Christian leaders in Gujarat have spoken out against protests by a right-wing Hindu party against a federal investigation into the alleged killing of two Muslims by state police.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched a nation-wide protest on May 12 against what it called the “misuse” of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) by the federal government.
The BJP “leaders are unable to see what is right and what is wrong,” said Jesuit Father Cedric Prakash, who runs a human rights center in Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of this western Indian state.
The federal agency is investigating the November 2005 death of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi while in police custody.
The investigation has already seen the arrest of 19 policemen including a senior officer accused of killing Sheikh. The CBI is continuing the probe under a Jan. 12, 2010 Supreme Court order to investigate “all aspects” of the case, including the possibility “of a larger conspiracy.”
The BJP, which rules Gujarat, initiated the protest after investigators on April 28 arrested a senior police official, who has reportedly close links to a minister.
The BJP leaders “through their agitation are trying to justify the killings of Sheikh and his wife” but all are equal under the law and justice should take its course,” Father Prakash said.
Father Stanny Jebamalai, who works among tribal people, said it is “extremely ridiculous” that a ruling party is protesting against a probe into policemen, who indulged in “killing just for their own fun.”
Father Xavier Manjooran of the Rajpipla Social Service Society said the protest aimed to “exert pressure” to halt investigations and “to prevent the truth being revealed.”
The protest shows BJP hypocrisy about “implementing the rule of law,” he said.