One Question

It is a matter of great satisfaction that our sluggish justice delivery system has bestirred itself and through a process of daily hearings found 100 people guilty of the conspiracy for the Bombay blasts. Almost 90% of them were Muslims, they as well as the remainder, have all been served their just desserts.

Justice has not only been done, more importantly, at least as far as our 24X7 media is concerned, it also appears to have been done. Every one knew from day one, who those fellows were, now the courts are saying that as well. So once these two basic requirements of appearance and deed have been met the national conscience, so gravely disturbed over the last several decades, can heave a collective sigh of relief and all men of good faith can take a well deserved rest.

One question, however, continues to bother me.

It is possible that I am out of sync with the mainstream of national conscience. In fact I have never been a part of this mainstream, not because I have not tried to belong, but because the mainstream has no use for the likes of me. I have tried to live amidst the mainstream but I have been denied even rented accommodation, because I am an outsider, because the police have issued instructions not to let-out to unknown characters, because I can not provide a company lease, because I eat onions and worse I eat meat. To add insult to injury I claim to be a non believer and yet have a name that sounds unfamiliar – suspiciously like a Muslim name – to landlords in Lajpat Nagar, Rajinder Nagar, Munirka, Malviya Nagar, Sant Nagar, Jangpura and what have you.

So, as the current expression in ‘American’ goes, this is where I am coming from. And the question that is bothering me is how come no one is talking of those responsible for the Bombay Riots. If my failing memory serves me right the Bombay riots preceded the Bombay Blasts. I vaguely remember news reports of those days suggesting that the Bombay blasts were perhaps a reaction, unhealthy and a tad undemocratic, but a reaction nonetheless.

It is a different matter that a certain “Reaction” in Gujarat 2002 invested with Newtonian logic by a scientifically inclined ‘people’s representative’ had gained certain respectability and therefore did not need to be pursued with any vigour. But I am talking about an event that was investigated by a Commission headed by a Senior Justice.

The commission had placed virtually the entire police and civil administration including politicians, several mainstream fanatic political formations and several non fanatic and yet mainstream formations in the dock for complicity, dereliction of duty and for aiding and abetting the riots.

How is it that no one is talking of the recommendations of the Justice Srikrishna Commission report. Is it that our judicial activism is activated selectively? Is it that our collective conscience is also agitated similarly? Or is it that the recommendations of the commission were bad in Law?

May be I should bury this question as well. It is possible that I am incapable of understanding the broader issues, after all I have yet to be integrated into the mainstream, once that is done may be I will see the light, till then I had better keep my own council and shut up.

5 thoughts on “One Question”

  1. The silence on the issue has indeed been unnerving. The question was raised recently by none other than

    Here is one more inconsistency in the legal follow-up of the Mumbai blasts.

    If my failing memory serves me right the Bombay riots preceded the Bombay Blasts. I vaguely remember news reports of those days suggesting that the BomBay blasts were perhaps a reaction, unhealthy and a tad undemocratic, but a reaction nonetheless.

    Interestingly, Dilip D’Souza has found that people of various kinds have come to believe the opposite!

  2. A question that keeps cropping up in my mind – a sort of a self-doubt – pertains to the very nature of our discourse or shall we say the very style in which that discourse is rooted. How is it that the question of ‘truth’, of ‘justness’, of ‘human dignity’ is lost because the language in which it is couched seems no longer able to carry credence and has become tired and exhausted fighting breathlessly unending battles against a very coarse and vulgar enemy. I wonder if the space of the blog is also the space of the banalized masquerades and oralities in which basic human resonance is under the threat of extinction. Language has been blunted and the linguistic strategies of what appears to me to be a self-mocking narcissism – which Mr Sohail Hashmi seems to almost revel in – a kind of a perennial martyrology no longer carry conviction. Such a discourse ends up making the most harrowing human tragedies sound like the nearly fossilized shayari of Sahir Ludhianvi. The left and liberal space for dialogue has to seriously address questions of language before the enemy blunts the language and its style beyond repair.

  3. as a mumbaikar who lived through the 92-93 riots and the blasts, i can tell you that today, not many people in mumbai are asking the question you have raised. the blasts were a horrific reaction to the preceding state-supported riots, in which electoral rolls were provided to organised rioters to target minorities. both the ruling congress at the time, and the opposition shiv sena and bjp, collaborated in the riots. every mumbaikar knows this is why the srikrishna commission report will never be tabled and discussed, and justice will not be served to riot victims. perhaps this is why they arent asking the question anymore. so it is heartening to read your post. i wonder if citizens can get together and demand the report be tabled under the rti act.

    also, i don’t share your faith in the process of the trial of the blasts accused. in some cases people who have clearly been only tangentially involved have been convicted and handed down the harshest sentences. for instance the sister of yakub menon, in whose name one of the maruti vans used in the blasts was registered. that was just a regular act of benami, registering a purchase in a female relatives name to avoid tax. what agency would the woman have had in the decision to buy the car in her name? for this the judge gave her around 10 years. and all of us remember that not too long before sanjay dutt was arrested for possessing an ak56, madhukar sarpotdar of the shiv sena was caught with a jeep full of weapons. it made headlines at the time, yet no case has ever been brought against sarpotdar. justice has been one-sided and hence has certainly not been seen to have been done. the verdicts of the blasts trial will do nothing to heal the wounds that have permanently scarred mumbai’s secular fabric, or perhaps we naively imagined it used to possess one. we mumbaikars love to romanticise our city, but we would be serving it better by refusing to forget the darkest moments of its history. we cannot allow the genocide of dec 92-jan 93 to be forgotten.

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