Google Comes Under Delhi Police Scanner


 

 

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

 

By IndiaTimes | April 5, 2013,

 

 

 

The police are investigating to determine whether US internet titan Google violated rules in a competition that asked users to add information about their local areas for its online map services after a government agency raised security concerns. Google, which ran the Mapathon in India in February and March, said its aim was to make more local information accessible to all and that it did not break any laws.

 

 

 

Police are acting on a complaint filed by Survey of India, the country’s national survey and mapping agency, which said the contest was illegal and may threaten national security. “One complaint has been received and we are forwarding it to the cybercell for further action,” said Chhaya Sharma, a deputy commissioner of police in New Delhi.

 

 

 

Google officials said the company had not yet received an official communication from the police. Google invited users to help “create better maps for India” by adding knowledge of their neighbourhoods and promised the top 1,000 mappers prizes of tablets, smartphones and gift vouchers.

 

 

 

Survey of India first wrote to Google saying its Mapathon was against rules and then filed a police complaint, RC Padhi, a top official at the agency, told Reuters. “We have to ensure that security is not compromised at any cost,” Padhi said, adding that some information uploaded on Google Maps could be “sensitive.”

 

 

 

 

कॉमरेड शालिनी को भावभीनी श्रद्धांजलि , Tributes paid to Comrade Shalini


उनके अधूरे कार्यों और सपनों को पूरा करने का संकल्‍प लिया

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लखनऊ, 4 अप्रैल। कॉमरेड शालिनी जैसी युवा सांस्कृतिक संगठनकर्ता के अचानक हमारे बीच से चले जाने से जो रिक्तता पैदा हुई है उसे भरना आसान नहीं होगा। उन्होंने एक साथ अनेक मोर्चों पर काम करते हुए लखनऊ ही नहीं पूरे देश में प्रगतिशील और क्रान्तिकारी साहित्य तथा संस्कृति के प्रचार-प्रसार में जो योगदान दिया वह अविस्मरणीय रहेगा।

का. शालिनी की स्मृति में आज यहाँ ‘जनचेतना’ तथा ‘राहुल फ़ाउण्डेशन’ की ओर से आयोजित श्रद्धांजलि सभा में शहर के बुद्धिजीवियों तथा नागरिकों के साथ ही दिल्ली, पंजाब, मुम्बई, इलाहाबाद, पटना, गोरखपुर सहित विभिन्न स्थानों से आये लेखकों, संस्कृतिकर्मियों, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं और साहित्यप्रेमियों ने उन्हें बेहद आत्मीयता के साथ याद किया। उन्हें भावभीनी श्रद्धांजलि अर्पित करने के साथ ही सभा में उन उद्देश्यों को आगे बढ़ाने का संकल्प व्यक्त किया गया जिनके लिए शालिनी अन्तिम समय तक समर्पित रहीं।

शालिनी पिछले तीन  महीनों से पैंक्रियास के कैंसर से जूझ रही थीं और गत 29 मार्च को दिल्ली के धर्मशिला कैंसर अस्पताल में उनका निधन हो गया था। वे केवल 38 वर्ष की थीं।

राहुल फ़ाउण्‍डेशन के सचिव सत्‍यम ने कहा कि का. शालिनी का राजनीतिक-सामाजिक जीवन बीस वर्ष की उम्र में ही शुरू हो चुका था। गोरखपुर, इलाहाबाद और लखनऊ में प्रगतिशील साहित्य के प्रकाशन एवं वितरण के कामों में भागीदारी के साथ ही शालिनी जन अभियानों, आन्दोलनों, धरना-प्रदर्शनों आदि में भी बढ़-चढ़कर हिस्सा लेती रहीं। जनचेतना पुस्तक केन्द्र के साथ ही वे अन्य साथियों के साथ झोलों में किताबें और पत्रिकाएँ लेकर घर-घर और दफ़्तरों में जाती थीं, लोगों को प्रगतिशील साहित्य के बारे में बताती थीं, नये पाठक तैयार करती थीं। गोरखपुर में युवा महिला कॉमरेडों के एक कम्यून में तीन वर्षों तक रहने के दौरान शालिनी स्‍त्री मोर्चे पर, सांस्कृतिक मोर्चे पर और छात्र मोर्चे पर काम करती रहीं। एक पूरावक़्ती क्रान्तिकारी कार्यकर्ता  के रूप में काम करने का निर्णय वह 1995 में ही ले चुकी थीं।

इलाहाबाद में ‘जनचेतना’ के प्रभारी के रूप में काम करने के दौरान भी अन्य स्‍त्री कार्यकर्ताओं की टीम के साथ वे इलाहाबाद विश्वविद्यालय के छात्रों के बीच और इलाहाबाद शहर में युवाओं तथा नागरिकों के बीच विभिन्न सामाजिक-राजनीतिक गतिविध्यिों में हिस्सा लेती रहीं। इलाहाबाद के अनेक लेखक और संस्कृतिकर्मी आज भी उन्हें याद करते हैं।

पिछले लगभग एक दशक  से लखनऊ उनकी कर्मस्थली था। लखनऊ स्थित ‘जनचेतना’ के केन्द्रीय कार्यालय और पुस्तक प्रतिष्ठान का काम सँभालने के साथ ही वह ‘परिकल्पना,’ ‘राहुल फ़ाउण्डेशन’ और ‘अनुराग ट्रस्ट’ के प्रकाशन सम्बन्धी कामों में भी हाथ बँटाती रहीं। ‘अनुराग ट्रस्ट’ के मुख्यालय की गतिविधियों, पुस्तकालय, वाचनालय, बाल कार्यशालाएँ आदि की ज़िम्मेदारी उठाने के साथ ही कॉ. शालिनी ने ट्रस्ट की वयोवृद्ध मुख्य न्यासी दिवंगत कॉ. कमला पाण्डेय की जिस लगन और लगाव के साथ सेवा और देखभाल की, वह कोई सच्चा सेवाभावी कम्युनिस्ट ही कर सकता था। 2011 में ‘अरविन्द स्मृति न्यास’ का केन्द्रीय पुस्तकालय लखनऊ में तैयार करने का जब निर्णय लिया गया तो उसकी व्यवस्था की भी मुख्य जिम्मेदारी शालिनी ने ही उठायी। वह ‘जनचेतना’ पुस्तक प्रतिष्ठान की सोसायटी की अध्यक्ष, ‘अनुराग ट्रस्ट’ के न्यासी मण्डल की सदस्य, ‘राहुल फ़ाउण्डेशन’ की कार्यकारिणी सदस्य और परिकल्पना प्रकाशन की निदेशक थीं। ग़ौरतलब है कि इतनी सारी विभागीय ज़िम्मेदारियों के साथ ही शालिनी आम राजनीतिक प्रचार और आन्दोलनात्मक सरगर्मियों में भी यथासम्भव हिस्सा लेती रहती थीं। बीच-बीच में वह लखनऊ की ग़रीब बस्तियों में बच्चों को पढ़ाने भी जाती थीं। लखनऊ के हज़रतगंज में रोज़ शाम को लगने वाले जनचेतना के स्‍टॉल पर पिछले कई वर्षों से सबसे ज़्यादा शालिनी ही खड़ी होती थीं।

कवयित्री कात्यायनी ने उन्हें बेहद हार्दिकता से याद करते हुए कहा कि हर पल मौत से जूझते हुए शालिनी हमें सिखा गयी कि असली इंसान की तरह जीना क्या होता है। आख़िरी दिनों तक शालिनी अपनी ज़िम्मेदारियों और राजनीतिक-सामाजिक गतिविधियों के बारे में ही सोचती रहती थीं। अक्सर फोन पर वे साथियों को कुछ न कुछ जानकारी या सलाह दिया करती थीं। शुरू से ही उन्हें अपने से कई गुना ज़्यादा दूसरों का ख़्याल रहता था। उन्हें मालूम था कि मौत दहलीज़ के पार खड़ी है मगर मौत का भय या निराशा उन्हें छू तक नहीं गयी थी। स्वस्थ होकर ज़िम्मेदारियों के मोर्चे पर वापस लौटने में उनका विश्वास और इसे लेकर उनका उत्साह हममें भी आशा का संचार करता था।

