August 17, 2008

Hindu bombers break myth; Two terrorist arrested

Posted in Hindutva tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:35 am by zarb

Hindu bombers break myth; Two terrorist arrested


Mumbai: Two Hindu “terrorists” were arrested today for allegedly planting bombs at theatres, prompting the Maharashtra chief minister to say this had shattered “the myth” that all bombers came from a particular community.

Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari, 50, and Mangesh Dinakar Nikam, 34, are accused of targeting shows of Ashutosh Gowariker’s film Jodhaa Akbar and a Marathi play that is a spoof on the Mahabharat. They are charged with two blasts that injured several people and an attempted bombing.

Police said the duo were members of the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Jana Jagruti Samiti, organisations involved in protesting “denigration” of Hindu religious icons as in, allegedly, M.F. Husain’s paintings.

“These (the bombings) were definitely terrorist acts as they were carried out by people motivated by an ideology,” said Hemant Karkare, chief of the anti-terrorist squad that nabbed the accused.

“The arrests? have broken the myth that persons belonging only to a particular community are involved (in blasts),” chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said.

Those arrested were produced before the Mazgaon court and sent to police custody till June 24.

According to information collected by the ATS, the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti was formed by Dr Jayant Athawle in 2002. It has protested against three major issues ? paintings of Hindu deities by M F Hussain, the Marathi play Yada Kadachit now called Amhi Panchpute, and the movie Jodhaa Akbar.

“Their sphere of activities extends into the hinterland. While we do not have evidence to directly link them to the Bajrang Dal or the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, they have protested together on occasions,” said Karkare, denying any link between the two accused and the Nanded blast and adding that all three were ‘clearly terrorist acts motivated by ideology’.

The ATS has indicated that more arrests are likely to follow in this case. “Gadkari and Nikam are full-time sevaks for Sanatan for the last three years. Their links with any terror outfit is yet to be established. Nikam taught Gadkari about bomb-making and one of the two bombs was manufactured within the premises of Sanatan Ashram,” said investigating officer B B Rathor. Nikam had provided a detonator and explosives to make the bomb.

The police got the clues from the number of the motorcycle used by the bombers. The licence number was entered in the log book of the Thane theatre’s parking lot. “We have got evidence of their involvement and are looking for at least half a dozen accused in this case,” said Param Bir Singh, additional commissioner of ATS.

Posted in Minorities, Riots tagged , , , , , , at 8:25 am by zarb

Bandh turns violent in Madhya Pradesh; 5 killed in Indore

 Friday, 04 July 2008:

Bhopal: At least five people were killed several injured as communal clashes erupted in many towns of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday during the BJP-VHP bandh over the Amarnath land deal in Jammu and Kashmir. Following incidents of communal flare-up, the police imposed curfew in Pandharinath, Chatripura, Malharganj and Khajrana localities of the city.

According to police sources, curfew was imposed in four areas of Indore after members of two communities indulged in violence. A violent mob also pelted stones at Khajrana police station damaging vehicles parked in the premises, an official said, adding police resorted to lathi-charge and used teargas shells to control the situation. Protestors also damaged a Reliance Fresh store at Janjeerwala square

Indore’s Inspector General of Police Anil Kumar said four people, killed in group clashes, were yet to be identified.

The situation was tense in old city areas of Bhopal where stone pelting and arson took place as pro- and anti-shutdown groups clashed, the police said.

Half a dozen vehicles were set on fire by a mob forcing the strike near a Bhopal cinema.

Violence erupted near old Bhopal’s bus stand area and adjacent localities when activists of the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the VHP forced the shopkeepers to down their shutters.

They beat up some shopkeepers and passers-by.

A trader in Satna area set himself afire after a mob allegedly looted his jewellery shop, beat him with sticks and threatened him if he reported the matter to the police.

“Bajrang Dal activists in main Satna market reached the jewellery shop of Heera Soni and asked him to close the shop. When he refused, they barged into the shop, looted some jewellery and beat him up,” Narendra Soni, the victim’s younger brother, told mediapersons.

“The activists also threatened him following which my brother out of fear set himself ablaze. The police also beat up my brother so that he does not report the matter to the higher authorities,” Narendra alleged.

Heera was taken to Satna district hospital where he breathed his last in the evening, the police said.

Clashes between people belonging to two communities also occurred in Shahjehanabad, Budhwara, Itwara and Karond in old Bhopal.

According to reports, rioting between the workers of the BJP and the VHP and some shopkeepers also took place in Jabalpur, Indore and Dhar. Several shops were damaged in Jabalpur.

Angry over the forced closure, some people threw stones at the shutdown supporters from the rooftops of their houses, triggering minor clashes in communally sensitive old Bhopal.

Authorities later deployed personnel from the Rapid Action Force (RAF) to control the situation.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that the guilty would not be spared.

“The violence was unfortunate and a thorough probe will be conducted. The situation in the state is completely under control,” he told mediapersons at his residence late Thursday evening.

In the state capital also witnessed scattered violence in many areas. Similarly, incidents of violence have also been reported from Jhabua, Satna, Sagar, Gwalior and Jabalpur. ,Section 144 has been imposed in Jhabua to control the situation, while in Satna a businessman put himself on fire even as protesters went on a rampage in other parts of the state.

Major highways that were temporarily blocked include the Agra-Delhi highway in Delhi and Western Express Highway in Mumbai. Many trains are also being targeted; Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express has been stopped near Agra.

The VHP is also taking an active part in the bandh. “The forest act issue is just an excuse,” VHP general secretary Venkatesh Abdeo said. “This is a conspiracy to stop the Amarnath pilgrimage. Tomorrow it will be Vaishnodevi and Tirupati.”

The severity of the bandh is especially strong in NDA ruled states. Major disruptions have been reported in Punjab, where BJP activists have took to the streets in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

In many parts of MP, schools and colleges have been shutdown to prevent any untoward incident.

Amarnath row: Bandh hits normal life, 2 dead in Indore

Mumbai, July 3: The nationwide bandh called by BJP and VHP on the Amarnath land transfer row turned violent in Indore on Thursday leaving two persons killed while highways were blocked and trains stopped disrupting normal life in parts of the country.

The bandh evoked mixed response but Jammu region, the epicentre of protests since Tuesday, had no respite from violence when protesters set afire vehicles and fought pitched battles with police at several places. The bandh was called in protest against revocation of Amarnath land transfer.

Another 25 persons were injured on Thursday in Jammu region taking the total number of injured to nearly 100 while curfew remained in force for the third consecutive day in parts of the region.

Normal life was hit in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam and Jharkand where incidents of stone pelting and road blockade were reported prompting police to resort to lathicharge.

The bandh had little or no response in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Tripura. In Delhi, no untoward incident was reported but several arterial roads were blocked. Shops and business establishments remained closed in a few areas.

Curfew was imposed in four areas of Indore in Mahdya Pradesh after members of two communities indulged in violence.

A violent mob also pelted stones at Khajrana police station damaging vehicles parked in the premises, an official said, adding police canecharged and used teargas shells to control the situation. Protestors also damaged a Reliance Fresh store in Janjeerwala square

“Two persons have been killed in violence in Khajrana area while six others are injured,” Indore Collector Rakesh Shrivastava told reporters. One of the injured is reported to be in a serious condition.

As the situation turned violent in Indore, district administration imposed curfew in four areas including Muslim dominated Bombay Bazar and Mukeripura. Police have arrested five persons.

With the state BJP opting out in Gujarat, the bandh got a lukewarm response in the state.

Most of the business establishments, small shops and offices were functioning as usual in Ahmedabad while some malls and shopping centres remained closed.

Incidents of stone pelting and road blockades were reported in some parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and in Thane. Five BEST buses were damaged in Mumbai’s suburban Kandivili areas in stone throwing by protesters, police said.

VHP supporters halted traffic on some key roads in Vakola, Malad and Borivilli areas in north-west Mumbai and in the northeastern suburb of Ghatkopar causing hardships to officergoers, police said, adding that the saffron activists were dispersed and vehicular movement restored.

Reports of stone pelting on state-owned buses came in Maharashtra’s Thane region where BJP and VHP workers forced show-owners to down shutters.

In Punjab, scores of BJP activists stopped the Howrah-Amritsar express in Ludhiana and stopped road traffic and forced closure of shops in certain parts of the state.

elhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express was stopped by BJP and VHP workers for about 30 minutes in the cantonment station in Agra where protesters got some markets shut and a section of lawyers owing allegiance to the saffron outfits boycotted courts.

In Left-ruled West Bengal, the bandh had little impact with public transport largely remaining unaffected. Some disruption in train schedules were reported in the Sealdah section as BJP workers squatted on tracks.

VHP bandh: Curfew imposed in Indore

Indore: Curfew was imposed in Bombay Bazar and Mukeripura areas of Indore on Thursday and Section 144 has been clamped in Khajrana area following violence during the bandh called by VHP over Amarnath land issue.

Police canecharged and used teargas shells to control the situation as members of two communities indulged in violence, Indore Superintendent of Police R K Choudhry said.

Heavy police force has been deployed in the areas to prevent further flare up, he said.

Meanwhile, protestors damaged a Reliance Fresh store in Janjeerwala square. Police have arrested five persons in this connection

 

Bharath Bandh: Saffron activists forced closure of shops, blocked roads

New Delhi: Normal life was hit in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra as saffron activists stopped trains, blocked roads and forced closure of shops in the wake of an all-India bandh called by BJP and VHP on the Amarnath land transfer issue.

In Left-ruled West Bengal, the bandh had little impact with public transport largely remaining unaffected. Some disruption in train schedules were reported in the Sealdah section as BJP workers squatted on tracks.

