A man’s murder, a woman’s funeral

A man’s murder, a woman’s funeralWhy is the Gujarat government opposing a CBI enquiry in the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh? Is it because it will bring Narendra Modi and his Home Minister, Amit Shah, under the scanner?Amit Sengupta DelhiWhat do you say about a successful hate laboratory where rank communalists have entrenched themselves across layers of governance and there is not a single window of secular justice and hope? So, while ‘terrorists’ are bumped off routinely without a trace and often in brazenly mysterious and diabolical circumstances, with the media often dogmatically toeing the establishment line, what about accountability of the top brass in the political and police establishment in the clear case of a fake encounter?Witness the illustrious record of the Director General of Police, Gujarat, P C Pandey, promoted by Modi despite a rather uncanny track record. Pandey, the then police chief of the city, allowed Ahmedabad to burn as killer mobs led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal murdered men and children, raped women, looted and plundered shops and homes after the Godhra train killings. With the then VHP top gun Gordhan Zadaphiya as home minister, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Narendra Modi at the helm, Pandey and his police force, as several independent reports, tribunals and media exposes, and also cell phone records have proved, allowed the mobs to go berserk in a pre-meditated, pre-planned, meticulously designed, state-sponsored massacre. There are cell phone records of BJP-VHP leaders in police control rooms, and even Zadaphiya was reportedly directly involved. Witness the fact that Pandey met former Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey and assured him police protection – and soon after the mob came and burnt scores of people in the Gulberg society in Ahmedabad, hacking them to pieces. Jaffrey’s wife saw her husband and others being butchered. Pandey’s police was nowhere around. In Naroda Patiya in the city, people have accused BJP-VHP leaders Mayaben Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and Jaydeep Patel of openly instigating and manipulating the mobs during the carnage. Bajrangi single-handedly stopped Parzania this year in Gujarat, while targeting young girls and boys in Ahmedabad, especially Muslims, as the top moral cop, even while the Gujarat police looked the other way. Indeed, BJP MP Babubhai Katara from Dahod, caught in the massive nexus of human trafficking recently, and his son, have reportedly been accused in the Gujarat killings. And how come the BJP top brass and the Gujarat police had no clue of this flourishing racket?So what is so surprising about the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi in a state that has seen a spate of fake encounters since Modi unleashed his politics of mass elimination and collective phobia?  Every Muslim killed in encounters has been branded a terrorist in a state where Modi and his followers have openly asked Indian Muslims to go to Pakistan.The theoretical premise of this hate lab is wonderfully-designed, like an architect who plans a town: you organise state-sponsored massacres, you put Muslims in jail, you allow the killers and rapists to go scot-free because most of them are your Sangh Parivar chums, you don’t punish the communalised police, you push thousands into refugee camps and leave them to their condemned fate, you dismantle the refugee camps arbitrarily leaving thousands homeless and exiled in their own land; you block or delay FIRs or judicial processes, you block their economy, you degrade them socially, you reduce them into dependant caricatures; you bribe witnesses to turn them hostile as in the Zaheera Sheikh case, you tell the survivors—take back your complaints and we will forgive you; you create demographic, geographic, ethnic divisions as in Fascist Germany or Zionist Israel, you create a total climate of phobia and terror and push Indian Muslims into a terrorised, ghettoised corner so that there is not an iota of  hope or justice, indeed, there is no  hope at all. They are second class citizens in their own country and they better accept that. Meanwhile, even as the ‘secular’ Congress-led UPA, backed by the Left, plays blind, deaf and mute, and doesn’t move one inch against the Modi regime and its vicious, anti-constitutional, extra constitutional apparatus, Modi declares himself a development man, ‘vikas purush’—eyeing a cosy spot at the Centre—even posing himself as a future prime minister. This is secular democracy redefined. You have done that and been there. You have succeeded in creating several Auschwitzes in Gujarat. The totalitarian hate lab is blooming, flourishing, expanding.  Hence now, dial ‘d’ for development.Indeed, when the police force and the law enforcement agencies have become communalised, with a section of compromised and unscrupulous officers at the helm, who have wilfully allowed mobs to kill and rape and take over the city, how do you explain the Gujarat government’s sudden high moral ground in ‘surrendering’ two top cops of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS)—their premier, patriotic, encounter specialist outfit? ATS head DG Vanzhara (now DG, Border Range, Gujarat), SP, Intelligence, Rajkumar Pandyan, and MN Dinesh Kumar SP, Alwar, Rajasthan, have been implicated in the ‘fake encounter’ death of Sohrabuddin Sheikh on November 26, 2005. Vanjhara was reportedly the blue-eyed boy of Narendra Modi. Now there are allegations of the ‘invisible hands’ of both Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah behind the killing, that a “gang of contract killers” are calling the shots in Gujarat’s powerful echelons. BJP dissenter Nalin Bhat has even demanded that all the 10-odd ‘encounters’ carried out by Vanjhara and his team be brought under the CBI scanner and that Vanjhara was only following orders from above.The arrests have apparently been initiated after a report by Geeta Johri IG, CID, (Crime), who concluded that it was a clear case of fake encounter.  She conducted the probe after a Supreme Court directive and submitted her report in December 2006. So why did the state government choose to ignore the findings? And why and how was the investigation taken away from Johri and handed over to another officer? Besides, the theory doing the rounds is that the Gujarat government is opposing a CBI enquiry because the chief minister and home minister’s role will become transparent. And with it, all the other encounters in which Modi was often the so-called target. Now there is evidence emerging that even Sheikh’s wife Kausar Bi was “raped and killed”. There are investigation reports that she was taken to a Gandhinagar farmhouse and killed on the night of November 28, after Sheikh was killed on November 26, 2005. Her body was later carted to Vanjhara’s home village of Ilol in Himmatnagar, after elaborate preparations, and burnt. Even the sole witness has been murdered. So how come a top ‘anti-terrorist’ cop went about this ghastly ritual over some days and nights through some complicated procedures, across some distance, with a crane in tow and a pile of wood, and the intelligence apparatus of the Modi regime had no clue? Remember the cold-blooded killings of a young girl Ishrat Jahan from Mumbra and three other ‘fidayeen terrorists’ in Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004? We were told then that they were on a “mission” to assassinate Modi.  Here’s an excerpt from the report documented by a national civil liberties fact-finding team: “According to the police, only one ‘terrorist’ had stepped out and there was only one AK-56 and two pistols found among the four of them. It is indeed surprising that about 20-member strong two police teams which had surrounded the car and were well armed with AK-47 rifles and several revolvers could not capture any of them. The use of force by the police has to be commensurate with the force used by the opposite group, which does not seem to be the case in this incident. This raises doubts about their intentions which seem to be directly eliminating the accused, instead of subjecting them to the due process of law for punishing the guilty…“If, on the other hand, the terrorists are said to have fired 42 rounds at the police teams, as the police claim, how is it possible that there were no injuries or bullet marks on a single policeman? The absence of injury suffered by the policemen makes it difficult to establish their claim that they fired at the terrorists in self-defence…”So were Ishrat Jahan and her colleagues murdered in a ‘fake encounter’? Like Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife? Were others too victims of these extra-judicial murders?Will the truth ever come out?