‘Congress ran away when 1992-93 riots broke out’

Yusuf Muchhala

Twenty years after the 1992-93 communal riots that left 900 dead (575 Muslims, 275 Hindus and 50 others) and over 2,000 injured and displaced over 1,000, justice has still not been delivered. Riots continue to be used as a tool to achieve political agenda.

Advocate Yusuf Muchhala, who has battled for over two decades for implementation of Justice Srikrishna report, speaks with The Indian Express editorial team about the feeling of alienation and other issues of the minority community.

Swatee Kher: What is the status of the riot cases?

Muchhala: Sixty per cent of the cases have been closed. Of the 892 registered, 11 were tried under TADA and three resulted in convictions. Some 120 cases were referred to the fast-track courts set up in 2008. Conviction was ordered in seven of these, but again appeals resulted in acquittals in five. Two cases are pending.

What is the point in referring cases to a fast-track court after almost 16 years? Many witnesses are untraceable and have lost interest. Some have even lost memory. It is sort of eyewash.

P Vaidyanathan Iyer: When the state fails in its roles and responsibilities, what does the constitution provide for? At a time when we are seeing a completely different emergence of regional parties, do you think it will become more and more difficult for the central government to intervene in state affairs?

Muchhala: All parties want to draw political mileage. Whatever formulation comes to power, it will look to draw political mileage. We need a strong constitutional setup to take charge in such times. Like the national and state human rights commissions that came into existence after 1995. During the 1992-93 riots these institutions did not exist.

Governments like to control such institutions. Maharashtra state human rights commission (SHRC) is without members since February. The state government, which processes appointments of SHRC members, has taken over a year to fill the vacancies. We need a vigilant civil society to raise these issues.

... contd.

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