Roads were blocked and shops and business establishments remained closed in a few areas in Delhi. Protesters blocked the Delhi-Noida flyway and some arterial roads in east and central Delhi. NH 17 was also reportedly blocked in Udupi, Kundapur and Byndoor in Karnataka and Safron activist pelted stones on vehicles.

In Punjab, scores of BJP activists stopped the Howrah- Amritsar express in Ludhiana and stopped road traffic and forced closure of shops in certain parts of the state to protest revocation of the order on transfer of land to the shrine board by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi express was stopped by BJP and VHP workers for about half-and-hour in the cantonment station in Agra where protesters got some markets shut and a section of lawyers owing allegiance to the saffron outfits boycotted courts.

Shops and business establishments in several parts of Karnataka remained closed with Dakshina, Udupi, Mysore, Kodagu and Hubli-Dharwad regions being hit even as bus services were affected in certain areas.

The bandh, however, failed to evoke much response in Bangalore where government offices functioned normally and public transport plied as usual. The bandh is not being support by the BJP-ruled Karnataka government, officials said.

Incidents of stone pelting and road blockades were reported in some parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai. Five BEST buses were damaged in Mumbai’s suburban Kandivili areas in stone throwing by protesters, police said.

Cops deny illegal detention of SIMI activist

Posted in Human Rights, Minorities tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:40 am by zarb

Wife of an activist of Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has said that police have illegally detained her husband in connection with the serial blasts in Surat.

However, Ahmedabad police have denied the allegation.

Sazia, wife of Sajid Mansuri, a SIMI activist, told reporters in Surat that her husband was picked up by the Special Operations Group of Bharuch police from Lukman Society in Bharuch last Saturday and has been untraceable since then.

Meanwhile, Joint Commissioner of Police, Ahmedabad, Ashish Bhatia who is heading the investigations in the serial blasts case has denied having detained Mansuri.

“Nobody by the name of Sajid has been detained by us in connection with the serial blasts,” Bhatia said.

Bharuch District Superintendent of Police Subash Trivedi also denied picking up any man named Sajid.

Sazia, who came to her relative’s place in Surat last week said, “We were sleeping when the police team came at around 10 pm to our house and took Sajid with them. They gave me a contact number and asked me to call them after two days.”

“When I called up the number, I didn’t get clear answers,” she said adding that Sajid is innocent and has not done anything wrong.

In 2001, police had arrested 123 SIMI activists who had gathered for a meeting at Rajshree Cinema hall in Surat. Sajid was one of the participants of the meeting held after the outfit was banned in 2000. However, he had managed to escape the arrest and has been absconding since then.

August 15, 2008

Posted in Minorities tagged , , , , at 10:29 am by zarb

Arthur Road Jail: cruelty on bomb blast accused continues

Mumbai: Whether it is the culprit of Mumbai local Train Bomb Blast or Malegaon Bomb Blast both are still now waiting for completion of their case in judicial custody. Even in prison they are being tortured. Police and ATS are bothering them. Their human rights are being violated and their complaints are being neglected. These were exposed by defense lawyers and relatives of the victims of Bomb Blast. In this regard a young Muslim Mohammed Ali Shaikh resident of Gowandi who was accused of Mumbai Local Train Bomb Blast had filed a complaint in MOCOCA court some days ago.

Mohammed Ali Shaikh had accused ATS officers that they were torturing him to accept the sin frequently. He is being bothered in Arthur Road Jail Too. Police is harassing Mohammed Ali Shaikh’s wife and relatives. It is learnt that police go in mid night to his home and threaten his family. Such complaints were too registered but no heed was paid towards this complaint. Nurul Huda Shamsul Huda a victim of Malegaon Bomb Blast too lodged such complaints that since last 15 months that not only police of Nagpada and Kalachauki but also local crime branch of Malegaon and officers of Azad Nagar police station are torturing him regularly which weakened him mentally and physically. He is suffering regular headache but administrators of Arthur Road Jail is not providing him medical aid. Several complaints of bad behavior with the culprits of Mumbai Local Train Bomb Blast and Malegaon Bomb Blast but the all these complaints are not changing the attitude of authority. Lawyers and relatives of Mumbai Local Train Bomb Blast and Malegaon Bomb Blast made superintend Sawati Sathe responsible for violating the human rights and bad behavior with the victims who are in judicial custody. But so far nothing has changed even after complaints. Recently several accused of Bomb Blasts had filed a case against Sawati Sathe that Swati Sathe targeted victims of bomb blast in the wake of asking, though where hearing is continue is victims’ Jail but in spite of all these reality he was forced to wear the uniform of prisoners. The lawyers and relatives of Bomb Blasts accused that cruelty is going on the victims of Bomb Blast by violating the human rights of culprits in any manifestation. Jail authority and police are birds of a feather flock to gather.

Futile attempt to link coastal Karnataka with ISI; Is it right to ban SIMI?

Since last few years the communal lobby had put all its efforts to prove the so-called existence of ISI in coastal Karnataka, particularly in and around Bhatkal and Mangalore. After the communal riots of 1993, there had been a rise in the propaganda string, after the submission of Jagannath Shatty Commission report. Efforts in this regard by Sangh Parivar lobby took momentum. However, such charges are frequently refuted by the top brass in police departments as well as Intelligence Security Agencies.

The scene is changing

At present the state of affairs in Karnataka and its coastal belt is changing rapidly. Karnataka is under major turmoil foremost because of the changes in the political scenario and the forthcoming assembly elections in the state. Political parties are making all attempts to win the elections and the Sangh Parivar does not hesitate to spread hatred and communal disharmony and gain political mileage by winning the elections.

The stories floating in the media with regard to the two youths, who were at first arrested on charges of bike theft, are now alleged as terrorists is alarming and a cause of major concern, to every peace loving citizen.

What is the reality?

The youths arrested on the charges of bike theft are also facing the charges of running terrorist camps in Uttar Kannada and Hubli-Dharwad regions and in an area near Yellapur Dargah and other ruins. The media is obviously disturbing the peace and communal harmony by creating new stories with new twists everyday. Although, the police have declared these reports to be baseless. But, it seems in the name of Islamic terrorism, fanatic groups are out to create an atmosphere of disharmony against a particular community at any cost.

Bhatkal in this regard

Fortunately, Bhatkal town has not surfaced in this matter, still informed sources claims that some people were interrogated by the local police. Some Kannada newspapers they seemed to have connected bike theft to terrorism in Bhatkal and came with a lead story. Thanks to Almighty, there were no takers for their stories. What shall follow is still unknown, but danger seems to be lurking on the town.

Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind, SIO and SIMI

Although there had been ban on SIMI for many years now, but whenever the term of the ban seems to end the name of SIMI starts echoing again and is associated with bomb blast, terrorism and conspiracies, which becomes a reason to re impose the ban. Initially the SIMI had been connected with the extremist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan extremist group and now it is being associated with Harkat ul Jihad Islami (HuJI), a Bangladeshi extremist organization. After the official ban and the arrest of its top leaders SIMI is almost non-existent. Surprisingly, Muhammad Ghous and Asadullah arrested in Karnataka also have been connected with SIMI.

It will be interesting to note that the media has made several attempts to connect the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and its student wing SIO with extremist organization. Now by reliable sources it is learnt, Jamaat-Islami Hind has taken the matter seriously and is consulting the legal experts to take legal action against the concerned TV channel and the newspapers.

SIMI was established for the promotion and cause of Islamic support of the student and to promote the Islamic character and values in the student community. Though, established in 70’s it had extreme point of views with regard to some issues but their involvement in criminal and antinational activities was never proved, nor their links with terrorist organizations were established with concrete proof by any court of law or any tribunal till today.

Just on the basis of its so-called ideological extremism, the government is extending its period of ban every two years. The same was done this year too. The ban would have come to an end on 8th of February, 2008, but it is now extended for another two years.

In this regard the flexibility of the Law and the crime which say that no matter a criminal go scot-free but an innocent should not be punished, has been set aside. Many innocent Muslim youths in the name of SIMI, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-Ul-Jihad-e- Islami and other such alleged terrorist organizations are being arrested and are languishing in jail for no apparent crime committed by them.

Why only SIMI?

In fact disruption, destruction or terrorism must not have any place in a civilized society. But suppression and strangulation of voices against injustice, justice by labeling it as terrorism is a kind of state terrorism. The state-sponsored terrorism (as in the case of Gujarat riots), is more dangerous to the civil society. In this regard why only SIMI should be vindicated? Do the view points of the Sangh pariwar’s ABVP are not based on communal extremism and sectarian feelings? Aren’t the member organizations or outfits of Sangh Parivar are not involved in massacre and genocides of Muslim and don’t they cross the limits of madness in communal riots in the names of Durga Vahini, Bajrangdal, Hindu Jagraan Vedikke, Shri Ram Sena Hanuman Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. To depict this, violence in Gujarat and Mumbai speaks a lot. If just and independent investigation is conducted then wouldn’t it reveal that the views of SIMI are the counter products of the practical extremism and terrorism of these militant organizations of Sangh Parivar, which has been many a time backed by law enforcing agencies and even the state it self.

If it is so and definitely it is so then why SIMI alone should be banned? Why the militant groups of Sangh Parivar are not banned? But the question is who will answer this?

August 7, 2008

India: A pattern of unlawful killings by the Gujarat police: Urgent need for effective investigations

Posted in Encounter, Human Rights tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:45 pm by zarb

India: A pattern of unlawful killings by the Gujarat police: Urgent need for effective investigations

Amnesty International today issued an urgent call for independent, impartial and thorough investigations into at least 31 unlawful killings, including those of so-called “terrorist” suspects reported to have been carried out by police officers in Gujarat (western India) since 2002.

