rasool today, a Bench comprising Mr Justice S. Rajendera Babu and Mr Justice A.R. Lakshmanan warned that such incidents would not be tolerated by the court.

“Till the court decides her plea for transfer of the investigation to the CBI, it would be appropriate for the state police to keep away from her,” the Bench observed.

Earlier in the morning when her counsel Harish Salve mentioned about the filing of the application by Bilkis about her alleged harassment by CID officials, the Bench warned the officials concerned of serious consequences if they continued to do so.

The court had on September 8 issued notice to the Gujarat Government and the state Police Commissioner on a petition by her seeking CBI probe into the alleged gang rape of her and some other women belonging to the minority community by a group of hooligans at Panivela village after the Godhra train-burning incident.

Mr Salve told the Bench that soon after the court had issued notices on her petition, the CID officials had started harassing her by approaching her at night to question her.

Taking note of his submissions, the Bench told Gujarat Government counsel Avantika Wahi that the state government should ensure that this did not happen again.

Bilkis in her petition had alleged that when she along with a group of 17 persons belonging to the minority community, including some women and children, had been trying to escape from a mob near Panivela village in Limbkheda Taluka on February 28, 2002, a day after the Godhra incident, they were attacked by a mob and she and the other women were gang-raped.

She said she was then pregnant and the mob had left them to die. The police had not pursued the case registered on her complaint properly, she contended.

Meanwhile, the Bench transferred a pending petition by noted danseuse Malika Sarabhai to the Bench headed by Chief Justice V.N. Khare, which is hearing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) petition on the Best Bakery case and other riot cases.

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