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India : Delhi encounter raises tough questions

by : Himalove
Monday September 29, 2008 - 10:22
2 comments

Double standards on fighting terrorism

By Praful Bidwai, "Kashmir Times"

India is witnessing a sharp increase in the incidence of both anti-minority communal violence and terrorism.

Christians are under attack in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and now even Kerala, which has long been held up as a model of pluralism and communal harmony.

Behind the assault on churches, church-run institutions, and individual followers of the Christian faith are Hindu communal groups like the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena and Shree Rama Sena, which don’t even bother to disguise their identity.

The state has failed to protect Christians or act against and punish their tormentors.

The Orissa and Karnataka police in particular have behaved as if they bought into the propaganda that most Christians are victims of unscrupulous proselytisers and need to be protected against "unfair" conversion or helped to "re-convert" to Hinduism-although that may not have been their religion in the first place, especially if they’re Adivasis.

Worse, the police seem to have fallen for the ludicrous idea that the church in India is primarily devoted to proselytisation, when official records show education to be its most important activity. Police complicity in the anti-Christian violence has been as blatant as it’s condemnable.

The response of India’s political leadership to the communal violence and the insecurity it has created has been appallingly inadequate. It has failed to reassure the religious minorities that the Indian state is committed to protecting their life and limb and their rights as citizens.

The state acts as if it were bent on shielding majoritarian groups practising anti-minority violence.

In parallel with this, and in some ways reinforcing it, is the Indian state’s attitude to terrorist violence.

Under the malign influence of people like National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and myopic intelligence agency chiefs, the state has come to view terrorism largely through a religious-communal prism.

This was earlier linked to Pakistani secret agencies’ plans to foment trouble in India.

Although the Pakistan angle has receded to the background, the state’s anti-terrorism strategy remains strongly Islamophobic.

State agencies have become more virulent in maligning, harassing and persecuting Muslims.

The term "terrorism" is never used in respect of Hindu extremist outfits like the Bajrang Dal, VHP or the Shiv Sena despite their self-confessed role in the killing of hundreds of innocent citizens, who happen to belong to the religious minorities.

Hindu extremists have been repeatedly found making or planting bombs in Nanded and Malegaon in Maharashtra, Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu, and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Typically, the first, instinctive, knee-jerk presumption of the authorities in respect of a terrorist attack is that it must be the work of Muslims.

The police feel free to round up and interrogate Muslims, especially young Muslims, and detain them for long periods without any documentation-in total violation of guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, which stipulate that a person being arrested must be told the reasons, his or her close relations must be immediately informed, and he/she be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours.

As the United Progressive Alliance government comes in for increasingly sharper and neurotic attacks by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its associates for its "weak-kneed" attitude towards terrorism, it’s tempted to display machismo by taking ever stronger measures against Muslims-to the point of staging fake "encounters" in which mere suspects are simply bumped off by the police on the pretext of self-defence.

Many states have followed Delhi’s lead by setting up anti-terrorist Special Cells, with dozens of "encounter specialists", each with a licence to kill and huge sums of money with which to obtain "sensitive" information.

In recent weeks, the BJP’s shrill demand for tough anti-terrorist laws and action has reached a crescendo.

The UPA’s thoroughly reactive, but irrational, response has been to arbitrarily arrest hundreds of Muslims without warrant, interrogate them by using third-degree methods, and extract false self-incriminating confessions from them.

This has created a climate of fear, intimidation, insecurity and terror in several places.

This is starkly evident in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and now, Delhi and even villages in UP’s much-maligned Azamgarh district...

Take the alleged "encounter" in the Batla House area in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, in which two terrorists, Atif Ameen and Mohammed Sajid, were killed, one more was arrested, and two escaped.

The Delhi police say Atif was the top leader of Indian Mujaheedin, which has been behind all the major recent terrorist bombings.

The Mumbai police contradict this and say the real "mastermind" is Mohammad Sadiq Shaikh.

This "encounter" occurred less than a week after Delhi’s September 13 multiple bomb blasts and would have been perceived as the state’s "answer" to them.

It conforms to a familiar pattern like the Ansal Plaza shootout and other encounters attributed to Rajbir Singh, who became notorious for corruption and extortion, and was gorily killed, probably by a colleague.

The Batla House story would have provoked a sceptical and incredulous public response but for the fact that Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of the Special Cell was also killed.

However, the official version is full of inconsistencies. The Delhi police claim Atif was the mastermind behind the recent bomb attacks in Varanasi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.

But the police in the concerned states name other individuals: respectively, Waliullah, Shahbaz Hussain, and Abu Bashar and Abdul Subhan Qureshi alias Tauqeer.

