Graves cloud on Gujarat cops

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  • Published 24.05.06

Ahmedabad, May 24: The ghost of the Lunawada mass grave is back to haunt the Gujarat administration, which had refused to hand over the remains of the 2002 riot victims to relatives for performing last rites.

The Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostic in Hyderabad has sent its report to the state government, the CBI and Gujarat High Court, saying the samples from the skeletal remains match those of the victims’ relatives.

The police had said they were not sure the people who were claiming to be the kin of those who died in the riots were genuine.

In December, a group of people with the help of an NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace, had dug up the bodies of 21 riot victims from a river bed in Lunawada in Panchmahal district, prompting a survivor to file a petition in the high court demanding a CBI probe.

There were allegations that Gujarat police had clandestinely buried the victims there.

Gujarat High Court directed the CBI to collect DNA samples and send them to Hyderabad for analysis.

The centres’ report is bad news for the police, which had filed cases against Raees Khan, a rights activist who was involved in the digging of the mass grave, and six relatives of victims.

A high court advocate representing the relatives said the police now have no choice but to hand over the bodies.