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11

The following is a first person account by Md Hasanujjaman, M Phil in English, University of Hyderabad of the brutality unleashed by the police against the students and faculty of University of Hyderabad.

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VC Apparao resumes office at the face of the report of the two-member fact finding committee that stated the university should have handled the incident more “sensitively” -

I am one of the arrested students in connection with the protest against the VC of UoH. I belong to a minority community of West Bengal. My family is financially backward. Here I would like to narrate the police brutality on me and my fellowvictims in police van on the way from UoH to Miyapur Police Station on 22nd March. Before coming to UoH I was naive about the problems in the society. I had no idea of the pathetic and dehumanized condition of the dalits and the adivasis. I was hardly aware of the dangerous consequences of caste system in the Indian society. But coming to UoH I began to understand the real picture of the caste system which leads to utter discrimination and dehumanization of the dalits. I saw that this caste system makes the lives of the dalits extremely miserable. Realizing my responsibility as an independent and right thinking citizen of this country I found that the caste system is a tool of dehumanization and therefore it must be annihilated. I stood against this discrimination of the caste system and thus, I aligned with the movement which Rohith Vemula was part of.

Rohith Vemula being a dalit, was institutionally discriminated and forced to take his own life. The ‘Vice Chancellor prof Appa Rao Podile’ directly perpetrated in the institutional social boycott against the five dalit students including Rohith. Following the suicide of Rohith, the VC was booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act according to whose provision the accused must have been arrested within 24 hours from the lodging of FIR. However the FIR was lodged on 18th January, 2016 and till date he has not been arrested. This is a gross violation of the constitutional provision. Instead he returned to the university and attempted to illegally reclaim his ‘vice chancellorship’ on the 22nd March, early morning.

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Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other security personnel unleashed brutal physical and sexual assault on students and teachers protesting against VC resuming office for Justice for Rohith

On the same day that is on 22nd March I went to attend a PreSubmission Seminar in the department of English, School of Humanities, at exactly around 2.00pm. Coming out of the department at around 3.00pm I saw that the peacefully protesting women and men teacher and students were being dragged and beaten up mercilessly by the police. The police were chasing and lathicharging on the protesters indiscriminately. It was obnoxious to see that the protesters are beaten up for raising voice against the injustice. It was a day of police violence on the democratic and peaceful protesters. I saw one student losing his sense and was rushed to a hospital. Many students got their clothes torn due to the brutal manhandle and lathicharge. But it was most painful to see that the women students and teachers being mercilessly beaten up by the police. They were thrashed on their private parts. I also witnessed female teachers being manhandled/molested by the police. It was a violation of women's rights as the women students and teachers were molested by the male police. Dr Tathagata Sengupta, an assistant professor of Mathematics was beaten up too.

It was a threatening moment in my life. I never saw such police violence in front of my eyes. I could not restrain myself from speaking against the police and as a result I was the next to be victimized. However, the police brutality actually began when one teacher, one film maker and the sixteen students including me were chased and dragged into a police van. I was standing near the ‘Goodwill canteen’ which is around 250 meter away from the VC`s lodge where the protests were happening. Standing there itself I could see students and teacher being dragged into the police van. But I never thought that I would also be a victim of the police brutality. Suddenly, one police chased me and caught the collar of my shirt. I pleaded not to apprehend me as I did not commit any crime except the fact that I stood for the Justice for Rohith and supported the students’ movement for justice. I feel that I was targeted because I questioned the police on their face that why Rohith did not get justice even after more than three months; why the accused for Rohith's murder has not been punished; on what ground the VC has come to take charge of the university. Instead I was beaten up and thrashed hard and pushed into the police van.

