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2

Bare facts of the matter as reported by ANS activist Krishna Chandgude

जातपंचायतचे कौर्य : महिलेच्या योनी मार्गात मिरची ची पुड कोंबली..अंनिसमुळे गुन्हा कागदावर.

बारामती जवळील झारगडवाडी येथील हनुमंत शिंदे यांच्या मुलाचे लग्न पंचांना पसंद नसणार्‍या (स्वजातीय ) मुलीशी केले. त्यामुळे वैदू जातपंचायत ने त्यांच्या परीवारास जात बहिष्कृत केले . पुढे त्यांच्या मुलीच्या साखरपुड्यातील वर्‍हाडींना पंचांनी पिटाळून लावले.दि.19 डिसेंबर रोजी ग्रामपंचायत च्या आवारात जातपंचायत बसली.सरपंच ही हजर होते(लोकशाहीची थट्टा ! ).पुन्हा जातीत घेण्यासाठी पंचांनी पाच लाख रुपयांची मागणी केली. पिडीत परीवारास गरीब असल्याने अर्थातच त्यांनी त्याला नकार दिला. पंच चिडले.भांडण झाले. पिडीत परीवार घरी गेल्यावर पंचांनी काठ्या, कुर्‍हाड, तलवारीने हल्ला केला. परीवारील एका महिलेला अर्धनग्न करून मारहाण केली तर दुसर्‍या महिलेच्या योनी मार्गात मिरचीची पुड कोंबली. आवाज ऐकून काही गावकरी मदतीला धावून आले. मात्र आमच्या जातीचे भांडण आम्हीच मिटविणार,इतरांना तो अधिकार नाही, असे सांगून त्यांनीही मारहाण केली. शेवटी आठ गंभीर जखमींना बारामतीच्या रुग्णालयात दाखल करण्यात आले. काल अंधश्रद्धा निर्मूलन समिती च्या कार्यकर्त्यांनी पिडीत कुटुंबियांची भेट घेतली. पोलिसांनी गावकर्याची तक्रार दाखल केली मात्र पिडीतांची जबानी घेतली नसल्याचे समजले. आठ दिवस होऊनही जबाब नोंदवून घेतले नसल्याने पोलीस निरीक्षक चंद्रकांत कांबळे यांच्याशी चर्चा केली.या प्रकरणी राजकीय दबाव जाणवत होता. कारण राष्ट्रवादी काॅग्रेसचे सरपंच असुन इतर जखमी गावकरी राष्ट्रवादी काॅग्रेसचे दुसर्‍या गटाचे आहेत. पोलिसांनी पिडीतांचा पुरवणी एफआयआर व खंडणीचे 385 कलम लावण्याचे कबूल केले. लगेचच कारवाई सुरू केली. परिसरातील अन्य जातपंचायत बंद करण्यासाठी पंचांनी सुसंवाद साधण्याच्या प्रबोधन मोहिमेला त्यांनी होकार दिला.लढू या...बारामती चे 'वार' बघितले.. पवारांच्या भागातील सामाजिक न्यायाचे धिंडवडे पण पाहिले.

अधिक माहितीसाठी संपर्क कृष्णा चांदगुडे 9822630378

In Zhargadwadi near Baramati, Hanumant Shinde decided to marry his son with a girl not approved of by the local caste panchayat. As a result, the caste panchayat (an unconstitutional, social body formed along the lines of caste hierarchy) boycotted them from the caste. Further when his daughter got engaged, the caste panchayat members also chased away the groom's family members.

On the 19th of December, the caste panchayat met in the premises of the gram panchayat (the constitutional, elected representatives of the village), in the sarpanch's (chief representative) presence in a complete mockery of democracy and rule of law. There, they demanded a payment of rupees five lakh in order to reinstate Shinde's family into the caste community. The family in question being poor, naturally declined to pay the amount. The panchs (representatives) got angry and an argument ensued. When the family returned home, the panchs attacked them with sticks, axes and swords.

