2002 Riots: Ex-UK Envoy Deposes Before Gujarat Court

2002 Riots: Ex-UK Envoy Deposes Before Gujarat Court
A former British envoy has deposed before a special court through video conferencing (VC) in connection with a post-Godhra riot case, where four persons, including three British nationals, were killed in Sabarkantha district.

Former Deputy British High Commissioner to India Ian Reakes during the 2002 riots, deposed yesterday from an office of a human rights organisation in London before designated judge Geeta Gopi.

The court had issued summons to Reakes and his colleague ex-Deputy British High Commissioner to India Howard Parkinson after the British government granted permission to the court to examine the envoys in the case last year.

The examination of the duo was sought by the original complainant and prime witness in the case Imran Dawood, a British national himself who had survived the attack on him and others near Prantij in Sabarkantha.

Reakes was posted as vice counsel with the office of British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai from August 1999 to May 2002, where he was in-charge of protection of British nationals in India.

He is presently an analyst with the Cabinet office of the United Kingdom.

During his deposition, Reakes told the court that he had visited Prantij on March 8-9, 2002 and gone to the scene of offence and other surrounding places with Gujarat police.

Reakes said he had visited Prantij on request of one Bilal Dawood, relative of one of the deceased in the case.

Reakes said he had found human bones at the spot near the scene of offence which were sent to Hyderabad Forensic Science Lab (FSL). Tests proved that the one of the bones was that of one of the deceased in the incident Saeed Dawood.

As per the case details, three British nationals -- Saeed Dawood, Mohammed Aswat Nallabhai, Shakil Dawood and their Gujarati driver Yusuf Sulaiman were burnt to death during the post-Godhra violence on National Highway 8 near Prantij in Sabarkantha on February 28, 2002.

Shakil's body was not found, hence after the passage of seven years, he was declared dead.

Imran was badly injured in the incident, but he was saved by a patrolling police vehicle. He later lodged the FIR.

Deposition of Imran and four other witnesses have already been recorded by the court during the trial.

In his application, Imran had sought examination of Reakes on the ground that he was present with the then investigating officer during collection of ashes and bones of the dead bodies.

He wanted statement of Parkinson to be recorded by the court because the officer had got an anonymous letter informing about the incident along with names of accused persons.
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