Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GUJARAT POLICE: TAKING LIBERTIES WITH LEGALITY

B.RAMAN

A three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Rajiv Ranjan Verma, a senior officer of the Bihar IPS cadre, has concluded that Ishrat Jahan, a 19-year-old girl from Maharashtra, and three others, who had been projected by some officers of the Ahmedabad Police as belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), killed by the Police during an encounter on June 15,2004, were in fact the victims of a case fabricated against them by the Ahmedabad Police. According to the original version of the Ahmedabad police, which now stands discredited by the SIT , the four were planning to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi, when they were intercepted resulting in the alleged encounter.

2.The SIT has concluded that they were killed in cold blood and subsequently shown as having died during an encounter with the Police. Since the text of the SIT report has not yet been released, one does not know under what circumstances they were taken into custody by the Police and why they were killed. It would appear that they did not belong to the LET and that the police version of their being LET members conspiring to kill Modi might have been cooked up to justify their killing.

3. The Gujarat High Court has ordered the registration of a fresh FIR on the basis of the finding of the SIT and a fresh investigation. The court is yet to decide who will investigate the case---the Gujarat Police itself or the SIT or a central investigation agency. Sections of the media have reported that 21 policemen, four of them IPS officers, may face investigation as suspects in the alleged murder of these innocent persons.

4. While the legal aspects of the case will be taken care of by the agency which would be doing the fresh investigation, the administrative and professional aspects have to be dealt with separately. These relate to setting right the rot that seems to have set in in sections of the Gujarat Police that has led to as many as 21 officers, four of them from the IPS, conspiring to project the deaths of four apparently innocent persons in police custody as deaths of terrorists in an encounter.

5.Rogue actions by individual police officers,including from the IPS, are not unknown in the history of the Indian Police, but as many as 21 officers conspiring together to commit an illegal act of a heinous nature which led to the death of four innocent persons at the hands of the Police should disturb all right-thinking police officers who value the reputation of the force. The Ishrat Jahan case is not one of individual aberration, but of collective aberration by a large section of the force without any qualms of conscience. They let themselves become a law unto themselves.

6. The fact that the enormity of their misconduct in deliberate violation of the law and the code of police conduct had not been brought to light till the SIT investigation by the senior police officers and the political leadership of Gujarat would indicate that an unethically permissive atmosphere has been prevailing in sections of the police force under the pretext of counter-terrorism.

7. Serious wrong-doings by sections of the police officers in the name of counter-terrorism have remained unchecked,unrebuked and unpunished. Terrorism, whether indigenous or externally-sponsored, needs firm handling, including the use of force legally permitted, but the firmness has to be tempered with a strict adherence to legality in criminal administration and justice. There are grounds to suspect that adherence to legality may not be the rule in dealing with terrorism in Gujarat.

8. It is important for the National Human Rights Commission to go into this and lay down a special code of conduct by the police while dealing with counter-terrorism to prevent a recurrence of such serious incidents. Such a code of conduct in counter-terrorism could be drafted in such a manner as to have pan-Indian applicability. (22-11-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

9 comments:

Krishna Kacker said...

I am reminded of a comment made sometime back by Prakash Singh,Former DG,that the police in our country has collapsed under the weight of political influence.Why should the present incident surprise anyone if one accepts Prakash Singh's statement as factually correct.
In fact, almost all branches of bureaucracy,are no longer functioning as they should;it is what the politician,in power whose word is law and present day bureaucrats are ever ready, in fact eager,to carry it out.In such a situation to single out Gujarat Police will be unfair.
The Steel Frame, left by the British, has rusted and broken down quite sometime back.

Krishna Kacker said...

Further to my comment made earlier,I would like to add that mere drawing up any code of conduct for the Police by National Human Rights Commission will not be enough.It should also be followed by an acceptance of the same by the major political parties in the same manner as the code of conduct after dates of elections are declared by the Election Commission.Only then will it have any teeth and that is very important.

Pierre said...

I don't want to overstate this as a factor but I feel the police take their cues from society's attitudes.
Indians - the majority, anyway - will look the other way if terrorists are given extra-judicial executions.
The Gujarat police thought they'd get away with it. They didn't.
They're not the only ones. So many similar cases in J&K, North East, Punjab, etc., in the past.

Ajay said...

If plice did shoot them in cold blood, they should dealt with sternly.

However, both LeT and David Headley have owned upto Ishrat being a member of the organization.There is little in it for Headley to name her as a criminal.

Wondering if there is more than what meets the eye.

shyam lal said...

well !!! what about GK pillai statement ??????????????

please read this-http://ibnlive.in.com/news/let-website-called-ishrat-a-martyr-gk-pillai/204739-3.html

shyam lal said...

sir first of all Gujarat is the only state they talk blindly against terror...at least they have a system to deal with it .... others like us don't have anything.....we just don't have the right to question the encounter was right or wrong until we dont take any strict action like that in other part of our country...

at least we people have to decide what we want ????...we must have a system that protect our people .....or just pay tax to government for buying chickenbiriyani to give Ajmal kazab.......

encounter is way better always rather than spenting 16 crore for a bloody terrorist

duvijan said...

What about these elaborate assesements made by GoI and corroborated by none other LeT themselves and Headley statement made to FBI !!! Looks like we have a 3 way corroboration rubbished for what ? Please be objective in your assesements ! you have already lost a lot of reputation, please dont rubbish yourself with statements on these lines.

The SIT report should have atleast considered these angles and corroboration before having given the statement , this can be legally challenged in higher courts. This is a extremely bad precedent for the country. That means if Kasab is attacking India and he gets caught, unless we prove his guilt in the courts after 10 years of case, he is not a terrorist. How many terrorist convictions do we have and how many terrorists ? if we go by this logic do we mean to say that only 10 terrorists have been convivted that only they exist ? and by extension of this logic, there is nothing called terrorism and they are exceptions !!!!
please dont mix the legal and political responses and Defintely the preventive actions !

kl said...

Dear Mr. Raman

Regret to inform you that I was a regular reader of your blog earlier but not anymore. After your vehement defence of indefensible & corrupt (to the core) media, & the flawed policies of ruling establishment, I think people started losing interest in your articles. Your articles increasingly appear more political & less objective these days. There is an informed writer who writes about the hypocrisy & the corruption of media in his blog www.mediacrooks.com I suggest you read some of the articles posted there at least out of curiosity. Can you please write an article using all your intelligence that you gathered in your life time career as an intelligence man about the Indian Black Money stashed away abroad and the influential people who own most of it ?. Can you also please throw some light on the Govt’s inaction & complete media silence on the same. I am sure, you are aware of the truth but you also wont write about it, this is the tragedy of this nation.

Rgds
Lochan

shyam lal said...

@ Kl -Hi I just loved your article in "media crooks" ....support for showing" real other side of the coin ...as a reader expect from you more article on day today social affairs................