By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net
How many times Police and media has to get it wrong before general public will start taking all their claims with suspicion? The report “Framed, Damned and Acquitted: Dossiers of a Very Special Cell” by Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA) documents sixteen cases where innocents were accused and charged of terrorism but later acquitted by the courts. However, they had to spend as long as 14 years in jail while court cases slowly crawl towards proving their innocence.
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The script remains the same in almost all the cases of terrorism- victims are illegally detained, then shown arrested a few days later with arms, cash, and a false story. This story is dutifully produced in the media and if it is Praveen Swami writing for “The Hindu” or the Swami Clones that have now on staff at all major news organizations, then this story is given details that are not even present in FIRs or charge sheets. In the war of terror who has time to separate facts from fiction?
JTSA report meticulously record details of each of the 16 cases by presenting police story, courts’ judgments and the reasons why police story fell apart. Police incompetence is clearly visible in how they build their cases, no public witnesses are available when they arrest the victims, no evidence to back up any of the police claims. Thankfully the court system in India, though painfully slow, still works and all the cases presented in this report resulted in acquittals.
Reading the report, one can’t help notice a pattern in all these cases- illegal detention, absence of any public witnesses, “secret information” that cannot be verified, use of private cars so travel logs are unavailable, and you can’t help but notice Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma’s name appearing as part of the police party arresting “terrorists.” Sharma who was with the Delhi Police Special Cell was killed in the infamous Batla House encounter which also saw the death of Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid.
Sharma in his 19 year long career with Delhi police was credited with many encounter (extra-judicial) killings and arrests of several “terrorists.” He won many medals and awards for gallantry. After his death, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as “an inspiration for our security forces.” “He would be always remembered by the nation,” wrote the then president Pratibha Patil about MC Sharma for “his was a supreme act of sacrifice, courage and bravery.”
This is the same officer who falsely accused many people of terrorism. Courts find it hard to believe his claims noting in one case, “There is not even a mole of evidence against the accused for their engagement in any act of waging war against Government of India.” And a strong indictment of Dehi Police Special Cell in another case, which should be a warning for the public and media on how much to blame the police claims:
“Just because a handful of police official of Special Cell of Delhi Police have given a tag of LeT Terrorists to two citizens of our country, this does not become a conclusive proof of their being terrorists. No doubt that LeT has been notified as a terrorist organisation which has aim an objective of destablising our country but when a citizen of our country is accused of being member of such a terrorist organisation, then the agency making such accusation is supposed to have substantive pieces of evidence, howsoever, ever ill gotten those evidences maybe.”