….It is difficult to say what will happen next !
Whether the police and security forces would understand their folly and would release Tariq Ahmad Batloo unconditionally or whether Delhi police who have branded two of their earlier contacts Irshad Ali and Mohammad Marouf Qamar as ‘Al Badr Terrorists’ would make amends to their steps ? Whether media would engage in a deep soul-searching about its complicity to join the powers that be in making ‘terrorists’ out of innocent people ? Neither it is possible to predict when would the process of ‘terrorisation’ and ‘stigmatisation’ of particular communities would end nor it is possible to predict when would the division of peoples in Holy Cowsand Scapegoats would end.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the future of India as a republic is at stake here.]
1. Kafka in Goa : How Tariq Ahmad Batloo was ‘Declared’ a ‘Terrorist’
Does anyone have heard about Tariq Ahmad Batloo, the tragic and rather unbelievable story of the Kashmiri trader, who is at present languishing in one of those ‘high security prisons’ in Kashmir meant for ‘dreaded terrorists’.
In fact Batloo’s arrest in Goa last year had made headlines where it was claimed that he was arrested while he was getting of the Mangala express carrying a ‘kilo of RDX, grenades and detonators in his suitcase’ and planned to ‘set off bomb blasts in Goa’. When the case came up for hearing in the court the cops neither had any ticket to show that he travelled by the train nor did it produce the RDX or Grenades which he was allegedly carrying on the day. There were many other loopholes in the case and when it became evident that it was a frame-up and Batloo was picked up a full week before his ‘official’ arrest, he was acquitted by the judge.
But that was not the end of his tragic story. The ‘Herald’ a respected daily in Goa in its editorial ‘Making of a Terrorist’ had given details aftermath of his acquittal (Panjim, 15 July 2008) :
Battlo, accompanied by his brother and cousin, was having a shave at a barber’s when police picked them up and took them to Vasco police station. They were instructed to take the very next flight out of the state. Police were at the airport, questioning them, as well as photographing and filming them, and making calls on their mobile phones. As soon as they reached Delhi and collected their bags, they were surrounded by men in plain clothes who took Battlo away. Two days later, J&K police said they caught him in his ‘hideout’ in Jammu, on the same day that he left Goa. He has been booked in an old 2005 case against someone else, and now faces the prospect of spending a few more years in jail, until another court realises that it wasn’t possible for him to reach Jammu on the same day he left Goa at 5.45 pm and reached Delhi at 8.30 pm, and acquits him from those charges as well.
Perhaps Tariq Ahmad Batloo’s saga reminds one of the classic novel ‘The Trial’ by Kafka where an ordinary citizen is ranged against forces much beyond his control. ‘Herald’ had rightly concluded :
‘The strange case of Tariq Ahmed Battlo – the man who was released by a Goa Fast Track Court only to be seized by plain clothes policemen outside the New Delhi airport and whisked away in a car, after which Jammu & Kashmir policemen claimed he was arrested from a ‘hideout’ in Jammu – will probably come back to haunt us all.’
For anyone who is a close watcher of the ‘terrorism’ scene in the country it would be a mere cliche to say that the case of Tariq Ahmad Batloo is not an exception. There is a growing list of innocent people from minority community who have been apprehended under any pretext, branded as ‘terrorists’, tortured for months together to extract some confession from them and ultimately booked in some case to spend prime time of their lives behind bars. ‘Tehelka’ the english weekly recently did a series of articles in its July-August (2008) issues which delineated plight of innocent Muslims who had to bear the brunt of police highhandedness under similar false pretext that they belonged to some ‘terrorist’ organisation.
One can cite n number of cases where long arms of the Indian state reach out to pick up innocents to cover up their incompetence in providing security to its citizens. After each bomb blast or surprise violent act, arrests are made, organisations named but the police and investigative agencies are not able to prove their claims in most such cases.And it has in its kitty enough ‘strong laws’ which enable it put anyone behind bars for months together without a semblance of legal hearing taking place.
