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Best Bakery case has restored faith in Judiciary: Antulay

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New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) Welcoming Friday's Best Bakery case judgement, the ruling United Progressive Alliance Government has hailed it as one fulfilling its electoral promise of ''providing justice'' to the Gujarat riot victims and restoring the faith of the Indian public in the judiciary.

''This judgement has helped in restoring the faith of the Indian public, not only Muslims, in the judiciary... Previous judgements in this case had led to large-scale disappointment among the law-abiding citizens of the country, and apprehensions were being expressed about the judicial system also,'' Minority Affairs Minister AR Antulay told BBC's Hindi special programme 'Aapki Baat BBC Ke Saath'.

Minister Antulay, who took charge of his newly-created department less than a month ago, also lauded the initiative of social activist Teesta Setalwad in fighting for the cause of the riot victims.

Nearly four years after they burned down Best Bakery in Vadodara and killed 14 persons, a special Mumbai court on Friday gave nine people life terms in a verdict that is hoped to become a bellwether in bringing to book the killers in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Asserting that the Congress party was ''sincere and committed'' to its electoral promises about which ''there should be no scope for doubt'', Mr Antulay pointed out that the UPA Government had for the first time set up a separate ministry for the welfare of the minorities.

''Previous governments did not think about it or even if they thought about it, they could not muster the courage to set-up a separate ministry... This should be treated as the first step in the direction of restoration of trust in the minorities... Not only for Muslims of Gujarat....'' Reiterating the Government's commitment to providing the minorities justice, Minister Antulay observed that even Hindus -- who formed a formidable majority elsewhere in the country -- were in minority in Jammu&Kashmir, Punjab and the North-Eastern region.

''Also Christians, I mean whichever minorities are there, in my view Jains are also a minority... If need be, we would issue a notification giving them minority status... so any minority community....'' Mr Antulay said his Ministry would act as a single-window with ''a clear perspective for justice'' and to remove all hurdles in delivering long-denied justice to the minorities.

UNI DG RL BD1718

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