India's most wanted lists and politics

There is something amiss. A man’s name appears on the list of ‘50 most wanted criminals’ India gives Pakistan, where it believes they are. It turns out that he has been living in Thane, Mumbai. Why has it caused embarrassment about lack of coordination and why has the Home Minister owned up responsibility for the mistake?

Chidambaram called the bungle a “genuine oversight” and a “human error”. He said Wazhul Kamar Khan’s name has now been taken off the list and Pakistan was being informed through Interpol.

“We take responsibility. It is a mistake. How this mistake has happened has been explained. The CBI through Interpol will convey this to Pakistan.”

There was some asinine analysis about how Pakistan will now have the arsenal to taunt us about other names and their veracity. Khan’s name was on that list in 2007 too, which P Chidambaram himself admits to with some gumption. Did Pakistan react then? Did anyone bother at that time? As though Pakistan is about to hand over the other 49 to us. As though names on such lists matter. As though we care about such wanted people.

This ‘feeling bad for the mistake’ is just a smokescreen, not for Pakistan, but for the Indian constituency, and we know which one. The BJP too has jumped in about incompetence! Khan was an accused in the 2003 blasts in Mulund but was released on bail and no chargesheet was filed. This ought to be the real issue. Because Khan is not the only one. There are several people in our jails who do not have any tangible case against them. Why politicise the lack of co-ordination between the Mumbai Police and the Information Bureau when far worse instances are there to be considered?

The reason we have factored in the human error could also be that we can assume Pakistan will raise its eyebrows and ask, “Dawood who?” And that will satisfy us. No running after the don. Let him run his business.

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Yesterday’s news reports were telling us about how Dawood Ibrahim’s brother survived an attack on his life when he was out on his post-diner stroll in Nagpada and then two motorcyclists appeared so he ducked behind a car; his driver/bodyguard took the bullets. As it turns out, today they have discovered that Iqbal Kaskar was at home.

Now they are going through the fine details of who it could be and if this is a new beginning for gang wars. Some police officials say it was a small gang; some say it could be Dawood’s enemies and he may retaliate. Does anyone keep track of the number of murders that take place in the city? It is interesting that the cops are not pointing fingers at Chhota Rajan, Dawood’s biggest foe, except to bring his name is as the usual suspect.They've already caught two guys from Nepal.

One may go a step further and say that it need not be any rival gang at all. Most gangs are now living outside and India is only their pit stop for ‘fuel’ replenishment. The Kaskar family must be in the radar of the authorities, and they know who goes for after-dinner strolls and whose bodyguard is where at any given time.

Whatever it is, this won’t work as bait for Dawood to show up or send his emissaries to wreak vengeance. The possibility of others being used as red herrings cannot be ruled out, though. And of course, the aftermath – encounter killings.

Talk of human error.

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End note:

Rahul Gandhi may or may not have been misquoted about the 74 bodies found after rapes and murders committed by the Uttar Pradesh Police, but his interest in Noida is truly 'grassroots'. His reportage was based on what some villagers told him. The Congress says that all he mentioned was there was a 70-foot area with a heap of ash where bones were found. There are such heaps, in Noida and several other places.

Perhaps, he’d like to bring the Nithari murders and the Aarushi killing to the fore since he is so into Noida these days? There are names, the cases have been dragging on, evidence is on display. What is he waiting for?

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