Three cheers for Indian democracy

THE wheels of justice in India may be notoriously slow but they do move. The arrest and charge sheeting of Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case is a victory for justice and the rule of law.

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Published: Mon 26 Jul 2010, 9:06 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:45 PM

It’s yet another proof that the judiciary in the world’s largest democracy remains truly independent and a vigilant guardian of the constitution and democratic institutions in the country.

Shah, a close associate and confidant of Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the most powerful man in the state after his boss, had gone underground last week after the CBI, following Supreme Court orders, filed a charge-sheet against him in a special court.

Shah was arrested yesterday by the CBI after much drama at the BJP headquarters in Ahmadabad where he formally resigned from his job and presented himself before the central investigative agency. Facing charges of murder, kidnapping and destruction of evidence in the staged encounter deaths of Sheikh and his wife in 2005. Sheikh was allegedly killed in cold-blood by top guns of Gujarat police, including police chief D G Vanjara, Rajkumar Pandian, M N Dinesh and Abhay Chudasama—all members of elite Indian Police Service, officials—following the orders from the home minister.

The police claimed Sheikh was a “top Pakistani agent and Lashkar terrorist”. Later, according to recorded testimony in the CBI’s possession, when Sheikh’s distressed wife Kausarbi raised a stink over her missing husband, she was eliminated too and her charred remains were dumped in the Sabarmati river in police chief Vanjara’s village.

While it remains to be seen if the CBI can really take this high-profile case to its logical conclusion, it is sure to turn the heat under Modi’s feet, who is already under fire and facing a judicial probe—again ordered by the Supreme Court – for his alleged role in the 2002 pogrom that claimed more than two thousand lives, most of them Muslims.

Despite the shame of 2002, the Gujarat leader has been projected by the BJP as its future prime ministerial candidate often to the consternation of senior leaders in the party. But if Modi and some of his patrons in the party thought he could get away with the Gujarat 2002, he was clearly mistaken.

Already, three commissions have probed the Gujarat riots landing prominent faces from the governing party on the wrong side of the law. But Amit Shah is easily the biggest catch yet although he’s not exactly facing the music for the riots.

It’s indeed unfortunate that those responsible for the protection of lives and property of people should themselves turn their enemies.

This is why exemplary punishment ought to be handed down to those responsible for such despicable crimes against society.

The wheels of justice have finally been set in motion, albeit painfully sluggish. And sooner or later, the long arm of the law will catch up with all killers and criminals. This is all because of the unshakable belief that the great democracy that is India has in the rule of law. Three cheers to Indian democracy!

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