The panchs stripped a woman from the family naked and beat her up. They stuffed chilli powder in the vagina of another woman from the family.

On hearing the commotion, some villagers came running to assist. Declaring that this was a caste matter and that it would be dealt within the caste and others had no right to interfere, the panchs also attacked the villagers who had come to help.

In the end, eight grievously injured villagers were admitted to the hospital in Baramati.

Members of the Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti met the villagers to understand the case. The police have recorded a complaint but not the statements of those injured. Since it had been eight days since the incident without statements of the victims being recorded, the ANS workers met Police Inspector Chandrakant Kamble. They realized that there was political pressure being exerted to suppress the case. The sarpanch in question belonged to the Nationalist Congress party while the injured villagers were not.

Baramati is the stronghold of the Nationalist Congress Party and Supriya Sule, the daughter of the Chairman of the Party, Sharad Pawar is the elected Member of Parliament from the constituency.

The police took the statements of the injured and promised to apply section 385 to the case and started proceedings accordingly. Panchs committed to strike dialogue to shut down caste panchayats in the region.

Observations and questions

The section applied by the police is 385 which states:

385. Putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extor­tion.—Whoever, in order to the committing of extortion, puts any person in fear, or attempts to put any person in fear, of any injury, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

This essentially amounts to the legal case being reduced to scaring the injured party and extorting money from them. However, there are several other things that are illegal that happened - caste discrimination and crime, assault, outraging the modesty of a woman and RAPE. The police appear to not notice this. In effect, the criminals roam free still.

Proper sections of the IPC need to be applied against the accused in the case and the police officials in question must be investigated as accomplices to the crime who are essentially contributing their effort to let the criminals flee after the crime. The elected representatives who misused their authority to enact a crime must be removed from office and arrested. Failure to do this should result in investigation of pressure leading to inexplicable refusal to uphold the law of the land.

I will post updates as more information becomes available or developments happen. In the meanwhile, you can demand accountability from the government of Maharashtra and the leadership of the Nationalist Congress Party. The more attention the case gets, the less likely it will be to be brushed under the carpet and the safer those fighting for justice will be.

The Caravan has published yet another of its very excellent mini-novel grade stories. This time around the Operation Blue star by Hartosh Singh Bal. For someone who was but a child in the times covered by this story, this was an enlightening read and I recommend you read it, since I'm not going to be summarizing the story here at all. I am no authority on the history or politics of Punjab. This post is about linkages and patterns I see beyond the story - which are also more perceptions than referenced fact.

Several things struck me about the story that I think have a deep insight for India's politics as well.

The first was the role of the Congress government in the build up of religious extremism to the point of instability and largely for reasons of political gain for the party rather than the well being of citizens. It isn't unlike what is going on with the rise of the Hindu right wing in India, with the Congress making vague comments about alarm or criticism, but never really doing anything to strike a solid blow, to the point its leaders could be publicly humiliated and party decimated this elections.

That tendency to cater to the most violent representatives of a religion (Muslim zealots included) rather than defuse aggression and uplift the masses at large seems to be alive and well to the point where the claims of secularism fell flat. This time, it seems few bought the idea that tolerating zealots of all hues is secularism and a rogue right wing ran away with the narrative. Not unlike what it sounds like from the Punjab of those days, except perhaps the violence is now uniformly perpetrated against the unarmed.

The massive following of Bhindranwale in the face of criminal acts, impotence of the state machinery to deliver justice or regain control and more too sounds like a recurring theme for India.

Short sighted strategies for political gain with little view for the impact on the larger picture? Yep.

The inability of the state to control rogues within the security establishment as well continues with encounter killings being covered up rather than brought to justice.

Bad advisers, bloodthirsty youth leaders and a leadership unable to see beyond what was presented? Yep. Leadership regretted? Yes. Leadership paid heavy price? Yes. Bad over reactions to a long nurtured problem created martyrs opposing state?