The call follows an admission by the Gujarat state government that senior officers of the state police, who were part of an anti-terrorist squad, were directly involved in the killing of a 38-year-old man, Sohrabuddin Shaikh, and his wife, Kausar Bi, in 2005.

The admission came as a result of the intervention of India’s Supreme Court which ordered continued investigations into this case. While welcoming these efforts, Amnesty International remains concerned that the vast majority of other reported unlawful killings have yet to be effectively investigated by independent and impartial bodies.

In the case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, the Gujarat state government disclosed to the Supreme Court that he was shot dead by Anti Terror Squad (ATS) officers, and that although he had been facing criminal charges including extortion, he had not been linked to terrorism. After his killing in 2005, the ATS branded him a terrorist member of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), an armed organisation in Kashmir, and accused him of conspiring to kill senior leaders of the former ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

The state government also admitted that the ATS officers shot dead his wife, Kausar Bi, possibly because she had witnessed her husband’s killing, and later burnt her body. There is concern she may also have been sexually assaulted. Another key witness in the case, Tulsiram Gangaram Prajapati, was also shot dead by ATS officers – who were already under investigation for the killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh. Six police officers have been arrested in connection with the case.

Human rights organisations and opposition parties have accused the Gujarat authorities of attempting to undermine the Sohrabuddin Shaikh investigation, after reports emerged claiming the perpetrators were under the orders of a criminal gang linked to the mining industry in neighbouring Rajasthan. The Supreme Court also sought an explanation from the Gujarat government as to why Geeta Johri, an investigator from the state crime branch police assigned to the case, had been relieved of this responsibility. Geeta Johri was subsequently reassigned to the investigation.

Unlawful killings since 2002

The unlawful killings in Gujarat since 2002 include both so-called “terrorist” suspects, and those accused of ordinary criminal offences (see Appendices A and B). The government of Gujarat has stated that 21 such killings took place in the state during 2003-2006. A petition filed by a journalist, B. G. Verghese, seeking independent inquiries into these killings, is pending at India’s Supreme Court.(1)

Amnesty International is gravely concerned that the common features of the killings reveal a systematic pattern:
· At least 16 of the 31 killings, including those of two women, were carried out by the present or former ATS officers.(2)
· Almost all of the victims were killed in the early hours of the day.
· The majority of these killings took place at Ahmedabad.
· Thirteen of those killed belonged to the minority Muslim community.
· The ATS claimed that those it had shot dead were “terrorists”, conspiring to either kill the chief minister or state and national BJP leaders or intending to set off explosions in Gujarat; and at least six of them hailed from Pakistan.

During the same period, at least 15 other killings were carried out by the Gujarat police elsewhere in the state.(3)

· All of the killed faced criminal charges and four belonged to the Muslim community.
· The police versions of these killings were similar in nature: police claimed that all of them died after police fired in self-defence in the course of a “confrontation” either at the time of arrest, or in custody.
· Of the 16 killings, only one appears to have been fully investigated, resulting in the conviction of the police officer concerned in a court of law.

Gujarat: entrenching a climate of impunity

The recent upswing in such killings by the Gujarat police began after communal violence in March 2002 – in which 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, lost their lives – and an armed attack on Akshardham temple in September 2002, in which 37 Hindu devotees and three security personnel were killed.

During this period, the Gujarat government repeatedly claimed it was taking action to foil a series of conspiracies against the state. It had alleged that Islamic fundamentalist militants backed by Pakistani intelligence services had planned these conspiracies in retaliation for the mass killings of Muslims during the March 2002 communal riots.

In late 2003, however, Amnesty International extensively detailed human rights violations – including illegal detentions in Ahmedabad and elsewhere — which were fostering a climate of impunity.(4)

The climate of impunity strengthened over this period. Police and other security personnel believed to be responsible for widespread violations of human rights against the Muslim minority, especially the youth, in Ahmedabad and elsewhere in Gujarat, could operate without fear of investigation or prosecution.

Persistent failures to heed calls for investigations (see also Appendix A)

In 2006, the Supreme Court ordered the Gujarat police to conduct an inquiry into the killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, following which six police officials including the former head of the ATS were arrested. Till then, demands for investigations into reported killings by the ATS were routinely ignored.

In one of the cases (that of Samir Khan Pathan killed in 2002), 12 persons were arrested following Samir Khan Pathan’s “confession” while he was in detention. After his killing, they were all released by courts. Subsequently, the state crime branch police had submitted a report questioning the ATS’ version of Samir Khan Pathan’s killing; the same was seconded by another wing of the Gujarat police, but no action was taken.

In two instances where those killed hailed from other states, those of Ishrat Jahan and Javed Shaikh (2004), police from these states launched their own investigations which went on to reveal that they had no criminal or terrorist record as alleged by the ATS. However, the Gujarat government chose to ignore these findings and failed to pursue its own investigations into the killings.

In the case of the two of the killings, those of Samir Khan Pathan (2002) and Ishrat Jagan (2004), India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought reports from the Gujarat government as to whether the NHRC guidelines for investigating such incidents were being followed.(5). The Gujarat government failed to order such investigations until the intervention by the Supreme Court. This is despite the fact the NHRC guidelines clearly stipulate: “In cases where the police officers belonging to the same police station are members of the encounter party, it is desirable that such cases are made over for investigation to some other independent investigating agency, such as the state crime branch police”.

The duty to protect the right to life and to conduct effective investigation into all unlawful killings

Following the Gujarat government’s recent disclosures in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh case, relatives of at least three of those killed by ATS officers, and branded as “terrorists” intend to petition the judiciary for independent inquiries into the killings.

The state of India (the Union government) and the government of Gujarat have an obligation to protect the right to life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution(6) and in international human rights law.

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Article 6(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a party, states: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life”. Article 4 of the ICCPR states that this right cannot be waived “even in times of public emergency threatening the life of the nation”. Unlawful and extrajudicial killings clearly contravene the right to life.

Under Article 2(3) (a) and (b) of the ICCPR, State parties are obliged to ensure that remedies are available to the victims of human rights violations and that those remedies are effective.

The Indian government ratified the ICCPR in 1979. By ratifying an international treaty which enshrines the right to life, India is obliged not only to respect that right in principle, but also to ensure it is not violated in practice. The ICCPR imposes a clear duty on states to investigate alleged violations of the right to life “promptly, thoroughly and effectively through independent and impartial bodies”.(7)

Such investigations are a critical factor in the prevention of further unlawful killings. Without adequate investigation of complaints of extrajudicial killings, there can be little hope of prosecuting and convicting the perpetrators.

Recommendations

    Amnesty International calls on the government of Gujarat and the Union government to:

· set up prompt, thorough and impartial judicial inquiries urgently into all the reported unlawful killings by Gujarat police since 2002;
· to make the terms of reference of such inquiries available publicly;
· and ensure that the inquiries comply fully with the requirements of Principle 18 of the UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.(8)

    Under India’s Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Union or state government needs to sanction the arrest or criminal prosecution of public servants, including police officers and members of the civil or armed forces. This law has not been amended to ensure that public officers who violate human rights are no longer protected from prosecution, despite repeated calls to do so from human rights organisations.

Amnesty International calls for

· Assurances from the government of Gujarat that state sanction/permission will be given for the prosecution of public servants responsible for unlawful killings
· All those responsible for such killings to be afforded due process and brought to justice in trials which comply with international standards of fairness
· Those convicted not to be given the death penalty as this punishment contravenes the right to life and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
· The family and dependents of all the victims to be adequately compensated in accordance with Principle 20 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.(9)

    Amnesty International is concerned that the NHRC and the Gujarat Human Rights Commission have been unable to ensure that that all the complaints and reports of unlawful killings in Gujarat are adequately investigated. The NHRC has also been unable to ensure that the guidelines issued by it are fully respected by the authorities in Gujarat.

· The NHRC must review urgently its current policy and practice of monitoring unlawful killings, to ensure its guidelines on investigations are followed by the authorities.

