Killer’s Right to Roam Free: The Tragic Tale of Justice Delayed and Bail Granted

Trading life and death for money appears alarmingly easy, with responsibility resting not only on the government but also on citizens who have relinquished their rights and failed to combat injustice. This lethargic decision-making process has led to numerous preventable deaths and the loss of innocent lives. It resembles a grim business model: silencing families with payouts and releasing dangerous individuals on bail, perpetuating a cycle of death and despair. A report by AAP officials highlights the dire state of these cases and the ineffectiveness of the decision-makers and officials involved. The outcomes are dismal and disappointing, with many cases awaiting justice even five years after the incidents. The following are the current situations of the cases pending in the courts.

The Harni Boat Incident

The notorious Harni Boat Incident, which claimed 14 lives, including 12 students, still demands justice. The real culprits remain at large, while the 15 arrested individuals appear to be scapegoats. Major offenders and negligent government officials have not been apprehended. The then-municipal commissioner should be held accountable for awarding contracts to associates without public notice or tender (a petition has been filed by the affected parties).

The Harni Boat Incident

On May 7, the arrested 15 were presented in court, coinciding with the Lok Sabha elections. By May 8, the High Court released four of the accused on bail, and the Vadodara Sessions Court released the remaining 11 on bail the following day. A chargesheet has been filed, but the case has yet to be heard. No committee or SIT investigation report has been submitted, no funds have been recovered, and victims have been left to pay their own hospital bills.

Kankaria Ride Accident: Five Years On, Justice Delayed

Kankaria Ride Accident

In July 2019, a tragic ride accident at Kankaria, Ahmedabad, resulted in two deaths and over 29 serious injuries. Super Star Amusement Pvt. Ltd., the ride operator, faced arrests, including the owner and his son, but they were later released on bail. Despite investigations revealing multiple deficiencies, no significant actions were taken against the company, and BJP authorities controversially awarded them a land contract for Balvatika Development. No negligent government officials were held accountable, and while victims received compensation and hired private lawyers, a committee formed post-accident has yet to submit its report, leaving the affected families without full justice.

Thangadh Dalit Killing Incident – 2012

Thangadh Dalit Killing

In 2012, three young Dalit men—Prakash Babubhai Parmar, Pankaj Amarsibhai Sumra, and Mehul Valjibhai Rathod—were killed in a police firing incident in Thangadh, Surendranagar district. Despite three FIRs being filed, only one chargesheet has been prepared in the 12 years since the incident, with allegations of government and police shielding the accused. A 38-day protest in Gandhinagar in 2016 led to the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT), but the SIT’s efforts have been inadequate. On June 12, 2024, Aam Aadmi Party members Rajubhai Karpada, Amrutbhai Makwana, Deepakbhai Chihla, Devkaranbhai Jograna, K.P. Vaghela, and Ajitbhai Khorani reported that the accused in the double homicide remain at large, with one PSI and three others, initially arrested, released on bail within six months and promoted. Two murder suspects have not been caught, and the SIT report has not been disclosed. The victims have received government compensation, but justice remains elusive as the accused go unpunished.

Takshashila Fire Incident, Surat

Takshashila Fire Incident

All 14 accused in the Takshashila fire incident have been arrested and subsequently released on bail, and no action has been taken against negligent government officials. Calls for accountability target the chief officials of the Corporation and GEB. The victims, facing a sluggish and ineffective police investigation, have had to hire their own lawyers due to insufficient support from government legal representatives. Additionally, the government aid provided to the victims has been exhausted in court proceedings.

Botad Hooch Tragedy

Botad Hooch Tragedy

In the Botad Hooch tragedy, all accused individuals were arrested but subsequently released. Despite the severity of the incident, no action has been taken against negligent government officials. The affected families report that neither the police nor the SIT have approached them for any information. Additionally, the government has yet to announce or provide any compensation for the victims’ families.

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