कॉ. शालिनी एक कर्मठ, युवा कम्युनिस्ट संगठनकर्ता थीं। आज के दौर में बहुत से लोगों की आस्‍थाएं खंडित हो रही हैं, लोग तरह-तरह के समझौते कर रहे हैं, बुर्जुआ संस्‍कृति का हमला युवा कार्यकर्ताओं के एक अच्‍छे-खासे हिस्‍से को कमज़ोर कर रहा है, मगर शालिनी इन सबसे रत्तीभर भी प्रभावित हुए बिना अपनी राह चलती रहीं। एक बार जीवन लक्ष्य तय करने के बाद पीछे मुड़कर उन्होंने कभी कोई समझौता नहीं किया। उसूलों की ख़ातिर पारिवारिक और सम्‍पत्ति-सम्‍बन्‍धों से  पूर्ण विच्छेद कर लेने में भी शालिनी ने देरी नहीं की। एक सूदख़ोर व्यापारी और भूस्वामी परिवार की पृष्ठभूमि से आकर, शालिनी ने जिस दृढ़ता के साथ पुराने मूल्‍यों को छोड़ा और जिस निष्कपटता के साथ कम्युनिस्ट जीवन-मूल्यों को अपनाया, वह आज जैसे समय में दुर्लभ है और अनुकरणीय भी।

अनुराग ट्रस्‍ट के अध्‍यक्ष और चित्रकार रामबाबू, आह्वान के सम्‍पादक अभिनव सिन्‍हा, आख़ि‍री दिनों में शालिनी के साथ रहीं उनकी दोस्‍त और कॉमरेड कविता और शाकम्‍भरी, जनचेतना की गीतिका, लेखिका सुशीला पुरी, नम्रता सचान, आरडीएसओ के ए.एम. रिज़वी आदि ने शालिनी के व्‍यक्तित्‍व के अलग-अलग पहलुओं को याद किया।

भारतीय महिला फेडरेशन  की आशा मिश्रा ने कहा कि शालिनी जिन मूल्यों और जिस विचारधारा के लिए लड़ती रहीं, आखिरी सांस तक उस पर डटी रहीं। छोटी उम्र में जितनी वैचारिक समझदारी, कामों के प्रति गहरी निष्ठा शालिनी में दिखती थी, इसके उदाहरण कम ही देखने को मिलते हैं।

देश के अलग-अलग हिस्सों  से बुद्धिजीवियों, साहित्यकारों, एक्टिविस्टों द्वारा भेजे गये कुछ चुनिन्‍दा शोक-संदेशों को उनके आग्रह पर उनकी ओर से पढ़ा गया। एकीकृत नेपाल कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी (माओवादी) के सांस्‍कृतिक प्रभाग के प्रमुख निनु चपागाईं ने कहा कि उनकी पार्टी के सांस्कृतिक कार्यकर्ता जनचेतना, अनुराग ट्रस्ट और राहुल फ़ाउण्डेशन के साथ एकजुटता व्यक्त करते हैं ताकि वे कामरेड शालिनी के अनेक दायित्वों को पूरा कर सकें। उन असंख्य लोगों के ज़रिए जिनके लिए उन्होंने क्रान्तिकारी साहित्य उपलब्ध तथा कराया तथा सांस्कृतिक संघर्ष के अनेक मोर्चों पर उनके कार्यों से आने वाले अनेक वर्षों तक परिणाम मिलते रहेंगे। ‘पहल’ के सम्‍पादक ज्ञानरंजन ने कहा कि हमारे सारे वैचारिक मोर्चों पर काम करते हुए शालिनी ने जो बलिदान दिया वो अपने आप में एक मिसाल है। इतने कठिन समय में ऐसा कोई और उदाहरण हमारे सामने नहीं है। साहित्‍यकार शिवमूर्ति ने अपने संदेश में कहा कि कामरेड शालिनी का निधन संघर्षशील आम जन के लिए एक अपूरणीय क्षति है। एक लम्बे समय से मैं उनके व्यक्तित्व के विभिन्न कोणों से परिचित था। उनकी मृत्यु पूर्व लिखी गयी लम्बी कविता ‘मेरी आखिरी इच्छा’ पढ़ने से उनके निडर और क्रान्तिकारी विचारों और दृढ़ इच्छाशक्ति का पता चलता है।

पी.यू.सी.एल. की कविता श्रीवास्तव ने शालिनी, उनके कार्यों, उनके लेखन, उनके विचार और उनके साहस को क्रान्तिकारी सलाम करते हुए कहा कि शालिनी का ब्‍लॉग मेरे जीवन में हुई कुछ सबसे अच्छी बातों में से एक है। वरिष्‍ठ लेखक-पत्रकार अजय सिंह ने कहा कि मेरे लिए शालिनी और लखनऊ में हज़रतगंज के गलियारे जनचेतना पुस्तक स्‍टॉल जैसे एक-दूसरे के पर्याय बन गये थे। शालिनी हमेशा हल्की व दोस्ताना मुस्कान से स्वागत करतीं, और नयी-पुरानी किताबों व पत्रिकाओं के बारे में बताती थीं। स्टूल पर सीधी, तनी हुई बैठी शालिनी की मुद्रा मेरे ज़ेहन में अंकित है। प्रगतिशील वसुधा के सम्‍पादक राजेन्‍द्र शर्मा ने अपने सन्‍देश में कहा कि कामरेड शालिनी ने एक साथ कई मोर्चों पर जूझते हुए जनसंघर्ष की एक व्यापक परिभाषा गढ़ी थी। उन जैसी ईमानदार साथी का इतना आकस्मिक निधन स्तब्धकारी दुर्घटना है। हमारी कतारों से एक उज्ज्वल ध्रुवतारा अस्त हो गया।

कवि नरेश सक्सेना, मलय, विजेन्‍द्र, नरेश चन्द्रकर, कपिलेश भोज, लेखक सुभाष गाताड़े, डा. आनन्द तेलतुम्बडे, चन्‍द्रेश्‍वर, वीरेन्‍द्र यादव, मदनमोहन, भगवानस्‍वरूप कटियार, प्रताप दीक्षित, शालिनी माथुर, शकील सिद्दीकी, गिरीशचन्‍द्र श्रीवास्‍तव, अजित पुष्‍कल, फिल्‍मकार फ़ैज़ा अहमद ख़ान, उद्भावना के सम्‍पादक अजेय कुमार, बया के सम्‍पादक गौरीनाथ, सबलोग के सम्‍पादक किशन कालजयी, समयान्‍तर के सम्‍पादक पंकज बिष्‍ट, जनपथ के सम्‍पादक ओमप्रकाश मिश्र, प्रो. चमनलाल, पत्रकार जावेद नकवी, दिव्‍या आर्य, डा. सदानन्‍द शाही, शम्‍सुल इस्‍लाम, मुम्‍बई के हर्ष ठाकौर, लोकायत, पुणे के नीरज जैन, सीसीआई की ओर से पार्थ सरकार, जन संस्‍कृति मंच के महासचिव प्रणय कृष्‍ण, जलेस के प्रमोद कुमार, सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अशोक चौधरी, वी.आर. रमण, डा. मीना काला, मोहिनी मांगलिक, हरगोपाल सिंह, नाट्यकर्मी  राजेश, डा.  साधना  गुप्‍ता सहित अनेक व्‍यक्तियों ने का. शालिनी के लिए अपने शोक-संदेशों में कहा कि उन्होंने तमाम कठिनाइयों से लड़ते हुए जिस तरह जीने की जद्दोजहद जारी रखी वह सभी नौजवानों और खासकर उन स्त्रियों के लिए एक मूल्यवान शिक्षा है जो इस देश को बेड़ियों से आज़ाद कराने का लक्ष्य लेकर चल रहे हैं। क्रान्तिकारी आन्दोलन की दशा को ध्यान में रखते हुए, उनकी कमी को पूरा करना आसान नहीं होगा।

इस अवसर पर शालिनी के अन्तिम अवशेषों  की मिट्टी पर उनकी स्मृति में  एक पौधा लगाया गया।

सधन्यवाद,

(रामबाबू)

कृते, जनचेतना तथा अनुराग ट्रस्‍ट

(सत्‍यम)

कृते, राहुल फाउण्‍डेशन

फोनः 0522-2786782 / 8853093555 / 8960022288 / 9910462009

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#India- Criminalising People’s Protests #Iromsharmila #AFSPA #Vaw


iromsmile

EPW Vol – XLVIII No. 14, April 06, 2013 | Anand Teltumbde

The manner in which Irom Sharmila‘s demand for the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been handled by the Indian state is indicative of its intent to further narrow the scope for democratic protest, even opposition that is centred on the right to life itself. With such actions, the state is subtly communicating to the people that there is no democratic option left in the country.

