December 16, 2008 2:05:32 am
In her new home in a narrow bylane of Ahmedabad, Madina Pathan (25) has no idea she has kicked up a storm with her deposition before the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the 2002 Gujarat riot cases.
While an affidavit in the Supreme Court stated that Madina, then a young bride, was raped and stabbed by rioters at her late husband’s house in Naroda Gam, she has told the SIT she was stabbed but never raped. She said she had no idea what was written in that affidavit since it was in English which she could neither read, write or understand.
“In those days, some people used to come and question me. There used to be a Nanu Miyan, I would go to him with the other victims,” Madina told The Indian Express. Nanu Miyan Malek, a Naroda Gam survivor on whose affidavit the Supreme Court appointed the SIT to probe some of the riot cases, says Madina is not lying. “Madina was stabbed in the stomach but no one raped her. She stayed with us in a relief camp for nearly six months,” Malek said.
Malek said the affidavit was “fabricated” and had “incorrect” information. He alleged it was drafted in English without his knowledge by Rais Khan, coordinator of the Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), who made him sign on the affidavit. “I had mentioned this in my statement to the SIT too,” he said.
But Rais Khan claims it was CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad who sent him affidavits for signatures. “Teesta Setalvad used to send me these affidavits through e-mail. I used to take printouts and get them signed after calling the persons concerned to Shahpur. All these affidavits were drafted by Setalvad along with some legal experts,” Khan said. When contacted, Setalvad declined comment.
According to Malek’s eight-page affidavit, Madina, then the newly married daughter-in-law of his neighbour, was attacked and raped by a Hindu rioter. The affidavit was appended to a petition which the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and CJP had jointly moved before the Supreme Court in 2003, seeking a CBI inquiry into the riot cases on the grounds that the Gujarat police was trying to scuttle investigations into these cases.
Madina’s husband, mother-in-law and two brothers-in-law were killed in the attack. She later married one Rafik who now works in Saudi Arabia. She has a three-year-old daughter.
Madina deposed before the SIT on May 20 this year, stating she was never raped. “Jab Gandhinagar ke bade saab ne poochha tab mujhe pata pada ki pehle court mein aisa likha hai. Mera to kabhi balatkar nahin hua tha (I realised that this was written in the court paper only after the official in Gandhinagar (SIT) asked me. I was never raped).”
She says she received Rs five lakh in compensation which she deposited in a bank. In her statement to the SIT, she said she never identified any of the attackers, neither had she said so in any statement anywhere.
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