It is Ramzan time in Jamia Nagar – municipal workers clean the streets and line it with chuna lime, bakeries are piled high with sewain, and halwais have begun preparing the special iftar food. The police are busy too, but residents can comfort themselves with the thought that it is only to regulate traffic in the congested lanes. As the clock ticks towards iftar, the road from the Jamia Milia Islamia University towards Batla House is made one-way: the way in, to help the rushing crowd reach home in time, picking up fruit and pakwan (snacks) on the way.
The residents’ relationship with the police here is notoriously complicated. Until 2007, Jamia Nagar only had a police post, but during Ramzan that year a policeman was accused of desecrating the Quran, and the dispute led to the police post turning into a full-fledged police station. In 2008, it was during Ramzan that the police engaged alleged bomb-plotters in a firefight, an “encounter” that’s widely regarded to have been fake. A few weeks later, a jeepful of Noida policemen in plainclothes attempted to kidnap a local man, but residents poured out and chased them away. Continue reading Ramzan in Jamia Nagar
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.
Continue reading The Jamia Nagar Encounter: ‘Curioser and Curioser’