Judicial probe says Ishrat Jahan encounter is fake

THE MAGISTERIAL report probing the encounter of four people on June 15, 2004, says that the encounter was ‘staged’. Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year old student of Khalsa College, Mumbai and three others who were proclaimed Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives out to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, were actually killed a day before they were officially shown as having died in a police encounter.

“Ishrat Jahan was killed by Gujarat police in a cold-blooded, pre-planned way…. The police crime branch officials carried out the fake encounter for their personal gains, for promotions and other benefits. They wanted to show they were doing a great job, essentially to seek appreciation from the chief minister,” says the 243-page report written in Gujarati.

This is the second such case during the tenure of Narendra Modi after Sohrabuddin Sheikh, which the government confessed before the Supreme Court was a case of ‘fake encounter’.

This latest news of encounter being ‘planned’ and executed ‘mercilessly’ has been described as setback to the Gujarat government but I feel that it is a setback for the entire nation if true. As a citizen of this country, it is really something to ponder upon. ‘Police Waala Gundas’ are worst than the terrorists. This can happen with any one of us. Imagine, four people being gunned down for sake of vested gains. Then they are labeled as ‘terrorists’. This is the ‘Death of Democracy’ where the citizens are being killed by its own police. The same police which is meant for safeguarding the residents of the country. This is really shameful for this country. The Indian National Flag should fly at half mast in shame for what happened to Ishrat Jahan and others.

It is now quintessential that the justice is done and all the culprits should be punished. At the same time, government must ensure that these incidents don’t happen in future. Such type of heinous crime will only widen the gap between different communities in the country.

Truth behind Ranbir Singh Encounter must be Revealed

THE CONTROVERSIAL encounter of Ranbir Singh took place on July 3 and police says that he was riding a motorcycle with his two friends when the police stopped him at a check post. The three men got into an altercation with a sub-inspector, who had asked them to stop and then fled into a nearby forest after snatching his service revolver.

Later they were intercepted at the forest and Ranbir was gunned down in an encounter, while other two managed to escape. However, Uttarakhand Inspector General of Police NA Ganapati gave a different version. He said when the police opened a suspicious-looking bag that the boys were carrying, a countrymade revolver was found in it. The boys then overpowered an police official, snatched his revolver and fled, he said. Thereafter an encounter took place. Some police officials said that the trio was part of a gang that extorted money from businessmen.

Background of Ranbir Singh:

The family told the reporters that Ranbir Singh was a bright student and has no criminal record. According to Ranbir’s father Ravinder Singh, his son is innocent. “Show me his criminal record. The police just killed him to get medals. The police are threatening me now,” he said, sobbing and trying to console his wife. He went to Dehradun to join his office. There is a prime witness, who refutes policemen’s claim.

Autopsy report:

The autopsy report of Ranbir is out. The post-mortem report suggests that Ranbir’s body was brutally tortured and there were signs of multiple fractures. The body bore mark of 12 bullet injuries. These reports have gone against the police version of encounter and it appears that he was brutally tortured before being shot dead.

Government action:

Uttarakhand government ordered CID probe after there were allegations that the encounter might be faked.After the autopsy report, eight police officials, including SSP Sinha have been suspended.

My personal opinion is that there must be an inquiry by central agency at the earliest. If this encounter is fake then the case must be dealt with utter seriousness. The crime of murder is even more heinous if committed by the police.

The officials involved must be tried for murder along with those who tried to cover the case. The police is there to protect the citizens and not to kill them for some vested gains. This case calls for a speedy trial and a clear and quick justice.

The family is shocked after loosing their son for no fault. This case should be an eye-opener for all the officials, who feel that the life of common man carries no value. I am not running into conclusions but circumstantial evidence against police is too strong. We must support the family of Ranbir because the similar thing can happen to us as well. We must ensure that the case does not die its natural death and it becomes another instance of short public memory.

 

Kasab: A National Hero????????

FOR SOMETIME now, I am really wondering that when wills this case of Ajmal Kasab will end. I don’t see it ending in near future. I was always of a view that we should try him at court and not to hang him without a trial. But the snail pace of judiciary is making mockery of the trial. Seven months have passed and we haven’t been able to bring a terrorist caught on camera killing innocent men/women/children to justice.