This inhuman and brutal torture continued on all of us for around 50 minutes on the way from UoH to the Miyapur Police Station. Dragging me into the van the police forcefully pushed me down into a corner seat. Before getting hit I quickly looked at a fellow victim Subhadeep Kumar and asked him what might happen to me as for the first time my life I got into a police van. He assured me that nothing will happen as I did not commit anything wrong. I could not turn my face to have a look at the rest of the victim in the van. Again the police hit me on shoulder. I pleaded not to hit me but the police pulled my hair and punched me hard on my back. Another police hurried at me snatched my mobile and spectacle. But when I pleaded to give me back the spectacle as I have serious eye problem, the police boxed on my right eye saying that why despite being visually challenged did I spoke against the police. Whenever I tried to look at my fellow companions who were beaten up black and blue, the police hit me and cowed me down not to raise my head again. I heard my fellow friends shrieking in pain as they were mercilessly thrashed and hit. Those who had beard and looked liked ‘Muslims’ were beaten up specifically as the police suspended them to ‘like’ terrorists. The sounds of slapping and hitting still haunt my mind and I feel the pain. Professor K Y Ratnam was also a victim of the police brutality. A filmmaker, Moses Abhilash too was unlucky to be a victim of the brutality. Abhilash was just shooting the videos of police lathicharge which the police did not want the public to see. The police beatings left wounds on my body. When I requested for water they gave me the water only to be ready to get beaten up again. The physical assault was extremely systematic and cruel. At that moment I doubted whether I was at all a human being. While beating up, the police also unleashed verbal abuse on all of us at extreme level. During the journey of police brutality from the UoH to Miyapur P. S., the police were continuously abusing us with the most vulgar and objectionable language. “M***d, b**d, chu**a, bho**ke” and etc were the common words they were throwing at us. They called us Pakistani ISI agents and alleged that we are spending Indian money and supporting Pakistan and threatened us to send us to Pakistan. They called us antinational alleging that we are conducting “beef festival”, “kiss of love” events on “Afzal Guru’, “Yakub Memon’. They said that they were taking revenge on us for their hard work on duty. They also assaulted our departed friend Rohith Vemula saying that he was a ‘bastard’, ‘spoiled child’ and people are unnecessarily paying attention to his death. They used extremely antiwomen, derogatory, and sexist comments. They said that they would rape our mothers and sisters and also they vowed to bring them here and take their naked videos. They also threatened to do the same with our women friends in the university. Hearing these comments I feel that the safety of the women is at great risk and I also feel that the posting of police poses direct threat to women teachers, students and workers in the campus. Their comments and attitudes were dangerous as far as the safety and security of women is concerned at large in the society. It is appalling to think what the police remarked against the women.

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The language police used against women protestors : "Tu kahaan ki rehne wali hai? Itti kaali hai! Aa tere ku sabak sikhata hoon! (Where are you from? You are so dark. Let me teach you a lesson)"

After brutal torture in the police van we were subjected to harassment in Miyapur P. S. After reaching there at Miyapur we all of us were made to sit on a dirty and spaceless corridor. The police humiliated us by making our respected teacher Prof K Y Ratnam sit on the same dirty floor. The police lectured us about moral and ethical correctness. They behaved with us very rudely while taking our detail information and pictures. On asking about our release the police told us that everything is in hand of their “BIG BOSSES” and they also said that the Gachibowli police have already decided our fate. We were kept awake throughout the night by putting light on in front of eyes and playing songs and videos. When we requested to let us sleep they laughed at us. The next day, a Subinspector of Miyapur P.S. called me for interrogation and he took all my information in detail including my family, relatives’ information. He also took the photos of my PAN, Aadhaar and university ID cards. He also took the phone numbers of my relatives checking my mobile. He abused me very badly and threatened me that in future if something happened in the university, I will be a target even if I do not commit any crime.

Thereafter we were secretly taken to Balanagar Police Station where we were again harassed both physically as well as mentally. The police made us sit in a dirty and suffocating room. Professor Ratnam was again humiliated by making him sit at the feet of the police who was sitting on a chair and giving us pedantic lecture on nationalism and education as to how we should develop our society. This is the same subinspector of Miyapur P.S. who abused me in vulgar language and giggled his teeth and lied to me when I asked him where we were taken to. He also mocked at me by calling me “team leader” and “mastermind”. I don't know his motive for calling such things. But I am apprehensive of my Muslim identity as he was targeting me. I was also not allowed to inform my worried family or friends about my whereabouts.
From Balanagar P.S. we were taken to ‘Government Area Hospital’ secretly. We were shocked to know that we were taken to a hospital. I had wounds and pain caused by the police brutality the previous day. But I had no reason to expect any medical treatment. In the hospital I was forced to stand in the queue for treatment. The doctor gave me “fit to be produced at court” certificate despite my critical health condition. I also saw Professor K Y Ratnam`s Blood Pressure reading to touch around 220 mark in the BP machine. After the “treatment” the Gachibowli CI J. Ramesh forced me to sign the arrest papers at around 9.00 pm on 23 March whereas actually I was arrested by the police at 5.30pm on 22 March. When I tried to raise objection the Gachibowli CI J.Ramesh threatened me that not signing the arrest papers would amount to additional cases against me. I was denied any interaction with any legal expert on these serious issues. When I politely asked him “Sir, my career would be shattered if my future is tarnished by filing cases against me”, he aggressively threatened me saying “shut your mouth up otherwise I will file more cases against you”. I do not know how to express the fear generated in me by J Ramesh. After medically certifying me “fit to be produced at court” I was again confined in the police van. It was suffocating and scorching hot. I requested the police to let me stand out of the van until it moves. But the police as usual again threatened us. I was very hungry as I did not get anything to eat throughout the day. The police did not bother to hear any of my problems. Then I was taken to the honourable Magistrate at around 11.40 pm. But the Gachibowli police Naveen and Bhupathi did not allow me to appear at the honourable Magistrate to narrate my suffering and wooes. At the Magistrate's order I was sent to Cherlapally Central Prison. Coming to the prison my health further deteriorated. I called a prison physician for treatment. He gave me a general painkiller injection and some medicine for the wounds and pain caused by the police on 22 March. But he did not give me any proper health treatment as I needed the most. It still pains me to remember that in prison the doctor was not allowed inside and therefore, I had to take an injection through the window. I also failed to have an eye check as 22 March as the police hit me on my right eye. The police action threatened my life and also the hopes of my family. I feel helpless, hopeless and unsafe. The police filed false cases against me and others with the deliberate intention to destroy our future and our lives. The police terrorized us throughout the first 33 hours to ensure that we do not again protest against the government and its agencies. They kept us saying that we should only study and not get involved in politics. They wanted to create a fear in us so that before protesting we will remember the trauma of the police brutality. This poignant memory will always be haunting my life.
Md Hasanujjaman
M Phil in English,
University of Hyderabad