Tauqeer was recently publicised as the "IM mastermind". The police also say Atif had an alias or nickname, Bashir. But Atif’s family and friends totally deny this. This raises the possibility that the police may have confused Atif’s identity with someone else’s.

The Delhi police say that Atif led a shadowy existence and stashed away Rs 3 crores in Union Bank in Azamgarh just before the Delhi blasts.

But media inquiries with the Bank say he had Rs 1,400 in his account, which hadn’t been operated since July.

Atif recently rented an apartment in Building L-18 in Batla House. He registered the rent deed and got it verified and duly stamped by the Jamia Nagar police station. It stretches credulity that a "terrorist mastermind" would practise such openness and transparency-especially because the police had been stalking and observing the area for a week before the incident.

The police accuse Atif’s associate, Saquib Nissar, of having planted bombs in Ahmedabad on July 26. But records show that Saquib took an MBA examination in Delhi from July 22 to 28.

Mail Today has just published an eyewitness account of the "encounter", which says there was an altercation when the police entered the 4th floor apartment where Atif and Sajid lived.

They dragged the two unarmed men down to the ground level, where a large number of heavily armed Special Cell policemen, including Inspector Sharma, were present.

The police severely beat up the two men after cordoning off the area. In the ensuing resistance and scuffle, a policeman’s gun went off and three bullets hit Sharma in the back and exited his body from the side or front...

After their leader was hit, the police apparently went berserk and fired at Atif and Sajid from a point-blank range.

I have seen a picture of Sajid taken just before he was buried. This shows one large bullet wound each in the shoulder and chest, and at least four bullet holes in the front portion of the skull.

Even one bullet fired into the head would have proved fatal. But the assailant pumped many more, presumably out of vengeance and hatred.

The post-mortem reports on the three dead men, obtained by the Headlines Today channel, clearly disprove the police claim that Sharma was killed when Atif and/or Sajid opened fire up-front as he entered their apartment. Several pictures carried by newspapers show that the front of Sharma’s white shirt wasn’t bloodstained.

Atif and Sajid’s autopsy reports show severe internal bleeding from beatings, besides bullet injuries. The police claim that two terrorists escaped. But given the layout of the area, with just one narrow entry/exit point, no one could have escaped.

From all these accounts, it’s likely that Sharma’s death was a case of collateral damage.

Even assuming that Atif and Sajid were terrorists, there’s no reason why they couldn’t have been cajoled or smoked out of the apartment, properly interrogated, put on trial, and punished.

Regrettably, our police rarely investigate cases of terrorism, and even more rarely bring its perpetrators to justice via legal prosecution. All this calls for a ruthlessly independent judicial inquiry.

It’s a matter of shame that our police anti-terrorist cells have never managed to rise above their shady image and the suspicion that they prefer brutal and even barbaric methods over due process of law.

Unless our anti-terrorist strategies and operations undergo radical reform, the minorities whom they selectively target will never feel secure or part of the national community as full citizens. And that’s the last thing we can afford if we want India to have a modicum of social cohesion, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.



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India : Delhi encounter raises tough questions
Wednesday October 15 - 13:15 - Posted by Abdul Mannan - d29d20de78f4eecb...

I hope so National Security Adviser MK Narayanan must have read this article. Such accident will creat more problem for the nation in coming days if govt is not taking the corrective measure soon to won the trust of muslims.Govt should ask Delhi police to come out with truth regarding Batla house encounter. Why M.C Sharma is hero ?There are many Colenel,Major, and army men dying with millitant and nexalite bullet in Kasmir, Bihar ,Assama and at border and what they are geting. Why this double standard policy? If Delhi polcie has shot dead the master mind of al bomb blast of last two year and has arrest the remaing and the same time Maumbai police has also arrest the master mind of bomb blast then what about the master mind people arrested by Gujrat Police? Who are they?where they are? Why they are doing in police custody?




India : Delhi encounter raises tough questions
Monday October 20 - 20:45 - Posted by TRUE BHARATHIYA - 2c0e5100b9b9f7f7...

REALLY?? THEY DO BOMB BLAST AND ASK FOR MINORITY HOW INSANE... N TALK ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS MORONS WHEN THEY DO SUCH TERRIOSTS ATTACK WHEN THEY TAKE INNOCENTS LIFE WHY SHUDNT POLICE TAKE SUCH ACTION?? I PURELY SUPPORT SUCH BRAVE POLICE.... IF THEY STOP SUCH TERROIST ATTACT OBVIOUSLY POLICE WONT DO SUCH.... IF UR HOUSE IS FILLED WID DIRT U WONT CLEAN?? HOW MANY DAYS WE MUST SUFFER?? NO GAURANTEE FOR LIFE WHO KNOWS WHICH BAST***D PUT THE BOMB AND UR TALKING LIKE U GIVE VOTE N U CAN BLAST ANYWHR?? MORONS







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