Human Rights

Shifting squint from right eye to the left

Change of guard at ATS
Maharashtra government’s dramatic announcement of replacing Raghuvanshi with Maria is an exercise in inanity, to say the least. It can hardly produce any change on the ground. Anyway, both these worthies have been promoted or rewarded for their past performances. It might not be their life time achievement award, but it is a reward that matters them individually and personally. Serendipity in their professional career is matched by abulia.

The circumstances in which the shuffle takes place needs scrutiny. Raghuvanshi is said to have piqued Delhi for having released to press that the duo in Mumbai had telephonic talk with the “uncle”. For how many days? Some reports say twelve days while others say it is three months.  We in the public domain have to guess and accept whatever it is. The government does not let us in upon that. For, then surely we would know and tell others well.

Raghuvanshi and his ATS had to mention cause for further police remand of Latif and Riyaz. Did that “uncle” come handy? Why didn’t the central government ask Pakistan to investigate the link across the borders? At least there should have been some give and take rather than the distant stance of holier-than-thou.

There was also a furor in the Mahrashtra legislative assembly where the Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote accused the ATS of sending police to Hindu organizations and sena shaka for inquiry into the Pune blast. Is this hubris so daunting that the Home Minister pacified him that action would be taken against ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi if he had indicated involvement of Hindu organizations in the Pune German Bakey blast. (Pune blast: ‘Action against SIT chief if he named Hindu groups’ Zee news March 22, 2010) RR Patil can afford to be casual and dismissive about the whole 26/11 and abruptly become so seriously concerned when an accusing finger is pointed at the Hindutva groups in a far smaller incident as the Pune blast vis-à-vis 26/11! In dealing with terrorism relativity counts more than it counted for atomic physics.
In the night of April 5-6, 2006, a powerful bomb went off in the house of an engineer in Nanded, his son Naresh Rajkondwar and his accomplice Himanshu Panse died on the spot, Rahul Pande, Moti Wagh were injured. In just over five months bombs went off at the mosque of main graveyard and a nearby chowk in Malegaon on September 8, 2006. What is common between the two is the RDX. Where did the group get it when it is available only with the army or with the so called jihadi terrorists?

In the night of February 9-10, 2007 a powerful bomb accidentally went off in the Amol bakery of the Shiv Sena pramukh of Nanded Pandurang Bhagwan Amilkanthwar. He died and his cousin Dnyaneshwar Manikwar was seriously injured and died a week later. In just over a week there was an attack on the Samjhauta Express on February 19, 2007. What is common between the two is “Bhagwan”. This is the middle name of the deceased. Is he the same whom Lt Col Srikant Puohit had given a part of the 60 kg of RDX? He and his cousin were making bomb if all the cracks in the wall and the blown shutter and the strewn nails and blades at the site have any story to tell (‘an impact explosion created due to the handling of large stocks of explosive/flammable materials stored (t)here’) (Concerned Citizens Inquiry)

The ATS had turned a Nelson’s eye on all these. Their country cousins in Nanded had even tried to cover up. In order to whittle down the severity of the crime of the Shiv Sena pramukh the neighbouring police station chief had in fact spirited away the evidentiary materials and the political affiliation of the dead was deliberately swept under the carpet.

A more pertinent turning Nelson’s eye is in the case of the bomb strapped to Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thackur’s motorcycle. The owner of the transport company had called the police to the front of his shop and showed the unclaimed motorcycle and told them to remove it. The police shrugged of their shoulders and went back to their chairs across the Bhiku chowk and sat down there. Therefore blaming the German Bakery for not responding to the unclaimed bag under the table is tantamount to finding a scapegoat.

Raghuvanshi has been dealing with most of these but Maria was not far behind. He was in the police control room and had sent Ashok Kamte to Cama Hospital although Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor had directed him to the Leopold café. He could have told Vinita Kamte outright as she was the widow of a colleague. She had to resort to RTI to get this piece of information. Maria’s silence and dilly dallying speaks volumes about him.

Then the time and negligence shown to the three slain Hemant Karkare, Kamte, and Salaskar raises another spectre. They were shot and left for more than forty minutes. A police van zoomed past them and did not stop and then came again and went away without stopping! What kind of controlling was this? He is credited with cracking the serial bomb blasts of 1993 and yet registering crimes by the police and mobs against the Muslim was so shabbily done that there has been no conviction so far. What happened to the Kapses and Tyagis in the uniform and others in civilian dress? If the duo was under surveillance and nabbed much before they could buy a liter of kerosene to burn even a shop, why was the threesome who went to Shahid Azmi allowed so much time to accomplish their assignment?

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2010 on page no. 11

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