19 January, 2021

Between Good And Bad Killers

Bastar’s adivasis are battered by vigilantism, dispossessed by the state’s landgrab and failed by the justice system

Members of the Salwa Judum, the state-sanctioned vigilante group to crush Maoism
Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari
Between Good And Bad Killers

So long as the investigation in the Guja­rat riots remained in the hands of the Gujarat police, Maya Kodnani could strut around as woman and child development minister in the Narendra Modi state government. But, a few mon­ths after the Supreme Court had appointed a special investigation team (SIT) in 2008, the very incriminating evidence that had long been in the public domain, the call data rec­ord of her mobile phone, forced Kodnani to go underground. She surfaced only after obtaining an anticipatory bail. Once the high court had cancelled her anticipatory bail, she resigned and surrendered to the SIT. Thus followed her historic conviction as the ‘kingpin’ of the largest of the massacres that had taken place in Gujarat in 2002. This was a dramatic departure from the pattern of imp­unity for communal violence, especially for political leaders. Kodnani is among some 150 people who have been convicted in the key post-Godhra cases entrusted to the SIT. Such is the difference made by the SC’s monitoring.

Imagine the difference a similar...



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