4

So was finally hanged this morning. The did a dramatic early morning hearing to hear the challenge to the President's rejection of Yakub Memon's mercy petition, and Yakub lost the case.

Even if he had won it, it would have won him at best 14 more days to live. Perhaps some new trick could be pulled out of some hat and he would live for the rest of his life in jail was the hope.

He lost the petition.

There are many arguments in his favor, many against him. I myself was of the view that is an irreversible thing. While there is any redeeming factor, a death penalty seems obscene. I am no legal eagle. If someone seems polite and constructive in , that is redeeming enough for me. I hold no eagerness for the life and death of another to rest on my conscience - however evil. I have no revenge gene. That he could not do more harm was good enough for me.

Regardless of my views, it is the Supreme Court that decided and whether it was a melodramatic thing that could have been avoided with a stay and more leisurely process or not, is all a postmortem of a dead thing. So are other arguments. They will not bring him back. They will certainly feed a justified, but toxic sense of persecution among Muslims.

And they achieve nothing constructive. While the death penalty exists, it will be awarded. How often or not is immaterial. If our whole system is prejudiced against Muslims, it will reflect in the sentences and executions as well. The defeat of the death penalty itself was a goal beyond the scope of this case - or indeed every case when we suddenly wake up. It needs to be an independent war.

I am no fan of the . I think it is closet fascist - both in terms of as well as economic view. It is a toxic bunch of opportunists there whose worst sin is not even against those they persecute, but those who repose the most faith in them with expectations they have been led to believe, which are little more than carrots.

I agree that the judiciary itself is swayed by public opinion and has several and severe problems with quality (like every aspect of ). I agree socio-economic conditions are their own bias of availability of opportunities of , and prejudice in who is perceived as innocent or guilty by default more easily than another - which is possibly something that can never be proved without serious behavioral research.

Yet, flawed as it is, there is a need to stop where the system stops. There is a need to pick and choose battles when it comes to . A dead person cannot be brought back, and harping on about the injustice to him serves no purpose beyond creating distress, resentment and potentially rebellion among those who experience themselves as persecuted by association.

This will be more harmful to the vulnerable sections of society than the powerful ones - whether financially, communally or politically. Frustration and anger can take over ones life and set people on paths they would not otherwise choose. Yakub Memon himself would not be hanged if it were not for frustrations over another evil incident leading an entire group of people down a path that ruined their own lives irrevocably as well, beyond the unsuspecting others they killed. Even a big don like , who lived and breathed  can never return to his beloved place of birth again. Uprooted forever. Being a gangster is one thing, being accused of mass slaughter is another. Mumbai is no longer safe for him. He must watch over his shoulder all his life. Know that the people of the city he loves want his head for his actions. There is no coming back. For victims or criminals.

A supremacist majority WANTS minorities to do crimes they can hang them for and counts on prejudices they seed to create an acceptance for their retaliatory crimes as victimhood. We have seen this over and over. There is no fear in bloodlust even though talk of dangers is used to create an aura of threat. Nor do they feel any desperation to avoid loss of life of nameless others on their side beyond their advertizing potential in shaping social prejudices - you need victims for victimhood. It is no coincidence that the second attempt to fell the Babri Masjid succeeded when leaders of the movement killed their own to fuel a frenzy of outraged victimhood. While we still have a modicum of functioning judiciary, fair or not, prejudiced by circumstances or not, it continues to be the best bet of a vulnerable minority.

I do not mean that people who are wronged should shut up and suck it up. I most certainly do not endorse communal domination of any sort.

All I say is that Yakub Memon is dead. I appreciate that he was not killed in secret like Ajmal Kasab or and he and those trying to save his life had the opportunity to fight for it till the end. It is time to take a pause and reorient and seek justice in ways that enrich and empower everyone.

