With 1993 blasts resolved, is it time to deliver justice for Mumbai riots?

Now that we are done celebrating justice delivered in the 1993 serial blasts case, should we look at also delivering justice for the victims of the communal riots?

FP Staff April 03, 2013 13:41:26 IST
With 1993 blasts resolved, is it time to deliver justice for Mumbai riots?

The celebration of the delivery of justice in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts may be justified, but is it incomplete without the same level of justice being provided to the victims of the communal riots of Mumbai?

Writing in the Indian Express, activist Javed Anand points out that while we may welcome and debate the merits and demerits of how much mercy those involved in the 1993 blasts deserve, little thought is given to the victims of the 1992-93 communal riots in Mumbai, which an official report has also deemed to be the provocation for the blasts.

With 1993 blasts resolved is it time to deliver justice for Mumbai riots

Time now to ensure justice for those who suffered in the Mumbai communal riots? AFP

Pointing to the lack of justice delivered to the victims of the communal riots, Anand points to the fact the police officers indicted by an official probe were promoted, how Shiv Sena leader Madhukar Sarpotdar didn't spend a day behind bars despite being caught with guns during the riots and how Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was given a funeral with full state honours, despite being accused of orchestrating the riots.

According to him, the verdict in the 1993 blasts only exonerates the failure of the political leadership in effectively providing justice to the victims of the riots that preceded the terror strike.

And pointing to the "communal misconduct" of the police during the December 2012 riot in Dhule in Maharashtra, Anand says this is merely the continuance of bad governance:

When justice is blind it reinforces citizens' faith in the system; one eyed justice destroys that faith and nurtures alienation. The victims of March 1993 have got some measure of justice and that is a good thing. The victims of December 1992- January 1993 have been denied the same justice and that is a bad omen.

Anand's analysis of the communal riots and the lack of justice provided isn't off the mark. The Justice Srikrishna commission which probed the riots and submitted a report was never acted upon, and instead remained entombed in official records. Few of the leaders accused of involvement in the riots actually were brought to justice and the conviction rate in the 1992- 1993 riots is low enough not to matter.

But as Firstpost's Lakshmi Chaudhary had pointed out there is little room for survivors of communal riots to hope for much justice in India. Whether it is the riots of 1993, 1984 anti-Sikh riots or the 2002 riots of Gujarat, justice is often slow or undelivered to the victims who often have to settle for moving on rather than waiting for it.

However, while moving on may help the survivors of the riots, it does not bode well for the future if the delivery of justice takes the same path. The denial of justice in the communal riots of Mumbai may be convenient, but isn't the best solution to healing the wounds left by them.

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