What a shame?

The media has gone a long way in making a hero out of Kasab. The number of reports on him in last seven months has made him a well known figure of world. His photograph has been flashed on television and print media umpteen number of times. By now most Indians know where Kasab was born and what his parents did. What made him run away from home and how did he come contact with the LeT. We also know Kasab’s love for mutton and chicken dishes and his sole wish to meet Amitabh Bachchan.

We have up to date information on how Kasab is reacting in court or whether he is repenting his crime or not. Why the hell we need this information? This reporting can be termed as callous behaviour of media towards the one who suffered in the 26/11 attacks.

Imagine what pinch they must be feeling when the news channels show over extended coverage of the culprit. I was just reading the story of Captain Amitendra Kumar Singh, who was part of NSG team carrying operations in Oberoi hotel. Hearing about captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab, the 28-year-old braveheart admits, makes his blood boil. “He has become a bigger hero than us.

They should have stoned him to death at some crossroads in Mumbai that time itself.” How true he is when he says that Kasab has become a hero. He is so popular that the producers of reality shows might consider him as a contestant. When Monica Bedi and Rahul Mahajan can become celebrity then so can Kasab!

The money that is being spent on his security and trial could have been efficiently utilised in updating the security infrastructure and helping the kin of the deceased. He must be executed at the earliest. The case should get over now.

This is the apathy and irony that the so called ‘concerned citizens’, who came out in lakhs on December 3, 2008 at Gateway of India forgot the date of election. They preferred spending vacation than doing their duties. The same set of people were crying and shouting on politicians after the attacks. The numerous groups that were formed after the attacks have lost the steam and MA Naqvi’s comments of ‘lipstick wearing socialites’ stands true. The soldiers who risked and laid down their life for us have faded from our memory and media has found a bigger hero in Kasab…

What does the readers of targetgenx think??????

26/11 Mumbai Attack: Scam in procuring Bullet Proof Jackets for Police?

The bullet proof jackets procured for Mumbai Police were of low quality.
This allegation has been levied by the opposition and media on Government of Maharshtra post 26/11 attack on the financial capital of India, Mumbai.

A reply given by Mumbai police to an RTI application seeking the information on bullet proof jackets used by Mumbai Police has raised some sort of suspicion. The reply shockingly stated, “Since the file relating to bulletproof jackets cannot be found, the queries cannot be answered.”

CNN IBN claims that sources in Mumbai Police that the file was not lost, but was being protected from public scrutiny to possibly avoid controversial details from coming out in the open. If this is the truth then it is certainly a matter of great concern. The news channel also says that these jackets were sent for testing and they failed. Every single bullet went through the jackets even though the rounds were fired from a distance. The trial was followed by an enquiry into the spurious jackets but the results of which were shrouded in mystery and now as the police has been claiming, lost along with the file. Sources have claimed that the quality of cloth and special wire mesh used in the jackets was inferior and the vital steel plates were usually corroded.

This is yet another case of rampant corruption in political circles. After Bofors and coffin scam this is yet another instance where the politicians have insulted the saviors of the city and nation. This is perhaps the saddest part of the whole issue. It is directly related to the organization which has to ensure that law and order situation is maintained in the city which is always under the threat. If we cannot provide best equipments to our soldiers and police then that is really very pity. The brave officers laid down their life for the people but it saddens me that have they given better jackets many of the officers might have been saved. It seems that the life of a patriotic soldier has no value for the politicos.

CM of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan has his own sets of arguments. But whatever be the case both government and opposition must ensure that truth does comes out. If the opposition is so concerned then they must provide the proofs of their allegation and government who is “so determined” to tackle terror must also not try to cover up the whole issue.

We as a citizen have shown in the recently concluded Parliamentary elections have shown our concern for the city by “coming out in large numbers to vote”. Hopefully we will show greater concern this time and ensure that we get the satisfying reply. The families of slain police officers have already demanded an enquiry on the entire issue. We must also pressurize our politicians to tell the truth. And if allegations found true; stern actions should be taken against the culprits.