2. “Coimbatore Blasts : A Police Fabrication : SIT”
It was the end of March that the Special Investigation Team from Tamilnadu discovered that the cases registered against five Muslim youths in Coimbatore were fabricated by the police.(The Milli Gazette, 1-15 April 2008) July 2007 had witnessed arrest of five youths Haroon Basha, Malik Basha, Ravi alias Tipu Sultan, Bolo Shankar alias Theequrrahman and Shamsudheen on the basis of “secret information”. The police version of the story talked of a conspiracy by this group to plant bombs in various hospitals in Coimbatore supposedly to increase the influence of ‘Manitha Neethi Pasarai’ (MNP) a human rights organisation. It was also announced that the police have seized pipe bombs from the accused. As is always the case a section of the media carried stories based on the police version.
When MNP’s claim that the whole episode were a fabrication by the police, gathered broader support then the government was also forced a start a fresh enquiry in the case by the SIT. The SIT officials even recommended action agains the cops – namely Intelligence assistant Commissioner Rathina Sabhapati and his associates – who had arrested the five youth belonging to a ‘Manitha Neethi Pasarai’ (MNP) a human rights organisation to malign the group.
It was worth emphasising that as a result of the CID report, Rathina Sabhapati was demoted and transferred to other place.
In fact for the SIT it had been a rather shocking revealation that the whole exercise of arrest of these innocent youths and the “seizure” of explosive materials planted earlier by the cops themselves were part of a joint effort of Rathina Sabhapati and Inspector Elankovan with due support of senior officers. Basically it was an exercise to malign the MNP.
Of course it would not be improper to say that the act by the Coimbatore police pales in significance if one were to look at a case involving the Delhi police itself. The case pertains to two persons namely Mohammad Marouf Qamar and Irshad Ali, residents of namely Bhajanpura (Delhi) and Sultanpuri (Delhi), who were working as informers for the Special Cell of the Delhi police. It has been more than two and half years that they are languishing in Tihar Jail on false charges of “Al Badr terrorists”. Thanks to their refusal to continue working for Special Cell who wanted to send them to as moles in a militant camp in Kashmir, they were first kidnapped by the police themselves and later showed that they were nabbed from Mubarak Chowk bus stop on G.T. Karnal road in North Delhi on February 9, 2006 with two kgs of RDX and pistols. Later it was revealed that Qamar was abducted from his Bhajanpura residence on 22 December 2005 whereas Irshad Ali went missing from his Sultanpuri home on December 12. Oblivious of the fact that the Special Cell people had themselves kidnapped the duo, the family members of both of them lodged a complaint with the police about their sudden disappearance.
Later Qamar and Ali both moved Delhi high court and in protest against police harassment asked their lawyer Sufiyan Siddiqui not to file any bail application. When the matter came for hearing the ‘holes’ in the case were evident where their counsel produced records of calls between them and Special Cell officials before their “arrest” to prove that they were informers. Interestingly statements of Special Cell officials contradicted each other. While the police had claimed that they were nabbed from a J & K bus in the capital with RDX, neither it could produce tickets of the journey nor the driver or conductor of the said bus knew anything about the matter. Neither the special cell carried out any search at these “dreaded terrorists” nor they disclosed in the chargesheet from where did they receive the arms and explosives.
The CBI enquiry made it clear that the Special Cell’s version “did not inspire confidence” ( Hindustan Times, ‘Some Respite for Police Officers who ‘framed’ Informers, 6 th August 2008). It also aggreed to the fact that the ‘duo were victims of a conspiracy hatched by the Special Cell in colloboration with the IB officials”. Justice Suresh has asked the CBI to proceed against the guilty officials.