In some ways the cult like following of Bhindranwale reminds me of Bal Thackeray. The man who got a state funeral after a life of taking the law in his hands at whim. In our area, the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi rules. This party is unheard of in most of India. Founded by a local don with a murder to his name, and sporting an MLA who thrashed a cop in the Assembly, the bling of the Lok Sabha Election campaigning didn't touch our area. No posters, no mega rallies, no vans blaring messages. Perhaps they may have happened nearer the station, but not here. Our area was completely Modi free, even when the BJP candidate won - some celebrations probably happened in more central areas, but I didn't hear any fireworks sitting at home. Yet when Bal Thackeray died, his posters were splashed all over and again for the anniversary. They remained up long after the date had passed.

When it comes to love of the masses, clearly sentiment trumps law - something a state insensitive to people is ill equipped to deal with.

What was the charisma of the law breaker? Identity. Bal Thackeray may have done little to improve the lot of Maharashtrians, but in a state where the natives feel increasingly marginalized, he gave their frustrations voice, even if he did nothing very useful with it. His political affiliations too were courted, not unlike Bhindranwale.

Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal
Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal

And in Punjab, it seems every other car sports stickers in honor of the "dreaded separatist terrorist" and the BJP that is normally vociferous against terrorists and had indeed supported his killing meekly falls in line, just like Bal Thackeray's political opponents respectfully attended his funeral, even as they worried whether his party will continue to squat over the Shivaji Park and demand a memorial there.

In hindsight. I wonder if Bhindranwale's "evil" was not the violence, but the Anandpur Resolution. After all, India is a country with a rich history of might not only being right, but being rewarded with more might. On the other hand, all calls for decentralization and redistribution of power would hardly have induced cheer in the hearts of those wanting to use him as a puppet for political profit.

In many ways, the story of Operation Bluestar is still a story of India without the outright "Gangs of Waseypur" effects. What has the state learned? It is unclear.

The Bhindranwale legend continues to grow even though Bhai Mokham Singh has renounced the gun. It is clearly about identity more than legality or lack thereof. The mistrust of the central government continues to manifest in many ways, even when there remains no serious militancy anymore. In a Punjab reeling under the toll of drugs, "restoration" of many youth from alcohol and drugs takes on significance of its own. In 2003, at a function arranged by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Joginder Singh Vedanti, former jathedar of the Akal Takht made a formal declaration that Bhindranwale was a "martyr" and awarded his son, Ishar Singh, a robe of honour.

But perhaps the most fascinating for me was the last page. After losing a generation to the militancy and on the verge of losing another to drugs (or is it already lost?), what resonated in my mind was that the extent of political marginalization of the Sikhs could be expressed with one mind boggling fact.

The United Sikh Movement led by Bhai Mohkam Singh of Damdami Taksal announced to support the Aam Aadmi Party this January - partly due to the Aam Aadmi Party constituting a SIT to finally probe the 30 year old anti-Sikh riots. The only four seats Aam Aadmi Party got out of over 400 seats nationwide are from Punjab.

And the magnitude of support that this had among the people can only be measured by the fact that the BJP, usually happy to accuse AAP of supporting terrorists did not so much as whisper about the support of United Sikh Movement to AAP. They simply cannot afford to go against the legend when BJP supporters claiming Sikhs to be Hindu in a recent Twitter spat were asked by a Sikh to ask Akali Dal to repeat it in Punjab if they dare.

And I am left wondering about how history gets written. What becomes about religion, when religion becomes a tool for harvesting power, what transcends that purpose to become about survival of identity, when religion serves as an umbrella for deeper rifts in trust and how we, as a remarkably diverse country can hope to bridge differences if we don't learn from our past.

Is it possible to divorce politics from religion in a country where religion is not only interwoven with people's lives, but the traditions have roots in governing people? What is an acceptable line? What cannot be compromised for religion? Are the lines the same for all religions, or different? How can the parts that must not bend to religion be enacted without alienating people? Is it really such a big problem, or is it a problem created by a style of politics long used to exploiting religion as an easy means of harvesting support of people?

