Struggle for Justice

The common leitmotif that marks the most of 1992-93 narratives is of the denial of justice. Several people we spoke to shared with us their frustrating experiences of having little or no recourse to justice during and after the violence. Thousands of people who suffered at the hands of unruly mobs have yet not either seen their tormentors being convicted in the court of law or received any compensation for the loss of lives, property or trauma they suffered, in spite of the recommendations of the official commission of inquiry. In fact, many victims and activists believe that the miscarriage of justice, in a significant measure, was made possible because established criminal procedures were abandoned in the favour of instituting commissions of inquiry because their findings and recommendations were not legally binding. Adding further insult to the injury, no action has been taken against the police personnel who, instead of protecting the vulnerable, were party to the violence and charged their victims instead as accused in numerous cases. Some of these police personnel, as advocate Shakil Ahmed told us, continue to be promoted within the force.  

This trend of protecting the keepers of law continues unabated even to this date, where the political establishment argues that such action would undermine the morale of the police force. Their victims on the other hand are tried and convicted on flimsy grounds through abbreviated and perverse processes to satisfy an abstract notion of collective conscience. In our interviews the role hate-mongering campaigns by the right-wing outfits played in influencing and communalising the constabulary comes through clearly and validates the observations of the official commission of inquiry. This struggle also demonstrates clearly the majoritarian impulses of the political parties, even those that claim to be secular. The change in the state government, for instance, did not bring the relief promised to the victims of the violence before the elections.      

The victims of such injustice have had to spend considerable effort to clear their names in the face of an ossified legal and political system. While a majority of them were content to clear their names as they could not afford to carry on their struggle for justice for the lack of resources and support, a brave few are still determined to see the struggle to its end.

Exploring Themes

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