The death of the police constable Subhash Tomar in the middle of the anti-rape protests at India Gate is eerily reminiscent of the controversial death of Inspector Mohan Chandra during the infamous Batla House encounter in 2008.
The post-mortem report of Constable Subhash Tomar says that he died of a heart attack which was triggered by internal injuries. The police say those injuries were the result of fatal blows given to him by the angry protestors. However, a protestor named Yogendra had earlier said on national TV that he “saw him running towards the protestors and then collapsing suddenly on his own.” Yet another controversy over the death of a police man, with a familiar clash of State vs People’s versions has now begun.
USHA SAXENA writes a letter to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit:
My daughter Shambhavi and I and a colleague of mine Reema Ganguly went to Jantar Mantar today 25th Dec to take part in a peaceful gathering there against the gang-rape.
At around 4pm two girls came running up to us in tears and said that the police had dragged away 2 of their female friends to Parliament Street Police Station and they asked us to help bring them back. The three of us joined 9 other women and we went to the police station. When we reached there we only saw male constables. We demanded to talk to a female senior officer and said that the 3 women must be released immediately. The policemen very rudely and aggressively tried to chase us out. We refused to leave without those 3 women and so one male cop ordered some female cops standing in the courtyard to come in and arrest all of us. Continue reading How Delhi police assaulted my daughter on 25 December: Usha Saxena→
[The Delhi Police has begun systematically lying about what has been happening in the past few days. We have seen spin doctoring around the unfortunate death of Constable Subhash Tomar. There has been efforts to plant generalized and unsubstantiated rumours about the presence of ‘terrorists’ amongst the crowds at India Gate. We have even seen the Chief Minister of Delhi, Shiela Dikshit and a sub divisional magistrate complain about the Delhi Police trying to interfere and influence that process of the recording of testimonies. Here is an important account by an eyewitness, Sangeeta Das, about the way the police behaved on the evening of the 23rd of December. Please note the kind of language that she says policemen were using. Can we trust the city to be safe in their hands.]
I am appalled at the lop-sided relay of events and incomplete images being telecast by some of the NEWS channels on TV, regarding the incident that happened at India Gate yesterday (this is an account of what happened on 23rd of December) at around 5:30 PM.
I was there. We were all on the other side of India Gate towards the Dhyan Chand Stadium.
Ms. Shiela Dixit, Chief Minister Delhi NCR
Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde, Home Minister, India
Mr. Tejendar Khanna, Lt. Governor, Delhi NCR
This is to clarify a small misunderstanding. I know a part of the protests made you believe that women in Delhi are asking to take policemen away from their VIP duties and put them on Delhi streets. This is incorrect. Many of the protestors are too young to understand
Ma’am and Sirs, the roads are unsafe enough. All Delhi women know – when you see a Delhi policeman, you run. This is what our mothers taught us. This is what we teach our children. I sincerely request you to increase VIP duties for all cops in the Delhi National Capital Region. Please don’t waste your time and energy transferring or suspending any of these gentlemen. All you have to do is ensure no cops are given non-VIP duties. Continue reading This is to clarify a small misunderstanding: Anusha Rizvi→
I went to the protests at Raisina Hill expecting very little. Despite the anger over the recent, brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old by a group of six men, who also beat up her male friend, protests over women’s violence in the Capital have been relatively small.
But the crowds walking up the Hill, towards the government offices of North and South Block, from India Gate are unusual. It’s a young crowd—students, young men and women in their twenties, a smattering of slightly older women there to show their solidarity, and it’s a large crowd, about a thousand strong at the Hill itself. There are two small knots representing student’s politicial organisations, but otherwise, many of the people here today are drawn together only by their anger. Continue reading A Day at Raisina Hill: Nilanjana Roy→
On Friday, March 23 2012, Sunil Gupta’s photographic exhibition ‘Sun City & Other Stories’ opened at the Alliance Francaise in Delhi. That evening itself, plainclothes men of the Delhi Police from the Tughlaq Road Police Station arrived at the show and ordered the removal of numerous photographs. In the chaos that followed, the photographs were removed by the Alliance Francaise under the ‘supervision’ of the Delhi Police and the exhibition was closed for the evening. The next day, the Alliance Francaise informed Sunil -via a third party – that the entire show would be shut down.
Why did this happen? On that day itself the Delhi Police said that someone had called the emergency police hotline, and complained to the Delhi Police about this exhibition which, according to the complainant, was ‘against Hindu culture’. Another version of events, also produced by the Delhi Police, claims that they received a complaint at the Tughlaq Road Police Station from someone who had made a video of the exhibition, complaining about the nudity in the photographs. Continue reading Nigah statement condemning the shutting down of Sunil Gupta’s exhibition ‘Sun City & Other Stories’→
On 7 March, Delhi Police arrested Delhi-based journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi on charges of being part of the plot to kill an Israeli diplomat’s wife in Delhi on 13 February. Many have expressed concern that Kazmi is being falsely implicated. Give below is the text of a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner by the DELHI UNION OF JOURNALISTS, followed by a statement from theINTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS, and thereafter by a statement issued by a group of citizens.
9 March 2012
The Commissioner of Police,
Mihir Srivastava is very upset that the debate on Batla House refuses to die down. In his view, his piece in India Today – “Inside the Mind of the Bombers – appearing soon after the ‘encounter’ should have settled the debate once and for all. But he was surprised that it wasn’t received as a resolution. He is even more upset that deluded liberals (read Arundhati Roy) are no longer on talking terms with him.
“In the Batla House case, which I reported much the same way I had reported so many of the cases they were happy with, it is just that the facts I saw and reported did not mesh with what they wanted to believe.”