Strangely, it reminds me of Kashmir's anger over Afzal Guru, who at best was a flunky in the attack on the Indian Parliament. He had evidently quit the separatist movement as well and by no means was any hotshot hero for Kashmiris before his arrest - quite different from the already iconic SANT Bhindranwale, but managed to become the symbol of irreconcilable differences for the identity at large, way beyond the issue that put him on the wrong side of the state.

It keeps coming back to fault lines of razor wire that those in power nurture and each time, the reason appears to be political opportunism.

It is strange that our history of diversity and numerous experiences with communal fault lines has not yet led us to attempt responses that are measured and in the interests of people. Cater to exploit, crush to conquer. How long can we go on like this? When do we start healing?

In a speech at the Kanadi Sahitya Academy on the occasion of his works being translated to Kannada, Marathi playwright, author and polymath Pu La Deshpande had said that Maharashtra and Karnataka share a border, but Maharashtrians and Kannadigas share a confluence. Decades later, India is desperately in need of minds that see more confluences than borders.

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If one were to hear the Congress criticism of BJP, one would imagine that misuse of state machinery is a BJP trait with all the snoop gate and fake encounters. Yet what happened in Amethi is hardly different.

After a month of routine attacks by Congress workers on Aam Aadmi Party volunteers, the end of campaigning before the polling saw a new phase of enlightenment. Congress fell back to its classic tactic. Weaponizing state machinery. I have remarked before, that if BJP's targets suffer violence from supposedly unaffiliated random Senas and Dals, people Congress targets find themselves on the wrong side of the law from the complaints of anyone except the Congress. We saw it when Kapil Sibal did an about turn on his attempt to control free speech two years ago. A random lawyer still got the "objectionable content" he had a problem with banned through courts. The Janlokpal Andolan saw similar moves. Now it is the same in Amethi.

The Amethi police woke up to the Representation of the People Act last night. The act says, “the presence of political functionaries, party workers, procession functionaries and campaign functionaries etc who have been brought from outside the constituency and who are not voters of the constituency, should not continue to remain present in the constituency as their continued presence after campaign ends may undermine the atmosphere for free and fair poll.’

In a bizarre twist of interpretation, they have interpreted it to mean all AAP supporting non-voters in Amethi. Whether they are party functionaries and campaigners or not. Including Kumar Vishwas's family, which isn't there merely to campaign, but have actually moved to Amethi, with his daughters enrolled in the local school. Sanctimonious Congressis are giving the example of how Siddaramaiah had to leave the Mysore constituency quite forgetting that he was also CM and promoting his party. Did every Congressi non-voter leave Mysore?

Police demanding that Dr. Kumar Vishwas's family leave Amethi in the middle of the night
Police demanding that Dr. Kumar Vishwas's family leave Amethi in the middle of the night

Late last night, the police cars blared on loudspeakers outside Kumar Vishwas' home asking all non-voters in his family to leave urgently or they would be arrested - including his wife and sister who have moved to Amethi with him and are now residents, even if not voters and not functionaries in the party.

When quick thinking AAP supporters alerted the media to the unfolding drama, the channels arrived, and the police slunk away. The police returned with their threats as soon as the channels left. Clearly the police did not want to be recorded with their illegal demands and creative thinking around not arresting women at night, merely trying to bully them into leaving home in the night. The channels left and the police returned and so far, other than stray reports in one or two people, media has most cooperatively managed to not see what the police did not want to show them.

The police on their part are claiming to carry out the Election Commission's orders, which raises questions about the neutrality and competence of the Election Commission in Amethi, since the orders seem to be directed at only one party.

In my opinion, this points to a larger conspiracy in Amethi, and the BJP silence bodes ill for Varanasi. An issue of this magnitude being carried out with such impunity and confidence about lack of objections by anyone except target, in my eyes indicates every possibility of a a reciprocal arrangement.

