Sunday, December 09, 2007

Justifying extra-judicial encouters, Sohrabuddin's killing: The Law of Jungle?

'This man has no regard for constitution, how can he be allowed to take oath as head of a state, if he wins the election', a senior police official told me the other day.

I didn't want to discuss Gujarat with him but the officer who generally avoids political discussions was genuinely concerned.

He was also worried about the way a politician can simply disregard the constitution, openly declare his contempt for the law and still get away without even censure from top institutions of the nation including the Election.

Other officials I spoke to were also stunned by the statement. In fact, Modi's justification of the killing of Sohrabuddin has stunned even those who had slight BJP leanings.

After all, it is the question of how Indian state can afford to have a Chief Minister whose who doesn't believe in any legal framework. Communal polarisation is nothing new for the country but such a statement from the head of state of a province is dangerous for everybody.

Even Tavleen Singh, who is considered a bit of BJP sympathiser, had this to write in Indian Express, "When I heard Narendra Modi boasting that his policemen killed a man in cold blood because they suspected he was a terrorist, I thought I had heard wrong.

It was not possible, I said to myself, that a man who swore to uphold the Constitution of India when he was elected to public office would admit proudly to treating it with contempt."

Titled 'Our irrelevant state, she further wrote, "It was not until I watched him repeat his comments in bulletin after bulletin and heard translations by those whose Gujarati is better than mine that I accepted that Modi is the first Indian official to admit publicly that the rule of law, as enshrined in our Constitution, is meaningless.

Others have broken the law, others have ignored the Constitution, but nobody has boasted of this as an achievement as a reason to be voted back to office". She goes on to write, "All the killers are out on bail, living happy, normal lives, while those who lost loved ones in the Odh massacre live in terror.

Why? This is the question we need to ask. Why are the courts not working as they should? If a mere chief minister is in a position to subvert the process of justice, then we are in real trouble."

Read the Article.

And of course, Sunetra Chowdhury's report on how Mohammad Habib becomes Munna and Anwar takes a Hindu name Manu to avoid identification in Gujarat. They even put Hindu stickers to stay in business as there are not many takers for a taxi driven by a Muslim.

Read the article.