One can just imagine that if it is possible to implicate innocents in the national capital itself, under the full glare of the media, then if one moves further away from the capital, there would be further deterioration in the situation. Of course, looking at the tremendous importance of the media, which is considered a ‘watchdog of democracy’ it becomes easy if the stakeholders in the media itself are ready to sidestep institutions of democracy and take upon themselves the job to ‘investigate’ such ‘terror related crime’ and pronounce ‘judgement’
3. Media : Don’t Swallow It !
Gauri Lankesh,a senior journalist from Karnatak, and editor of a Kannada weekly ‘Lankesh Patrike’ had in an article (The Milli Gazette, 16-31 March 2008) demonstrated how the media itself joins the bandwagon of demonising particular communities and sections of society and metamorphose into a ‘legitimate tool’ in their ‘terrorisation’ and ‘stigmatisation’.
In her detailed writeup she discussed details of a case where three young men were arrested in Hubli and Honnali towns on charges of vehicle theft. (Riazuddin Ghose, Mohammad Abubakar and Mohammad Asif )Looking at the fact that all of them belonged to the minority community, ‘within a day of their arrests, police sources leaked to the media that they suspected that the trio might be involved in planning terrorist attacks all over the country’.
The police leak was enough for all sorts of speculative stories in the print as well as electronic media where the reporters provided juicy and spicy details about the ‘terrorist trio’s plan’ to blow most of Karnataka’s key buildings All these reports which were sourced to ‘police officials who did not want to be named’ contended that these three young men ‘had links upto Osama Bin Laden and down to the local ‘sleeper cells’ of LeT or SIMI. The men were also suspected of conducting arms training in forests, flying Pakistani flag, possessing RDX, distributing arms and weapons to ‘sleeper cells’, recruiting hundreds of youth to terrorist organisations, possessing AK-47s. etc.
‘One report which appeared in the The Hindu, can be summed up thus : The fact that one of the arrested youth claimed before the magistrate that his human rights have been violated by the police made the magistrate suspect that he was no ordinary youth….On the basis of this assumption, the magistrate instructed the police to subject him to a thorough interrogation. And that was when the “terrorist links” were revealed.”
The hyper activity in media – which even published news of ‘arrest’ of a number of students when the police had not done so and which also reported that “religious books and material” were seized from the trio ( as if carrying religious literature itself is a crime ? )- led to a situation where the three ‘accused in bicycle theft’ were depicted as most dreaded terrorists which the world has seen in recent times.
The caution expressed by a senior police officer Mr Shankar Bidri, while talking to a TV channel just fell on deaf ears. He had said : “So far no proof has been unearthed to label these youths as terrorists. The media is indulging in blatant fabrication of news. What if their case too turns out to be another Dr Mohammad Haneef case ? Let us not turn into terrorists those who are innocent.”
Of course there is another sinister way in which media goes the extra mile in ‘stigmatising’,’ criminalising’ individuals under some false pretext. The highly mischievous manner in which Times of India carried a defamatory report on Bangalore Technies is a case in point.
Under the caption ‘New Network of Terror Technies Come To Light” (28 Feb 2008) it tried to put every Muslim individual who is working in the I.T sector under suspicion. The report by some N.D. Shiv Kumar claimed that ‘ Bangalore appears to have turned into a hub of radical technies. Under the banner of Muslim Information Technology Professionals Association, these technies in the city are said to be networking and aiding radical groups.’ Apart from spreading such baseless canard against a paritcular community, it also singled out few persons whose contribution to the whole IT industry is recognised by their adversaries also. And this included Mr K.M.Sherif. The mischievous report even mentioned that the police is looking for K.M.Sherif imputing that he is absconding.
K.M. Sherif a I.T. professional for 25 years who has worked with Wipro, Sun Microsystems and who is at present Chief Executive Officer of a reputed IT firm, would not have imagined in his wildest dreams that such a slanderous piece would be carried by TOI. He has promptly filed a criminal proceedings against Times of India for defamation and has even sent a legal notice to the owners and publishers, editor of the paper. In a moving letter he explained the prevalent situation :
..An environment has been created where the press can imply any random person to be a terror suspect, and the so-called terror suspects are immediately judged by the press and fascist sections of society to be terrorists with no due process available to them. In most cases, the people who are thus implicated have no backing or support and are isolated by the society and thus are doomed even when they are innocent.