AAP MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi from Model Town was arrested.

AAP volunteers at police station on 6th morning
AAP volunteers at police station on 6th morning

Police confiscated the booth bags from volunteers in Aam Aadmi Party's Mohanganj office at 11:20 in the night and arrested 9 volunteers, at least one of whom updated that they were sleeping on the floor of the police station.

AAP volunteers in Amethi jail
AAP volunteers in Amethi jail

SDM of Mohanganj in Amethi has picked us up from our AAP office (where we were sleeping) in Mohanganj and has detained me and 9 other AAP members @ 2320 saying we are violating model code of conduct. We r @ Police Station sleeping on floor.

There have been reports of police taking away phones of anyone they saw trying to record the police actions at Kumar Vishwas's home.

Even as cars are parked outside the Munshiganj guest house where Congress functionaries and workers from outside the constituency are staying, even as AAP volunteers reported that a car involved in an attack on AAP workers was seen parked outside the Munshiganj guest house, it appears that the Amethi police do not expect the Representation of People Act to apply to the Congress. Nor has the exercise been repeated at the BJP offices. As with BJP not attacking Congress in Varanasi, Congress does not appear to be attacking BJP in Amethi, though they will, of course deny being hand in glove.

This leads me to wonder if a similar exercise will be carried out in Varanasi. Aam Aadmi Partywould do well to anticipate the tactic being repeated and be prepared to manage their presence in such an eventuality.

Here is a WhatsApp post from a volunteer in Amethi:

पुलिस कुमार भईया के घर पे है और कह रही है
भाभी को अमेठी से
जाना पड़ेगा क्योंकि उनके पास
अमेठी का voter id
नहीं है # 144InAmethi ..क्या स्मृति ईरानी ,राहुल
गाँधी और प्रियंका गाँधी के पास
है ...CONGRESS HAI HAI.
Hum b girefdari denge chahe jaan chle jaaye गिरफ्तारी सुरु हो चुकी है 10 आम
आदमी कार्यकर्ताओ को गिरफ्तार
किया गया ,मॉडल टाउन के विधयक
को भी गिरफ्तार किया गया पुलिस ने बूथ बैग
अपने कब्जे मे किये... Police back at @DrKumarVishwas' for
arresting his
wife. # 144inAmethi ...CONGRESS HAI
HAI Dr. Kumar Vishwas
रात 11 बजे पुलिस वाले मेरे अमेठी आवास पर
आए हैं, और उनका कहना है कि आपके घर में
जितने लोग ठहरे हुए हैं, यदि वो अमेठी के वोटर
नहीं हैं, तो उनको गिरफ्तार किया जाएगा।
मेरे यह कहने पर, कि मेरी पत्नी और मेरी बहनें
यहाँ हैं, उनका क्या? प्रशासन का कहना है
कि यदि अभी के अभी घर
खाली नहीं किया गया, तो उन्हें
भी गिरफ्तार कर लिया जाएगा।
मैं एक सवाल पूछता हूँ - मुंशीगंज गेस्ट हाउस में
सैकड़ों कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ता हैं, क्या प्रशासन
मुंशीगंज गेस्ट हॉउस खाली करवाने का साहस
कर सकता है?

Another person, on reading the updates from Amethi commented:

Though I was about to sleep and thought I won't msg about political msgs... I felt compelled to write...  Specially those who think Aap is B team of any other pol party why such nonsense is happening?

I have kept an stand of on observer but this seems too undemocratic. I know many of us have already voted... This Msg is specially for making you think - where exactly we're heading as a democracy, are we really a democracy, are these netas not goons in white clothes... Are we still going to say cons are good, are we still going to say "Ab ki bar.. "

Why beat your fellow citizens, why misuse power.... Had these netas done their job well, this situation won't have arrived.

A request - just think - ain't intentions of Aap genuine?