This is simply not true. The many stories that deluded liberals approved of, according to, Mr. Srivastava, and which he cites to bolster his own reputation, are in fact very different from his India Today’s ‘story’. His expose on the Red Fort terror attack in Tehelka, for example, critically examined the evidence produced by the police, verified and cross checked the statements made by the accused in court and even brought out the discrepancies in the observations made by the court and its eventual judgement which upheld the death sentence of Md. Arif alias Ashfaq alias Abu Hamad. ‘Wrong Man to the Gallows’ is an example of good investigative journalism, not because it confirms our worst suspicions about the ways in which investigative agencies frame innocents, but because it painstakingly pieces together evidence and doesn’t get swamped under nationalist hyperbole spun by the mainstream media to take a cold, hard look at the evidence. Continue reading Batla House and the problem with the deluded journalist: Manisha Sethi→
Let us pledge this 15th of August, that we will tirelessly work towards the independence – nay dictatorship – of the corrupt. We must tirelessly fight every attempt to raise corruption as an issue – by gullible people who do not understand that corruption is not a real issue. We will not allow such people to be misled by demagogues and fascists who are interested only in power – even if they do not show their hunger for power by contesting elections. Indeed, precisely because they do not contest elections.
Is the new mantra of democracy? How else do we understand the deafening silence on the series of dictatorial measures adopted by the government, on the part of all those who have been vocal, indeed strident, in their attack on the Anna Hazare movement? It is one thing to be opposed to the Anna Hazare movement but the silence – from parties as well as intellectuals, democratic rights groups and self-righteous editorial commentators of the Indian Express – on the desperate measures being adopted by one of the most corrupt governments ever, is inexplicable. It is as if the only threat to democracy today comes from a group of people who want to raise their voice in civil disobedience against public money being looted by elected representatives acting at the behest of powerful corporate interests.
First the Delhi Police simply refused permission to Anna Hazare and the India Against Corruption fast. Then they asked them to hold their protest in Burari! That is to say on the border of Haryana. This was but another way of disallowing it. Then they came out with a novel idea – a set of preconditions that include an undertaking that there will not be more than 5000 people and that the fast will be wound up in three days. Clearly, no self-respecting set of protestors will agree to such conditions and so ‘Team Anna’ refused to sign the undertaking.
Basically, immediately after the blasts, the ever alert Delhi police intercepted a call from Mumbai to the NCR to ask the person in the NCR if ‘the work had been done’ and whether ‘Sharif” had been informed. On getting the answer ‘yes’, the caller hung up, and not just hung up, but ‘immediately’ hung up. The call lasted for about a minute.
This brief call was not too brief for the Delhi Police’s keen forensic skills.
I gather that the Uttar Pradesh police has become especially sensitive to crimes against Dalits after the Lok Sabha debacle of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party. I gather that the head of the state police is now flying dowin in his helicopter to areas that are reporting serious atrocity cases, routinely suspending his department’s employees in-charge of the area. I gather that Dalits going to the police station in UP’s villages are no longer being told, ‘Do a compromise. Why do you want to complicate matters? After all inter-caste harmony is needed to make Behenji Prime Minister!’ Continue reading Lathi, Charged→
The well known journalist Praveen Swami, who is celebrated by some as an ‘encounter expert’ and ‘authority on terrorism’ has finally offered his comment on the Jamia Nagar encounter in the Hindu. See Behind the Batla House Encounter. It smells fresh.
Now, I really like Lewis Carrol, and am happy that Swami has invoked Carrol, Alice and Wonderland while criticising those (like me) who have chosen to take a skeptical stance towards the official handout of what exactly happened on the 19th of October in L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar. With due respect to Praveen Swami, lets read him in the spirit of Carrol and come to conclusions about who is Alice, who is the Red Queen and who is the white Rabbit, in due course.
It takes far more intelligence to read Swami than it must take for Swami to write like Swami. Which is disconcerting, given, that in Swamis case, he has a whole bureau full of intelligence to back him up, and all we have is the stuff between our individual ears, and occasionally our own eyes, our own ears and our own two feet. No wonder, we have to strain our credibility to believe the six and more impossible things that the police’s special cell, the intelligence bureau and its anointed experts would have us swallow whole for breakfast, with each morning’s headlines in the newspapers.
Guest post by AZIZ BURNEY, Editor, Rashtriya Sahara (Urdu), Delhi
It is a truth universally acknowledged that anything viewed from various angles presents various shapes. It is also a fact that your angle of view determines to a large extent the picture registered by your brain. An askew angle of view is bound to distort the picture. Reality defies comprehension without proper perspective. To date, we have not been able to understand what kind of picture the Delhi police is trying to draw in order to explain the incidents of September 19 as they happened. Continue reading Was it a recce or a planned raid?→
In the past few days, our favourite newspapers have been scrambling to counter the growing doubts about the supposed “encounter” at L 18. (See Indian Express and Times of India).
Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Group responds to the latest claims by the police.
1) The police was caught by surprise. Or was it?
In its response to the questions being raised by the civil society, the police say, “the presence of armed terrorists took them by surprise.” “The police did not expect an encounter at L-18.” (Indian Express October 9)
As the comments on the Jamia encounter pieces have flooded in, what has been amazing of course is how the defence of the police establishment comes often from the very same discourse which can’t stop crying itself hoarse about the corruption of the government. I am pretty sure many of those who have jumped to make us doubters and naysayers feel guilty about failing to support our boys in khaki would be wringing their hands at India’s sliding down the scale on Transparency International’s rating. What is required? What are we doing wrong? Does everybody in this country who can read and write need a Poli.Sci 101 course on what the Indian State is, and how it includes the elected and the non-elected arms, and how the ‘corrupt politicians’ are part of one large material and ideological whole that includes bureaucrats and internal security establishment? Continue reading Atta Boys, Delhi Police, Again→