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Monday, December 22, 2008

Conspiracy theory about Karkare's death: Farooq Mapkar's battle for justice may explain it

This post first deals with an ordinary person, Farooq Mapkar, who was described by Jyoti Punwani as the 'Peon who took on the government' for his struggle to seek justice.

And it also attempts to describe why Hemant Karkare symbolised hope for Muslims and why his death has given way to conspiracy theories.

Mapkar, who was in the news two days back, was a young man when policemen had barged inside the Hari Masjid near Wadala in Mumbai and resorted to unprovoked firing on the Namazis.

Seven persons were killed and Mapkar had also been critically injured with the bullets. Worse, those who didn't die in the firing, were charged by the police of rioting and murder. This extraordinarily heinous crime of police has been reported widely in the past but justice eluded the victims.

The constables, the DCP's driver and other officials apart from residents had testified that Kapse for reasons known to him only, entered the mosque and shot those in the prayers, though there was absolute peace in the area.

The Sri Krishna Commission had also found that there were Hindu houses and properties around the mosque and they were neither harmed nor touched. It was an unbelievable case of hate crime.

For 15 years, Mapkar has been waiting to see the group of policemen led by Sub-Inspector Nikhil Kapse get punished for the crime (rather he got promoted sometime back). Even FIR was not registered for the death of these seven persons while 57 persons including the injured were booked for 'rioting'.

Over the years, all efforts were made by successive governments including the Congress to bury cases like the Hari Masjid firing. The Sri Krishna Commission report was shelved and despite repeated assurances by the Congress leaders, whenever the party came in power it ignored the recommendations.

However, this week Mapkar's long battle seems to have begun showing results now. This week the High Court ordered the case to he handed over to CBI. Such was the delay in compliance  that the Court had to warn the State government of contempt proceedings if the case was not handed over by state police to CBI.

The Bombay High Court has now rejected the Additional Solicitor General's plea that FIR could be registered only after an inquiry, and has ordered the CBI to first register a case and then conduct the investigations.

The court had earlier said that it was the case that "affects the very soul of India" and held that it should be investigated "for the rule of law to survive". The CBI now has six months to investigate and file a charge sheet against Kapse and his men.

Why ATS chief Hemant Karkare's death becomes a rallying point

The case of Hari Masjid is not the first such incident. In the past, unprovoked killings by the notorious Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) of UP, in Meerut's Hashimpura-Maliana village where youths were picked up, bundled, killed and thrown in Hindon river, in the pre-TV channels era, never saw justice. [Link to a later followup report on Hashimpura killings in Indian Express]

In fact, in several cases it was never a Hindu-Muslim riot. Rather, a police-Muslim clash. In Kanpur, it became the norm for decades. However, in later riots of 90s, as the Army was sent the riots would stop immediately with both communities welcoming the army.

Former IPS officer Vibhuti Narayan Rai has written extensively on this subject and his book has now been made a part of the curriculum of the Police Academy. Police in parts of the country has been heavily communalised and the situation was too bad in the past.

It is in this backdrop that Karkare became the symbol of hope and justice for Muslims. Who (among the investigative agencies, policy makers and journos) was not aware of the Nanded blasts-Parbhani mosque attacks-Jalna-Malegaon blasts?

The fact that there were blasts on Shab-e-Barat and before that fake beards and topis were recovered from the house of Bajrang Dal and RSS workers. But the cases were never properly looked into.

Just like many Muslims refuse to believe that 'a Muslim can do it', there is a vast number of Hindus who believe that 'How can a Hindu do it?'.

Though it is these Hindus and Muslims who produce criminals, mass murders and all sorts of offenders that include child rapists but this irrational belief is present among police as well (including politicians and journalists).

Karkare led the same ATS, which never worked on these Nanded-Parbhani-Malegaon leads under the past ATS heads including KP Raghuvanshi. Karkare went on arresting a number of persons and such was his integrity that retired IPS officers including RSS sympathisers personally told the Sangh leaders that he was not someone who would 'frame or falsely implicate anybody withour proper evidence'.

In this backdrop, when the trio of three exceptional officers Karkare-Salaskar-Kampte was eliminated after reaching from one place to another and later at Cama Hospital abruptly, the 'persecuted' Muslim mind did think of theories like 'elimination by some hardcore fanatic RSS shooter or even a cop or an accomplice of the gang of Pragya Thakur-Dayanand Pandey'.

Is it so weird? It is not if one considers it in this old backdrop. A Chief Minister like Congress' Sudhakar Rao Naik or the BJP's Narendra Modi saw hunreds killed in their regimes and the outcome of cases or their accountability was almost nil.

Very few victims could get justice. However, Karkare was breaking a myth that it is only the 'Muslim who can be a terrorist'. In the last 20 year or so RSS has so strongly captured the imagination of middle-class that it has become a near equivalent of nationalism. But it is also has hardcore fanatics just like any other such organisation.

Antulay's statement, which I termed irresponsible but not anti-national, on this blog earlier, was blown up. It was made to appear that he implied that the terrorists were not responsible for the attacks. 'Karkare ki shahadat ka apmaan', were headlines in Hindi papers echoeing the line of the same Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, VHP groups that were earlier baying for his blood and even asking his 'narco-analysis'.