A part of me is glad that this happened. The more BJP targeted AAP in Benares, the more their support eroded. This happening before the election day is news that spreads fast and will hopefully add the final nail to the Congress coffin in a fiefdom of entitlement without duties.

The media reporting or not reporting anything doesn't make any difference to locals who see what is going on. The attacks, the impunity, the uneven misuse of state machinery, the man who lived among them for months and moved his children to the local school, and the prince who ruled them for so long without denting their "backward district" image.

Voiceless voters have a way of devastating those with voice at the polling booths, the one place they can hit back with impunity.

[I thank over a dozen willing volunteers who painstakingly emailed me updates and sources on the situation, since I was not able, and in the process, made this post possible. KRD Pravin, Kartik Kwatra, Richa Bharadwaj, Alka Harke, and others who sent in quick inputs on Twitter, which have since faded into its depths, but influenced this post, thank you.]

1

Cobrapost Investigates Complicity of Delhi Police in Anti-Sikh Riots in Delhi

The anti-Sikh riots of 1984, resulted in more than 3,000 deaths in the national capital. In a new sting operation titled "Chapter 84", Cobrapost exposes the open secret of police collusion to "stay in on the good side" of the Congress and the methods they used to cover up. The sting shows police officers candidly admitting to their failure as a force. Some of them confess that the top brass of the police force colluded with the government of the day to teach Sikhs “a lesson”.

The police officers covered in the sting are Shoorveer Singh Tyagi, then Station House Officer (SHO) Kalyanpuri; Rohtas Singh, SHO Delhi Cantonment; S. N. Bhaskar, SHO Krishna Nagar; O. P. Yadav, SHO Srinivaspuri; and Jaipal Singh, SHO Mehrauli.

S.C. Tandon, then chief of police, parried all questions and Gautam Kaul, then Additional Commissioner of Police, rejected the idea that he had any first-hand knowledge of rioting. Amrik Singh Bhullar, then the SHO of Patel Nagar – who the Cobrapost reporter also met – had named some local leaders in his affidavit, accusing them of instigating and even leading the frenzied mobs.

Cobrapost Special Correspondent Asit Dixit met these official, retired with a clear name and enjoying perks and benefits that government servants are entitled to. In their interviews with Dixit, disclosures made clearly establish the following:

  • The police force had succumbed to anti-Sikh sentiments, thus abetting rioting and arson, even encouraging rioters
  • Warnings about the simmering communal sentiments against Sikhs went unheard by senior officers
  • While news of arson and rioting bombarded the police control rooms, only two per cent of the messages were recorded
  • Police logbooks were conveniently changed to eliminate evidence of inaction on the part of senior officers
  • Some officers did not act for fear of punishment being transferred
  • Some police officers dumped bodies of victims somewhere else to minimize riot-related crimes
  • The police did not allow the victims of rioting file FIRs or when they filed FIRs, they clubbed many cases of murder and arson that took in disparate places in one FIR
  • Messages were broadcast directing police to not take action against rioters who were shouting slogans of ‘Indira Gandhi zindabad’
  • The government of the day did not allow the police to act while creating an impression that the police were not performing their duty
  • Senior police officers did not allow their subordinates to open fire on rioters
  • Even the Fire Brigade refused to move to areas where cases of arson had been reported by police.

While former Commissioner of Police S. C. Tandon evaded questions posed to him by the Cobrapost Special Correspondent, other officers in the sting independently described S. C. Tandon's role in not providing leadership to the force in addressing the crisis. At least three officers castigated the then police chief without mincing words.

Tyagi criticizes Tandon for acting under the influence of the government of the day:

Toh jaane anjane mein wo government ke influence mein rahe hain ki unhone mismangage kiya shuru mein aur do din jab asal mein baat jab haath se nikal gayi (So, knowingly or unknowingly, he was under the influence of the government. He mismanaged in the beginning and in the first two days the situation went out of control).

Yadav accuses Tandon of not providing leadership to the force, while Bhaskar says that instead of singling out some station house officers, the police chief’s head should have rolled.