APPENDIX A
LIST OF UNLAWFUL FILLINGS OF SO-CALLED “TERRORISTS” IN GUJARAT 2002-2006

Names etc., Case details Date, time and place Details of execution Follow-up details
1. Samir Khan Pathan   23 October 2002;
early hours;
Usmanpura Garden, Ahmedabad.
Resident of Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Police claimed he was arrested on 1 October 2002, but according to his relatives he was arrested on 27 September 2002. The court remanded him to further police custody.
Shot dead well past midnight on 22 October 2002.
Police claimed he had faced several charges including killing a constable in 1996. Police claimed that he later procured a fake passport, went to Pakistant o receive arms training, was working for Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), an armed organisation in Kashmir, and was conspiring to kill Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Police claimed that he was shot dead while trying to flee from custody.
On 11 November 2002, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought a report, within two weeks, from the Gujarat police, whether investigation into the incident was done as per its guidelines enunciated on 29 March 1997. The Gujarat police’s response to this was unknown.
On 2 January 2003, 13 persons arrested earlier on the basis of Pathan’s confession were released as per the orders of a local court. The Gujarat police challenged this order but the Gujarat High Court upheld their release as it held there was no way to verify the confession since Pathan was dead. The Supreme Court later upheld their release.
In 2003, the Gujarat CID (crime branch) police submitted an internal report questioning the ATS account of the execution; in 2005, this report was seconded by the Gujarat inspector-general (human rights and social justice) but no action was taken.
Pathan’s father now plans to move the Supreme court for an independent inquiry.
2. Sadiq Jamal Mehtar (20) DCB 3/03E;
IPC 120B, 121, 122,123, 307;
Arms Act 25A(1) (B)
10 January 2003;
0400 hrs;
Galaxy cinema, Naroda, Ahmedabad
Resident of Jashonath Chowk, Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
Shot dead. Police claimed he opened fire at them and they fired in self-defence. Police claimed he was working for Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel, the LET and Pakistan’s Inter-services intelligence agency (ISI) and was conspiring to kill Narendra Modi, former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and Viswa Hindu Parishad leader Pravin Togadia. Police claimed they received a tip-off from central intelligence agencies.
Later that year, a private complaint was filed by Mumbai-based Kiran Tirodkar before a city special court that he had met Sadiq as a domestic help in Dubai who had lost his family members and his house in the 2002 Gujarat communal violence. It claimed that, on Sadiq’s return to India, a Mumbai police officer handed him over to the Gujarat police to facilitate the extrajudicial execution.
3. Ganesh Khunte 4. Mahendra Chandrakant Jadhav DCB 8/03;
IPC 120B, 121, 121 A 122, 123, 307;
Arms act 25(1)(B)(a)
23 June 2003;
0230 hrs;
Gandhi Road, Panch Kuva, Kappad Bazar, Ahmedabad
Both residents of Mumbai city, Maharashtra.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that the two opened fire at them and they fired in self-defence.
Police claimed they were working for Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel and the ISI and were conspiring to kill Gujarat law minister Ashok Bhatt and a BJP legislator, Bharat Bhanot.
 
5. Israr Shaikh alias Pahelwan   2003-2004
Ahmedabad
Police claimed that he was wanted in several cases.
Shot dead.
 
6. Zeeshan Johar alias Janbaaz alias Abdul Ghani.
7. Amjad Ali Akbar Rana alias Salim alias Chandru alias Raju alias Rajkumar
8. Javed Shaikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai
9. Ishrat Jahan Raza (female, 19)
DCB 8/04
IPC 120B, 121, 121A 122, 123, 307
Arms act 25(1) (B)(a), 27, 29;
POTA 3(3), 20,21, etc,
16 June 2004;
0430 hrs;
Lotarpur Waterworks, Naroda, Ahmedahad
Police claimed that Zeeshan was a resident of Gujaranwala district and Amjad, a resident of Sargoda district, (both Punjab, Pakistan).
Javed was a resident of Goregaon, Pune city, Maharashtra.
Ishrat was a student from Mumbra near Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Shot dead after a car chase..
Police claimed that they fired in self-defence at the car from which firing was done.
Police claimed that they were working for the LET and conspiring to kill Narendra Modi and were trying to enter Gujarat with the help of banned terrorist organisations.
The killings of Ishrat and Javed created a controversy in their home states of Maharashtra and Kerala where police said they had no criminal records or links with terrorist activities.
On 18 June 2004, the NHRC had sought a report, within six weeks, from the Gujarat police whether its guidelines on investigating such incidents, enunciated in letters dated 29 March 1997 and 2 December 2003 to chief ministers, were being followed. The Gujarat police’s response to this was unknown.
Following the findings of the investigation into the execution of Sohrabuddin, Ishrat’s mother in Maharashtra and Javed’s father in Kerala are planning to file petitions seeking independent inquiries into their killings.
10. Sohrabuddin Shaikh
11. Kausar Bi, wife of Sohrabuddin.
  26-28 November 2005; Ahmedabad and Ilol. Both residents of Jharnaya, Madhya Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that Soharabuddin
Shaikh, who was facing a number of criminal charges, was an agent of the
LET and that he was conspiring to kill top political leaders in Gujarat including Narendra Modi. Kausar Bi went missing.
The Government of Gujarat has admitted, before India’s Supreme Court, that, on the early morning of
23 November 2005, the ATS officers had abducted the two, along with Prajapati, killed Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Kausar Bi from a bus travelling from Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh to Sangli in Maharashtra; they later killed Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Kausar Bi and burnt her body.
This admission came after an investigation done by an officer of the Gujarat state police crime branch, as per the orders of the Supreme Court on a petition filed by the victim’s brother, Rubabuddin Shaikh who is fighting a legal battle.
Following the investigation so far, six police officers — including three senior officers D. G. Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandyan, M. N. Dinesh Kumar — have been arrested.
12-15.
Four youths
  17 March 2006;
0330 hrs;
Vinzol, Ahmedabad
Police claimed that at least three of the four were Pakistani nationals including Azaan, a commander of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, an armed organisation in Kashmir, and Mohammed Ayub Bhatt, another member of the same organisation. The third person was Mudasser alias Javed Ahmad Dar and the fourth remains unidentified.
Shot dead during a raid when the four fired on the police. Police fired in self-defence.
Police claimed they were working for Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and working to recruit youth, bomb places of worship and kill key political leaders.
 
16. Tulsiram Gangaram Prajapati   28 December 2006
Banaskantha district.
Resident of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was a member of the Sharif Pathan gang and that he tried to escape while being taken in a train from Ahmedabad to Udaipur in Rajasthan.
See Sohrabuddin Shaikh-Kausar Bi killings (No. 10 and 11). Ongoing investigations have revealed that Prajapati was abducted along with them on 23 November 2005. He was killed on 28 December 2006 even as the investigations were going on.

APPENDIX B
LIST OF OTHER REPORTED UNLAWFUL KILLINGS IN GUJARAT 2002-2006

Names etc., Case details Date, time and place Details of execution Follow-up details
1. Anil Bain Mishra Behari Pandesara
GR 34/03;
IPC 307;
Arms act 25;
BP act 135
11 March 2003;
1830 hrs;
Surat
Resident of Pandesara, Surat, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed he assaulted them while they were trying to recovering arms and they fired in self-defence.
 
2. Jalabhai Popat Bhai Devi Poojak (24) BDV 40/04
IPC 307, 332, 337, 188.
17 January 2004;
1730 hrs
Lavaji Crematorium, Chowraya Beat,
Rajkot
Resident of Kubli Yapas, Rajkot, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted for criminal charges and that he attacked them with stones and knife and caused injuries in the course of a body search when they fired in self-defence..
 
3. Mahesh Dipak Garwali. Umra 36/04; IPC 307;
Arms act 25
21 January 2004;
0100 hrs;
Farm near City line Road, Surat
Resident of Garwali Chowki, Uttaranchal.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he snatched a revolver from the police when they were trying to nab other wanted persons and that the police fired in self-defence.
 
4. Mitho Umar Dafer (35) Vasad 35/04
IPC 395,397, 332,333;
BP Act 135
14 March 2004;
0230 hrs;
Sundar Railway Phatak, Anand
Resident of Padana, Dhanduka taluk, Ahmedabad district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several criminal charges and that he attacked a police officer while being chased after looting a truck as part of a group. Police fired in self-defence.
 
5. Dinesh Navubha Jadeja alias Bako Bhachau police station
IPC 307
15 April 2004 Bhachau police station, Kutch Resident of Bhachau, Gujarat.
Shot dead in the police station.
Police claimed that Bako came to the police station to meet his friend Devo who had been arrested under the Goondas Act the previous day and demanded his release. Police claimed Bako tried to snatch the service revolver of a police officer. Police fired in self-defence.
The victim’s brother Mahendrasinh Jadeja, filed several petitions. In 2005, the Gujarat government ordered a CID inquiry into the case. Following the investigation, on 2 May 2007, a Gandhidham court convicted police officer Manjitbhai Dabhi and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
6. Salem Gagjibhai Miyana (23) BDV 180/04; IPC 307, 332, 337, 186, 504; 4 May 2004; 1230 hrs;
GH Board III Floor, Rajkot
Resident of G H Board, Rajkot, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several charges of bootlegging and that he attacked them with an iron rod injuring the right hand of the policeman searching his residence when they fired in self-defence.
 
7. Subhash Bhaskar Naik Vyara 94/04 IPC 307, 392, 332, 353;
Arms act 25, 27
4 June 2004;
0620 hrs;
Barekhadi Patiya,
Surat
Resident of Kallu, Pathanapuram, Kollam district, Kerala.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several criminal cases and that he snatched a revolver and fired at the police while being taken from Surat to Nawapur. Police fired in self-defence.
 
8. Kashyap Harpal Singh Dhaka (22) Kareli Bagh 227/04;
IPC 307, 224; Arms Act 25, 27
14 August 2004;
1815 hrs;
Harni village, Motnat Mahadevwala Road Canal,
Vadodara
Resident of Dhakeli Taluk, Khedka, Baghpat district, Uttar Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases and that he tried to scare police using a dummy revolver. Police fired in self-defence.
 
9. Sanjay alias Sanju alias Rahul Sharad Prasad Chowdhry PS Umargam 336/04
IPC 307, 332 Arms act 25, 27
26 November 2004
0610 hrs RK Farm Nursery, Ketli village, Bilan Sanjan Road, Valsad district.
Resident of Bilad, Umargam taluk, Valsad district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several criminal charges; when police was taking him from Valsad to Umargam, he snatched the commando carbine and fired at the police,. Police fired in self-defence.
 
10. Mer Bhima Manda Adhedara (37) Sheel 77/04
IPC 307, 506(2)
Arms Act 25
29 December 2004;
0935 hrs;
Miti village. Junagarh district.
Resident of Miti village, Junagarh district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was facing several charges and that they had taken him to a field to recover his hidden pistol and he suddenly used another hidden pistol to fire at them injuring a policeman. Police fired in self-defence.
 
