There are a few photographs which the bigwigs of the Hindutva Brigade/Sangh Parivar would like to be erased from public memory. One such photograph shows Sadhvi Pragya, an ex-member of the ABVP, sitting with Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Rajnath Singh and few others. As it was later revealed they had gathered to console the widow of a BJP leader from MP, who had just died.
Public memory is very short but one can stretch it a bit to recollect the tremendous consternation in BJP/RSS circles when Sadhvi Pragya was arrested by the Anti Terrorist Squad led by the legendary police office Hemant Karkare on 23 October, 2008 for her alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast. This photograph had suddenly gone viral when there were denials by many leaders of the saffron brigade that they had never met her.
Now that the NIA, the federal agency established by the government to combat terror in India, has given a ‘clean chit’ to Sadhvi Pragya and few of her accomplices, should one expect that all those photographs showing her proximity to various leaders of the saffron establishment would be prominently exhibited? It must be remembered that leaders of BJP have even claimed that it was an act of “treason” to arrest her.
(Read the remaining article here : http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/why-exoneration-of-sadhvi-pragya-should-worry-everyone-who-stands-for-justice-1463399413.html)
THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE MUMBAI TERRORIST ATTACKS
This is a guest post by RAVEENA HANSA.
A great deal of new evidence concerning the 26 November 2008 terrorist attacks in Bombay has emerged over the past year. This includes the book Who Killed Karkare: The Real Face of Terrorism in India by S.M.Mushrif, a former police officer with a distinguished record, who uses news reports during and just after the attacks to question the official story; the book To the Last Bullet by Vinita Kamte (the widow of Ashok Kamte) and Vinita Deshmukh; revelations concerning Hemant Karkare’s bullet-proof jacket and post-mortem report; the David Coleman Headley trial; and the trial of Ajmal Kasab, Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Shaikh. I do not include the Ram Pradhan Commission report on police responses to the attack, for reasons I will explain.
The Headley Affair
The Headley affair has, predictably, grabbed a great deal of publicity. The fact that the FBI had been investigating the involvement of this American in conducting reconnaisance for the 26/11 attacks seems to have come as a revelation to the Indian investigators, who had a chance to apprehend him but instead chose to detain two Indian Muslims, Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Shaikh, for preparing maps of 26/11 targets.
It has been established that Headley was an agent of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, and his plea bargain leads us to conclude he was also a US intelligence agent: in other words, a spy. It is also known he was involved with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and supplied information to them about targets attacked on 26/11. There are three possible explanations that would fit these facts:
1) He started off as a US intelligence agent, but was won over by the LeT, and was acting on their behalf.
2) The US intelligence agency employing him was complicit in the 26/11 attacks. Since the most likely fallout of such attacks would be increased tension and even armed clashes on the Pakistan-India border, and since it appears to be a priority of US foreign policy to reduce such tension, this would suggest that Headley was being handled by a rogue element in US intelligence.
It took Shahid Azmi’s cold-blooded murder on 11th February 2010 at his office near Kurla, for the world to come alive to his importance. Soft spoken and modest, it is the sweep of the cases he fought, challenging the State’s calculated targeting of innocent Muslims, that marked Shahid’s remarkable achievements as a lawyer within a short span of six years in the legal profession.
One of these cases related to the brutal lathi charge in Arthur Road Jail in central Mumbai, on 28th June 2008, by the jail staff along with convicts and undertrials from the so-called `patriotic’ underworld gangs, on a select group of undertrial-inmates. This assault was conducted under the overall supervision of the-then Jail Superintendent Swati Sathe. To the outside world, Ms Sathe was a tough no-nonsense, non corrupt woman officer who probably wished to become the next Kiran Bedi. But underneath her stiff khakhi uniform ruled a tough no-nonsense hindutva heart, no less.
This guest post has been sent to us by RAVEENA HANSA
On 5 January 2009, the Indian government handed a 69-page dossier of material stemming from the ongoing investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 26-29 November 2008 to the Pakistani government. This was subsequently made accessible to the public, so it is possible for us to examine it.
The most striking point about the dossier is its vague and unprofessional character. Enormous reliance is placed on the interrogation of the captured terrorist, Mohammed Amir Kasab, despite the fact that there is an abundance of other evidence – eyewitness accounts, CCTV and TV footage, forensic evidence, etc. – which could have been called upon to establish when, where, and what exactly happened during the attacks. This gives rise to the suspicion that the interrogation is being used as a substitute for real investigation because it can be influenced by intimidation or torture, whereas other sources of evidence cannot be influenced in the same way.
This guest post comes from a friend who wishes to be known as RH
In all the confusion and horror generated by the ghastly terrorist attacks in Bombay, a dimension which has not received the attention it deserves is the circumstances surrounding the death of Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare and two of his colleagues, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte. The major pattern of operations involved well-organised attacks on a few high-profile sites in Colaba – the Taj, Oberoi and Trident Hotels, and the less-known Nariman House – while a parallel set of operations was centred on Victoria Terminus or VT (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or CST) station, Cama Hospital and the Metro cinema, in the middle of which is the police headquarters where Karkare worked. The latter is an area where foreigners are much less likely to be found.
You have said everything there is to say, and felt everything there is to feel. You have shouted angrily or reflected seriously or stated in the calm tone of conviction that terrorists are as authoritarian as the states they target, that terrorists have no religion, that terrorists are cowards who target soft civilian populations. You have despaired at the carnage wreaked on a city sick and tired of having to be “resilient”; of having faced one disaster after the other – from floods to targeted attacks on specific communities to bomb blasts – and “emerged with its spirit intact”. Your heart has clenched painfully at the inconsolable tears of baby Moshe; at the blood-spattered, newly motherless one-year old Viraj in an exhausted Head Constable Salunkhe’s arms, entrusted to him by his father, a utensil seller wounded by bullets at CST. You have gazed numbly at the image of Maharashtra ATS Chief Hemant Karkare’s young son with drawn countenance bearing the ritual paraphernalia of his father’s cremation ceremonies. Despite yourself you felt a sudden glimmer of hope steal into you at the stony dignity in Kavita Karkare’s dry-eyed grief at her husband’s funeral, at her steadfast bindi and her coloured sari. You have hated yourself for being relieved that those you know in that poor torn city are safe, when hundreds you did not know were not.
In fear and foreboding the feeling has overcome you – “What lies ahead of us now?”