It is not difficult to imagine how such reports do irreparable damage to the careers of minority students who are aspiring to get into IT industry and also to those who are already working in IT firms by planting suspicion and mistrust in the minds of people.
Interestingly, the media which is ready to go the extra mile when it comes to the issue of ‘Jihadi terrorism’ ( or ‘Fassadi terrorism’ – to quote M.J. Akbar) seems to develop cold feet when they clearly see the involvement and participation of Hindu terrorist groups in such violent act(s). The blasts in Kanpur (24 th August 2008) which occured in a private hostel run by a retired employee M. S.S. Mishra which clearly saw the involvement of Bajrang Dal activists is a case in point. It took more than three days for ‘Indian Expres’, Hindustan Times, IThe Hindu or for that matter The Times of India, to report the incident which exposed a big conspiracy hatched by the Hindutva brigade to foment communal riots.In the words of a senior police officer, the explosives gathered by the duo ‘were enough to blow half of Kanpur’.Interestingly the hindi newspapers were more forthright in reporting the incident. Even a newspaper like Jagran which is considered close to the Hindutva brigade covered the explosion immediately.
4. Bajrang Dal Bombers
It is official. The Sangh Parivar members have now joined in plotting terrorist attacks. On Sunday afternoon, a bomb accidentally went off in Kanpur killing a former Kanpur city convener of the Bajrang Dal and his associate while they were assembling a bomb in a private hostel room.
( The Mail Today, 26 th August 2008)
Sharadanagar, rather a non-descript locality in Kalyanpur, Kanpur has suddenly reached national-international headlines, thanks to a bomb-explosion in one of the private hostels run by a retired employee of KESKO Mr Shiv Sharan Mishra. Mr Mishra had built this private hostel, which had nine rooms and 14 students stayed in the hostel and Rajiv had kept one room with him.
The explosion witnessed deaths of Rajiv alias Piyush S/O Mr S.S. Mishra and Bhupinder Singh Arora, a friend of Rajiv, and ex-convenor the city Bajrang Dal, in explosion and serious injuries to two others. The bomb explosion was so massive that there cracks in all the walls of the hostel and bomb splinters reached 50 metres from the spot of the explosion.
It is reported that Piyush, who use to work as a complaint officer in a mobile company in Lucknow, came home with Bhupinder and asked the residents of the hostel to vacate the rooms on the pretext of checking the electric wiring. As soon as the occupants left the hostel, a massive blast took place. Recovery of a timer device and prohibited explosive raw material shows that a major terror plot was being hatched there. Ths photo studio run by Bhupinder was in Sarvodaya Nagar locality and his shop was very close to the popular J.K. temple
Bhupinder used to run a photo studio in the Sarvoday Nagar locality of Kanpur and his shop was close to the city’s popular J.K. temple, police said. According to the police the explosives were meant to spread during Sunday’s celebrations.On monday police recovered some crude hand grenades, lead oxide, red lead, potassium nitrate, bomb pins, timers and batterires from the spot. The police felt that the quantity of explosives stored there was enough to destroy half of Kanpur.
The most notable fact about the perpetrators of this conspiracy, who died during this explosion, is that both of them belonged to Bajrang Dal, the ‘storm tropper’ wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The leaders of the Bajrang Dal have conceded that they ‘worked with the organisation’ some time back and one of them happened to be the convenor of the city wing.
Looking at the grievous nature of the crime, and the fact that a major tragedy could be averted, it is expected that the state government with necessary help from the central government would try to unearth the real conspirators who were behind the plan. It is a positive sign that the police have recovered mobiles of both of them and now if they wish they can take the case to its logical end.