Anand Teltumbde (tanandraj@gmail.com) is a writer and civil rights activist with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai.

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.

– Howard Zinn

Public protests signify that democracy is alive and well. Whatever its form, the essence of democracy is the space it provides for people to voice their protest against the government. However, while India has managed to flaunt for decades that it is the world’s largest functional democracy, it has systematically decimated such space for the masses. Today, this space has been symbolically reduced to small designated pockets in every state capital where aggrieved people can gather and shout to their hearts’ content only so that they can hear themselves. Not much unlike jails, with their barbed wire fences and narrow openings guarded by a thick posse of armed policemen, the authorities do not let public protest infect the people at large. The maximum the people protesting at these places can reach is the police sub-inspector seated there to receive their memorandums. Indian democracy has not, however, been content with this general strangulation of democratic space; it often takes offensive against the protesters by slapping criminal charges on them. Examples are legion but the recent proceedings against Irom Sharmila, the iron lady of Manipur, who was brought to Delhi to face trial for her “crime of attempting suicide” at the Jantar Mantar best highlights this trend.

Sharmila’s Crime

Sharmila’s protest began with her indefinite fast on 3 November 2000, a day after 10 persons were shot down by the Assam Rifles, one of the Indian paramilitary forces operating in Manipur, while waiting at a bus stop just outside Imphal. The incident later came to be known as the “Malom Massacre”. Within days, Sharmila was taken by the police, and since then, she is being force-fed a liquid concoction of nutrients in a hospital, which serves as her prison. After every year in detention, she is released for a day and rearrested for attempting to commit suicide, because she refuses to call off her fast until the government repeals the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA), which is in force in Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and parts of Arunachal Pradesh besides, Jammu and Kashmir. Now in its 13th year, her protest is the longest hunger strike in recorded history, which has shaken the entire world but failed to sensitise the Indian rulers. On the contrary, they chose to actuate their penal machine and charged her with an “attempt to commit suicide”, which is unlawful under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

The AFSPA against which Sharmila reiterated her protest to the metropolitan magistrate, Delhi however continues on the statute. This draconian Act that giving the army the unquestionable powers to shoot to kill, arrest and search or even destroy property on mere suspicion and enacted as a short-term measure to allow the deployment of the army in India’s north-eastern Naga Hills, has been in existence for over five decades. According to a report entitled “Manipur: Memorandum on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions” by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the United Nations, altogether 1,528 people, including 31 women and 98 children were killed in fake encounters by the security forces in Manipur alone between 1979 and May 2012. Of these, 419 were killed by the Assam Rifles, while 481 were killed by combined teams of Manipur Police and the central security forces. These are gory statistics but they do not tell the human tragedy that befell entire generations that grew up under the shadow of the gun. It is a usual sight in Manipur to find even school kids sitting in protest against the atrocities by the armed forces.

Logic of the State

The government cites the ongoing insurgency in the hilly state to explain its stand against the repeal of AFSPA. According to its argument, nearly 15 militant outfits are active in the state and in the period between 2007 and 2011, over 1,500 people were killed in militancy-related violence, among them were 1,011 militants and 406 civilians. This argument itself should prompt a simple question, if the army, with a free hand, has not been able to control the so-called insurgency over five decades, what is the justification for the Act? It may even be argued that the insurgency, given the government’s own statistics, has increased during the currency of the Act. This is because the excesses committed by the armed forces with impunity alienate people and impel them to take up the gun. If one dispassionately looks at the north-eastern states, comprising about 7% of India’s total area and 3.7% of its population, bigger than many countries but devoid of any notable development, one cannot but get a feel that they are like a colony governed by the armed might of India. The Constitution does provide for emergency clauses but they are meant to be short-lived. The arguments the government and its army establishment proffer for continuing with AFSPA are, interestingly, the same as the arguments advanced when the 1942 ordinance was enacted in order to keep the British Empire intact.

The same logic extends to the protesting people in mainland India. There are scores of draconian laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, the National Security Act, and various provisions in the penal code, like “sedition”, which continue to mock at our claim of being a democracy. Given the increasing divide between the majority of people mired in abominable poverty and powerlessness and a miniscule minority with all the pelf and power, people’s protests are a natural outcome. During the initial decades of post-Independence India, when the ruling classes had not yet consolidated themselves, these protests were responded to by the state with colonial decency. But by the mid-1970s, an oppressive Emergency was declared, and after a spell of political turmoil, the country entered the neo-liberal era that ideologically trashed social protests and legitimated the oppressive social Darwinist ethos of the rulers. The enforcement of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in 1985 succeeded by the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in 2002 and thereafter UAPA in 2004 during this era, duly aided by global “security syndrome” unleashed by 9/11, should be seen in that light.

The much-maligned Maoist movement is essentially a public protest, notwithstanding its mode of expression, as acknowledged by the government occasionally, but the latter has chosen to criminalise it, calling it “the biggest internal security threat” and waging a full-fledged war against it. Today, it has begun to do the same to civil rights activists, trashing them as Maoist supporters. These activists along with many legal luminaries have been cautioning that the ordinary laws if operated equitably are capable of tackling any kind of criminal activity. The extraordinary laws with draconian provisions create a false notion of security but there is no empirical evidence that they really work. Invariably, they have operated as oppressive tools against innocent people and thereby aggravated the very problem which they were supposed to solve. It is the perceived injustice of the state that impels people to extremity. The paranoia of the ruling classes is proving myopic in ignoring the grave consequences to democracy.

Grave Consequences

The saga of Irom Sharmila and the Manipuri people struggling against AFSPA will surely leave an indelible mark on our democratic credentials. What could be a more intense protest by an ordinary citizen of this country within the constitutional framework than hers? Could there be a more intense expression of public anguish than the prominent women of Manipur disrobing themselves in front of the Army Headquarters and shouting “Indian army rape us”, this in the wake of the rape and murder of Thangiam Manorama in 2004? Can there be a more innocent movement than Anna Hazare’s? But none has been able to shake the power-drunk government. On the contrary, the government has variously criminalised all these protests.

There are numerous other protests happening all over the country: the recent protests against the anti-nuclear power plants at Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu); spontaneous protests of dalits in Maharashtra after the Khairlanji murders; people’s nationwide protests against the Right to Education Act; the ongoing protests against corruption and black money; and those against the violation of human rights, to name just a few. All these have been spontaneous people’s protests. All of them have faced criminalisation; many of them, brutal assaults. It is being subtly communicated that there is no democratic option left in the country. The arrogance of the political class has reached the level where it defiantly challenges people to seek solutions through elections, which have been reduced to a game of money and muscle power. It is very well known that this game is beyond people’s means.

Should people mutely suffer the oppression of their representatives who behave as if they have a licence to exploit them till the next election? Even after five years, what hope does the system hold for ordinary people? The defective game also stands “fixed” by the political class, which virtually bars entry of anyone outside the club. The Association for Democratic Reforms has documented data on the personal wealth and the criminal cases of the members of the political class, which exposes their character. The entire ruling class has consolidated itself against the people. It may demonstrate differences within its ranks before the public to gain legitimacy but the fact remains that its members are all one and the same. Indeed, people are left with no democratic option and hope. It is this state of “optionlessness” and hopelessness that would inevitably push people to unconstitutional methods and, as Ambedkar warned, blast off the structure of democracy our founding fathers so laboriously built.