But will it actually happen?

It all depends on us. If we are genuinely concerned about our safety and regard soldiers with the highest respect then we must act and act tough!!

Reference: CNNIBN

Postpone IPL: Is it the only solution?

IPL or Elections

There is a national debate going on throughout the country, whether the Indian Premier League (IPL) Cricket tournament scheduled from 10th April 2009 should be postponed due to security concerns as the dates clash with 15th general elections  or to  go with both events simultaneously. Recently, our home minister voiced concern over terror threats on both of these events.

Earlier, it was believed that terrorists would never attack cricketers or cricket matches in the sub-continent as it will bother the sentiments of this cricket crazy part of the world. But, the Lahore terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team disproved this conventional notion. And looking at the impact of those attacks, any fool can predict that the next terror strike could be on the high profile cricket event IPL to be held next month in India. And it makes it even worse for security agencies that this event of tremendous public interest clashes with another major event with heavy public involvement – the general elections. For a huge democratic country like India general elections would be the event of utmost priority and no cricket tournament is bigger than elections. The constitutional requirement is that the general elections to the Indian Parliament were due before May 2009, which has to be fulfilled. So it is very much clear that elections are going to be held as per there schedules.

If we look at arranging both the events simultaneously then it will be a tough job for our security forces.  Making security arrangements for the elections in the rural and urban areas is always a very difficult task. And also, the level our political parties can go down to in the crucial election periods if there are lapses in the security arrangements is not a very big secret. And to conduct polls in such a huge region, we require our entire force. So it will be tough for our security agencies to protect IPL at the same time.

West Bengal and Punjab already said that go for IPL if you don’t want security for elections, Andhra and Delhi denied the security while Maharashtra and Rajasthan asked for central forces, which means they are not providing the state police forces for IPL. There could be another reason behind this stand taken by above states. Most of these states are Congress-led and it may be the anxiety of Congress not to step down before Sharad  Pawar, who’s the honcho of cricket in India along with a ministry in UPA cabinet  and can also be playing the major role in preventing the professional judgment in above matter. Also, the IPL chief Lalit Modi is close to Vasundhara  Raje (BJP). We have seen what happened to him in Rajasthan as soon as the government altered from BJP to Congress in Rajasthan. T he stand taken by these states might be just an extension of that. But, no matter what, the security of the life and property of common citizens along with the pride of the country, should not be put up on stake. If we do not postpone IPL and go on with these two major events simultaneously with some changes sought by IPL organizers and if there would be any attack on any event due to lack of security, then this will be a major setback for us. As we are hosting some major sporting international events in upcoming years, including the Commonwealth Games(one of the reasons of Delhi’s fast track development) and the Cricket World Cup 2011, our authorities should be much more careful and sensible in taking such decisions.

Taking a look at the other side of the coin, if we go on to postpone IPL, it will be a win for terror groups and looking at IPL’s prospect, a large commercial loss as they are just one month away from the tournament. It will be close to impossible for organizers to hold this event at some other time of the year, as ICC’s schedule for international teams would keep most players out of it and climates then would not favour the game. One more thing we should not forget that cricket and IPL earn some reputation for India, though they are not bigger than our democratic identity

What’s the bigger picture here? What’s the issue of concern here? Is this politics or is this security concern?

Whatever it is that is happening, what is more important here is a sensible decision that all the concerned authorities need to consider in benefit of all.

So, we have to find some alternatives to the concerned situation. We still have some amount of time and better cricketing infrastructure at our hand to manage the tournament. Ultimately, it is the home ministry who’s doing to decide the faith of IPL. The picture will be all clear in few weeks. But, I still feel that security should be given prime concern and elections are utmost important than any cricket tournament. We hope that our home ministry and IPL organizer come up with a more professional and practical solution.

What is your take on it?