And looking at the fact that while leaders of the city Bajrang Dal were conceding the fact that the perpetrators happened to be members of their organisation and ‘who have stopped working for it since sometime’ , the police in the city was ‘still investigating their details’. There is a strong possibility that the police may turn the focus of the investigation to Babbar Khalsa to save the real perpetrators of this act. In a report of the incident which appeared in ‘Jagran’ a hindi daily ( 25 th August 2008) one gets to know how the wind is blowing in this case. It tells us that ‘The name of Babbar Khalsa Force has cropped up in the conspiracy to wreak havoc in the city. The ATS members dropped hints to this effect.” It further adds ‘according to ATS sources, Bhupender was related to Babbar Khalsa Force and police has seized two of his mobiles’.Perhaps it is conveniently forgotten that Bhupender Singh was once a City Chief of Bajrang Dal.
Of course there is a strong possibility that the powers that be would ‘individualise’ the crime and would rather never try to move beyond the obvious.Apprehensions about behaviour of the polity and the state apparatus is not uncalled for. We have been witness to cavalier attitude of the police as well as intelligence agencies whenever any terrorist act committed by Hindu fanatic has come to the fore.
In a press conference held in Delhi ( ‘Setalvad raps CBI on Nanded terror, 29 th August 2008, Mail Today) leading social activist Teesta Setalvad and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt reported the “massive cover-up operation” launched by the CBI of the Nanded terror incident which similarly saw deaths of two youths of Bajrang Dal activists in 2006. According to them the CBI did not apply ‘sections of criminal conspiracy or booking the Bajrang Dal accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act’ while ‘submitting a chargesheet this March in court.
They further add :
“The CBI chargesheet filed in March 2008 in the Nanded case is an eyewash. The CBI has watered down the entire terror trail and links to terror training grounds of Bajrang Dal youth in Maharashtra – the Bhonsla school in Nashik and Nagpur – have not been explored. The Mumbai anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chargesheeted 11 persons for criminal conspiracy but the CBI did not even consider the possibility of a conspiracy – it has, in fact even diluted the ATS case.”
5. Victims as Perpetrators !
Friday the 22 nd day happened to be an important day as far as focussing/underlining the manner in which minorities are viewed and dealt with by the state and the civil society in today’s India.
A three day ‘People’s Tribunal on the Atrocities Committed Against Minorities in the Name of Fighting Terrorism’ saw its inauguration on this day at Hyderabad. Organised jointly by different civil society organisations the tribunal intended to see victims from 10 states depose before a eminent jury of judges and lawyers and journalists.
The People’s Tribunal sought to question the manner in which terrorist incidents/acts are treated in the country where ‘Only people from one community are arrested, only organisations of one sort are blamed and motives too similar are rattled most of the times. Facts like members of all communities dieing, including of the one being blamed for the act, or the particular community targeting its own place of worship simply go unquestioned.’
The day also saw a protest demonstration in Churchgate, Bombay under the auspices of ‘Awami Bharat and and the Dalit-OBC Intellectual Forum’ against the manner in which Ken Heywood, a key suspect in the Ahmedabad terror attack, who had sent the terror mail just five minutes before the attack happened, was allowed to escape the country.
Demanding that ‘Ken Haywood should be immediately be recalled to India and a thorough investigation be carried out, as he seems to be a key person in the planning and execution of the Ahmedabad and other terror attacks’ the invite for the demonstration expresses the possibility that ‘Haywood being an undercover CIA operative with the task of formenting terror so as to destabilise India and spread fear and insecurity and thus pushing India further into the US-Israeli camp.’ The concerned citizens demonstration at Churchgate Railway Station sought to question the manner in which ‘A person who was under the constant glare of the media and who even had police security posted outside his residence’ was allowed to leave the country. It rightly says ‘The very fact that even his passport was not confiscated speaks volumes of our “intelligence” agencies.’