Even if you look at Yakub Memon's case, there is so much hindsight on what was not done adequately to defend him, that now leads to a perception of him not getting a proper chance. Well, there are many Yakub Memons still in prison. Illiterate, poor people from various castes, classes, religions. People condemned to crimes so horrid that they have no choice but to accept whoever the court forces to help them because even with money no one may take their cases. Perhaps the learnings of this defeat can help them. That would help the process of justice as well, if good legal help were available to those who did not have it.

A robustly defended accused makes for a clearer conscience in whatever his end fate is, leaving no doubt that the is understood and argued fully resulting to a punishment as per law. It is in national interest. It is in the interest of god knows how many who end up serving sentences because they have no idea how to defend themselves.

And it need not be for the death penalty alone. Just yesterday, as I was contemplating Yakub Memon's case, I found myself preferring the death penalty over a long drawn imprisonment (I know Yakub got both). How many in India serve entire terms in jail before seeing the inside of a court?

I am aware, that this is easy for me to say, not knowing Yakub Memon in any way or having fought to save him or suffered similar or even experiencing first hand what it means to be a Muslim and have a default perception of guilt when accused. All I am saying is that I do care and I respect a battle well and passionately fought and I believe that it is important for everyone that the Supreme Court word remain final - particularly given that it can no longer be changed.

I think the moment of high drama is when emotions cause extreme stands. To save an accused in a horrendous crime and see the end of justice in it as though we aren't killing innocents daily. To stand outside a jail baying for blood of one who spilled ours, while the ones who planted the bombs got their sentences without a fuss, and they live. A moment of climax focuses everything we feel about a subject on a single outcome.

But sometimes, it is time to step back, breathe and look at the living.

Looking at the rain and smelling the scent of wet soil here. will probably be hanged tomorrow. Idle question comes up in my mind. What would I do if I were him?

Too big a question. I know nothing about being him, his circumstances, motivations. What would I do if I were stood before a court and could be sentenced to anything from freedom to ? If my life and death rested on our judicial system, with angry people wanting me punished for some I did? What if Twitter were a courtroom?

Is that even possible?

Well, this is hypothetical, but it isn't entirely impossible for anyone. I speak my mind. I live as I talk. No compromises other than those of lost freedom taking care of dependents. I influence people. I already have plenty of people thinking I should be punished for my views - which criticism ranges from too wimpish to anti-national for even thinking of humanity for bad people. Is it impossible I say something or endorse the right of some "enemy of the state" like activists or people who want self-determination for their land if that is what I believe? Not outside the realm of possibility. Sedition is punishable by death and demanding extreme punishment is fashion. Unlikely, but not impossible - for the purposes of this contemplation.

So say, one day cops came to arrest me. Cut forward to where I stood in front of a judge who would decide how I should be punished. What would I do?

It is impossible to say how one clings to life in a real situation, but to my mind, I would not cling. I am a mother, blogger. A is no place to bring up a disabled child, and I doubt they'd give me the internet. My family would be better off without being dragged into the mess and my child would be better off without me spending his inheritance on a futile case.

I would most certainly encourage anyone who cared about me to spend their efforts on the kid instead of wasting their time and reputations banging their heads on a wall, and that what was worthy of remembering or loving about me is unlikely to be a battle I give up without even trying.

At the moment, I don't think I'd appeal any sentence against me unless it impacted more lives than mine. I have no interest in life unless I'm happy or fulfilling a responsibility I have to my child and I honestly don't think I could be happy in a prison or that a child who doesn't so much as know yelling, would be. True, I cannot imagine being without that cute appendage even in prison. Thus, I don't see the point in resisting the death penalty to get a life penalty.

What if the sentence were smaller? I'd serve it, try to get out how I could. Bail, shortened term for good behavior, whatever. Anything short of selling out my ethics in a way that harms others. I'm almost 40. Anything longer than a 10 year term, I'd probably incriminate myself to get the death penalty rather than endless prison.

What would I say in my defense?

For someone normally so verbose, I imagine I'd be lost for words. I am not used to explaining myself, let alone defending myself. No, criticism of views or engagement with people without any authority over me does not count.

Only thing I'd honestly have to say in my defense, is the only thing I ever had. I did what my ethics told me was the best with the information I had available. I do not believe in this current world of "good guys" and "bad guys". I do not see the point in hatred, when it at best gains you the stress of a life of suspicion over fellow beings. I'd rather be gullible than jump at shadows and do another an injustice. I do not find a world where a majority of people are exploited so that a few guys at the top can thrive as useful to the vast majority of mankind.

I don't see even the supporters of a "winning" ideology thriving - religious/financial/national/communal.... The cannon fodder supporters will be the ones whose behavioral patterns will change till they lose any elegance or higher meaning or faculty to analyze own interest in a life of holding another's goals their priority. They will be the ones living with paranoia at enemies they have been taught about, facing contempt for over reactions that they experience as necessary to their survival, going to prison, when the ugliness breaks through into irrevocable action. They will still not be the ones who will have power in their hands. The only power they will ever have is the power to bully those their masters tell them are not worthy of respect. Power over another person is a primitive aphrodisiac. Something a deep, unthinking part of our psyche interprets as victory; and thus survival.While it feels good, it has absolutely no enriching impact on life. Neither victim - who is actively harmed, nor victor - who gets a psychological reward for real actions with their own cost.