11. Rajeshwar alias Mintu   9 April 2005; 0230 hrs;
Dedarda village, Anand
Resident of Patna, Bihar.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases and that when they went to arrest him, he snatched a policeman’s revolver and ended up pressing the trigger twice resulting in death.
 
12. Rafish alias Bapudi Mohammed Shah Faquir Jethpur 124/05.
IPC 307, 397, 333, 353, 188, 189;
Arms act 25(1)A, 27; Damage to property act 3, 7
18 July 2005; 2125 hrs;
Marketing yard; Jethpur.
Resident of Dharagarh,
Jamnagar district, Gujarat.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that when they took him to recover a revolver, he
snatched policeman’s revolver and
fired at them injuring a policeman. Police fired at him in self-defence.
 
13. Dongaria Himla Machar IPC 307
BP Act 135
25 August 2005; Maraigaon, Valsad district. Resident of Madhya Pradesh.
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he attacked them with a dagger when they had gone to arrest him. Police fired in self defence.
 
14. Haji Haji Ismail Suzania Umargam 244/05
IPC 307
Arms Act 25, 27
9 October 2005; Nandigram Resident of Salaya Taluk, Jamnagar district, Gujarat.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases and that when they went to arrest him, he fired at them. Police fired in self-defence.
 
15. Joginder Singh Khattan Singh Sikh. Valsad City 11/06
IPC 307
Arms act 25, 27
2006
Nanak Wada village School Compound District Valsad
Resident of Billimoria Devsar Sikh camp, Valsad, Gujarat
Shot dead.
Police claimed that he was wanted in several criminal cases. When they went to arrest him, he tried to escape but his motorcycle slipped. Police claimed that he attacked them with a dagger and a country-made gun. Police fired in self-defence.
 

********

 

(1) Reply to Question No. 16840, Details of encounters with police in the state 2003-2006, from the Proceedings of the Gujarat assembly, cited in Writ Petition (Criminal) 31 of 2007, B. G. Verghese vs. Union of India, State of Gujarat and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

 

(2) Those killed included persons hailing from the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala. The age of those killed wherever one finds a mention, was between 19 and 38.

 

(3) Those killed included persons hailing from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala

 

(4) See Amnesty International Report, India: Abuse of the law in Gujarat — Muslims detained illegally in Ahmedabad, AI Index 20/029/2003, 6 November 2003). Hundreds of persons, almost all of them Muslims, suspected of involvement in a range of alleged conspiracies against the state, had been detained. Those who faced incommunicado detention had to endure torture or degrading treatment at Gaekwad Haveli and other places in Ahmedabad. Those formally arrested numbered 240, including 239 Muslims, and the various human rights violations against them were facilitated by provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) under which they were charged. Many of them had spent long periods in illegal detention prior to their formal arrest. This widespread use of illegal detention and discriminatory use of POTA against members of the Muslim minority was reported to have intimidated the Muslim community who were too scared to make official complaints. The condition was such that only a handful of habeas corpus petitions were filed on behalf of those illegally detained, because of the overwhelming fear of retribution amongst relatives and even lawyers. Also, there was persistent harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders working with members of the Muslim community in the state. For example, see Amnesty International’s Urgent Action update, Fear for the safety of Teesta Setalvad, Rais Khan Azeezkhan Pathan, Suhel Tirmizi and other human rights defenders in Gujarat state, AI Index: ASA 20/024/2003, 2 September 2003).

 

(5) See http://nhrc.nic.in/ for Letter dated 29 March 1997 from NHRC chairperson Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah to chief ministers regarding the procedure to be followed in cases of deaths in police encounters and Letter dated 3 December 2003 from NHRC chairperson Justce A. S. Anand on Revised guidelines/procedures to be followed in deaths occurring in police encounters.

 

(6) Courts in India have repeatedly held that the right to life guaranteed by the Article 21 is inviolable. See Challa Ramkonda Reddy vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, All India Reporter, 1989 AP 235 and All India Reporter 2000 SC 2083.

 

(7) Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31, “Nature of the legal obligation on States Parties to the Covenant” para.15.

 

(8) Under the Principles, the inquiries should seek to determine the cause, manner and time of death, the person(s) responsible, and any pattern or practice which may have brought about the deaths. They should include an adequate autopsy, collection and analysis of all physical and documentary evidence and statements from witnesses.

 

In accordance with Principle 17 written reports shall be made within a reasonable time on the methods and findings of each inquiry. These shall be made public immediately and shall include the scope of the inquiry, procedures and methods used to evaluate evidence as well as conclusions and recommendations based on findings of fact and on applicable law. The reports shall describe in detail specific events that were found to have occurred, and the evidence on which such findings were based.

 

(9) The NHRC guidelines states that the ”question of granting of compensation to the dependents of the deceased would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case”.

July 26, 2008

Communal Riots – 2005

Posted in Riots tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:49 pm by zarb

Communal Riots – 2005

By Asghar Ali Engineer

22 January 2006

Like 2004 the year 2005 was also comparatively less violent as far as communal riots are concerned. In fact it is Gujarat, which takes the cake. Perhaps for years to come nothing like Gujarat carnage is likely to take place. Communal carnage of the kind, which took place in Gujarat is not possible without active support of the state machinery. But that does not mean communal violence does not take place at all. It does.

One can put communal violence under two categories: 1) Communal violence which is carefully planned and executed with political or state support or at least with subtle state connivance. Such violence results in great losses of lives as well as properties. It goes on for a long period of time and is deliberately not controlled unless the stated goal is achieved. Anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Bhagalpur riots of 1989, Mumbai riots of 1992-93 and Gujarat riots of 2002 are its obvious examples.

2) Those riots which spontaneously break out on minor causes like dispute on land or money matters between two individuals or groups, knocking out somebody accidentally by car or scooter or construction of mosque or temple etc. Since these are unplanned and spontaneous clashes can be easily controlled, given little determination on the part of police. And in such riots few lives are lost or not much damage is done to properties.

The second category of riots takes place as a result of constant communal propaganda. It is important to note that absence of communal violence does not mean absence of communal propaganda. Communal propaganda goes on riots or no riots. Thus communal forces keep on poisoning the minds of people and keep on promoting animosity between the communities. And so skirmishes continue.

Communal Riots in 2005

It began with Vadodra, Gujarat on 4th February. Gujarat is highly communalised state today in India, thanks to BJP rule and Narendra Modi’s open hostility to Muslims. Trouble began when people in a marriage procession, accompanied by DJ and high power music system, allegedly beat up an auto-rickshaw driver passing on the same rout when he complained of traffic jam. The driver belonged to the minority community, ran away after being beaten up. Soon thereafter a mob came and pelted in stones. A posse of policemen rushed and lobbed four tear gas shells. About a dozen people including a policeman were injured. Four persons were arrested and police also seized the music system.

The rioting in Vadodra was followed by one in Jaunpur village Khetasarai on 4th February. Here it was result of dispute about a cemetery land. In this one woman was killed and 23 persons were injured. Communal tension mounted in the area subsequent to this incident. Violence erupted when some people hoisted saffron flag on the cemetery land when settlement process was on. Then people of one community set fire to two houses of another community. And in response to that people of another community set fire to one shop. Then PAC reinforcements were brought. The people of two communities gathered in large numbers and raised slogans against each other. The police arrested 23 persons from both the communities.

On 8th February communal violence broke out in Rajnandgaon of Chattisgarh. This was result of two girls having fled from their houses and two groups fought on that. Then firing began and then first 144 was clamped and then curfew in the area. There was no news, however, of any death.

Then it was turn of Azamgarh district on 9th February when dispute on distribution of kerosene in Diwali Khalsa village in which 12 persons were injured. Some people belonging to another community tried to enter the queue out of turn and situation went out of control. The police rushed to the spot and controlled the situation.

Again a village in Vadodra district witnessed communal clashes on 11th February when two cyclists belonging to different communities fought. Fifteen persons were injured including a leader of VHP. Many houses were also damaged. The police was keeping a vigil to keep control over the situation.

Next we see communal rioting in Nagazmangala town of Mandya district in Karnataka when an idol was taken from the temple and thrown on the road. However, no one knows who was the culprit. After the rouble broke out rioters, Hindus as well as Muslims went on a rampage in the town. It is said properties worth crores of rupees were destroyed. The police lobbed teargas shells and fired five rounds in the air.

Agra witnessed riots on 13th February in Tajganj near Tajmahal when someone from one community teased a girl from another community. Many houses were set afire after this incident and stoning on large scale started. The police maintained that since police inspector of Tajganj police station had gone out the rioting took such fierce form. He said there was incidence of firing also between two communities. Many illegal arms were found in the area.

Next it was Sanbhalnagar of Moradabad that communal violence erupted on the occasion of Moharram on 19th February. These are communally highly sensitive areas. Rioters resorted to firing in Sanbhalgarh. The police arrested 100 persons from both the communities.

On the same day Lucknow witnessed rioting between Shias and Sunnis in which 3 persons lost their lives and 40 were injured in the old city. Government announced compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs for every person died. 10 shops were looted. The trouble started with Muslims of one sect threw stones on Tazia procession of another sect. Many shops were set on fire. The Shia and Sunni leaders have appealed for peace. Later on 22nd February Banaras also saw sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis in which 24 persons were injured and when dispute started on Tazia procession due to falling of tree on the way. The curfew was imposed which continued even on the third day of incidents.

Dhar in M.P. also witnessed communal disturbances on 22nd February after an explosion and curfew was clamped. Curfew was clamped after stone throwing and setting fire to properties. Ten persons were injured including policemen. An auto rickshaw was set on fire near the bus stand.

