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01 March, 2009

Salute to a brave fighter for justice

Citizens for Justice and Peace, Communalism Combat, Muslims for Secular Democracy, Bombay Catholic Sabha and NEEDS have organized a collective felicitation of a victim-survivor of the Mumbai carnage of 1992-93 and his legal team.

They have invited other organizations to join them as co-organizers of the felicitation.

The following is the text of a communication from the organizations:

And his legal team,
Yusuf Muchala, Vijay Pradhan and Shakeel Ahmed.

TIME: 5.30 p.m.


“The testimony of Hindu witnesses helped me more than the silence of Muslims. And I can proudly say, if you fight legally, there is justice in our country.”
- Farooq Mapkar, after one phase of his 16-year-old struggle for justice ended and another began.

On February 18, 2009, Judge RD Jadhav of the 25th Sessions Court ended a 16-year fight for justice of a man who survived police firing inside Hari Masjid during the 1992-93 communal riots but was slapped with charges ranging from murder to rioting. “Not guilty”, ruled the judge.

Farooq said: “The tension of attending court that has haunted me these 16 years is finally over. The accused has always got to be on time while everyone else — police, public prosecutor and even the magistrates — can walk in late. It’s unfair.”

The Hari Masjid Incident, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg, Wadala
In the midst of the communal carnage in January 1993, some policemen fired inside the mosque at Wadala killing at least seven persons. Injured in the unprovoked firing, Farooq Mapkar, a bank employee, was picked up along with 54 others from inside the mosque and booked for rioting and attempt to murder.

His fight for justice began 15 days later when he lodged a complaint after being released. Over the years, he has become the face of Mumbai’s riot victims who refuse to give up till the guilty are punished. “I have never rioted in my life,” recalls the son of a Bombay Port Trust employee. Like others in the area, Farooq had gone to Hari Masjid to pray that Sunday afternoon. He ended up being shot in the shoulder as police led by then sub-inspector Nikhil Kapse fired into the mosque. He saw four persons being shot while they prayed inside the mosque, and another who had came out with his hands up in the air.

Farooq, like others present there, told Justice B N Srikrishna what he saw. The judge indicted Kapse in his report, which was released in August 1998. Since then, Farooq has been fighting, not just to get acquitted, but also to ensure punishment for Kapse. Last month, on Farooq’s plea, the Bombay High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the Hari Masjid firing.

What rankles with him most is not the tedious legal process, “but the way the Congress government has cheated us Muslims. The Sena withdrew riot cases against their own people, but the Congress didn’t withdraw even those cases against Muslims that Justice Srikrishna found to be false, like mine. Neither did it punish the indicted policemen. Then it has the nerve to claim that it has implemented the Srikrishna Commission Report.” During his 16-year-long struggle it was only human rights activists and lawyers who stood by him, said Farooq.

For further details please contact: Teesta Setalvad (09821314172), or Javed Anand (09870402556).

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