Issues

Malegaon blasts of 2006 and, now, the pathology of terror

There is the moving scene of courtly love even in the macabre world of terror. There is intrigue within intrigue, sub plot within plot. Sunil Joshi and Pragyasingh Thakur had their stars crossed ala Romeo Juliet. What made the duchess have a dimple on her cheek as the painter painted her? The duke in Robert Browning gave an order and all her smiles disappeared forever. Similarly, what exactly did Joshi say that violated the modesty of Pragyasingh Thakur? Was it so bawdy that it should not be said in the presence of women? The virile figure of Joshi aroused different passions in different people as did the other protagonist.

There are layers of meaning that surround episodes in high drama. In this, euphemism can play a crucial role as does innuendoes in the matters of love relationship. There is also sexual jealousy which demands its share in the toll of the lovers.

It could not have been just a naughty remark like that of the commissioner of police in Delhi who said some years ago that handsome ladies in the city wear dazzling and provocative dress. That invites teasing, molestation and rape. The murder of Joshi requires more erudition than the cops and investigators have time to afford.

Euphemisms and innuendoes abound in Malegaon 2006 case as well. An important witness and sometimes approver in 2006 case Abrar Ahmed narrates how he fell on the bathroom floor and had his spine injured and was hospitalized on January 1, 2007. To the JJ Hospital came groups of his relatives from his in-laws sides and also from his own blood relations and of course the cops. Then additional superintendent of police of Malegaon Mr Rajwardhan also visited him. In one such visit to the hospital he allegedly gave one lakh rupees to Abrar’s brother in law Farooq Vardha and five and a half to his father in law Iqbal Chourdhary. He also got him a flat in Bhiwandi and another in Mumbai.

This entire largesse was given for reasons best known to the cop only. He also gave a gun to the brother in law of Abrar. What was the purpose?

However, Abrar’s wife Jannatunnia contends that her brother had a licence for the gun as far back as 2000. Even when the case has not come up for trial, well into the sixth year of the detention of the nine accused, this delay has begun to cause fissures. There is mudslinging as to who is barren or impotent. She is still young and good looking and desires another chance in life. The circumstances of the case constitute one of the most intriguing episodes of Hindutva terror. Soon after the bomb explosions on September 8, 2006 on Shab-e-barat, Abrar visited the Galaxy hospital.

He overheard that some well known Hindus had exploded the bombs. He went to the house of his in laws and told them about it. They were startled, according to him, and rang up his brother in law Farooq Vardha (another police informer) in Bhiwandi. So the police swing into action and instead of going after the Hindus like Dr Bipin Parekh, Someshwar Shanker, Dr Rajender Amin and others they detained Abrar.

First Rajwardhan gave him the work of repairing his inverter at his residence in Nasik. In the meanwhile he was given a phone to contact Rajwardhan. But the additional superintendant of police gave a mobile phone to his wife as well. What work had Rajwardhan with her and what he talked to her on her contact number 9825826597? In a French novel it would make one wonder at the role of the roué. The gun that the cop gave Vardha is more intriguing. Was Abrar so material a witness that he needed to be guarded with a gun? Or, liquidated when the time came. Rajwardhan had met Abrar on Sptember 13, on the fifth day of the blasts. Subsequently he sent Abrar and wife to Indore and other places in Madhya Pradesh. They were introduced to Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, Sadhvi Pragyasingh and others. At the Jagtap mala, like the château in a romance, many more intrigues awaited Abrar and his wife. They had dinner with Purohit. It is also a fact that later Abrar and his wife were kept separate in places alien to the couple and particularly to the woman. How could she live alone?

But then at one meeting Rajwardhan addressed Abrar in the presence of his wife (and perhaps some others) ala ‘kahin per nigahen kahin per nishana’; looking at someone but aiming at another. “Naya juta jab phat jata hai ya khrab ho jata hai to use fenk diya jata hai.” (When a shoe is torn or becomes tattered we throw it away.) Abrar could not make any sense of it directly and asked him to explain. Rajwardhan told him that he was quite mature and a hint is enough for a wise man.

However, Abrar knew that the cop was a scheming person and wanted to drive a wedge between him and his wife. This has now turned into a gulf between the spouses. She has sought divorce in the sharia court. There is a new alignment in the families. His father’s family says that she is trying to dodge the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths from getting to the secret surrounding her husband’s role in the blasts. Her father’s family, on the contrary, believes that her husband’s role in the blasts has besmirched the reputation of her family in the eyes of the people. She feels that the slur of being the wife of a police informer is telling on her nerves and ill treatment of her in-laws is unbearable.
In the time of breaking up of the family of the accused it is important to note that there is an Iago or villain who has contributed to the worsening of the situation. Now the question arises what exactly was the equation of the villain with the family.

This is not a question of slander. The allegation of shunning investigation by NIA is fraught with deception that has far reaching consequences. It needs close scrutiny in the court of law. There are other cases of the same kind where the cop’s relation with families involved in serious crimes raises serious doubts. And the trail the investigation has either turned cold or the matter has been hushed up.

Shamshuddin Mushrif quotes a report of the Milli Gazette of May 1-15 2008 in his book Who Killed karkare? “17 April 2008: The Malegaon police raided a pathology laboratory situated in the basement of a private hospital and recovered five live RDX explosives, three used RDX explosives, one pistol, a laptop, a scanner, two mobile phones, four fake currency notes of Rs one thousand each and Rs 5000 in cash and arrested three persons, viz., Nitish Ahere Sahebrao Dhurve and Jitendra Khema belonging to some unknown organization.”

A Marathi news paper Lokmat carried front page coverage for three days on this swoop. The paper does not mention any liaison. But what was not thought of is becoming a probability of equation or relationship. Therefore investigation must also focus on the personal relationship of important people who figure in the case. Are investigators trained to handle this? Similarly a court cannot dismiss the affidavit of Abrar even when there can be lies in it. But it contains circumstantial evidence. Abrar and Jannatunnisa did stay in hotel Pritam of Dadar in Mumbai. It is also known that LIC agent BK Shaikh met them at the Gateway of India. What was the couple doing there? They were known to be living in difficult circumstances and therefore how could they afford the hotel bill? Moreover, what Rajwardhan is reported to have said about the frayed relationship of the spouses has come home to roost.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2011 on page no. 12

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