Vilasrao Deshmukh's government and its machinery have cold-shouldered the findings of the Srikrishna Commission, which investigated the 1992-1993 riots in Mumbai, but a few riot victims and others have tried to keep the report alive.
Their long and mostly lonely struggles are again attracting the city's attention because many 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convicts have angrily referred to the Srikrishna Commission Report. Moreover, many also said that the blasts were linked to the riots, which the Commission also suggested. "There does appear to be a cause and effect relationship between the two riots and the serial bomb blasts," said the report.
In Part I,
showed how despite his rhetoric, Deshmukh has done little to press charges against indicted policemen, based on status reports that social activist Teesta Setalvad recovered using the Right to Information Act. Today, we shed light on the inaction against four key politicians, again based on details Setalvad has recovered.
Yusuf Muchhala, a senior counsel, is among the few who are still doggedly fighting on behalf of riot victims and for the implementation of the Srikrishna Committee report. He has been at it since the report was released nearly a decade ago, but unfortunately has made little progress. He echoed the sentiments widely held by minorities.
"There is an institutional prejudice against Muslims in the government and police establishment," he said. "This is evident in the manner in which they treated the two cases of unjustified firing by policemen at Suleiman Usman Bakery and Hari Masjid."
The report indicted RD Tyagi, then joint commissioner of police, in the first incident. But the government failed to appoint a senior public prosecutor, and Tyagi has been discharged, Mucchalla said. The police officer indicted in the second incident, Nikhil Kapse, was later even promoted.
"This government did not take the matter into appeal or file a revision against Tyagi's discharge," he said. "The matter has been kept alive by the riot victims. If the government is keen to play fair and prove that there is no place for institutional prejudice, then they should take immediate action in at least these two cases."
Apart from government apathy, some differences in opinion among minority leaders led to the legal struggle moving to Delhi, which has also slowed down the legal process since the community support is in Mumbai, not the capital, Mucchala said.