 

Seeking public endorsements for Protest Statement regarding NHRC MEMBER selections.


Please see theprotest statement opposing the selection of former NIA Chief   S C Sinha and Justice Cyriac Joseph to the NHRC.
ON The NIA Chief an IPS Officer is being appointed as member NHRC under the category which as per law is  meant for human rights activists.
Justice Cyriac Joseph’s selection is being opposed on ground of the sexist and anti woman bias displayed during his years of Judgeship. Further there is nothing to show any expertise in human rights or interest during his years on the Bench, whereas there is evidence to the contrary.
As long as NHRC is staffed by such persons it will not discharge its mandate. If you agree with the statement please endorse the same. Let us try and reclaim these institutions.
PLEASE NOTE : ENDORSEMENTS ARE TO BE SENT ONLY TO
Vikash Kumar <vikash@wghr.org.

Public Statement Opposing Selection of Mr. S.C.Sinha (IPS – former NIA Chief) and Justice Cyriac Joseph (former Judge of Supreme Court of India) to the NHRC

As members of human rights organisations, women’s rights groups, lawyers, academics and activists, who are engaged with a range of human rights issues we express our strong opposition and disagreement with the recent selections of new members to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). We assert that the guiding principles for appointing members to the NHRC are: that they must be persons with a proven track record and experience in the field of human rights; the composition must reflect the plurality and diversity of peoples, particularly the vulnerable and marginalised communities in the country; and the process must be transparent and the appointments credible and must inspire confidence.

We are disturbed to learn from media reports that the Appointment Committee of the NHRC has completed its selection process for the two positions which became vacant with the retirement of Mr. P.C. Sharma (IPS retd.) on 27th June 2012 and Justice G.P. Mathur on 18th Jan’ 2013, with the selection of:

[i] Mr. S.C. Sinha, Former Chief of the National Investigating Agency [NIA]

[ii] Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph, Former Judge of  the Supreme Court of  India who retired on 27thJan’ 2012

It is noteworthy that serious and credible objections have been raised against these names by 2 members of the statutory Appointments Committee of the NHRC viz. the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

The Paris Principles 1993 prescribe the minimum standards required by national human rights institutions to be considered credible and to operate effectively, among which the composition of the Commission is crucial. The Paris Principles underscore pluralism, diversity and transparency. The International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Sub-Committee on Accreditation (ICC-SCA), has on 9th June, 2011, recommended that the limited recruitment process of the Indian NHRC be altered as it restricts diversity and plurality in membership.1The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekkagya, after an official country visit to India has also recommended “that the functioning of the national commission be strengthened by, inter alia, broadening the selection criteria for the appointment of the Chair and diversifying the composition of the Commission, including regarding gender”2.

It is important to highlight that the vacancy created by the completion of tenure of Mr. P.C. Sharma IPS [Retd.], belongs to the category under Sec. 3(2)(d) of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, which provides for, ”two Members to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights’.

It is indeed shocking and shameful that the government has selected a former IPS police officer, Mr. S.C. Sinha, former NIA Chief, as member of NHRC under this clause. It is a matter of record that the highest number of complaints received by the NHRC annually are against police torture, harassment and brutality. This appointment is in contravention of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the Paris Principles, and amounts to an abuse of power. In a country that boasts of a large number of prominent human rights and women’s rights activists, the appointment of a Police Officer under this category, is unacceptable and deserves to be set aside.

The consistent violation of the mandate of the Protection of Human Rights Act, the Paris Principles and the principles of pluralism and diversity is apparent from the following facts:-

1.      The NHRC, India has hitherto been only comprised – other than the judges appointed to it – by representatives who are retired senior bureaucrats – IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS etc.;

2.      NHRC, India has been ‘advised’ in the recent ICC recommendations that the NHRCI has not had a woman member for the past 8 years;

3.      There is no one representing the members of the SCs and STs or Minorities on the NHRCI as of now;

4.      Further, there has also not been a single member representing civil society since the inception of the NHRC, India.

We wish to underscore the fact that for over 19 years, since the constitution of the NHRC there has not been a single representative from the human rights, women’s rights or democratic rights movement, appointed to the NHRC, despite a very vibrant and active civil society movement in the country society. The members of the NHRC have on each occasion been selected from retired IAS, IPS, IFS, and IRS etc. The list of persons who have in the past been appointed against this particular category of statutorily reserved for persons engaged with human rights is enclosed as Annexure A. Conspicuous by their absence from this list are human rights and women’s rights activists. No person belonging to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe has ever been appointed as a member of the NHRC. NHRC records themselves reveal that dalits, adivasis, religious minorities and persons from the North-East face severe violations and deprivations, yet not a single activist from these constituencies has ever been appointed to the NHRC.

It deserves special mention that for the last 8 years and 7 months, since 27th Aug’ 2004, when Justice Ms. Sujata V. Manohar, completed her term, i.e. 8 years and 7 months ago, no woman has ever been appointed as a memebr of the NHRC. This glaring fact reflects not only the embedded prejudice that operates in myriad ways to exclude women but also violates the constitutional mandate of equality and non discrimination. It is distressing and unpardonable that at a juncture when the Justice Verma Committee Report has observed that violence against women is a manifestation of the discrimination and inequality suffered by women, the government is still reluctant to discharge its obligation and continues to deprive women of equal opportunity. The ICC-SCA, in General Observations 2.1 interpreted the Paris Principles as: Ensuring Pluralism, and “further emphasizes that the principle of pluralism includes the meaningful participation of women in the National Institution”.

We have also learnt that the Appointments Committee has selected Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph, who had retired from the Supreme Court of India on 27th January 2012, to fill the vacancy in the category of a member who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court of India. It is apparent from a holistic reading of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, that any interpretation of this clause for purposes of appointment to the NHRC, would inherently require that the Judge must have an established and credible record of respecting, protecting and promoting human rights. Further there should not even be a whisper of allegation against him of discrimination or prejudice against women, dalits, religious or ethnic minorities and others. Any such allegation in his personal or public life, should disqualify the Judge from membership of the NHRC. Moral integrity demands not only that the member of the NHRC should not be monetarily corrupt but that he should be free of bias and should have an abiding faith and resolve in the charter of human rights and principles of equality.

It is to be recalled that Justice Cyriac Joseph was earlier selected to be appointed as the Chairman of Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), New Delhi after Justice S. B. Sinha. Justice Sinha during his judgeship was known for being a workaholic. But due to some ‘reports’ from an “agency” to the Chief Justice before taking a final decision on Justice Joseph’s appointment to the TDSAT, but contained  ‘observations’ on the former judge’s “style of functioning”. In particular, the report had commented on alleged delays in delivering verdicts. It is now known that during his period of service of 1300 days on the Supreme Court from 7th July 2008 to 27th January 2012, J. Cyriac Joseph delivered only 10 judgments in all on the following dates : 18th October 2011, 14th November 2011 (3 judgments), 15th November 2011, 16th December 2011 [ 2 judgments] 25th January 2012 and 27thJanuary 0212 [ 2 judgments]. How a Judge found unfit for the post of TDSAT chairman owing to his working style is fit for membership of the NHRC is inexplicable. The spate of violations experienced by people across the country demands from the members of the NHRC very high levels of integrity, commitment and efficiency, as the right to life and dignity of the most disadvantaged is at stake.

We invite your attention to Article 51A of the Indian Constitution which requires that all citizens renounce practices derogatory of women. This is particularly expected of judges who swear on oath of allegiance to the constitution.

A judge both in his judgments and in his conduct in court is expected to be respectful of women including women lawyers. Justice Cyriac Joseph is reputed to have made extremely derogatory remarks in the presence of women lawyers during the course of arguments in court causing harassment to them. That apart, it has been alleged against him that he attempted to interfere with pending investigations in a criminal prosecution for murder of a nun Sister Abhaya  in Kerala by visiting the forensic laboratory where analysis of the narco analysis test of the accused was being conducted, while he was a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Kozhikode Bar Association passed a resolution against Justice Cyriac Joseph demanding an investigation into his role and suspending him from work for that period.