Bhilwada, thanks to activities of Bajrang Dal and VHP, has become extremely sensitive town. On 13th March town became very tense after murder of a Bajrang Dal man. For three days curfew remained in force. In Naseerabad in Ajmer District experienced communal tension when a religious leader was injured in Chaprasi Mohallah.

In Mandal, in Bhilwada district more violence erupted on 8th April when some miscreants hoisted saffron flag on a mosque. Muslims were agitated and they filed FIR and the police promised to act against the culprits. Muslims then took out a silent procession and submitted a memorandum. Then in the evening a procession of Charbhujanath was taken out and it stopped near Lakhara chowk and lot of gulal (a coloured powder) was thrown around and at that time some stones were thrown by unknown people. No one knows who threw stones. All those who live around this chowk are Hindus and stones mainly came from the roofs of Hindu houses. It could be the conspiracy of those who were involved in hoisting saffron flag on mosque in the morning.

Immediately after this situation went out of control and 11 Muslim shops and two houses were burnt to ashes and two mazars (mausoleums) were uprooted and Madina Masjid was damaged and one motor cycle was set on fire. Then curfew was imposed at 7-30 p.m. but before it a person called Kanhaiyya Das, who was among the rioters was killed in police firing. The miscreants put his dead body outside a temple and spread rumor that some Muslims entered the temple and killed him.

The police who knew better registered an FIR under pressure from BJP, VHP and even some Congress politicians and it arrested 25 Muslims and beat them up mercilessly. In search operation for illicit arms in Muslim houses many women were also beaten up. Thus Muslims had to suffer financially and physically. In Mandal there were cordial relations between Hindus and Muslims but BJP-VHP combine do not like Hindu-Muslim unity.

Then in Kareda Tehsil suddenly one found flags on Hindu temples with 786 Muslim sacred symbol) inscribed on them and some animal bones. One can well understand who must have done it. Kareda markets remained closed for 72 hours. The Sangh Parivar fixed the responsibility of this on a sufi saint of Kareda Sailani Baba and described his centre as centre of Pak agents and smugglers and demanded his removal from there and threatened that if administration did not act then it will be converted into Gujarat. Communal tension continued there for many days.

Sailani Baba who has Hindu and Muslim disciples was subjected to thorough search but nothing incriminating was found there. And one who had desecrated the temples was nothing but a Shiv Sena activist Ramratan Jhanvar. The whole conspiracy was exposed and Hindus were stunned by such blatant act.

Holi is another occasion when communal skirmishes invariably take place in some communally sensitive areas. Three persons were killed and several others injured. In Balrampur U.P. people in Subhashnagar and Gandhinagar clashed and set fire to several shops. When the procession was passing through a religious place stoning began and clashes started. The police imposed curfew. Police has filed FIR against 52 persons and have arrested 35 so far.

In Rajasthan curfew had to be imposed in Sojat town in the Pali district on 27th March following clashes between two communities during a dance procession on the occasion of Holi. A dozen persons were injured in the clash. According to the police sources, the incident occurred on Saturday evening as a traditional Holi dance procession passed through a Muslim locality and suddenly both side started pelting stones at each other. Angry processionists went on rampage and shops in the area were set on fire. Seventeen persons were injured and 20 shops were set ablaze.

On 27th March Faizabad in U.P. too experienced communal disturbances when members of two communities clashed on the question of throwing colour by Holi revellers. Members of both communities fired on each other. Four persons were injured seriously and 12 shops were set ablaze. It is reported that during Holi revelries about 6 persons died in different parts of U.P. and 50 persons injured. Police said that in Ferozpur one person was shot dead and one died of fire burns. In Fatehgarh, Farrukhabad one person was shot dead.

On 31st March on the occasion of Rangpanchmi communal disturbances broke out in Sarangpur in Rajgadh district in Rajasthan. In these disturbances several people were injured in stone throwing and police has arrested 50 persons in this connection.

Bhilwara, Rajasthan, which has emerged as most sensitive town again witnessed communal clashes on 8th April when communal rioting took place in Mandal town of Bhilwada district. Muslims from villages in the district began to flee for safety. Trouble began when a saffron flag was hoisted on a mosque in Mandal on 8th April and violence broke out when a religious procession was in progress. In Karjalia village of Bhilwada district Muslims faced total boycott and they began to migrate from there when a RSS activist was murdered on March 1. Hindu activists fanned out in the area and called for a social boycott of Muslims. Some 19 families from the village migrated to other places. No one talks to Muslims and if someone does he has to pay a fine of Rs. 11,000. No Hindu shop sells them anything. Bhilwara has become Gujarat within Rajastan.

In these disturbances 10 persons were injured, 6 shops were set afire and three religious places were burnt down. Kanahiyalal Beragi was killed in police firing but police is trying to shift blame on someone else saying he was killed in firing from unlicensed weapon. Beragi’s family maintains that he was killed in police firing and unless police officer is arrested they will not perform last rites of Beragi.

On 19th April people of to communities clashed in Morshi Taluka of Amravati district in Maharashra in which one person was killed and two were injured. This was result of fight between two youths of two communities on a shop. According to collector of Amravati district many shops were set ablaze and looted. Two Autorickshaws and two motor cycles were also burnt down.

On 7th May a Hindu a 50-60 strong mob presumably belonging to Sangh Parivar attacked with lathis on Muslims who had gathered in Kamba in Bhivandi gathered there to pray at Jannatshahwale Baba’s mausoleum. Most of the Muslims were injured. They also upturned a rickshaw and beat up two motorcyclists. They claimed it is Samadhi of Nonathbaba and not Jannatshah Baba’s mausoleum. The dargah has 100 acre property and Sangh Parivar wants to grab the land.

Next Surat came under spell of communal violence on 16th May. Disturbances started after a minor collision between a Muslim Scooterist and a Hindu Kahar Autorickshawwala. Nadeem alias Kaliyo, the Scooterist was injured and shifted to civil hospital and his people came demanding compensation from Autorickshaw owner. An argument began and stoning and acid bulbs were thrown along with soda water bottles. Several people were injured. 27 persons were arrested in this connection. The mob also set fire to one rickshaw and two cycles. Rumours that Dhansukh Kahar was kidnapped and killed began doing rounds until he was found sleeping near the Tapti bank.

Dhar in M.P., another communally sensitive town came under bout of communal violence after some dispute between persons of two communities in which two persons died and 11 were injured. One Raju Bherivi was killed in these skirmishes. Then a Hindu mob armed with swords and other weapons went and killed one Muslim named Allah Noor. It was result of fight between children of two families, which assumed such grave proportions. Curfew had to be imposed on the town.

Badoda (Vadodra) witnessed another bout of communal violence in Mughalwada and this happened, according to the police, due to gamblers. It is gamblers who were interested in provoking violence to earn money. One gambler has been arrested in this connection. Police had to do lathicharge, had to throw teargas shells and open 8 rounds of fire in the air. In this firing one person i.e. Mohammad Saeed was killed. According to the police apart from gamblers, some politicians and media people also might have been involved.

Major Riot in Mau (U.P.)

Mau, in U.P., again a highly sensitive town and went up in flame in October on the occasion of Dasehra. Mau has significant population of Muslim weavers. It is primarily a weavers’ town. Unofficial figures of casualties after proper investigation stand at 14 dead in all and properties worth crores of rupees were reduced to ashes. Many shops were looted. Hospitals, schools and other properties belonging to minority community were totally destroyed.

The dispute started on the question of loudspeaker. Taravih prayers were going on in the mosque nearby due to month of Ramzan and in nearby Dasehra maidan loudspeaker was being used for songs. Some Muslims requested to stop it and Hindus, including one BJP leader agreed to it. But next day some activists of Hindu Yuva Vahini led by Yogi Aditya Nath objected and started playing loudspeaker again and some Muslim youth snatched the equipment. A Hindu Yuva Vahini leader fired and several Muslims were injured. This incited some Muslims to attack Hindus and loot their shops.

But next day the Hindu miscreants took over and killed, looted and set fore to Muslim properties and police looked on. A high police officer from Lucknow told me that it appears that Mulayam Singh government deliberately allowed this mayhem and pillage to balance what happened to Hindus on the first day to ward off BJP criticism. However, whatever the truth fact remains that Muslims suffered great loss of properties although casualties seem to be equal in both the communities.

The role of the media, particularly Hindi media, as usual, was far from satisfactory. It published inflammatory headlines about massacre of Hindus. One T.V. Channel also seems to have doctored a video about the independent M.L.A. Mukhtar Ansari as if he was provoking riots in presence of police bodyguards. The video clip showed only his gestures but there was no sound. All this shows media remains a part of the problem rather than part of solution. Unfortunately administration never takes any action against the media for spreading rumours and hatred.

While disturbances were going on in Mau, Agra once again witnessed communal skirmishes on 23rd October as a result of a small incident in which one woman was accused of theft in a cloth shop and the servant of the shop searched her bag under suspicion. This small incident led to communal clashes when other shopkeepers also joined in. Many anti-social elements suddenly appeared with firearms and began looting shops. Hundreds of people went up on their roofs and began stoning from there. This area around Jami Masjid in Agra is communally very sensitive.

On 20th December communal clashes took place between Hindus and Muslims in Vasundari village under Titwala police station. The clashes started on the question of digging earth. While some Muslims were digging earth, some Hindus attacked them with lathis, iron rods and pickaxes. Seven persons were injured. The injured were admitted to Sion Hospital, Mumbai. One Rohidas Pandurang Jadhav succumbed to his injuries and this led to further tension in the village. On hearing of Jadhav’s death many Muslim women fled from the village as many Muslim men had already been arrested. There was ongoing dispute between Zamir Nazir Pawle and Ganesh Haribhav Jadhav about digging the earth for brick kiln. His brick kiln was also destroyed.

