A grieving father's hope for justice

A grieving father's hope for justice

Gopinatha PillaiLike any other father, he was shocked by the catastrophe but what differentiates him from many others was his resolve to fight for justice.

After seven years of legal battle at the Supreme Court and Gujarat High Court, Pillai’s beliefs were vindicated when the Special Investigation Team enquiring into the encounter filed a report in Gujarat High Court recently stating the encounter was fake. “I had faith in my son’s innocence and I firmly believed that he cannot be a terrorist,” said Pillai to Deccan Herald from his  Alappuzha home in Kerala. Among his children, Pillai always had a soft corner for Javed who was called Pranesh before he converted to Islam.

“After his education I took him to Pune and got him employed in a private firm. During the period he fell in love with a Muslim girl and married her,” recounted Pillai. Though Pillai initially opposed the marriage and kept away from his son, Javed took initiative to break the ice and even helped Pillai later.

Speaking on his fight for justice, Pillai said he had to face constant harassment from authorities during his fight. But he never relented. Now he is sure that the SIT report will pave way for the realisation that Javed was not a terrorist.

Pillai had to face much hardships after the killing of his son. “Though nobody ostracised me, there was a lack of warmth when among relatives and friends,” he said.  While working in BHEL, Bhopal, Pillai was the vice president of AITUC which had around 20,000 members at that time.

After returning to his village he had been president of Congress Mandalam committee and had an active social life. But Javed’s death slowly changed his life. He confined himself to home. “At that time, human rights activist Mukundan C Menon, who called on me, advised me to approach courts,” said Pillai. He said he owed much to his advocate Mukul Sinha also who not only argued the case well but provided confidence to him to continue the fight.

The revelation that Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter was fake gave us hope, said Pillai. “I have firm faith in God and I believe that my son will be eventually declared innocent,” concluded Pillai.

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