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#India – Hounding whistle blowers in time of undeclared Emergency

rtiBy Humra Quraishi


Undeclared Emergency seems on! There is an unease of a definite kind. Camouflages are falling apart. The situation has reached a point where even the well trained spokespersons of this NDA government are finding it tough to defend. Defend how? When hard facts coupled with solid evidence are out …stark out in public domain.

Why this license to loot this land? Enough evidence of fraud and corruption by ministers and chief ministers, yet no dismissals and sack orders… In fact, instead of settling the widespread corruption, a BJP minister in J&K is seen settling the collar of a lady doctor!

Why this go ahead to dilute probes? Serious allegations by Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian’s statement that she was asked, soon after the NDA government came to power, to go soft in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, where the accused are members of Hindu extremist groups, points to another of those realities unleashed by this government. What if she names the NIA officer or officers who conveyed to her to go soft on the 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Hindutva elements, will there be action against them or that all – quiet formula persist ? Or else, will the Madhya Pradesh Vyapam scam formula be adopted ! Where 44 Vyapam scam accused have been found dead, yet the State’s Home Minister terms those deaths as ‘natural …whoever is born will one day die !’ As simplistic and uncomplicated and philosophical as this!

Whilst on emerging signs of Emergency, there is hounding of activists and whistle blower civil servants. Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, who dared to take on Gujarat’s political establishment and the State machinery, are now facing the State’s wrath. The few civil servants who dared to speak out against the 2002 pogrom are not just shunted here and there, but finding themselves burdened with allegations. …This trend of targeting and silencing activists and whistle blowers has been on in today’s setup. Signs of absolute cum uncontrolled cum ruthless power are more than apparent.

What’s going on! Undeclared Emergency!


After reading – ‘I AM A MUFTI & I AM NOT A TERRORIST- 11 Years Behind the Bars ‘ by Ahmedabad based Mufti Abdul Qayyum Ahmed Husain Mansuri, I am more than convinced that we are treating prisoners in the worst possible inhuman ways.

This book, published by Jamat Ulama Ahmedabad and Maharashtra, was launched last month in the national capital.Though summer was at its peak but the who’s who had turned up to listen to Mufti Abdil Qayyum Ahmed Husain Mansuri – who spent eleven long years in jail, wrongly implicated in the Akshardhan case. He has been finally acquitted from the Supreme Court of India … and after his release one of the first tasks he under took was to pen this book. First writing in his mother tongue, Gujarati, then getting it translated into Urdu and English. The Hindi translation of this book is underway.

As the very title of this book more than hints it is an account of the eleven traumatic years Mufti sahib spent jailed in Gujarat. Starting off from the day – 17 August 2003 – when he was ‘kidnapped through forgery and deceit’ by men of Gujarat’s Crime Branch. And then he was not just jailed and tortured – ‘third degree torture with beastly brutality’ but even implicated in the Akshardham case.

It is detailed account wherein he also details the condition of his fellow prisoners, the condition of jails and the very attitude of the jail staff. ‘This is not only my story of torture and pain, rather it is a story of every oppressed and helpless human who is deceived in false cases and thrown behind bars.’ In fact, he has dedicated this book to all those – ‘ oppressed and innocent people afflicted by all kinds of terrorism.’

Whilst reading this book two aspects hit. The condition of the Muslim community in Gujarat is far below the democratic norms; police – politician nexus holds sway and with that innocents dumped into jails, false terror charges slapped on them. Ruined they live or die in those jails. Ruined are their families. In his case, he details that his wife, Sumaiyya and his two young sons, Muaviya and Musaab, suffered, went through much agony and emotional trauma.

Yet no apology, no compensation from the State. Why?