An urgent need to reform the police system

If I ask you, “What do you think about Indian Police?” You might not bother to answer because we as a society virtually hate our police for their inefficiency, rampant corruption, bad track records, etc. If that is the case with you then I would like to say that, a policeman whom you hate is one who has emerged from the society itself. If as a society we are so corrupt that we don’t bother to raise voice about our rights then how come you expect your policeman to be any different!
 
But, our politicians are so cheap that they virtually make a policeman powerless if he ever thinks of raising voice against any wrong. The system is such that he might not even get a support from his colleagues. I strongly feel that then it is our as a society’s duty to support the policeman who wants to change the system towards betterment. One thing should be clear in everyone’s mind that if we as citizens demand something there is no way our politician can ignore that. Then why we show apathy towards the reforms in police system which is the urgent need of the hour.
 
In India, we have one policeman for every 1000 people, while there is a policeman for every 300 people in the US. And the worst part of this is that a cop of US is supported with technology, communication and cyber connectivity and vehicles, which increases his capabilities manifolds. Numerous police stations in India don’t have their own vehicles. As for connectivity amongst police stations, while police stations (PS) have radio communication sets (RT sets) in some states the PS do not have an extra battery to keep the sets working.
 
This is the situation when we boast of telecom revolution with every other person having mobile phone. The weapons which our policemen use are so obsolete that even you and I won’t fear those. It seems that those weapons were last used during World War-II. How come you think our policeman to fight terror with lathis and service pistol? There is no centralised database of criminals and crime in our country, which is the biggest hindrance in any of investigations.
 
The absence of the same is best exemplified by a policeman himself, who says,
This implies that if I detain a suspicious person in Delhi and he says that he belongs to some village Begumangalam in district Nalgonda in AP, I have no way to immediately verify his identity – unlike the US, where a centralised databank will let you check his antecedents in a matter of few seconds.”
And over all these there are our ‘leaders’ misuse the police system to meet their selfish ends.
 
Yogesh Pratap Singh resigned from the Indian Police Service, in 2005, after he was fed up with corruption in Maharashtra politics and the state police force. He says, “Society does not care for an upright officer.” In an interview he said,
An upright officer faces disappointment from everywhere. Society does not care for him. They will make a hero of a dead officer. They will never make a hero of an officer, who is alive, but dead. I was intellectually, morally and emotionally dead in the police force just because I was not tolerating corruption.
Any officer who wants to bring justice is always stranded by one or the other.

Police leaders are hardly kept in their places of postings for a significant time so that they can improve situations. They are transferred every now and then. If a criminal has the backing of a politician, why will he be afraid of police? We always talk of intelligence failure – but what infrastructure our police have is a matter of concern. There is possibility that we consider a life of a policeman to be too cheap or we are not aware of deficiencies in our security system.

As Ashish Gupta (batchmate of Hemant Karkare) writes,
But why do we, educated people, not raise enough hue and cry so that the political parties are forced to change the policing system and hence improve your security? Friends, please become aware of the realities of policing and beware of rhetoric of political parties – the solutions they offer are superficial and will not improve security situation. You can’t build an edifice of security organisation with a weak and hollow foundation.
 

By the way, did you know that we loose almost three policemen per day, as per last 10 years figure!

We have forgotten them and we will forget them again

India has been shaken by the recent terror strike in Mumbai. There are lot of demonstrations and processions going on across the city of Mumbai against the ineptitude of our political leaders. The government of India is also trying its best to dilute the anger of citizens by taking some actions. The citizens of this nation are showering praises on the martyrs. This is not a new thing considering that Indian people have always showed unity in times of crisis, though they have very short memories and forget the sacrifices soon.

The 13th of December was the anniversary of the Parliament attack. How many of us remembered those brave soldiers who ensured that terrorists are stopped at the gate itself and laid down their lives in the process? To show their respect “our responsible MPs” turned to pay tributes and recalled the supreme sacrifice by the security personnel in foiling the attempt of the terrorists. The very next day, there were reports that the family of the martyrs are still struggling to get what was promised to them by our government. The kin of the victims accused the government of not fulfilling the promise of giving them compensation.

Vimla Devi, wife of ASI Nanak Chand, who was killed in the 2001 terrorist attack has said, “We don’t want all these tributes to be paid. I don’t have anything. Nobody listens to us.”