Far from demonstrating a track record of commitment to human rights he has demonstrated a derogatory attitude towards women. Such a person cannot be considered to be qualified for appointment as a member of the NHRC.

We therefore urge the government to immediately rescind both the selections made to the NHRC as the same violate the letter and spirit of The Protection of Human Rights Act, the Paris Principles and make a mockery of the mission and purpose of the NHRC. These appointments do not stand the test of credibility, transparency and plurality. It is imperative that a woman member actively engaged with human rights, and associated with the most marginalized communities is appointed to the NHRC to rectify the continuing imbalance and non-representational character of this institution. The government, to inspire confidence amongst the people of India in the NHRC, needs to demonstrate the track record of individuals that qualifies them for membership of the NHRC. If the government is also serious about retaining the global credibility of the NHRC appointing individuals such as Justice Cyriac Joseph and Mr. S.C. Sinha as members will once again call the attention of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions to the serious flaws that mark the appointment process for the NHRC. The damage that can be caused by such ill-advised appointments can even lead to the downgrading of the NHRC from the ‘A’ status that it currently enjoys.

Endorsed by:

Vrinda Grover, Lawyer, Delhi

Miloon Kothari, Convenor, WGHR

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human Rights Activist, Mumbai

1 International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the promotion and protection of Human Rights, Report and Recommendations of the Session of the Sub-Committee on Accreditation — 2011, ICC: Geneva, pp. 13-15. Available at:http://nhri.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/ICCAccreditation/Documents/SCA%20REPORT%20MAY%202011%20-%20FINAL%20%28with%20annexes%29.pdf

2 A/HRC/22/47 , para 52

Maharshtra – 2012 drought worse than in 1972; study blames govt mishandling


Ketaki Ghoge , Hindustan times , April 4, 2013

MUMBAI: The drought looming in one-third of the state has been compared to that in 1972. Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, among others, termed it as worse than the one the state faced 40 years back.

The answer to this remark can be traced more to the government’s failure in agriculture and water management than nature’s wrath.

South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), a network of organisations working on water- related issues, compared and analysed rainfall figures from June to October in 1972 and 2012 in 17 drought-affected districts and found that rainfall in 1972 was much lower than in 2012 for every month except June.

The figures show that in 2012, eight districts witnessed more than 50% deficit rainfall in June, none in July, three districts had 50% deficit rainfall in August, one district in September and two districts in October.

In 1972, three districts witnessed more than 50% deficit rainfall in June, nine districts in July, nine in August, six in September and 17 in October.

In 1971 too, rainfall was low. But in 2011, the rainfall was above average and most of the dams were full.

SANDRP argued that in the intervening 40 years, Maharashtra has been able to build big dams and it should have been able to store more water and reduce the impact of rainfall deficit. However, big dams starting with Jayakwadi, Ujani and Dudhana have nearly 0 % live storage as of now.

One of the reasons that SANDRP attributes this to is sugarcane farming. Overall, the area under sugarcane in Maharashtra increased from 167,000 hectares in 1972 to 102,2000 hectares in 2012. “Solapur, Pune, Ahmednagar, Satara, Sangli, Jalna, Osmanabad, Beed, Latur, Nasik, Parbhani and Aurangabad , all drought prone and drought affected districts of the state, are also major sugarcane producing districts. They collectively produce 79.5 % of sugarcane of Maharashtra and more than a quarter of sugarcane production of the country in 2012,” said Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP. The repeated drought cycle has not stopped farmers from taking up sugarcane farming and the government has failed to put any restrictions on this waterguzzling farming or control water releases upstream from the big dams.

Research by South Asia

Inspiration on Investigative Journalism- How ICIJ’s Project Team Analyzed the Offshore Files


Networking in the offshore world – ICIJ used advanced tools like Nuix to see how offshore providers linked up.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’exploration of the secretive world of offshore companies and trusts began after a computer hard drive packed with corporate data and personal information and e-mails arrived in the mail.

Gerard Ryle, ICIJ’s director, obtained the data trove as a result of his three-year investigation of Australia’s Firepower scandal, a case involving offshore havens and corporate fraud.

The offshore information totaled more than 260 gigabytes of useful data. ICIJ’s analysis of the hard drive showed that it held about 2.5 million files, including more than 2 million e-mails that help chart the offshore industry over a long period of explosive growth.  It is one of the biggest collections of leaked data ever gathered and analyzed by a team of investigative journalists.

The drive contained four large databases plus half a million text, PDF, spreadsheet, image and web files. Analysis by ICIJ’s data experts showed that the data originated in 10 offshore jurisdictions, including the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and Singapore.  It included details of more than 122,000 offshore companies or trusts, nearly 12,000 intermediaries (agents or “introducers”), and about 130,000 records on the people and agents who run, own, benefit from or hide behind offshore companies.

When ICIJ further analyzed the data using sophisticated matching software, it found that about 40 percent of files and emails were duplicates.

The people identified in ICIJ’s analysis of the data are shareholders, directors, secretaries and nominees of companies and trustees, “settlors” or “protectors” of offshore trusts, as well as power-of-attorney holders who direct the actions of third parties. Many of the structures are designed to conceal the true ownership and control of assets placed offshore.   Their identified addresses are spread across over more than 170 countries and territories.

A large number of positions are held by so called “nominee directors,” whose names appear again and again, sometimes in hundreds of companies.  Nominee directors are people who, for a fee, lend their names as office holders of companies they know little about.  It is a legal device widely utilized in the offshore world – akin to having your motor vehicle registered in the name of a stranger.

The records indicated that company directors and shareholders were often nominee companies, law firms or other types of “corporate persons,” some of which were managed and owned by still other nominees and companies.

ICIJ’s data analysis showed that the people setting up offshore entities lived most often in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Another important group of clients comes from Russia and former Soviet republics.  This helps explain why the second-largest source of capital investment flowing into China is the tiny offshore tax haven of the British Virgin Islands.  Similarly, a large source of investment flowing into Russia is from Cyprus, a country that also features heavily in the data – and whose financial stability was recently undermined by a crisis precipitated by Cypriot-based banks being bloated by Russian money.

ICIJ’s team of 86 investigative journalists from 46 countries represents one of the biggest cross-border investigative partnerships in journalism history. Unique digital systems supported private document and information sharing, as well as collaborative research. These included a message center hosted in Europe and a U.S.-based secure online search system.  Team members also used a secure, private online bulletin board system to share stories and tips.

The project team’s attempts to use encrypted e-mail systems such as PGP (“Pretty Good Privacy”) were abandoned because of complexity and unreliability that slowed down information sharing. Studies have shown that police and government agents – and even terrorists – also struggle to use secure e-mail systems effectively.  Other complex cryptographic systems popular with computer hackers were not considered for the same reasons.  While many team members had sophisticated computer knowledge and could use such tools well, many more did not.

Tackling the data

Analyzing the high volume of information was the team’s first and central challenge.  With this much data, relevant information, and good stories, cannot be found just “going and looking.”  What’s needed is to use “free text retrieval” (FTR) software systems.

Modern FTR systems can work with huge volumes of unsorted data, many times larger than even in this landmark investigative project.  They pre-index every number, word and name, making it possible for complex queries to be completed in milliseconds. The searches are akin to using advanced features on Google or other internet search engines but are more sophisticated – and, critically, are private and secure.

The use of FTR, as well as relevant features such as timelines that tools can extract and display, have been critical to the success of the project.  It sounds complicated, but still boils down to asking one of the most important questions that investigative journalists ask: “Who knew what, when?”

In their modern form, high-end FTR and analysis systems have been sold for more than a decade, in large quantities, to intelligence agencies, law firms and commercial corporations.  Journalism is just catching up.  Many of the tools are too expensive for most journalism organizations and may be too sophisticated for most to use. Perhaps the best-known intelligence analysis system, i2 Analysts Notebook, has been used by very few journalists or news organizations.