No one can thrive unless they are able to coexist with differences. Where there are two people, there are differences. It would take a world with one person in it to be free of communal differences. And even if every minority, "sickular", or whatever contempt-worthy thing could be exterminated, there would STILL be differences. An attitude of intolerance has no end. And I believe we are as culpable for things we allow with our silence, as we are for the things we do, so being silent is not an honest option for me. And I own my views and their consequences.

Would it be any use?

I honestly don't think it is possible to say anything and be heard if the system doesn't want it said to your advantage. I also think any case that ends up in public sight, particularly on news and social , has a default tendency to be punished higher than the rest. I'd likely speak the truth or lie depending on whether I can get out early or whether I can provoke a death penalty instead of long prison term. I'd probably tell the judge this is his one moment of glory when the final judgment is in his/her hands and not some higher court on the ladder and to do himself proud - whatever his beliefs - left/right/law/etc.

And then, I'd try my best to be happy and purposeful in prison regardless. No doubt this would involve smuggling blog posts and ground reports out on paper. Or I'd start believing in god and pray for dementia.

Gallows humor apart, a part of me is distantly unsettled over how little I believe in the system doing what upholds an honor of a shared world and how pessimistic I am about engaging with the judicial system if money is a scarce resource and even views or association is stigma. As someone who does not really believe in punishment, let alone capital punishment, how extreme my preferences would be if faced with a loss of freedom. And I see the complications of my own views and the complete enslavement of public opinion toward revenge as . Eye for an eye. Family, if not the kingpin.

Another part of me wonders whether this precious freedom is outside prisons either, when so many of us merely live to survive? What is this freedom, really? Would solitary confinement be prison for me, a self declared hermit, if I had the internet, where I manifest my purpose? Does a free man really have freedom, as he toils under increasing debt or impossible work stress?

The last lines of Richard Loveface's poem come to mind.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

Is a compassionate world even possible, if we start from where we are today?

 

 

Note: This is not a comment on our judicial system so much as on our society. I have no real experience of the judicial system and may end up dying of old age without ever acquiring it.

1

When the state takes extreme steps that make no sense, I get curious. 's hanging being scheduled for the 30th of this month, while the key accused of the blasts are still at large is one such bizarre move. So I went around hunting for information on what else was going on. Here are some of the things I found out. They raise more questions than answers.

Chhota Shakeel tried to kill Chhota Rajan in Australia

On the 2nd of July, Times of published a report that described intercepted conversations between Chhota Shakeel and a key Rajan aide, who was convinced to reveal Chhota Shakeel's whereabouts in Newcastle, Australia. Times of India claims to have a copy of the intercept. A team from middle east was allegedly immediately sent to Australia. However, Chhota Rajan had already escaped after receiving a fortuitous tip off. The article also describes the 's relentless determination to eliminate an aged Chhota Rajan who is no longer a threat to them and describes previous attacks by Dawood's men to eliminate Chhota Rajan.

Dawood was involved in Chhota Shakeel's attempt on Chhota Rajan

Another report in the Times of India, also on the 2nd July said that a voice in the background, heard during a pause in the intercepted conversation between Chhota Shakeel and Rajan's aide was that of as confirmed by layered voice analysis. What the voice said is not reported.

This report also gives us an idea of the approximate date of the attempted on Chhota Rajan when it speaks of Chhota Shakeel being on the move for a month since mid-April when he went to Newcastle for the attack on Chhota Rajan. The report presumes he dropped off the radar after the intercepted conversations or the intelligence agencies would have approached the to arrest Shakeel (but not Rajan?).

*********************

Some background: Chhota Rajan was among key men of Dawood's gang before he split from Dawood due to internal rivalry and differences that got cemented after the 1993 Mumbai blasts. After the split, he escaped to Dubai with the help of Indian intelligence agencies in return for information on Dawood Ibrahim's operations. Intelligence agencies have also allegedly helped Chhota Rajan evade attempts on his life since then. Current NSA and then ex- head, Ajit Doval had also been caught once with Chhota Rajan's hit man Vicky Malhotra. Chhota Shakeel is still Dawood's key man. Chhota Rajan and Dawood Ibrahmin have since been bitter and bloody rivals with constant attempts to eliminate each other. Among India's plans for Dawood Ibrahmin remain a possibility for Chhota Rajan taking Dawood out.

An article in the Daily Mail News from November claims NSA Ajit Doval is forming links with ISIS to encourage an ISIS - TTP collaboration to destabilize Pakistan.

