The Supreme Court on Monday ordered activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand to face trial in the Pandarwada grave digging case.
The case dates back to 2005 when about 28 bodies of victimes of the 2002 Gujarat riot victims were exhumed from graveyards in the state’s Pandarwada and surrounding villages in Khanpur taluk. This took place after relatives of over 40 people killed in two separate incidents at Pandarwada in Panchmahal district during the riots had asked the authorities to hand over the bodies of their kin.
In 2011, Setalvad was named in the FIR in the case filed by the Lunawada Police as an “absconding accused”, after which she had approached the Gujarat High Court for relief.
A co-ordinator of Setalvad’s NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, Rais Khan, had alleged after his arrest in the case that the graves had been dug up on her orders. But Setalvad had argued that instead of naming her a witness, the state was implicating her in the case because of her work to help victims of the Gujarat riots.
The high court bench had quashed the chargesheet filed against her, calling her being named an “absconding accused” “illegal and mala fide”. Setalvad had then approached the Supreme Court, seeking to have the FIR quashed.