These are a couple of excerpts from his book –

‘ I saw red bearded Vanzara sahib wearing glasses sitting on the counter table and at his right some other officers were sitting, among them Singhal Sahab who was introduced last night. The other officers were P.I. V.D. Vanaar, P.I. R.I Patel were amongst the others who were introduced later …I was made to sit on the floor near their shoes. Vanzara took the course of the conversation in his hands and repeated last night’s question that who had come from Hyderabad? I replied the same answer that Maulana Abdul Samad Sahab had come. Vanzara said: call the club (stick) party. (This club stick party was a group of five to six inhumans, comprising of appalling, uncivilized persons who would rush upon like hungry wolves on the oppressed and helpless people and they used to beat them until they themselves got tired or the victims be unconscious or dead) …Hence the club party arrived whose dreadful faces were enough to frighten me. No sooner they came, they put hand cuffs in my hands and one buffalo like fat oppressor held me down from my waist, another caught hold of both my legs. In spite of my hands fettered in iron chains, two of them caught hold of both my shoulders and stood me facing the wall and V.D. Vanaar started hitting me on my back with great inhumanity …’

Another passage from this book – ‘I would like to describe V.D Vanaar (Vakhat Sinh Devi Sinh Vanaar) as two sides of the same coin. One side was cruelty and the other side of the coin was Vanaar. I have never seen a man more cruel than him…while in the remand he pounced on me with a beastly attitude of ferociousness, till my clothes saturated with blood and I became unconscious. Then also his hatred-ness towards Islam was not satisfied, he started uttering in a very bad and abusive language about Islam and Muslims and gave extremely appalling examples. He often used to say that our police, government and courts, all are foolish who are making cases on you and incurring unnecessary expenses. It is better that we should shoot you.’

And here is the detailed account of Mufti sahib’s encounter which he has titled ‘ My encounter – It was the cold night of Thursday, 18 September 2003, I was sleeping in Vanaar’s office in such position / condition that one of my hands was cliffed and locked with the table. I was asleep with great difficulty when one of the officers awakened me by kicking me on my back with his shoes. Singhal was standing in front of me and the best kind of oudh’s fragrance was witting from his clothes. Behind Singhal one face was seen. He was V.D. Vanaar. On Singhal’s order, the hand cliff was unlocked from my hand. VD Vanaar took me along and said, ‘come on, its Sahab’s order today your encounter has to be done. I was told you offer namaaz /salah for dead persons, today offer namaaz for yourself. I was pushed to sit in a Tata Sumo …After misfiring on me on one or two places, Vanaar asked for the revolver from P.S.I., R.I. Patel and after directing the vehicle (Tata Sumo) on two – three roads, told the driver to take it near the canal. On the way Vanaar also narrated his legend of his mastery in encounters and the allotment of medals from the government. He said : see I have killed Hameed Lala. I have killed Ranapwala here on the stairs of the crime branch, and he counted some more names and said even after so many encounters what harm the government and the court done to me, on the contrary I was given bravery medal of ‘Puraskar’ and 51,000 – as an award. Today this encounter of yours is the sixth one. Tomorrow we will give this story to the media and newspapers that going for investigation in the case, on getting chance he ran away, somehow he got a revolver from somewhere and fired on us and on back firing (from us) he was shot …The vehicle was stopped at one place in the dark night. As per my assumption it was some place behind the airport, because the lights of the airport were seen from there, on both sides of the road there was the canal…. Then they led the vehicle deep inside on the other side of the canal, on the left side and all the bravos got down from the vehicle after stopping it at a vast open space and they also got me down by pulling my beard and abusing me …Vanaar took out the revolver and told his companions to move aside a bit after he aimed the revolver on my head …I was standing alive dumb with amazement and astonished, because the bullet did not strike my head but had passed by my head. After that totally five fires were shot on my right and left head and on the left and right of my legs ….Until now, Mr. A.A. Chauhan, being a silent audience in this blood shedding drama, took entry on scene. He came forward and said, Vanaar sahab don’t kill him. I want to give him a last chance, after talking to superior officer. Then asked me, turning towards me – if you confess all that the superior office says then I can save your life …’

*(Humra Quraishi is a freelance columnist based in Delhi and is currently a visiting Professor in the Academy of Third World Studies in Jamia Milia University).

Serious allegations by Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian’s statement that she was asked, soon after the NDA government came to power, to go soft in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, where the accused are members of Hindu extremist groups, points to another of those realities unleashed by this government.

News Updated at : Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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