JUDICIARY: INDIA’S ONLY HOPE

In the face of injustice and abuse of power in high places, only top judiciary offers hope

Good days were promised by Narendra Modi. And they have come! That too fairly quickly – specially for a couple of suspended IPS officers facing serious murder charges.

Within 3 days of Modi taking over as the Prime Minister of India, a senior police officer GL Singhal accused in the “Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case” has been reinstated by the Gujarat Government!

Four extra-judicial killings (including Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year old college student from Mumbai) took place on 15 June 2004, not far from the official residence of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat. The murderers were none other than those who are meant to protect citizens’ lives. But in order to manufacture anti-Muslim sentiments and show that macho-Modi is a tough leader against “terrorists” (whether real or fake), four human lives were mercilessly taken.

“This is a complete subversion of justice. There can be no good governance if justice is subverted. Is this the kind of good governance the BJP government had promised, where criminals are being reinstated?” fumed lawyer and activist Vrinda Grover after Singhal’s reinstatement.

Another IPS officer Dinesh MN, accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and out on bail, was reinstated by the BJP’s Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan.

While the political leadership and security agencies are doing what they can to suppress a section of Indian society, India’s Supreme Court seems to be the last and final hope for many of us. The most recent proof is the acquittal of six Muslims from another tragic saga in Gujarat i.e. Akshardham Temple attack.

The Qur’an explicitly prohibits its followers from using even disparaging remarks against the “gods” of the followers of other religions. Similarly, even in a state of war (not just peace time), Muslim armies were categorically asked by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his successors not to touch the places of worship of non-Muslim enemy forces.

There is absolutely no question of a Muslim (who has even the most basic knowledge of Islam) attacking the places of worship of any religion – in peace or in war. This is the official and eternal Islamic position.

Against this background, two terrorists attacked a prominent Hindu temple (Akshardham) in Gujarat on 24 September 2002 in which 30 innocent Hindus died. Both the terrorists were killed on the spot. Whatever our highly discredited security agencies claim, we do not know whether the attackers were Muslims or not. Remember Makkah Masjid (Hyderabad) and Samjhauta Express (Haryana) blasts were also blamed on Muslims? But everyone now knows who planned and executed those blasts!

The BJP chants day-in-and-day-out that “all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims”! In line with this pre-conceived assumption and established practice in India, six Muslims were arrested right after the temple attacks. Those six “terrorists” spent 12 long years in prison without any proven crime. During this period, some of them had their parents died and others had babies born while they were illegally incarcerated
On 16th May 2014, Modi was elected the 15th Prime Minster of India. Just hours before his election on May 16th, the highest court of the land acquitted those six Muslims of all fabricated charges and declared ALL of them innocent.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court also took the Gujarat Police to task for “framing innocent people”. And the court blamed Modi for “non-application of mind” as the Home Minister of Gujarat at the time of their arrest!

Almost the entire mainstream media ignored this hugely negative acquittal news which was in a way against their newly crowned emperor. In fact if the media was playing its unbiased role then probably this number-crunching banker, who has nothing to do with politics, would never turn into a writer!

About Akshardham attacks what we now know for sure is that those six Muslims framed by Modi’s government “for helping the terrorists” in that highly un-Islamic attack were completely innocent. Now the question is, if the “helpers” of those terrorists who attacked the temple were not Muslims – as the Supreme Court declared – then were the real attackers Muslims?

Based on the terror tales that have flown from the vibrant Gujarat during the last 12 years, it is almost certain that they were not. Like Ishrat Jahan and her colleagues, Modi’s security apparatus might have kidnapped some innocent youth and then staged that barbaric attack on the Akshardham Temple. There is no dearth of youngsters in our part of the world who will do anything – even giving or taking innocent lives – for drugs or money!

In the interest of justice, and to preserve the last ray of hope for all oppressed Indians, the Supreme Court must initiate a probe to determine who exactly the attackers were? Who had armed and funded them? What was their motive?

Equally important questions are:

What is the instant and severe punishment for those politicians and security agencies that are destroying the lives of innocent citizens?

What is the compensation and rehabilitation package offered to those who were punished just for one reason: they were Muslim?!

Both political leadership and security agencies have been let off the hook time and again due to lack of accountability mechanism for their misdeeds. They both have a lot to answer – as they hide more than they reveal – about the truth in such cases of large scale violence. Justice demands that after 16th May Supreme Court judgment, it is time to hold them accountable.

In this situation, the top-level judiciary (not lower level as lower courts ordered death sentence to two of those six acquitted Muslims) has been the only hope for millions of oppressed Indians. But that institution is over-stretched in terms of its capacity and delivery of speedy justice. And based on its series of judgments against extra-judicial killings in Gujarat (and elsewhere), it is almost certain that the new government in Delhi will do little to increase the capacity and strength of India’s last and final hope – its Supreme Court!

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