The major software tools used for the Offshore Project wereNUIX of Sydney, Australia, and dtSearch of Bethesda, Md.  NUIX Pty Ltd provided ICIJ with a limited number of licenses to use its fully featured high-end e-discovery software, free of charge. The listed cost for the NUIX software was higher than a non-profit organization like the ICIJ could afford, if the software had not been donated.

Computer programmers in Germany, the UK and Costa Rica designed sophisticated data mining and cleaning software for ICIJ to support data research. Before it was used, though, manual analysis had established much country-by-country identification of clients and thus provided an initial look at the scope and range of clients. This painstaking work was done in New Zealand and it proved crucial in early decisions on what countries ICIJ needed reporters to work in.

ICIJ’s online search and retrieval system – named Interdata – was developed and deployed by a British programmer in less than two weeks in December 2012 to support an urgent need to get relevant documents and files out faster for research by dozens of new journalists who were joining the expanding Offshore Project.

Interdata allowed team members to access and download copies of any of the offshore documents that were relevant to their countries and interests.  Journalists using the Interdata system have to date made over 28,000 online searches and downloaded more than 53,000 documents.

Unreadable documents

Before loading Interdata or using NUIX or similar analysis tools, the team’s data experts had to deal with a major problem affecting tens of thousands of the leaked documents.  Computers could not automatically read them because they were photographs or other images that do not contain text.

The solution was large scale re-scanning of unreadable files by optical character recognition (OCR) software that identifies and writes in the names and numbers on top of the images.  This brought to the surface dozens of important new documents, including passports, contracts and letters explaining how companies were controlled.

ICIJ’s offshore 260-gigabyte data collection is more than 160 times larger in size as measured in gigabytes than the U.S. State Department cables leaked to and published by Wikileaks in 2010.  The formats of the data that ICIJ’s team worked with were more complex and diffuse than the collected U.S. State Department cables passed to Wikileaks, and needed more levels of analysis.

One specially built program has been prepared to check and match names and addresses, and has spotted thousands of cases where the same person’s data has been entered numerous times in different ways for different companies. Another special program identifies the country associated with each person and company, even when geographic data has not been entered fully or correctly.

Unlike the U.S. cables and war logs released by Wikileaks, the offshore data was not structured or clean.  As delivered, it consisted of a large and mainly unsorted collation of company and trust documents and instructions, e-mails, large and small databases and spreadsheets, personal identity documents, accounting information and agents’ and companies’ internal papers and reports.

As might be expected in any office computer network, many documents and e-mails had been shared and copied many times over.  Some of the programs ICIJ used could automatically sift out duplicates, but others could not.

Large databases detailing offshore companies and the people who had set up and operated them were found in the data.  Over three months, ICIJ recovered and rebuilt the databases in an effort to run them in their original format. When the database reconstruction was done, there were surprises.  The databases had been built to record and check who really lay behind each company and trust, as required by international regulations on money laundering and “due diligence.”   ICIJ’s journalists hoped the data as to who was behind a company was a click away.

In fact, database entries for “beneficial owners” were often empty. Often too, the offshore services providers had passed the legal responsibility for holding the information to intermediaries in other countries who had brought the client to the service provider.   The lesson was that the empty fields were not an accident; it was the design.

A frustrating but rewarding road

In the rebuilt databases, researchers were excited by occasional electronic flashes. Sometimes, on accessing a company record, an alert screen popped up over the registered data, giving a name and contact details for the person or persons who really owned the company and its assets.   A further feature in one database masked a deeper layer of secrecy, identifying thousands of people as hidden stand-ins.

ICIJ’s fundamental lesson from the Offshore Project data has been patience and perseverance. Many members started by feeding in lists of names of politicians, tycoons, suspected or convicted fraudsters and the like, hoping that bank accounts and scam plots would just pop out.  It was a frustrating road to follow.  The data was not like that.

But persistently following leads through incomplete data and documents yielded some great rewards: not just occasional and unexpected top names, but also many more nuanced and complex schemes for hiding wealth.  Some of the schemes spotted, although well known in the offshore trade, have not been described publicly before.  Patience was rewarded when this data opened new windows on the offshore world.

Duncan Campbell (U.K.), a founding member of ICIJ, is the ICIJ Data Journalism Manager for the Offshore Project and a contributing journalist.  ProgrammersSebastian Mondial (Germany), Matthew Fowler (UK), Rigoberto Carvajal and Matthew Caruana (Costa Rica) provided custom software design, programming and data support. The initial manual analysis of the client names was done by ICIJ memberNicky Hager and Barbara Mare (New Zealand). ICIJ member Giannina Segnini oversaw the work in Costa Rica.

 

Muslim Girls want to study – Delhi Government School says NO #WTF


ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION

Aggarwal Bhawan, G. T. Road, Tis Hazari, Delhi -110054

 M- 09811101923, 9810133325

05/04/2013

To

Prof. Ms. Kiran Walia,

Education Minister,

Government of NCT of Delhi

Secretariat, I.P. Estate,

New Delhi-110002

 

Sub: Muslim Girls want to study – Delhi Government School says NO

Dear Madam,

3 young girls in the age group 6-7 years belonging to Muslim Community have come to my office today morning complaining that they want to go to school to study but a Delhi Government School at Patparganj is not admitting them in school on the excuse that the school does not have seats for them. It is all shocking that despite Constitutional Guarantee to these children, a State-run school has denied them admission.  It appears that the Government is least interested in the education of the children belonging to the minority community like Muslim, otherwise it would not have happened.

Nasima Khatoon (DOB 26.01.2006) d/o Mohd Mustafa, Shenaj (DOB 07.08.2007) d/o Sadray Alam (M-9213982480) and Jasmeen (DOB 22.10.2006) d/o Aslam, all resident of E 77/224, Nehru Camp, I.P. Extension, Patpar Ganj, Delhi-110092 have been illegally denied admission by  Sarvodya Kanya Vidyayala, Patparganj, Delhi-91.  It is a very serious matter.  Even after 65 years of independence and three years of RTE Act, 2009, the Government Schools are still not sensitive and child-friendly.

You are requested to kindly look into the matter and do the needful on urgent basis.

With regards,

Ashok Agarwal, Advocate

National President, AIPA

M-09811101923

 

LIFE and death of Ghulam Yazdani


In this opaque netherland of terrorism-counter terrorism, it is not just loyalties that change sides, but entire sides overturn and mirror each other in grotesque ways. The good guys battling the evil ones is a fantasy manufactured by think-tanks and the ‘experts’ industry 

Manisha Sethi Delhi 

There are two ways to recreate the short life of Ghulam Yazdani, or Naveed, as he was called at home. The first relies on Intelligence Bureau (IB) dossiers, interrogation reports and news reports in the media based on the first two. In this narrative, Yazdani appears as an engineering student who turned to a life of terrorism and met his ‘well-deserved’ end at the hands of the police in 2006. A native of Nalgonda, Yazdani was said to have been among the 14 men from Andhra Pradesh (AP) who were recruited to be trained by the Lashkar in Pakistan after the Gujarat killings in 2002. The alleged mastermind of Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar Saibaba temple blast in 2002, the Haren Pandya murder in Ahmedabad in 2003, the suicide attack on the STF headquarters in Hyderabad in 2005, and the bombing of the Delhi-Patna Shramjeevi Express at Jaunpur in 2005, Yazdani quickly rose to head the Lashkar’s South India operations and was among the most wanted men on the AP police list. He had also allegedly hatched a plan to blow up a Ganesh temple near Secunderabad railway station.(1)

And then, there is a more complex plot.

Leave, for the moment, these secret documents and look at the court records. In late 1999, Manik Prabhu Medical Stores, Hyderabad, owned by an RSS worker, witnessed a shootout, leaving the owner’s brother, Devender, dead. An FIR was lodged in the Saidabad police station.(2) The New Year brought the Task Force to Yazdani’s house. He was taken away but not produced before a magistrate. Precisely a month after Yazdani had disappeared, he was formally arrested by the Saidabad police.