Sardar Singh (62), whose son Om Prakash, a Head Constable died in the attack, said, “We have been pleading with the government officials for so many years. At functions the ministers make tall promises but they forget after that.”

Jaiwati Singh, who lost her husband, Constable Vijendra Singh, is still fighting for her rights. “These days my sister is running from pillar to post to get the promised petrol pump but the officials say they have always had martyrs in the country and they can’t go about giving each one a petrol pump,” her brother Bhram Prakash said. (These are excerpts from a leading daily)

On December 16, we will celebrate Victory Day to commemorate the victory of the 1971 war. But did you know that there are still 54 Indian soldiers incarcerated in Pakistani prisons post the Indo-Pak war of 1971? It is an irony that even after the comprehensive victory, India could not negotiate freedom for her soldiers who were trapped by the enemy in the heat of war. Till this day there families are fighting against all odds but all their requests and pleas have fallen on dear ears. They are even more helpless considering this is an external matter. Today they remain forgotten, mere names in the files lost in the labyrinth of the South Block. It is a collective failure of the entire nation. Forget these incidents, a few days there was a television news where it was shown how one of the parents of the Akshardham temple attack martyrs from the NSG were denied the promise of a petrol pump allocation.

There is no denying the fact that martyrs of wars and those who sacrificed their lives in proxy wars are not being given their due respect. The government over the years has just paid tributes and then isolated the kin of martyrs. As a citizen, we bid goodbye to martyrs saying that we will always remember them but within six weeks everything is forgotten. Families of those brave souls feel alienated after some time. Is this the way our society functions?

The story will be repeated even after this terror strike. Our history is testimony of this. The valour of our martyrs soak in the wetness of our euphoric patriotism and dies soon as everything turns normal.

I bet that hardly anyone of us will remember Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar, Ashok Kamte, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Havildar Gajendra Singh and dozen of other martyrs “who failed to hit the headlines” for some unknown reasons. These names will also be lost in the pages of history.

As a nation, we have always displayed only callous indifference towards these soldiers who have fought to preserve the country’s freedom and integrity. Remember, History shows that only those nations survive who honour their soldiers. And this honour should be part of the mind set. If we forget our soldiers in times of peace then it is a betrayal. There are lurking dangers but we sleep peacefully, because we know that the brave soldier is awake. Do we really understand the value of our independence or are we taking it for granted? Are we as a society doing anything to give back something to the families of those brave soldiers who have died for our future apart from raising a memorial and showing anger towards the politicians?

Exclusive: SIMI chief’s shocking revelations

From a moderate start to a dreaded terror outfit, the Students Islamic Movement of India has come a long way.

Though the theories attached to the shift in stance by SIMI are relatively old, Safdar Nagori, the most prominent face of the banned outfit, said in his confession statement before the Madhya Pradesh police that SIMI had decided to intensify operations in India in 2001 after it had been banned by the then National Democratic Alliance government.

Nagori in his confession statement admitted that he and his men had undertaken a massive recruitment drive .

In the process, they recruited several youth to the outfit following which training was imparted to each of them. He said that the idea was to transform SIMI into a militant outfit.

The confession is very much on the lines of the interview given by Nagori prior to the outfit’s ban.

In the interview, he said it is not when an individual is harmed, but when an entire community finds itself collectively persecuted that the cry for jihad is given.

If nothing works then one is forced to revolt, take to arms.

Nagori said that he was an extremist and not a fundamentalist and his actions were never on the basis of religion.

“I was pained and angered by the atrocities against Muslims worldwide and the turning point was the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat riots only made matters worse,” he said.

Giving details about the training programme, Nagori said that nearly 25,000 SIMI activists met in Mumbai in 2001 and this was the first time that the call for jihad was given.

The meeting also hailed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden as a true warrior. Prior to Nagori’s arrest, there were 400 active SIMI members known as the Ansars and 20,000 Ikhwans who were ordinary members.

The training programme for SIMI began in Jammu and Kashmir. They trained along with the Hizbul Mujahideen. Following this, the selected cadres were assigned to major terror operations in the country.

