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Published in the 1-15 July 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Advani still in charge?
  • 8 December 2001: Asif Raza Khan, accused of abducting the son of Khadim shoe company owner, killed by police in an “encounter” in Rajkot.
  • 22 October 2002: Samir Khan Pathan, accused of killing a police personnel, killed for “trying” to snatch the service revolver of a policeman; accused of “plotting” to kill Modi.
  • 13 January 2003: Sadiq Jameel Mahatir, accused of firing on a police team, killed by police and accused of “plotting” to kill Modi.
  • 23 June 2003: Two persons alleged to belong to Dawood Ibrahim gang, killed by police who alleged that the duo were “plotting” to kill two BJP leaders.
  • 4 June 2003: Subhash Nair, accused of loot and murder, killed in Surat while in police custody on charge of “trying” to snatch the service revolver of a policeman.
  • 15 June 2004: Four, including Mumbai college student Ishrat Jahan, killed for being “terrorists” and “plotting” to kill Modi.

 

In all these gruesome incidents, “terrorists” were killed by the police in far-off places late at night. The police alone are witness to the incidents and none of the police personnel was even touched by the terrorists’ fire although some of them were claimed to carry deadly weapons like AK-47s. In the latest episode, the alleged terrorists’ car sports bullet holes in the back while the slain have all been shot from the front. Their car has exit holes from police bullets which means these were fired from very close range and not during a chase over 25 kilometers as the police claimed. According to the former Gujarat chief minister Amar Singh Chowhary, these people were already in Surat police custody for two days.

Police should perform its duties to ensure security and check crime but it must never become judge and executioner, a role  it was encouraged to usurp under the previous dispensation. Criminals should be caught and punished by courts of law and not by trigger-happy cops who are too happy to do their political masters’ bidding.

We all know bali (human sacrifice), a very common phenomenon in India even today but our civilised society prefers to look the other way. You read very often in the not-so-mainstream media how young boys are kidnapped and killed to achieve some purpose, like women yearning to have a male child or some crank dreaming to achieve immortality or to strengthen the foundations of buildings and bridges... What we are watching in Modi’s Gujarat is also a kind of bali designed to keep Chota Sardar out of harms way as daggers are out even within his own party which has specialised in using the “terrorism” plank to further its narrow interests. The latest episode took place shortly after Vajpayee’s criticism of Gujarat riots and the need to replace Modi. There seems to be no movement on the part of the central government to probe and check this deadly trend. Is Advani still presiding over the home ministry?

— Zafarul-Islam Khan

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