Thus it will be seen that except for Mau riots in October 2005 all other riots were minor and result of small incidents here and there. Such violence is also result of constant hate propaganda by communal forces and regrettably governments of various states do not take any action against hate propaganda. And this propaganda helps communalists for planning major communal violence whenever needed as in Mau this year. It is only vigilance by the people and committed members of civil society that major clashes can be prevented.

The author is director, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai. He may be contacted at csss@mtnl.net.in

June 2, 2008

Fake encounter in Nagpur?

Posted in Encounter tagged , , , , , , , , at 5:28 pm by zarb

Constituent member organizations:
People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Nagpur
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai
Dharma Nirapeksh Nagarik Manch, Nagpur
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Hyderabad
Indian Association of People’s Lawyers Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti

List of Members
Head of the Team, Justice B G Kolse Patil, Rtd Judge of Mumbai High Court, Convenor, Dr Suresh Khairnar,
Members Dr Anand Teltumde, CPDR, Mumbai; Adv. P Suresh Kumar, Andra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Hyderabad; Mr Ahmed Latif Khan, Civil Liberty Monitoring Committee, Hyderabad; Dr D John Chelladurai, India Peace Centre, Nagpur; Mr Nagesh Choudhury, Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti, Nagpur; Mr Arvind Ghosh, PUCL, Nagpur; Adv. Anil Kale, Indian Assn of People’s Lawyers; Adv. Surendra Gadling, Indian Assn of People’s Lawyers; Mr Gaffar Shakir, Dharma Nirapeksha Nagarik Manch, Nagpur; Mr Ashish K Ghosh, PUCL, Nagpur; Mr Arvind Deshmukh, Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti, Nagpur; Mr T V Kathane, Nagpur, Bahujan Sangharsh Samiti,Nagpur; Adv. Anand Gajbhiye, IAPL, Nagpur

Introduction
The nation awoke on June 01, 2006 hearing the shocking news of an attempted attack on the RSS headquarters building. It was a respite that the news of police foiling the attempt too came along.

The news of attempted attack on the Head Quarters of the RSS reportedly by fidayeens of a Pak based terrorist group, sent a spine chilling fear in the minds of millions of peace loving people in the country. We all know very well, the potential of such a happening to ignite a trail of tragic clashes among the communities. The peace loving masses heaved a sigh of relief as the leaders of every community promptly condemned the heinous act and appealed to the masses to maintain peace, and peace did prevail. In the next twenty four hours quite a lot of information, almost all the information pertaining to the attackers had been published obviously supplied by the police department to the media.

The narrative of the whole encounter as reported on June 02, 2006, instead of clearing the mystery of the attackers, unfortunately confounded the citizens all the more. The reports were conflicting and left innumerable questions on ground zero situation unanswered.

The foiled attempt and the appreciable tranquility maintained by the masses were a great relief. However the deadly weapon and ammunition with which the ‘fidayeens’ (as told by the Commissioner of Police) appeared, and the ease with which the police claimed to have liquidated them, suggested that the Police team had a ‘cake walk’ over the deadly terrorists. The very next day a section of the media aired their doubt over the whole happening (as reported by the Police Commissioner), most of them quoting wide sections of the national community, including senior leaders.

The peace loving social activists and campaigners for communal harmony based in Nagpur were at first relieved by the success of the police over the terrorists. However the confounding report that appeared in the media and the doubts aired by masses and leaders prompted them to read between the lines. Particularly, the ‘Islamic’ terrorist attempting to attack RSS Head Quarters has a larger implication. It has the potential to push the nation into a communal strife. Scuh a thing should not be allowed to happen in any manner, orchestrated by any group. The confounding report of the ‘encounter’ therefore requires an honest study.

The above stated social organizations, hence constituted a fact finding team comprised of the above mentioned activists. The team is headed by Mr B G Kolse Patil, retired Judge of Mumbai High Court, and Convened by Dr Suresh Khairnar, a renowned social thinker and activist. The team visited the site of the encounter, spoke to the people residing in the vicinity. The team also visited the RSS Head Quarters and met Mr Shirish Wate, the HQ incharge.

The team went to Government Medical College to meet the doctors who carried out the postmortem. Dr Dhavane, who was present gave elementary information but declined to give details. The team spoke to Dr Vibhawari Dani, Dean, Govt Medical Hospital and College on telephone. The Dean also declined to reveal the postmortem report. It was a classified document, she said.

The team repeatedly sought an appointment with the Commissioner of Police. The CP too declined to meet the team. On the contrary the CP asked the respectable members their credentials; who funded the team, what international connections does the team have and similar questions with apparent intention to intimidate the team from their earnest effort to help the society to know the truth.

The Incident as reported by Mr S P S Yadav, the Commissioner of Police, Nagpur
The Special squad of the City police who were on high alert following specific input from intelligence agency spotted a white Ambassador car moving in a suspicious manner in Lakdi Pul in Mahal area and started tailing it. Two cars, a Tata Sumo and a Qualis were used in the operation. The tailing cars were unmarked and all police personal in it were wearing plain clothes.

When the ambassador car with red beacon atop moved towards RSS Head Quarters, one for the constables in the Tata Sumo casually asked the young occupants about their intentions. Rattled by the enquiry the militants opened fire on the police vehicle even as they tried to get away. In the process they dashed into the barricade near the eastern side of the RSS HQ. The alert cops led by PSI Rajendra Tiwari, PSI Arvind Saraf and PSI JA More replied to the Gunfire. It was their bulletproof jackets that saved police personnel. The terrorists also threw a hand grenade on the police party. But it failed to explode. They threw the grenade without pulling out the pin.

The gun battle lasted about 20 minutes in which the militants fired 76 rounds while the cops retaliated with 63 rounds. The terrorists had three AK-M automatic weapons, 12 hand grenades and 5.6 Kgs of highly explosive materials with them. They also had three spare magazines for their fire arms each carrying 30 rounds. They had hundred and twenty rounds each, said Mr S P S Yadav. Mr Yadav also reported to have said, looking at their preparation and determination to storm RSS HQ at any cost despite heavy police deployment, indicates that it was a ‘fidayeen’ attack.

Refusing to divulge the exact identity of the three militants, who were in the age group of 20-22 years, Mr Yadav described them as ‘Islamic militants.’ At this point of time, he added, it is too premature to associate them with any outfit.

Media reports
As per the details received from the police a white Ambassador car MH 20-8979 with a red beacon and three persons on board dressed as police sub-inspectors, was first spotted by the patrolling police party at the central avenue some time before the incident. The car was heading towards Badkas Chowk. As it emerged form Chitaroli, two police vehicles, a Tata Sumo carrying two PSI and five constables and a Toyoto Qualis with 5 PSI got suspicious about the car. The police vehicles hastened the chase of the suspicious ambassador car. At Badkas chowk the ambassador car took a left turn towards Junta chowk and again turned right towards the Sangh building from the Lakdipul side.

Presuming the car might have gone towards Ayachit mandir the police stopped the chase for a while. However when the police jeep came back to the same place during their routine patrol, they noticed the same car in a small alley between Lakdipul and Gajanan Mandir towards the eastern gate of the RSS Head Quarters. The Police vans then closed in on the ambassador car. However, without paying heed to the police patrol the car tried to force its way through the temporary barricade erected 50 meters before the main entrance of the RSS HQ. At this juncture the PSI Tiwari intercepted the ambassador car and enquired as to where it was heading. Instantly thereafter the two ultras who were seated on the rear seats came out of the car with a grenade in their left hand and AK56 rifle in the right hand. One of them lobbed the grenade at the police, but since the pin was not fully removed it failed to explode. Seeing this the ultras opened indiscriminate fire at the police party. In the melee PSI Saraf who just alighted from the police vehicle got hit at his abdomen. However, since he was wearing a bullet proof vest the bullet did not pierce his body. Soon after this police force and the ultras started exchanging fire in which two of the three militants were killed on the spot. The driver of the car then tried to flee towards the Bhauji Daftari School. However he could not escape the bullets from the police and he too was killed on the spot. The entire shoot out went on for just around 15 minutes between 4.00 and 4.15 AM.

The police then informed the control room and the commissioner of Police about the shoot out. The senior police officers immediately reached the spot and shifted at the three ultras to the government medical college where they were declared brought dead. The members of Dautkhani family along with other neighbours woke up at the sound of the firing and one of his family members opened the door of their house to peep outside.

However alert cops told the family members to shut the door and remain inside the house only. It was to prevent the terrorists from taking shelter in the Dautkani house and taking them as hostages. The operation was carried out by the city police successfully without any loss of life other than that of the militants. The press reported on the 2nd June that, all the three terrorists are said to be Pak nationals. Two of them hailed from Lahore and the third from Gujranwala. The police had seized from the place a dairy which contained email addresses in Urdu, a few phone numbers of Lohare and Gujranwala. Rs 45,000 and maps of the city were recovered from the terrorists.

The names of three terrorists are said to be Afsal Ahmed Bhat, Bilal Ahmed Bhat and Mohammed Usman Habib. Loksatta, (Indian Express Group) Nagpur Marathi edition, dated June 03 2006 carried an article containing the following detail. ‘Normally the attacks by the terrorists are preplanned meticulously and they seldom fail in their attempt. This being the public opinion, the recent futile attempt by the terrorists on RSS building and the success gained by the police in thwarting the attempt creates suspicion in public mind as well as among RSS people and their rivals.

