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Indian Terrorists Repeatedly Go Unpunished and Unnoticed
By DILIP D'SOUZA
Computer scientist by training and free-lance journalist & author by choice.
Rediff.com, Jan. 13, 2000
"Few noticed, but Sajjan Kumar was acquitted last week. . . . The police charged them all right, but the police's efforts seem to have ended right there. Additional Sessions Judge R.C. Yaduvanshi, trying the case, observed that the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence against Kumar and Singh. So he acquitted both. Which brought to a close yet another feeble attempt to bring justice to the families of 3,000 Sikhs murdered in 1984. In the wake of what is undoubtedly the worst single crime, the greatest shame, in our half century, this is all those families have had by way of justice: the occasional feeble attempt that meanders into nothing. Naturally, there have been those favourite ruses of the Indian state in the wake of riots: inquiries. They have painted clearly the role played in those riots by Kumar and such other Congress politicians as H.K.L. Bhagat, Lalit Maken, Jagdish Tytler and Dharam Das Shastri."
"Two women who lost their husbands in that nightmare, Darshan Kaur and Satnami Bai, filed one against H.K.L. Bhagat. Four years ago, it actually resulted in a warrant for the man's arrest. He was brought to court. But as politicians do, this one promptly complained of chest pains caused by his entry into court. The pain attracted caustic comment from the judge about how convenient illnesses afflict politicians - but Bhagat went to hospital anyway. Some months later, Satnami Bai, who had previously identified Bhagat as the man who led a mob that attacked her house and burned her husband alive, mysteriously could not identify him any more. Darshan Kaur was left to hint at why: 'I and my children are still getting threats,' she told the court. Yet she had not been cowed - yet. The 'neta with black goggles,' she said to the judge, 'told the rioters to kill the people.' That's the last heard of that case, for nearly four years now. . . . (Maken, of course, was shot dead in 1985.)"
"Few noticed, but Dec. 22 saw a case adjourned yet again because the accused refused to show up. A familiar tale, because it has happened as many as twenty-four times since Oct. 1997. This case is the C.B.I.'s Special Court of Inquiry into the demolition of the Babri Masjid on Dec. 6, 1992. It was initially set up by the Uttar Pradesh police's crime branch three days after the demolition, but turned over entirely to the C.B.I. in Aug. the next year. Leaders such as present Ministers Advani and M.M. Joshi, Uma Bharti, Bal Thackeray and others are accused in the case for their involvement in the demolition. They are charged under a host of Indian Penal Code sections: ranging from 147 (punishment for rioting) to 153(a) (promoting enmity between communities on the basis of religion) to 295 (destruction of a place of a worship) to 395a (dacoity) and many more."
"The inquiry has followed a tortuous, if languorous, route since Aug. 1993. The C.B.I. filed a charge-sheet in Oct. In Aug. 1994, the Special Court was allotted a judge. Three days later, the C.B.I. asked to conduct 'further investigations' in the case, even though it had filed its charge-sheet nearly a year before. In Jan. 1996, 'further investigations' presumably complete, the C.B.I. filed a fresh charge-sheet. One-and-a-half years later, in Sep. 1997, the Special Court ordered charges to be framed against the accused. Immediately, the accused filed petitions challenging this order. Some of those were upheld, staying the Special Court's order to frame charges. Since then, the Court has set 24 successive dates to hear the case - to hear, let's be quite clear, the objections of the accused to the order issued to frame charges. On all those dates, the accused have themselves chosen absence and consequent adjournment."
"[T]he riots that killed 3,000 Indians in 1984 were nothing but terrorism. The riots that the demolition of a mosque set off in 1992 were nothing but terrorism. . . . Mine is a government, a country, unwilling and unable to punish those responsible for such terror."