Further, he also gave information regarding a training camp in Choral, Madhya Pradesh. He confessed that the training camp in Choral was unique and was used to train different classes of militants for different kinds of operations.

Nagori also spoke at length about the manner in which the SIMI split into two groups, thanks to differences of opinion. He said during his interrogation that the main reason for the split was due to ideological differences between his faction and the Misba-ul-Islam faction.

While the Islam faction wanted the SIMI to have a more moderate approach, Nagori pressed for a more aggressive view. Nagori made the same claim during his narco-analysis which was conducted in Bengaluru recently.

He said that SIMI did give it a try to sort out the differences and they met at Ujjain. Nagori found that he had a majority of the members supporting him. This is when he decided to breakaway and carry forward the outfit with his ideology.

Nagori also spoke about his idea of recruiting more educated youth into the outfit. He said that persons from an IT background were preferred and in this regard a technical cell was also started. He said the idea of recruiting persons from an IT background was because these persons could remain low key and they were excellent planners.

Nagori also mentioned about the Shaheen Force, an all-woman wing of SIMI. He explained during his confession and narco-analysis that women could convince their children easily to take the SIMI route and hence he had decided to float this wing.

He felt that women could help boost the membership of SIMI.

Source: REDIFF

Poltical Will required to curb terrorism

THE TERRORIST groups have waged a war against India. We have witnessed series of blasts in two cities of the country very recently. Our honourable home minister, Shivraj Patil took time from his busy schedule and went to see the victims in Ahmedabad. Thank you so much sir! Like his previous speeches he repeated the following lines when asked about the attack.

i. We condemn the dastardly attack on innocent people.
ii. We are determined to fight these terror groups and will not bow to their wishes of creating rift in the society.
iii. We appeal to maintain peace and calm.
iv. The government has announced the ex-gratia of Rs X to deceased and Rs Y to the injured.

I have heard these lines many times, but the fact remains that still we haven’t done anything significant to curb the menace of terrorism. Why have we failed to do so? The reasons lie with our politicians who have adopted a soft approach towards the terrorists. Shivraj Patil says that he and his government will not be soft on terror and the same man has made a statement in the Parliament — “The ones who have been killed are our brothers and ones who are killing are also our brothers.”

What indication does he want to give to the common man who has lost his loved one in these brutal attacks. The government is buying time in Afzal Guru case even after the verdict of Supreme Court. Why?

Terrorism

What makes the matter even worse is that we don’t have any law to deal with terror. As it is efficacy of our judicial system is questionable and with no stringent laws to counter terror we are trying to fool ourself only. If PreventionofTerrorismAct (POTA) was misused then the government could have amended it or introduced a new law. Doing away with the law was just stupid. Few leaders in the government say that despite having POTA, we had attacks in Akshardham temple, Raghunath temple, Parliament. They are not wrong, but then this logic should be applied everywhere. We have laws against thefts, rape and murder and yet they take place daily. Shouldn’t we done away with these laws and give culprits the freehand to rape, steal and kill?

Terrorists have no religion and to call them Muslims and dole out concessions under the duress of political equations will keep raising the morale of those walking free in the Indian backyard and indulging in barbaric acts under a notion that the government has only high sounding phrases and to crack the whip against them is not a realistic possibility at all. We have a serious problem with infiltration from the porous border with Bangladesh; and while much of the illegal migration mainly involves financial reasons — it is now established that those with nefarious intentions can cross over into India just as easily.

There is an urgency to understand that we need to overhaul the agencies monitoring the security of our country. India’s police to population ratio is one of the lowest in the world, barring the poorer African countries. There is a high deficit of personnel in intelligence gathering. The IB has barely 3,500 field officers. We need to address these shortcomings. There are over 3,000 posts lying vacant in IB for quite some time and yet we have recruited only 1,200. There is dearth of expertise in our security agencies, forensic department and police.