Though normally terrorists claim the responsibility of the attack, no terrorist group has claimed any responsibility to this attempt. Therefore the question arises, whether they were hardcore Islamic terrorists or just any other newcomers. According to police statement, threat of attack on RSS head quarters loomed large for the last one year and there was security cordon around the building. Yet the attackers seemed to have no idea of any of them, neither did they seem to know the roads leading to RSS building. And no map of the building and its surrounding could be found with them.

During the whole encounter with the police the terrorists got only one chance to lob a grenade and that too did not explode. That not a single policeman was injured by the bullets of the attackers, puts a question mark on the ability of the terrorists. The attackers could bring a car load of guns and bullets, hand grenades, powerful explosives like RDX from places thousands of kilometers away without being detected or checked by any police or civic authorities, is a matter of surprise even in the RSS circles.

The RSS which usually take such attack on them seriously and go for nationwide protest, unusually kept extraordinary silence and the morning shaka at the headquarters went on with more people attending it. It was a surprise even among the cadres of RSS. This also has created among their functionaries doubt over the bona fide of the attackers. However, they speak in a low voice.

Mahanayak, a Marathi news paper from Mumbai, published a title page news from its special correspondent from Nagpur, with the caption: “Mahanayak’s Special Story on the Attack on RSS Head Quarters.” The news goes like this: There is a talk among the Nagpur police that, of the 11 police who conducted the encounter, 6 police did not even know how to handle a carbine. Some of them were under demotion on account of departmental disciplinary action, and they were given this ‘chance’ to prove their ‘worthiness.’ Sources close to the police circle say, none of the eleven cops had special commando training. The authorities punished two of them, for they extorted from a ‘gutka‘ merchant a huge amount (Rs 3.5 lakhs) five months ago, in the Panchpoli police station area. At the orders of the CP they were shifted to another ‘punishment’ section. Police inner circle is surprised at the composition of the squad for most of them do not know to handle guns properly.

The reporter gives details of many indisciplines of the eleven police personals and wonders how and on what basis they were selected for Special Squad to handle such an important assignment in the RSS HQ.

Observations of the fact team
1. When the police had prior information about possible attack on RSS Head Quarters and the police were prepared, as stated by the Commissioner of Police (CP), to handle possible attack, why did they allow the attackers to go close to the RSS HQ? Why did the Police not stop them at first sight?

2. We hear from the residents, that the police had a kind of rehearsal to the ‘encounter’ few days back on the same spot. Police even fired in the air on the occasion, they claim. And when the actual encounter took place, these residents said, they first thought that it was yet another demonstration. Why did the police take a demo a few days ago?

3. The CP has said, “when the ambassador car with red beacon atop moved towards RSS HQ, one of the constables in the Tata Sumo casually asked the young occupants about their intentions. Rattled by the inquiry the militants opened fire on the police vehicle even as they tried to get away.” For the constable to ask casually, either he must have brought his car (the police vehicle) side by side to the terrorist vehicle or he (the constable) must have come by foot close to terrorist vehicle (and asked them). In either case the constable must have been exposed to the terrorist attack at close quarter. How did the constable escape unhurt? The narration of the incident doesn’t have any detail to clarify this.

4. There is no eyewitness to the whole happening. The encounter took place according to the police at 4.15 AM. The bodies of the assailants were removed even before the press reporters (who were the first people other than the Police) reached the spot, close to 5.00 AM. Why this hurry?

5. Day one media report says, Deputy Commissioner Mr Prabhat Kumar was in the patrolling team and he smelled foul and started tailing it in their unmarked blue Tata Sumo. Why did the CP not bring him (Mr P Kumar) in his (CP) narration of the encounter? Why did CP hide the DCP?

6. Another report says that the patrolling police that tailed the ambassador at one point “presumed the car might have gone towards Ayachit mandir the police stopped the chase for a while. However when the police jeep came back to the same place during their routine patrol, they noticed the same car in a small alley between Lakdipul and Gajanand Mandir towards the eastern gate of the RSS Head Quarters. As the point where the police missed the ambassador car and the place where they saw them again are the same small alley, do the police mean to say that the attackers were waiting over there until then?

7. It is said that the attackers’ car tried to force its way through the barricade. The said barricade was installed a couple of weeks before June 01 2006, in the aftermath of weapon seizure from antisocial elements in the State. When the attackers came where were the sentries posted at the barricade? They must have been the first one to stop the terrorists or get attacked by the terrorists. Where were they?

8. The exchange of fire took place for twenty minutes, it was reported. Can anyone explain how the police disabled the terrorists from using the dozen hand grenades and the 360 rounds of bullets?

9. That the terrorists had 12 hand grenade, 360 rounds of bullets, 5.6 Kgs of highly explosive material which was later stated to be RDX, and they battled for twenty minutes ‘hopelessly’ not using any of them, is a narration that fails to convince common sense.

10. It was reported that the police recovered from the terrorists’ vehicle a sealed case containing 12 hand grenades. The terrorists coming on a deadly mission carrying their munitions in sealed cases does not comply the logic of terrorist attack. They did not even open them when they were fighting for 20 minutes in a losing battle makes the narration all the more unconvincing.

11. That the terrorists, reported to be ‘fidayeen’ who chose to travel on white ambassador car with red beacon atop, not knowing what is the official protocol but chose to wear PSI dress, does not comply with the statement of the CP that the terrorists were a trained fidayeens.

12. The reported information that the police recovered wet underwear and soaked bathing soap from the white ambassador car suggests that they could not have been ‘terrorists’ on a mission involving their very life.

13. The police declared them as ‘Islamic’ terrorist and Pak based ‘fidayeens’. The stated seizure of a diary containing all their names and their own telephone numbers sounds farce. Usually we do not write our own telephone numbers in our dairy. Terrorists of deadly mission carrying a dairy with their own identities when they were on an attack, do not appeal common sense.

14. Even if the police had found a dairy belonging to the attackers, how did they decipher the code names and codified messages in so short a time that in less than 10 hours the CP could reveal their identity as ‘Islamic’ terrorist and ‘fidayeens’? (the history of terrorist attack tells clearly that the terrorists do not carry written documents. If they have to write anything they choose to write in codes and false names.)

15. What authentication did the police possess to finally declare them as Muslims and bury them according to Islamic rituals? What was the hurry to bury the dead bodies of the terrorists without establishing their identity?

16. Few holes on the walls (opposite to Bharat Mahila Vidyalay) are, said by the CID official present at the site, as bullet marks. Two of the six marks found to be marks of bullets fired from right across, at 90 degrees. One bullet mark, as marked by the police on the Bharat Mahila Vidyalay wall too clearly indicates that the bullet was fired at 90 degrees. Were the police and their vehicle come side by side the terrorists? It was amusing, that the police officer present at the time of the team’s visit to the spot, told that bullets fired by the policemen down the lane from behind the terrorist vehicle possibly took an aerial curve and hit the wall at 90 degree.

17. There is hardly any mark of terrorist bullets on the other side, except on the Police vehicle.

18. The blue Tata Sumo vehicle that was tailing behind the terrorist vehicle had six bullet marks. Two of them were at least apparently pistol bullet marks. The police report did not mention terrorists having used pistols. How did pistol bullet marks appear on the police vehicle?

19. The terrorists were reported to have fired from AK-M automatic guns. The bullet marks on the blue Tata Sumo of the police bear bullet marks that are all single shot marks. There is no series of bullet marks (which is expected if the opponents were using automatic guns) that raises the doubt over nature of the exchange of fire.

20. One bullet hole was found (in the police blue Tata Sumo vehicle) on the right side front door from inside. The point of hit was almost at the hip of the driver. Had the driver been on his seat he should have been hit. There was no such report. It is clear that the driver was not in the seat at the time of firing. We found bullet marks on the same police vehicle hit from three angles on the left side of the vehicle. Three bullets were 45 degrees from behind, two bullets 90 degrees on the left and one bullet 130 degree further that hit just below the front windshield. The question is, if the vehicle is not on the move during the attack, (as the bullet did not hit the driver), then how did the bullet mark appear from three angles? This question assumes significance as it was not possible for the terrorists to move to such wide range and fire from all three angles, for they were caught in their vehicle that was trapped in a narrow alley and they were immobilized.

21. Mr S P S Yadav, Commissioner of Police is reported to have said, “Looking at their preparation and determination to storm RSS HQ at any cost despite heavy police deployment, indicates that it was a ‘fidayeen’ attack.” This conclusion of the CP amounts to be hasty in his decision; or the terrorists were in his hands prior to the encounter, for him to know about them in detail.

22. On the site of the encounter was parked a white Maruti Omni car at the premises of Mr Jopat, the compound wall being fenced by barbed wire. As the house is the first one in the lane (in front of which raised the barricade) and the attackers were inside the lane, if the police wanted to target the attackers, they should have gone some where behind this Maruti Omni car. When there was over 140 rounds of fire, there is not a single bullet mark on the vehicle.

This creates strong doubts over the nature of reported encounter.

Recommendations
The official version of events raises scores of doubts. The team wanted simple clarifications from the Commissioner of Police, Nagpur and approached him continuously for five days. That the CP persistently declined to meet the team and answer these simple queries, reveal his unwillingness / inability to face these fair queries.

It also suggests that he chose to hide certain facts. And this lead the team to question the veracity of the Commissioner of Police’s narration of the encounter. The Cock and Bull story of the encounter thus compels the team to infer that the encounter appears to be fake and requires, in the interest of the nation, a fair probing.

The team therefore, calls upon the Central government to appoint a judicial enquiry committee headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court and probe the whole episode.