Ninety-six persons accused in a 2002 post-Godhra riot case have been acquitted by a Gujarat fast-track court for lack of evidence. All of them were booked for burning down houses and damaging properties of the minority community in Motipura area of Himmatnagar taluka on February 28, 2002.
Lack of evidence? Why were the police officers then transferred? Is no one bothered about the fact that it isn’t a question of one or two but 96 people? So, how and why did 96 people get rounded up? If it was for the acts committed, then what counter-evidence is there to prove that they did not carry out those acts?
If they have not, then who did it? Does anyone have answers or even more questions?
Court drops all charges in the Malegaon blasts case of September 2008 against Col Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and nine others under harsh special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), says prosecution failed to show the accused are members of a single organised crime syndicate.
Organised crime ought not to necessarily allude to an organisation. In fact, they did not plant the bombs themselves, so are they innocent? The court stated that the absence of a crime record has worked in their favour. In which case, we need to look at several young people who were arrested under TADA and POTA for terrorist activities only because the authorities had to round up a certain number of ‘suspects’.
The charge sheet clearly says:
All 11 accused were members of a right-wing Hindu extremist organisation called Abhinav Bharat which wanted to establish a Hindu Rashtra through violent means - like planting bombs in different parts of the country. Purohit, a serving army officer, was charged with supplying RDX for the bombs.
If the country’s legal system wants to go soft, then apply the same standards across the board. We have a serving army officer here. Should he be tried by a tribunal set up by the army? We have a sanyasin – should she be tried by some religious body?
They may have belonged to smaller outfits or merely had an individual desire to cause large-scale damage, but they did get together for that purpose. This is how terrorist organisations are formed. Don’t we keep pointing out how Jaish this or that has changed names? It happens there and it can happen here.
Why is this being treated as a local case now and others get national and international importance?
A local BJP leader, Sanjay Bedia, has lodged a complaint against film actor Emraan Hashmi and director-producer Mahesh Bhatt for promoting enmity between different groups and demanded that the police should register an FIR against them.
I have written about Hashmi and let me state that I was disappointed with the press conference he held (I am quite certain it was due to others joining the bandwagon for their own reasons). His earlier move was right and the state minorities’ commission should have handled it. However, the fact is that the seller suddenly discovered that his son who lives overseas wanted the flat. Of course, no one will question this. Let us not ignore what is going on.
Minister of state for home Arif Naseem Khan has decided to intervene in his case and initiated action under Section 153 A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between religious groups) and Section 295 A (insulting a persons religious beliefs).
It is precious that the BJP guy has jumped in as a reaction to rant against Hashmi and others for creating enmity. Why did he not go to the society and check out the status of the NOC? Why did he not confront the seller and check out why he reneged on his intent after taking the Rs 1 lakh token payment? Will he care to go to various apartment buildings and see what is happening and why?
Does he have the courage to face this truth or bring it out in the open? He picks on the victims (and I use the word for someone at the receiving end), and he cannot stand it that they choose to speak up. He, like an increasing number of reasonable people, is delusional in the extreme. They think that they can keep a certain group of people out and when they object they can hit out.
Will someone accuse this Bedia character of being a publicity-seeker? If he is so concerned about not creating enmity, will he write to the Home Minister, the State Minorities Commission and file a PIL against those who do not sell flats to people of certain communities? I will skip other aspects because he seems only interested in enmity between religions.
The case will be heard on August 10. There could be a cop-out of sorts because of the attention it has garnered. But will it end? It isn’t enough for Muslims to raise their voices; everyone who believes in the Indian Constitution must.
The Right Note
The Supreme Court directed the government to ensure that no temple, church, mosque or gurdwara is constructed on a public street or a public space and warned that officials would be dealt with firmly for dereliction of duty.
It is time all religious groups and worshippers respected this. I can speak about Mumbai, at least. It really causes a great deal of problem when the namaaz is offered on the roads, when long queues at temples spill out in main streets as devotees queue up and buy flowers and things for their gods and muck up the traffic, or when a Cross comes up near a promenade and joggers have to skirt the area out of respect while people light candles and pray. It must happen in gurdwaras, too.
There are designated places for such things, so please visit those and spare others. In fact, it demeans religions when they create a nuisance.