The deponents in the tribunal comprised of two types of people. People who were arrested by police of flimsy charges and then let off due to lack of evidence, relatives of people who are in jail under similar charges.ll those who deposed, belonged to Muslim community. A few of the deponents also submitted copies of documents pertaining to their cases. The jury which comprised of eminent judges, social activists and journalists issued its interim report which emphasised that a large number of innocent young Muslims have been or are being victimized by the police on charges of terrorism in gross violation of law. The People’s Tribunal showed that police, intelligence agencies and even judiciary are constantly compromising civil liberties and constitutional rights all over India. It seems that the Indian state has become an apparatus that willfully ignores the basic human rights of minorities in the country. It rightly emphasised that it is the collective responsibility of society ‘to ensure that the merchants of terror are punished but at the same time society has to take care that deep rooted prejudices do not develop against certain sections – so much so that these sections start wondering whether they are part of this society at all or not.’
A tendency on part of the police also came in for lot of criticism wherein police seem to rush to the press immediately after nabbing some person and dole out the stories of their success and relate the progress of the investigations. The media inadvertently or because of malice towards particular communities also reproduced this police version ad verbatim.
Interim recommendations of the People’s Tribunal are worth consideration : Human Rights Commissions at the state as well as central level taking up such matters sincerely, courts becoming more cautious in granting police or judicial custody looking at the fact that alleged confessions of the accused can also be doctored, Courts awarding compensation for the destruction of life and reputation of persons acqutted by the courts, trial courts being provided with medical officer who can immediately examine any accused complaining of torture in Police or judicial custody, police should not be allowed to get blank papers signed by the acccused, members of Bar Associations seeking to prevent lawyers from representing accused persons must be hauled up for Contempt of Court for interfering with the administration of Justice. And the most important recommendation was addressed to the Indian government which talked of its signing the International Criminal Court Treaty known as the Rome Statute which has been signed by most countries.
6. All Beaten Bears ?
The saffrons have a good ability of peddling their ‘achievements’ and denouncing their ‘opponents’. And when Narendra Modi’s anti-terrorist squad with due help from other state governments officially ‘cracked the case’ about Ahmedabad blasts and arrested its ‘masterminds’ there was no stopping them. Senior leaders of the saffron dispensation described the ‘success’ of the Modi regime in solving the case within a fortnight as the culmination of the no nonsense approach of the Party’ towards terrorism.
But despite all the brouaha over this ‘spectacular achievement’ and despite receiving congratulatory messages from many quarters, one notices public scepticism over the claims by the government. Sheela Bhatt, (rediff.com, 26 th August 2008) who recently did a story ‘highlighting how the Gujarat police force cracked the Ahmedabad blasts conspiracy and how the they were going about building an airtight case against the terrorists,’ gave vent to this feeling. According to her ‘the biggest stumbling block before the Gujarat police’ is the general disbelief or public scepticism ‘over its claim of having cracked the case.’
But before coming to the grand disjunction between claims by the Gujarat government and the people’s perception about it, it would be opportune to underline an important conclusion which has largely gone unnoticed. As per the Gujarat government’s claims it has not only got evidence against the planners and executioners of the bomb blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat, but it has definite insights into the conspiracy aspect of the blasts in Samjhauta Express and in Jaipur. The import of this is that (to quote Ms Sheela Bhatt) :
In other words, what the Gujarat police is claiming is that the blasts in Hyderabad, Bengaluru ,Jaipur, Ahmedabad and probably Samjhauta Express were conceived, planned and executed by the militant faction of the Students Islamic Movement of India formed after 2005.
That also means the usual suspects — like Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, Lashkar-e-Tayiba or HUJI of Bangladesh — can’t be blamed for some of the recent blasts that have killed more than 200 innocent Indians……..
A senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader in Gujarat, whose party is in power in the state, says, “We have not found any external links to SIMI in the execution of the blasts in Ahmedabad and Surat.”
It remains to be seen how palatable this would be to the ideologues of RSS-BJP whose weltanshauung rests on the twin pillars of Pak bashing and stigmatising Islam.
The general public scepticism could be discerned at two levels.