The investigation was transferred to the CID in the month of May. The new agency booked a completely different set of accused; among them was Syed Maqbool, recently in the limelight for apparently revealing that Dilsukhnagar was on the hit-list of terrorists.

In the period when Yazdani was in the custody of the Task Force, two more cases were slapped against him. In the first, which was also transferred to the CID, Yazdani was charged with conspiracy and waging war against the nation; in the second, lodged just a day before he was produced in court, the police showed recovery of detonators and pistols, and booked him under the Arms Act and Explosive Substances Act.(3)

Released on bail, Yazdani was ultimately discharged from the Devender murder case and acquitted in the other two cases.

It is not clear how Yazdani came to be called the architect of the Pandya murder, but in circles whose denizens go by the label of ‘security experts’, this has become an article of faith. Yazdani, in fact, is not named an accused in the Pandya murder case.

 We do not know what he did in those intervening years. How he lived, where he lived. We will never know perhaps 

In the years closely following the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the cult of the Hinduhridaysamrat was being crafted. The numerous conspiracies directed against Narendra Modi were crucial in fashioning the principal Hindutva icon and cementing the loyalties of his followers.

This was the period when the police and investigating agencies in Gujarat claimed to have foiled a series of potential assassination attempts on Modi by liquidating ‘terrorists’.(4) Most of them are turning out to be fake encounters, with several of Modi’s top cops currently in jail, or under scrutiny. Registration of POTA cases also surged: all those booked under POTA were Muslims accused of either plotting to kill BJP leaders or conspiring to terrorize Hindus of Gujarat.(5)

The most gargantuan of these was the Gujarat ISI Conspiracy Case, more popularly known as the ‘DCB 6’ case, registered in April 2003, a month after Pandya was killed. It had a mammoth list of over 80 accused — a list which kept swelling well after the chargesheets had been filed, and POTA had been repealed.(6)

Yazdani was at home when the news of ‘Hyderabad boys’ being herded to Gujarat in the DCB 6 case started appearing. Similar conspiracy cases were filed in Andhra against all those implicated in the DCB 6 case. Two cases in Nalgonda district were registered against Yazdani where he was declared ‘absconding accused’.(7) One evening, Yazdani did not return home. About 15 days later, his father, old Ghulam Mustafa, received a call from him. Yazdani said he had fled to escape being ensnared in another case again. He refused to divulge his location for fear that he would be arrested.

“I never saw my brother after that,” Ghulam Rabbani tells me over the phone. “We only saw his dead body.”

We do not know what he did in those intervening years. How he lived, where he lived. We will never know perhaps.

Intelligence reports say he rose to prominence in the Lashkar ranks, planning, for example, the suicide attack on the Special Task Force (STF) headquarters in Hyderabad. Did he?

A man with backpack walked into the deserted STF headquarters — Dussehra eve had kept most STF personnel away from office — and blew himself up. His severed head and torso were recovered from outside the office. How he was identified as Mohtasin Bilal, a Bangladeshi national, carrying out the HUJI-B’s first such operation,(8) is itself interesting.From the charred debris of this human bomb, investigators recovered a suicide note(9), and a rubber slipper with a tell-all price tag that read ‘Taka 100’.(10) These clues, salvaged extraordinarily from the burnt body, disclosed to the investigators his identity!

“Two and half month’s later, on December 27, 2005,” we learn that “three HuJI-B militants involved in the Hyderabad attack were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police.”(11)Less than two weeks later, Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA) Vijay Nambiar and National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) Additional Secretary SD Pradhan met US Deputy Chief of Mission in Delhi Robert Blake to “pledge to seek the NSA’s approval for greater intelligence sharing on terrorism threats within India”. The discussion fixated on terror threats in the South.

It is not clear how Yazdani was branded the architect of Haren Pandya’s murder, but in circles of ‘security experts’, this has become an article of faith. Yazdani, in fact, is not named an accused in the Pandya murder case

Blake, in his confidential cable dispatch that day, wrote: “Pradhan also noted that the terrorists themselves are different and more adaptable. For example, ‘Arshad,’ who was arrested on December 18 in connection with the October 12 suicide attack on the Hyderabad Police Special Task Force office, ‘was a police informer who benefited from a police security escort’.”(12)

Interrogation reports made their way into expert commentary and created ‘mounting evidence’ of Yazdani’s guilt:

“Previously in August 2005, police had arrested Mohammad Ibrahim, a resident of Hyderabad, who revealed details of his travels in Bangladesh in 2004, his meetings with Ghulam Yazdani, the person involved in the Pandya murder in Gujarat on March 23, 2003, and his encounters with several HuJI terrorists from India and Pakistan. Four months before his arrest, in April 2005, Ibrahim had been sent to Karachi on a Bangladeshi passport, from where he was taken to an ISI camp in Balochistan.”(13)

Ibrahim had been arrested on charges of conspiracy and sedition.(14) In November 2005, Yazdani’s brother, then a first-year student of MCA at Osmania University PG College at Saidabad, was arrested in the case and charged with financially supporting Ibrahim in his terrorist activities.

He learnt later that he had been declared ‘absconder’ even as he was attending classes at his college.
In 2009, the First Additional Metropolitan Magistrate acquitted both Ibrahim and Yazdani’s brother of all charges
, as the prosecution could bring forth no evidence to substantiate the charges.(15) Meanwhile, however, Ghulam Rabbani’s arrest — added to the legend of the ‘dreaded absconder’ Yazdani.(16)

Yazdani’s father’s impassioned plea to his son to return home in January 2006, at the office of the then ACP, Rajiv Trivedi, was widely reported in the press. The following month, Ghulam Mustafa received a call from Trivedi. He enquired about Yazdani’s physical features and identification marks, and very specifically, if he spoke haltingly. When Mustafa confirmed this, he was advised to forget about Yazdani and focus on the other sons. Trivedi’s words, says the family, appeared ominous to them even then.

Yazdani’s brother learnt later that he had been declared ‘absconder’ even as he was attending classes at his college

On the evening of March 7, three bombs exploded in Varanasi. The next morning, news agencies flashed the encounter killing of Yazdani and another man at the hands of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police. Lashkar terrorists had been gunned down in the early hours of the morning in Bawana, the last outpost of Delhi.(17)

This is how a Delhi Police press release announcing gallantry awards for the architect of the encounter — and the hero of the current Liyaqat Ali Shah arrest(18) — described the encounter:

“Information was received that 2 Let militants namely Ghulam Yezdani and Kajol would be arriving at Alipur Narela Road, Holambi Kalan T Point on 8.3.06. Police team headed by ACP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav along with Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma reached Alipur Narela Road and took positions at the strategic points. When terrorists reached the spot, ACP Sanjeev Yadav and Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma disclosed the identity of the police team and asked the militants to surrender. Both the militants were later on identified as Ghulam Yazdani @ Naved … Ahsan Ullah Hasan @ Kabab Mohd @ Shahbaz Mohd @ SajidMehmood @ Shumon @ Jamil @ Ahmed @ Kajol r/o Chorangi Mor, Jheel chuli, Faridpur, Bangladesh. The militants did not pay to the heed and started firing at the approaching police party. ACP Sanjeev Yadav without caring for their life, faced hail of bullets fired by terrorist Ahsan Ullah Hasan @ Kajol and gave chase to him. The militant was constantly and indiscriminately firing towards him. Unfazed and undeterred Sh. Sanjeev Kumar Yadav in self defence and in order to apprehend the militants returned fire and shot dead Kajol. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma on the other hand was facing indiscriminate firing from other militant Yezdani who had taken position behind a wall in the field. Inspector Sharma crawled on the road without caring for bodily injuries and took position so that the militant could not take the benefit of boundary wall.  During exchange of fire the militant was shot dead… …Recognizing the gallant act, ACP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav has been conferred President Police Medal for Gallantry while (Late) Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma has been awarded 1st Bar to President’s Police Medal for Gallantry.”(19)

This sparse prose is the template for almost all encounter killings in Delhi. Only the names of the victims change. 