Given that Indian Intelligence agencies are unlikely to leave copies of intelligence intercepts lying around in public places or something, Times of India clearly got the tip off from them about a failed operation "early in the year" - as in, the news was not fresh.

Yasin Bhatkal could get help from Damascus

On 3rd July, 2015, a report in the Times of India stated that Yasin Bhatkal had told his wife that he would get help from Damascus to escape jail. This would seem unrelated to the Yakub Memon issue, except... Yasin Bhatkal used to allegedly be financed by Muzzaffar Kola of the Dossa gang which reported to..... Dawood Ibrahim.

Last year, Yasin Bhatkal's lawyer had received threats from underworld don Ravi Pujari who is currently said to be in Australia and is close to.... Chhota Rajan. Yasin Bhatkal had hardly made any news for months before this.

Chhota Shakeel reveals that Dawood Ibrahim wanted to return to India after 1993 blasts

On 4th July 2015, Times of India published a report of a telephonic interview with Chhota Shakeel in which Shakeel alleged "When we wanted to come back after 1993, you people, your government didn't allow. Bhai had himself spoken that time to Ram Jethmalani, that too in London... baat ho gayi thi... But your ministry... that Advani played the game,". This naturally led to a flurry of accusations and denials.

Other Chhota Shakeel quotes from the article:

"When agencies can hear me plotting against him (Rajan) and know where he is, why don't they get him picked up? Has he not killed people? Is he not a criminal?"

"Every time a new government comes, they make the first statement about us. Usko leke aayenge... ghus ke laayenge... Kya halwa hai? Bakri ka bachcha samajh ke rakha hai kya? Lana hai toh usko (Rajan) lao na,"

"He ran away like a mouse," Shakeel said. He claimed that not one but three key members of Rajan's group had crossed over to his side because of their confidence that they would be taken care of. "I look after even the family of Rajan's aides who had been killed by members of D-Company," (On the attack planned on Chhota Rajan reported by Times of India on the 2nd)

"Haven't killed anyone in Mumbai in the past 5-6 years. I don't want to kill innocents. He (Rajan) brings shooters from UP and gets people killed in our name. I want to continue my business. I invest money and take it back." From another report of the same interview.

On Chhota Raja's image as a Hindu gangster "This is 's job. Take him in the army, send him on the border if he is a patriot. (Patriot hai to army me le lo na... border pe bhejo na! Mulq ke liye kaam karega. Hindu don ka concept logo ka... media ka hai. He has killed all Hindus for money,"

On whether he thinks Indian intelligence agencies are soft on Chhota Rajan "We don't care. They can support him all they want, we will find him and kill him."

* An earlier interview by Chhota Shakeel to Rediff (after their first attempt on Chhota Rajan's life in Bangkok) establishes that the D-Company sees him as a traitor who grew large with their favor and betrayed them as well as stole gold from them.

** The part about Chhota Rajan killing Hindus in India is true. Among recent high profile murders is that of Jyotirmoy Dey, an investigative journalist working for MiD DAY. He is wanted in India in many criminal cases related to extortion, , smuggling, drug trafficking and film finance.

*** Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel are no saints either.

Chhota Rajan still in Australia

On the 5th of June, Times of India published another news report citing an unnamed source in the intelligence agencies that Chhota Rajan was still in Australia and had not left Australia (as reported in previous piece). Chhota Shakeel also was apparently aware of this fact and had not called off his hit men tracking Chhota Rajan in Australia.

Yasin Bhatkal claims threat to life and demands 24/7 surveillance

On 6th July, 2015, Yasin Bhatkal pled before a special court for NIA cases for CCTVs to be installed in his and for constant surveillance not only in jail, but also when being moved to court and back for hearings. Outside the jail, he pulled a letter from his pocket and threw it at reporters standing there. In the letter, he denies telling his wife about any help from Damascus or for escaping jail and fears that he could be killed in an encounter staging his escape.

refused to entertain a plea to bring Dawood Ibrahim back

8th July, 2015. The Supreme Court dismissed a plea by a previous Madhya Pradesh to bring Dawood Ibrahim back to India and that a special investigating team headed by SC judge be set up to probe why indian authorities were unwilling in bringing tje don back to country to face trial in various cases.

Daya Nayak suspended

9th July, 2015. Daya Nayak of the 83 encounters and disproportionate wealth and dubious dealings was suspended after he refused to go to Nagpur after he was transferred, citing a threat to his life.

warrant for Yakub Memon

On 15th July, 2015, a TADA court signed a death warrant for Yakub Memon, even as his mercy petition was pending in court.

Supreme Court turns down Yakub Memon's mercy petition.

22nd July 2015 Supreme Court turns down Yakub Memon's mercy petition "paving the way for his hanging" as expressed by the media.

White House Bar was demolished

28th July 2015, The White House dance bar, run by Ganesh Kamath, understood to be affiliated with Chhota Rajan's gang and owned by Meenakshi Singh, widow of Chhota Rajan's affiliate O P Singh, was demolished.

