A fast track court in Godhra on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who is facing charges of exhuming bodies of 2002 riot victims, four years after they were buried.
Setalvad’s NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), which is fighting a legal battle with the Gujarat government for justice to the victims and survivors of the 2002 communal riots, had sought anticipatory bail, fearing she might be arrested by the Gujarat police.
The riots had killed more than 1,200 in a few weeks.
In 2002 the district administration had buried about 28 unidentified riot victims in Godhra district at a graveyard near the river Panam. After more than four years, in 2006, Rais Khan, then a field coordinator with the CJP, and 12 others exhumed those bodies without the permission of the authorities concerned, ostensibly to identify them and the manner of their killing.
Following this, a criminal complaint was registered against Khan and others. But they obtained a stay on further investigation in the case. After the stay on investigation was lifted by the Gujarat high court in November last year, Khan and his three aides were arrested on December 14.
Khan, who is no more associated with Setalvad, gave a statement before a magistrate stating that they had exhumed bodies at the behest of Setalvad. After that Setalvad filed an anticipatory bail plea at the Godhra court.
Her lawyer AA Hasan has said Setalvad’s name was not mentioned in the FIR filed by police.