The Ranganath Mishra Commission as well as the Kapur–Kusum Mittal Committee abundantly establish that S. C. Tandon at the very least grossly underestimated the gravity of the situation in remaining complacent that promulgation of section 144 would be adequate in maintaining control. The When the Cobrapost reporter met Tandon, the former police chief excused himself saying any comment by him may create a controversy in poll season.

The breakdown of the law and order machinery was complete with messages for reinforcement being ignored by senior officials.

“Main toh apne level se ye keh sakta hoon ki jab maine chaar baje message bheje aapse force mang raha hoon toh aapne mujhe kyon nahi di (I can tell you at my level that when I had messaged them asking for force, then why did not they send it to me?).” ~ S N Bhaskar, then SHO of Krishna Nagar

Then there were senior officers like Hukam Chand Jatav who did not act even when the press informed him about the murder and mayhem all around Delhi.

Hukam Chand Jatav ye yahan ke hi the Karol Bagh ke hi IPS the toh uss time the DIG ab wo Control Room mein baithe huye the aur reporter wahan unko pooch rahe hain aur wo keh rahe hain everything is all right unhone kaha wahan toh bande mar gaye hain aapki itni duniya lut gayi hai ja ke dekho toh sahi nahi nahi main yahan Control Room mein hoon and he knew everything lekin wahan se move hi nahi kiya (Hukam Chand Jatav. Karol Bagh fell under him. He was an IPS and was a DIG at that time. He was sitting in the control room and calling him up press reporters told him of murders and arson taking place all around, asking him to go out there to intervene. He said, ‘everything is all right … no, no, I am here in the Control Room’ … and he knew everything but did not make any move).” ~ Amreek Singh Bhullar, then SHO of Patel Nagar

To make matters worse, officers like then Deputy Commissioner of Police Chandra Prakash did not allow his subordinates to open fire on the rampaging mobs.

“Na unhone [DCP Chandra Prakash] mujhe ye keh diya ki matlab likh ke bhi diya hai ye bhi keh diya yaar wo toh goli chalne se toh Indira Gandhi wala kaand itna bada ban pada hai tum kyon naya kaand khada karte ho (No, he [DCP Chandra Prakash] told me, and gave me in writing, that Indira Gandhi’s murder is big enough an event. Now should you make an even bigger event by opening fire).” ~ Rohtas Singh, then SHO of Delhi Cantonment

Rohtas Singh alleges that Chandra Prakash had messages that would indict him changed.

“Agar wo record ho gayi hoti toh main kaafi kuch sabit kar sakta tha not even two per cent were recorded control room mein jo log book thi (If those message had been recorded, I could have proved many things but not even two per cent were recorded in the log book of the Control Room).” ~ Rohtas Singh, then SHO of Delhi Cantonment

“Toh wireless log book ke ki bata raha hoon … usmein kuch aise message the jo usko le baithte … jahan jahan usko suit nahi kar rahi thi wo saba change kara diya (I am telling about wireless log book … there were some such messages in it which could have been damaging for him … he had the logbook changed at places which did not suit him).” ~ Rohtas Singh, then SHO of Delhi Cantonment

The reason the police personnel behaved in a biased manner was the communal fluke that had infected the rank and file of Delhi Police.

“Ismein mujhe koi sankoch nahi hai kehne mein humare policemen bhi yahin local men the wo bhi communal-minded ho gaye the (I have no hesitation saying that our policemen who were drawn from the local men too had become communal minded).” ~ Rohtas Singh, then SHO of Delhi Cantonment

Covering up the anti-Sikh riots

After several bouts of murder and mayhem, when the rioting died down upon the intervention of Army after three days, began a cover-up operation by Delhi Police. First, they did not register cases and when they did, they clubbed disparate cases in one FIR.