Supreme Court turned down Yakub Memon's curative petition

29th July The Supreme court turned down Yakub Memon's curative petition. The governor turned it down as well. The President's decision is awaited, but the indications are that the MHA is recommending against it. Other eminent persons are seeking an audience for another petition.

Yakub Memon hanged

30th July 2015. Yakub Memon was hanged early in the morning, on his 53rd birthday in Nagpur jail.

Is Yakub Memon's death warrant a message?

Numerous reports indicate that after the came to power this time, the gangwar is heating up again (if at all it ever cooled). Ajit Doval has a long term mission of bringing Dawood Ibrahim down. The D-Company, on the other hand seems to have stepped up the heat on Chhota Rajan, perceiving him to be an asset of the Indian intelligence (apart from their usual issues with him).

Yakub Memon is the brother of Tiger Memon, though the only place his name appears in relation with the underworld is the case where he's now got the death sentence. Both gangsters and their gangs have extensive networks in India. For example I later discovered from a source that the illegal White House dance bar, where the journalists were attacked and Raghavendra Dube got killed is a front for Chhota Rajan's activities. The source speculated that the journalists could have been attacked for trying to extort advertising revenue (as the too had accused) from the biggies of extortion, so to say. Four aides of Chhota Rajan were arrested from Dahisar by Mumbai police for extorting 15 crores from a businessman.

Ram Jethmalani stated that opposed the move to bring Dawood Ibrahim back to India when he had offered to return, fearing that their connections with him would be exposed. Sharad Pawar claimed that he refused Dawood Ibrahim's offer to return because one of the conditions of his return was that he would not go to jail! Apparently it was one thing to break a promise to Yakub Memon, sidekick with dubious culpability in actual attacks and quite another to bring the kingpin Dawood Ibrahim to India under false pretenses and then break a promise. South Africa had provided a RAW officer intel on fake identities used by Dawood Ibrahim as early as 1994. V Balachandran shares that the Indian government took his report and sat on it to date.

The Sunday guardian reports that according to US intelligence, 26/11 would not have been possible without Dawood Ibrahim's extensive network and contacts in India. Yet not only did an investigation into the Indian angle never happen, the sole attacker captured was put to death in a clandestine manner. Various people had raised questions around this at various times, from the Mossad conspiracy angle brought up by Great Game India blog to questions around Karkare's death and random anomalies like reports of a woman accompanying an attacker or white skinned attackers. Who was being protected and why?

Chhota Rajan indeed owes his survival to Indian intelligence agencies who are rumored to even tip off his people about raids by Mumbai police and seem to be counting on him to eliminate Dawood Ibrahim, even as threats, murders and crimes by his people in India mount. India has never issued a red corner notice against him, regardless of his crimes. Maharashtra government had briefly made a noise about asking to issue a red corner notice against him in the wake of the high profile murder of Jyotirmoy Dey by his hit men, and that news appears to have sunk without a trace, since. Indian intelligence clearly knew where Chhota Rajan was, when Chhota Shakeel called the hit on him. Yet the news reports only indicate that Shakeel would be arrested with the help of Australian government if he hadn't dropped off the radar. Why was there no question of Chhota Rajan being arrested?

These are both dangerous gangs that have committed crimes in India engaged in a blood feud.

Is the Yakub Memon death warrant or Yasin Bhatkal's claim of threat to his life in a staged encounter, coming on the heels of Chhota Shakeel's attempts on Chhota Rajan a message "to whomsoever-it-may-concern" to lay off Chhota Rajan "or your people could die"? Is it a way of getting Tiger Memon to pressure his associates to back off from their chase of Chhota Rajan?

More importantly for India, is our system becoming a pawn in a gang war?

Note: I am no expert on the underworld, and this is merely a compilation from news reports in the public domain.

11

Yakub Memon is the brother of Tiger Memon and provided him and Dawood Ibrahim financial assistance in the planning of the Mumbai train blasts of 1993. After the blasts, Dawood Ibrahim and the Memon family escaped to Pakistan, where they lived under the protection of the ISI.

To make a long story short, anecdotal accounts reveal that the family did not approve of Tiger Memon's terrorist act and wished to return to India and Yakub consulted with a cousin from Bombay with regard to surrendering to justice in India. He had traveled to Kathmandu with documents, video and audio tapes that incriminated Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. While specific details in the interim are not clear, what is known is that Yakub Memon came to the attention of Nepal police and surrendered and was brought to India by road and flown to Delhi and formally arrested.

After he was arrested, he provided crucial evidence regarding the terrorist conspiracy to Indian agencies that helped, for the first time in conclusively establishing the role of Pakistan's ISI in terrorist attacks in India. He also arranged for his family to travel from Pakistan to Dubai and surrender to Indian authorities and be brought to India.

