Licensed to kill: mock drill turns into a reality show
Gujarat Police is always in the news for reasons which are more wrong than right. Since the riots of 2002 the Police is under cloud for playing a partisan role in the mayhem and for staging fake encounters in which close to a dozen people were killed, including women. This led to a number of PIL and cases filed in the High Court and the Supreme Court. A number of police officers are cooling their heels in prison as the cases drag on.
In such a vitiated atmosphere, Surat Police with its ATS team staged a mock drill on 7 February, at the Surat airport in which they were to deal with a construed terror attack and to make minced meat of the ghost terrorists. All the accoutrements of a seemingly real assault were put in place, including the fire tenders and ambulances.
Two of the participants were ATS police inspector Shabbirali Saiyed and the Deputy Commissioner of Police Subhas Trivedi. Saiyed was acting as an observer to oversee the police personnel's reaction to the terror assault. DCP Trivedi had the role of a doctor to minister to the injured victims of the attack.
But when the real drama unfolded things went haywire and the blundering cops had no clue who the real terrorists were. Subash Trivedi grabbed Saiyed though the latter screamed "I am no terrorist, I am an observer." But Trivedi was so focussed on behaving like a man possessed that he forgot that he was playing the role of a doctor and he had no business seizing Saiyed who in any case was not even a counterfeit terrorist.
Was Trivedi psychologically paranoid or was he acting deliberately to hurt Saiyed? What happened next was stunning. Trivedi had shot Saiyed with his service revolver, pumping live ammo into his abdomen. A profusely bleeding Saiyed was taken to hospital and was immediately operated upon and was saved from a sure end. The whole episode prime facie looks stupid and the DGP Khandwawala termed it as an accident.
But many questions need rational answers. One, why the DCP carried a service revolver with live bullets when the rules of a mock drill bar the use of real bullets. Since he acted as a doctor there was no reason for him to carry his revolver. Two, how was it that he did not know Saiyed? Three, why was he so aggressive in apprehending him? Four, what made him fire bullets which could have killed Saiyed?
The DGP Khandwawala has ordered an inquiry but only after pronouncing the incident as an accident. It appears it was not a simple touch-and-go affair. The failure of Trivedi was multiple. Khandwawala acts under severe limitations. He will not overstep his "bounds" and will not like to look patronising Saiyed a fellow Muslim, as he himself has to drive his squeaky apple cart bearing a Muslim tag. Caution will be the word for him. Culled from Indian Express, following facts emerge.
1.The doctors who operated on Saiyed should have reported the matter officially to the police and on that basis Police files an FIR and carries out the arrest. That is the usual procedure. In the case of Subhas Trivedi nothing of the sort has happened. He has not been booked for gross negligence and for endangering the life of a fellow officer.
2.The inquiry officer did not seize the weapon immediately. It took him a week to do so leaving the entire episode open to the charge of possible evidence tampering. In fact several human rights lawyers have sought information under the Right To Information Act.
3.Forensic signature gathering of the fired weapon from the body of Trivedi will not be possible and the evidence of bullet's ballistics will be difficult to match with the scratch marks in the barrel of the weapon, if the bullet from Saiyed's body has not been properly preserved.
4.Assuming that it was accident, Trivedi's explanation should stand up to scrutiny, scientific scrutiny to be precise.
5.Why the inquiry is being carried out at a leisurely pace and in a hushed manner?
In such a scenario, nobody can be blamed if he thinks something is rotten in the Police department. The communal situation in Gujarat continues to be critical in spite of ostensible calm on the surface. The police is as much affected by the communal contagion as the common people. Dismissing the incidence as an accident will not serve any purpose, for the simple reason that the police failed in its primary duty to fend off a mock terror attack, and instead of dealing with ghost terrorists, they managed to nearly kill one of their own men.
Fulwadi, Dhoraji - 360 410