The police force in the country is laced with tremendous power and little accountability which has made it too lousy. It is normally the case that as they can pick up any bear and parade it as a self-confessed tiger, they have little drive or motivation to go after the real tiger(s). This situation results in appalling intelligence failures by breeding incompetence and corruption within the force. It was not for nothing that in one famous judegement in the fifties Justice A.N. Mulla castigated it as ‘the biggest organised goonda force in the country’.
In case of terrorism related investigations the police force which exercises power without any accountability acquires further immunity thanks to the special laws drafted for special conditions.If under normal law confession before a police officer is not admissible as evidence, under such laws such confessions are admissible. It follows that terrorism related investigations which are considered special always face credibility problems in this part of the world.
Coming to Gujarat the memories of Sohrabuddin and Kausarbi encounter killings are still fresh when police force from two states – Gujarat and Rajasthan – coordinated their killing and presented it as killing of Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives who were planning to eliminate Narendra Modi and other senior leaders. Later it was revealed that controversial Gujarat IPS officer and “encounter specialist” D.G. Vanzara, now under arrest for the death of Sohrabuddin in November 2005, and his team of trigger happy police personnel had killed at least 15 people in the past few years in nine encounters on the alleged grounds that they were plotting to kill Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders. He had also arrested scores of “terrorists” on similar charges.
The public scepticism has another important dimension.
People have not forgotten that blasts in Ahmedabad evoked altogether different reactions from the mainstream parties. A senior leader of the BJP Ms Sushma Swaraj, had blamed Congress for the blasts who according to her wanted to divert people’s attention from the controversial means adopted by it to win vote of confidence. As opposed to Ms Sushma Swaraj, a senior Congress leader and ex Chief Minister of M.P Mr Digvijay Singh had raised some pertinent questions about the blasts in the country. He had asked why blasts occur whenever BJP is in trouble. He had also said that he had enough proof to show the RSS and its front organisations had been involved in bombmaking in earlier events. People noticed that it was for the first time that the mainstream political parties had moved away from usual ‘SIMI’ or ‘Pakistan bashing’ over these blasts. As rightly noted by historian Amaresh Mishra in one of his writeups in ‘The Milli Gazette’ for the first time the political nature of bomb blasts and the politics underneath it was coming to the fore.
It is now history how the scenario dramatically changed once the central government lost its case against SIMI in the special tribunal appointed by it to verify the ban and the government had to rush to Supreme Court to get a stay order. Suddenly one fine morning we were told that Narendra Modi’s police people ( which had definitely covered itself with glory in the 2002 carnage) have ultimately cracked the case and it is after a long time that police people in different states showed exemplary co-ordination to nab the accused. Just a day before when we were waiting with bated breath about the results of interrogation of Ken Haywood – the key link in the whole case – by the ATS in Bombay (with a ‘lookout notice’ issued against him) we discovered that he has already fled the country.
The powers that be told us that in fact Indian Mujahideen and SIMI are same organisations which had perpetrated the dastardly act. Even if one were to believe that the ‘confession’ by Safdar Nagori, head of SIMI was true, who was arrested in March in M.P., then the said confession had not made any such claims.
7. Where Do We Go From Here ?
….It is difficult to say what will happen next !
Whether the police and security forces would understand their folly and would release Tariq Ahmad Batloo unconditionally or whether Delhi police which has branded two of their earlier contacts Irshad Ali and Mohammad Marouf Qamar as ‘Al Badr Terrorists’ would make amends to their steps ? Whether media would engage in a deep soul-searching about its complicity to join the powers that be in making ‘terrorists’ out of innocent people ? Neither it is possible to predict when would the process of ‘terrorisation’ and ‘stigmatisation’ of particular communities would end nor it is possible to predict when would the division of peoples in Holy Cows and Scapegoats would end.
As of now there seems to be no end to the phenomenon of scapegoating – wherein the long arms of injustice pick up scapegoats from Indian population to cover up its own incompetence nor does one see an end to the phenomenon of ‘holy cows’ wherein it protects people/organisations irrespective of their crimes against the people of the country.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the future of India as a republic is at stake here.
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