In essence, Yakub Memon had a peripheral role in the attacks and provided assistance to the investigation that helped establish the real culprits conclusively. While the nature of his agreement with the Indian agencies is unclear, an article by B. Raman, who headed the Pakistan desk of the Research and Analysis Wing of India when Memon was arrested is categorical that his actions and assistance constituted mitigating circumstances and that the prosecution should not have asked for a death penalty.

An article in the Times of India, after his sentencing in 2007 described that the family returned to India after discovering the magnitude of the damage from the attack and to make themselves available for questioning. The understanding was that the women would not be arrested, but only questioned, while the men would be arrested, but assisted to get bail. The family was not involved in Tiger Memon's underworld activities.

According to the Quint, which quotes Shyam Keswani on ABPLive, the Indian government reneged on the deal, rendering the CBI helpless with regard to their agreement with Yakub. "A senior investigating officer of the CBI called us for a meeting in one of the bungalows opposite the Secretariat....The CBI officer told me to file a bail plea and that the CBI would not oppose it. The reason for this, he said, was that Memon had helped the agency unravel things it would not have been able to in 30-35 years...The next day I filed a bail application, but the CBI opposed it tooth and nail. Later I met the same CBI officer and asked him why were you joking with me? He apologised and told me the Government of India has changed its stand... He was betrayed by the Government of India."

And the rest is history.

To the bloodthirsty fanatic supporters of the government, a hanged Muslim terrorist is good news, and anyone questioning that is defending terrorists and against national interest, and so on. The usual tape.

However, in my view, there are several serious reasons Yakub Memon should not be hanged.

What was his role in the actual attacks?

His involvement does not appear to have extended to the actual attacks at all. A chartered accountant helping his brother with finances - which are used in a terrorist attack - does not exactly scream of knowingly carrying out terrorist attacks. A death penalty seems disproportionate for his known "crime".

What is the value of the word of the Indian government?

While the exact nature of the deal with Yakub Memon is unknown, logic would tell us that he would not hae requested for the death sentence for himself and life sentences for his family as a condition of surrender. The government prosecuted him with proofs he willingly provided to bring the real perpetrators to book. We seem to have taken the easiest route to having someone to hang rather than following through on our word as well as pursuing the real culprits. It is whatever deal he made that brought the rest of the family to India. The documentary proof he provided allowed India to make a strong case against the real perpetrators - of this there is no doubt - Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim. India not upholding its part of the deal stinks of dishonesty.

Whose interests are served?

Yakub Memon and his family frustrated the ISI and returned to India and their actions here helped India. Hanging Yakub Memon almost sounds like India serving the ISI by punishing them for betraying Pakistan.

Yakub Memon was advised by his cousin as well as Tiger Memon to not return to India. His hanging for doing exactly that proves that Tiger Memon was right and that the government couldn't care less about guilt or innocence if they have a hanging to show people for a crime.

What is lost with Yakub Memon?

Given the rabid nationalism going high decibel about terrorists, I'm not going to make humanitarian arguments about the death penalty or indeed the terrorist's interest at all. No use. We are beyond that. Life does not matter here if there is a good excuse, and there are a thousand excuses for taking the life of a terrorist.

Given how little regard we have for the country's laws or honor, it seems pointless to expect the word of the country to mean anything when a convenient hanging is in sight. After all, we specialize in saying whatever is convenient and doing whatever is convenient - independently of each other.

Given how little respect we have for anyone pleading to save lives, let us ignore the petition by eminent jurists, politicians and more.

However, what will even give nationalists pause is the question whether we have given up on bringing Tiger Memon or Dawood Ibrahim back? Or is hanging a peripheral accused already in the hands of the Indian government and letting go of the kingpins a part of some bizarre track two? Are we seriously saying that we would not need Yakub Memon to nail Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim to the wall if we succeeded in capturing them? Or is this a quiet admission that we aren't going to get them and we might as well hang someone?

Are we saying that hanging Yakub Memon is in our interest while the main perpetrators are at large? Is his testimony or further information not of any importance in the event we can negotiate an extradition or to bring about international pressure for such an extradition?

All that hanging Yakub Memon proves is that the Indian government cannot be trusted to uphold their part of deals with approvers for intelligence on crimes. It serves terrorist interests by deterring any affiliate who has intel from taking it to the authorities. If they fail to grab the real culprits even with information you provide, you'll be hanged in the place of the culprits.

It is really troubling that the prosecution and courts have chosen to think like an average rioter on the street. One Memon masterminded the blasts and is out of reach, crucify his family!

And for what? The real culprits still roam free in Pakistan. Yakub Memon never bombed anyone. You are no safer with him dead or alive. All we are doing is getting rid of a key witness - legally, this time, advertizing that India cannot be trusted to make deals for intel in an extremely high profile manner and achieving little more than a dead body that would otherwise live in prison for life.

The ISI should probably send a thank you card to the Indian idiots.