We do not believe in using science to tackle crime and terrorism, the most effective way worldwide. Investment in forensics would not just help get crucial leads in terror cases, but help solve other ordinary crimes. The people to police ratio in the country is 1:1000 and then we waste 70 per cent of the police to protect the VVVIP’s. If these politicians can’t make us secure then they should give up their Z+ security. The police force for some reason is not getting the priority it deserves.

The policy of appeasement should be done away with. The soft approach is not going to help anyway. People can sympathise with the governmernt if there had been any attempt towards the security of the people. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened in our country yet. Post 9/11, 7/7, Madrid blasts, there hasn’t been a single instance of a terrorist attack on the countries that were victims of these terror bombings. And here as I look at my country, a proud Indian that I am, I am ashamed to admit that my country can not protect its own citizens in its own land. How long will this continue? We do not have the urgency, we do not have the intent and we do not have concern for our lost countrymen.

The one who entered our territory to kill innocent people should not expect any leniency from the government. Unless we apply bullet for bullet policy, it is impossible to thwart the terrorists. There should be only death punishment for them. As it is we are facing shortage of food in our country, hence, there is no need of keeping these terrorists in prison and feeding them. Identify them and shoot them down without mercy. An eye for eye and a tooth for tooth must be the response of the government to those rejoicing in death and destruction of India. When this policy is applied there will be human rights violation, but we must accept that in the larger interest of the nation.

As a common man I want some action not reaction from my government. The government is answerable to us. If not then it is our duty to revolt and make the government take some action. I just hope these dumb headed politicians do some good for the people and country.

Image Courtesy: freethoughts.org/archives/terrorism.jpg

The Second Murder

Sometimes, a single event can tell us more about the times we live in than an entire library full of sociological treatises. The Aarushi murder case is one such event. The responses to the case reveal the flaws in the institutions that we depend on: the police, the government, the media and the great Indian middle class itself.

But, first, let’s clear up one thing: I’m not a detective and neither are you. One of the problems with the way in which we have approached this case is that we’ve all spent too long trying to solve the mystery of who the killer was. That’s a legitimate goal, but not one that we, in our living rooms or our OB vans, are qualified to pursue. Perhaps her father killed her; perhaps he didn’t. I don’t know. And nor do you.

Many of us forget that there are two separate issues at stake here. The murder mystery is only the first. The more important one is our response to the murder. How have we treated the reputation of a slain 14-year-old girl? What does the manner in which the police have behaved tell us about law and order in India? Should we have any faith in our political system? And is it time to regulate the media?

The Police: The Noida police appear to have the investigative abilities of the Keystone Cops and the sensitivity of the Gestapo. At almost every stage, the case has been bungled. There’s been the failure to properly search the house and, therefore, the inability to discover the corpse of their chief suspect. There’s the fiasco of the remand of the father with no evidence, no confession, no motive and no murder weapon.

More worrying is the way in which the police have deliberately set out to destroy the reputation of a murdered teenager. The IGP in charge of the case has called Aarushi “characterless”. Her emails have been leaked to the media. So have her texts to her friends, violating not just her privacy but that of her schoolmates.

Most worrying of all is the IGP’s obsession with sex. Every possible motive leads back to sex. First, there was the extraordinary statement that Rajesh Talwar found his daughter in an ‘objectionable’ position with Hemraj, the servant. As Aarushi and Hemraj are dead, and Rajesh Talwar denies the story, how could the IGP possibly have known about the incident? Then, there’s the suggestion that Rajesh Talwar was having an affair with a colleague and that his daughter objected; off the record, the police have painted the parents as orgy-goers and wife swappers. And now, the cops are claiming that the father was motivated by anger at Aarushi’s relations with various boyfriends.

This is not a sex crime. So why are the Noida police going on and on about sex, ruining the reputations of the dead and the living without a shred of evidence?

My guess is that they are not just incompetent, they are also sex-starved. Perhaps the IGP needs professional help.

The Government: The media act as though the Noida police report to nobody. Some channels have even confused the IGP with his boss, the DGP of Uttar Pradesh. In fact, there is a chain of command. The DGP reports to a home secretary who reports to both a chief secretary and the home minister.