“Logon ne case register nahi kiye dabane ki koshish ki tere ilake mein hua ke itne lambe chaure riots hue unko koshish ki kum se kum karne ki apni naukri bachane ke liye aur utha ke body wahan fenk di Sultan Puri (The police did not register cases, instead they tried to suppress the cases. They knew there were huge riots in their areas, so they tried to minimize, even picked up corpses and dumped them in Sultan Puri, to save their jobs).” ~ Amreek Singh Bhullar, then SHO of Patel Nagar

While the police have been indicted by several separate inquiries, there has been no real action taken against those whose complacency led to humanitarian disaster, or who actively prevented action against criminals, so this investigation by Cobrapost, in my view is quite relevant and well timed given that people are making choices with regard to who will rule them.
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6

Tough to say how much Congress is damaged by Rahul Gandhi's interview. In an intelligent world, I'd say the Congress is over. But then, the Congress shop should have been shut at least 3-4 years ago, if not longer. But this is a world that runs on propaganda and deliberate stupidification with the collusion of all parties. So it is really tough to say.

I spoke with some people in the last few days and asked them if they had seen Rahul Gandhi's interview. About 80% of the people said they hadn't. Believe it or not. I talked with them about it, and asked if they were planning to catch a re-telecast if it happened. Most of them weren't all that interested. A few said talking with me made them curious, and if it came on again, they might see it.

Overall my perceptions here. The biggest negative from the interview people had is that he didn't say anything "exciting" or "interesting" etc -  I understood it to mean that the subjects of the interview weren't something they felt strongly about. They hadn't paid much attention to details. Few interesting views I came across. Note: THESE ARE NOT MY VIEWS.

About Rahul Gandhi as a PM candidate

"uski marji hain. woh nahi chahta to Arnab ne force nahi karna chahiye" (It is his wish. If he doesn't want to be PM candidate, Arnab shouldn't force.)

He isn't aggressive enough for Indian politics.

Whatever you say, Congress is the party that has run this country all this time. He is Indira Gandhi's grandson, Rahul Gandhi's son. He grew up knowing how to rule.

As long as Gandhi family is there, people will vote for it (though he himself wouldn't, he said)

About youth empowerment, women's empowerment, jobs and such

Most people weren't interested. General opinion is that politicians say such things.

One man said that he has been hearing politicians promise such things for years. Anyone you vote for will promise you this.

Woman seemed a bit resentful. Everyone talks about women. But our life remains the same. What is the use?

naukri hogi to accha hoga par kar ke dikhana chahiye. ye to abhi bolte hain phir election ke baad bhool jaate hain

About the Rahul Gandhi's comments on the Sikh riots

Most people had no real idea of the magnitude of the riots as anything different from other riots though they did know "Congress did them" - this is quite contrary to the public knowledge on social media. One person thought of the Anti-Sikh riots as larger than they were "dasaon hajaar sikhon ko kaat diya" (tens of thousands of Sikhs were cut down). Many (about 6-8) of the people did not understand any special significance into Rahul Gandhi being asked about those riots in particular. Two people brought up the Assam riots and Muzaffarnagar as more recent and needing attention.

The BJP may have helped Congress with regard to handling PR for 1984, because most people thought that "rival parties exaggerate riots and try to trap main leaders to make them lose election" or some variation thereof.

Astonishingly, not even a single person held Rahul Gandhi's denial of Congress involvement against him. Excuses ranged from "he was young at that time" to "how will he publicly admit?". One strange comment was "if he admits, he only will get arrested" no idea how that computed, though the naive belief that Rahul Gandhi could be arrested for saying the wrong thing delighted my heart for a while.

Other responses

Some other common responses.

Not interested in politics.

Aam Aadmi Party is "apni tarah" it will be good if they start here.

Vote for Modi.

Note: This isn't a proper scientific survey, but my observations - from memory of casual conversations. Sample size is not large (30-40 people), and ours is a lower middle class to working class area where few spend extensive time watching TV and those are usually housewives interested in talent shows and soaps. Shopkeepers and people with jobs usually don't get much time for TV at all - whether NaMo or RaGa.