The family says that the body bore marks of torture, there were deep holes as though he had been drilled into and the head was misshapen. In the absence of a post-mortem report, and the reluctance of the Delhi Police to hand over Yazdani’s body to the family, despite a High Court order directing them to do so, is there any reason to disbelieve them? (20)

Let’s return briefly to Syed Maqbool. A small news item, which has not rivalled the popularity of his interrogation report leaked by Delhi Police, quotes ‘sources’ to say that Maqbool had become a police informant after his acquittal in the Devender murder case, and that his arrest was a consequence of rivalry between the Delhi Police and the Maharashtra ATS.(21) Recall also Pradhan’s frank admission to the US Deputy Chief of Mission that the accused in the STF attack was a police informer.

The family says that the body bore marks of torture, there were deep holes as though he had been drilled into and the head was misshappen

Did persistent implication in terror cases push Yazdani to seek refuge with groups he was accused of being associated with? Did the police force him to turn informer for them? Was Yazdani used cynically by agencies and then disposed of when it suited them? Was he already in the custody of one agency or another when the telephone call was made to his father?

These are not answers likely to emerge from the dossiers of the IB, reproduced endlessly till they acquire the sanctity of truth.

In this opaque netherland of terrorism-counter terrorism, it is not just loyalties that change sides but entire sides overturn and mirror each other in grotesque ways. The good guys battling the evil ones is a fantasy manufactured by think-tanks and the ‘experts’ industry.

In the confidential dispatch that Blake, sent home, he quoted Nambiar’s assurance to him that the author of Behind Bangalore: The Origins of the Long Jihad(22), “obviously has been briefed, most likely by the Intelligence Bureau (IB)”.

 

References:

(1)For typical stories, see ‘Yazdani belonged to Nalagonda’ by S Ramu, March 9, 2006, The Hindu; ‘The story of LeT’s south India chief’ by SyedAminJafri in Hyderabad, March 16, 2006, Rediffnews, http://www.rediff.co.in/news/2006/mar/16let.htm and Praveen Swami (2008): The Well-Tempered Jihad: the Politics and Practice of post-2002 Islamist terrorism in India, Contemporary South Asia, 16:3, 303-322.

(2)Crime number 195/1999, Saidabad PS.

(3) Crime No. 1/2000, Saidabad PS and Crime No. 33/2000, Saidabad PS.

(4)For an exhaustive list, see Amnesty Document, India: A Pattern of Unlawful Killings by the Gujarat Police, Urgent Need for Effective Investigations, AI Index: ASA 20/011/2007 (Public).

(5) See ‘Production of Terrorists Act’ by MukulSinha for a full list of POTA cases in Gujarat. http://nsm.org.in/2008/09/29/pota-production-of-terrorist-act/

(6) ISI conspiracy case keeps draconian law alive in Gujarat, TNN, November 24, 2004.http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2004-1124/ahmedabad/27156186_1_conspiracy-case-pandya-murder-hn-jhalaTOI.

(7) One Town Police Station and NarkepalliPoilce Station. These were also cases of sedition, including sections 120 B, 121, 121 A, 124 A, 153 A, 153 B etc.

(8)Swami, ‘Well-Tempered Jihad’, p. 309.

(9) ‘Human Bomb in Andhra’, The Telegraph, Friday, October 14, 2005.http://www.telegraphindia.com/1051014/asp/nation/story_5352734.asp

(10) ‘Terror’s southern gateway’ By NeenaGopal, Gulf News, February 9, 2006. http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists/terror-s-southern-gateway-1.224519

(11) HUJI: Lengthening Shadow of Terror’ by Bibhu Prasad Routray, SAIR 31/7/06

Aug 1, 2006. http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/sair/Archives/5_3.htm

(12) ‘D/nsa Supports Intel Sharing On Terrorism; Says Terror In South Not New But Tactics And Targets Are’; Jan 9, 2006, Confidential Section 01 OF 06 New Delhi 000161. Accessed at: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/01/06NEWDELHI161.html

(13) ‘HUJI: Lengthening Shadow of Terror’ by Bibhu Prasad Routray, SAIR 31/7/06

Aug 1, 2006.

(14) Crime no. 234/ 2005, Gopalapuram PS, Secunderabad.

(15) Sessions Case no. 192 of 2006, Judgement pronounced by ShriSreeram Murthy, First Additional Metropolitan Magistrate, November 12, 2007.  See also, ‘Court lets off 3 in conspiracy case’, TNN, November 13, 2007,http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2007-11-13/hyderabad/27976059_1_conspiracy-case-delhi-police-office-bomb-blast-case. Rabbani’s experience in the interrogation room left him a
changed man.  Upon receiving bail, he quit his MCA and enrolled in a law college, and
is today a practising lawyer.
Personal conversation.

(16) See for example, ‘Yazdani belonged to Nalagonda’, The Hindu, op. cit. Also, “Nalgonda supplies ‘terrorists’ in hordes” by Koride Mahesh, TNN, March 10, 2006. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2006-03-10/hyderabad/27824815_1_nalgonda-isi-activities-terrorist-activities.

(17) ‘Two LeT Ultras shot dead in Delhi Encounter’, March 8, 2006, PTI. Accessed at:http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=368758.

(18) “‘Delhi Cops’ ‘fidayeen’ Liaqat Shah is ex militant travelling with family”, Mir Ehsan, Vijaita Singh, March 26, 2013. http://m.indianexpress.com/news/delhi-cops-fidayeen-is-exmilitant-travel…

(19) Gallantry Awards to Delhi Police Personnel (Delhi Police Press Release; 25.01.2009) accessed at: delhipolice.nic.in/home/backup/25-01-2009.doc.

(20) ‘Encounter victim’s kin stage dharna, seek CBI probe’ by Omer Farooq, The Pioneer, 08/05/2007. Reproduced at:http://www.indiarightsonline.com/Sabrang/relipolcom16.nsf/5e7647d942f529c9e5256c3100376e2e/d9fa52a5d7ec4c03652572f00044105f?OpenDocument. Also personal conversation with family.

(21) See ‘Murder accused spilled the beans on Indian Mujahideenrecce’, TNN, 23
February 2013, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-02-23/hyderabad/3725665….

(22) Praveen Swami, 9 January 2006,http://www.hindu.com/2006/01/09/stories/2006010904441000.htm

 

From the print issue of Hardnews :

APRIL 2013

 

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt moves HC in custodial torture case


Sanjiv Bhatt
TNN | Apr 5, 2013, 03.23 AM IST

AHMEDABAD: Suspended IPS officer SanjivBhatt has moved Gujarat high court seeking permission to place as evidence the case diary of a terrorism-related case to defend himself in a custodial torture case in Porbandar.

Bhatt, along with a constable, Vajubhai Chau, is being tried for the custodial torture of a known history-sheeter Naran Sudha, who was taken to Porbandar from Sabarmati Central Jail in 1998 in connection with investigations of a Tada case. Bhatt was posted as superintendent of police in Porbandar then.

Three accused persons in the Tada case were witnesses in this case. During the trial, Bhatt submitted before the trial court that the case diary of the investigating officer of the Tada offence should be placed and the IO should be made an independent witness in this case. The lower court rejected Bhatt’s request, stating that the case diary is for the perusal for the court and IO only; and an accused cannot access it.

Bhatt questioned this decision of the lower court through advocate I H Syed, who contended that the case diary belonged to another offence, in which the suspended IPS is not an accused. Since both offences were separate, the case diary could be placed so that Bhatt could highlight contradictions.

Bhatt was booked under sections 330 and 324 of the IPC, on allegations that he tortured the accused with electric shocks in order to extract a confession in the Tada case. His counsel Syed said that Jadav has been booked for 24 offences like murder, arms act violations, Tada, RDX landings and for waging war against the nation.

“He is a security suspect in the Union war book. Still, the state government is trying to persecute its own officer and defend the history-sheeter, although this is a private complaint,” the lawyer said.

This case will continue on Friday before Justice S R Brahmbhatt.

Bhatt also faces trial in an alleged police atrocity case in Jamnagar. One person had died in this case in 1990. The trial against Bhatt began after the state government withdrew its protection after the cop implicated chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.

 

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