What is bizarre is that nobody in this chain of command has reprimanded the IGP or taken the investigation away from him. Instead, chief minister Mayawati has turned it into a political issue.

Imagine now that a joint commissioner of the Delhi or Bombay police had referred to a murdered child as “characterless”. The media uproar would have been enough to seal his fate. Why doesn’t the same happen in UP? In fact, why does this never happen in UP? Even during the Nithari killings, the Noida police got off scot-free, and Mulayam Singh’s brother dismissed the serial murders as being of little consequence.

I would argue that it’s the difference between national parties and regional parties. A BJP, CPM or Congress chief minister would have felt obliged to act, both because of an innate sense of right and wrong, and because of public pressure. But neither Mayawati nor Mulayam have any sense of right and wrong. As for the media uproar, they don’t give a damn: it doesn’t touch their vote-banks.

Now that regional parties threaten to take power at the Centre as part of a Third Front, it’s worth pondering the difference.

The Middle Class: As an educated Indian, I share the general outrage at the shredding of reputations, the sloppy investigation, the manhandling of a suspect against whom there is no solid evidence, and the denial of the presumption of innocence.But let’s consider another scenario. Suppose Hemraj had lived. The police were certain to have arrested him. Would anybody in the middle class have given a damn about how he was treated in custody? We, who are so angered by the manhandling of Rajesh Talwar, would have been unaffected by the third-degree methods that would almost certainly have been used on Hemraj. He would have been beaten up and tortured into signing a confession. He would have no right to privacy, no presumption of innocence and none of us would even have noticed.

I have always been suspicious of the manner in which every crime committed in a middle class home is blamed on the servant. Whether it’s a robbery or a murder, the cops never bother to draw up a list of suspects. They always arrest the servant and declare, a few days later, that he has confessed.

This has less to do with detective work and more with callous laziness. The motto of all Indian police forces is: we will hang the suspect and then find the evidence. It’s far easier to blame the servant than to launch an investigation. Rarely is any genuine evidence ever found. Instead the case rests on confessions and bogus ‘recoveries of stolen objects’.

Do we in the middle class mind? No, not at all. None of the outrage that has been expressed in this case ever extends to servants, to the poor and to anyone who is non-middle class.

The Media: Has there been any case where the media have behaved so badly? TV channels have carried MMSes purporting to show Aarushi’s loose ways. Even if these were genuine, there were privacy issues involved. But they were fakes. The channels carried them without verification. And now, they don’t even bother to apologise.The coverage of the Aarushi murder has been marked by lurid sensationalism. Anchors have appeared on the screen with their hands dipped in red paint. Fraudulent ‘re-enactments’, based on a dubious sense of what really happened, have been telecast. Even the English channels, which pride themselves on being more sensitive than their Hindi counterparts, have telecast the contents of private SMSes, sometimes, having them read out in theatrical re-enactments.

In their pursuit of ratings, television channels have acted as though no liberal value (presumption of innocence, privacy etc) matters and no journalistic rule (verification, attribution etc) is valid.

In their own way, the media have been as bad as — if not worse than — the Noida police. Journalists are too self-obsessed to sense the revulsion with which educated Indians have responded to media coverage of this case. Broadcasters sometimes believe that they can do anything they like as long as they get ratings, because there’s nobody to stop them.

But I think somebody will stop them. For the last five years, the government has been trying to regulate the media. All of us have fought this effort, arguing that self-regulation is the answer.

After all, we have asked our readers and viewers: who would you trust more — a civil servant or a journalist?

Ask that question today, and I suspect that we, in the media, would not like the answer. If the civil servant is an educated person, determined to impose liberal values and standards of accuracy, and the journalist is some sensation-hungry moron, metaphorically dancing on the grave of a murdered child, speculating breathlessly about her love life, and vulgarly suggesting that her parents were sex maniacs — well, then, my guess is that most educated Indians would pick the civil servant over the journalist.

The vagaries of Indian politics will ensure that the Noida police get away with murdering Aarushi all over again. But the media may not be so lucky. Any demand for regulation will now have widespread public support.

And can you really blame the public for feeling this way?

Vir Sanghvi in HT dated 01.0608