Even after Mumbai terror strikes, there are signature campaigns in Cities like Indore to demand the 'release of Pragya Thakur' as a 'Hindu can't be a terrorist'. By the same logic is it not anti-national. So whither justice?

It is not at all a question in every Muslim's mind but there was the thought among those who have seen justice denied for decade. They wondered why the 'demand for an inquiry' into the three sudden deaths, has been termed as anti-national.

At the blog, India's National Interest, Rohit has raised valid points and written on the issue.

[Photo of Hari Masjid courtesy Shashi Ashiwal for Frontline]


ishvani said...

I can understand the sentiment.

Anser Azim said...

I raead somewhere that One of the terrorist, Amir Kasab, caught on CCTV camera at the Chattrapati Shivaji railway station wore a sacred Hindu wristband. Was it a disguise to fool our police or all other nine were wearing those rakhi bands. I did not get any information on other nine. Has all other nine wore that wristband or just Kasab?? getting curious after reading all these conspiracy theories by ARoy and Mr Mishra and now MR Antulay

Information Junkie said...

The timeline developed lays out how Salaskar, Kamte, and Karkare were killed. Salaskar went down fighting.

indscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha ha... Mr Azim I know what you are trying to say. But one thing I must tell you all the terrorist died in 26/11 Mumbai are Muslims. And there is no doubt about that.

Don't defend them when they make any mistakes. These conspiracy theory doesn't help them (terrorist) but it will provoked other Muslim youth to join the jehadi terrorism and ISI uses them effectively.

STOP supporting them by loose end conspiracy theories.


Pinku said...

when persequetion becomes a persistent factor..this kind of theories are bound to float....

but looking at it closely one knows that atleast this one theory is not at all borne out by facts.

Kagaz ki kashti said...

On my recent visit to Lucknow, I hired an auto from GPO to Gomti nagar. A policeman stopped it to board without my permission (not a shared auto), made comfortable himself on the front seat & later got down half way without paying. I asked the auto wala why did'nt he ask money? And he replied "Madam mujh marna to nahin hai, woh police hai, licence to kill for anything"

That explains everything..

Z@kir said...

Thanks for this post. This throws some insight into those conspiracy theories but I don't think, the hate mongers are willing to hear anything. No amount of facts would calm down - so better not answer them but such postings are necessary. I don't understand why some commentators are saying that you are trying to justify the terrorists or the Anthuley's remarks. I believe, you agree, Anthuley did a very irresponsible thing and the timing was real bad , given that our TRP starved media will go any length to create a hue. My thought - if being a part of the govenrnment you can not do anything why don't you leave the post and bring your theory to people's notice ? But expecting this from a politician is too much I guess.

One Request - When you delete a post ( most probably they are unperliamentary )- could you add a brief reason ? I know it's difficult - but only if you can...this would display some picture of the media-manipulated 'educated' commentators who have no soul, mind or brain but their office's computer.

Anonymous said...

the police in India is a state within a state. it is corrupt and to a large extent it is the fault of the government which has used it to muzzle opposition and target people opposed to it. A large credit should go to Congress, which has been ruling for the longest.

For once instead of wagging fingers at each other, the nation should see the pitfalls of playing the regional, casteist, communal, religious card and be impartial - a crime in any language is a crime.

All law enforcement and investigative agencies should be autonomous, which is not the case in India. Nepotism and saving one's 'OWN' is the religion they follow. One is ashamed.

election wala anon said...

well...ur point abt police atrocities are tht problem is just nt limited to hindu-muslim bias...police atrocities spare no one

kashif said...

India's motto is Satyamev Jayate (Truth alone triumphs), so let the truth prevail by doing investigations from all possible angles.

Enemies of India should be exposed.

Nita said...

Well, it is true what you say, that the reason some Muslims believe in the conspiracy theory is because they are reacting emotionally to it. They are very upset with Karkare's death and feel insecure about the fate of the investigation. But I do not think that Antulay himself thinks like this. I think he is too canny a politician. However he was aware that there were those who thought like this and he latched on it.

indscribe said...

Ishvani: thanks

Anser Azim Sb: Not heard much about that for sometime. May be it was to fool or was it something like friendship band?

Pinku: Exactly. Such was the enormity of the attack that we were all stunned during the three days. You still think about the period and you feel..'My god was it real'....but then there is always a minuscule section of people who have theories....and it is also important to address that. Pratap Bhanu Mehta has written a nice piece in Indian Express' editorial page on Wednesday. He also mentioned those with RSS-tilt who sent SMSs that 'ATS personnel paid with their lives because of Sadhvi's wrath' as also about these people who float theories of RSS guys' involvement.

Kagaz ki Kashti: Nice to know you had a chance to enjoy the Sham-e-Oudh (Awadh). I think UP cops are most uncivil and rough compared to other states. May be Haryana could police can give them a competition.

Thanks Information Junkie, Z@ki-R and Anon. Shukria Kashif bhai.

Election wala Anon: Yes, cops don't distinguish much. Mostly the poor are the worst victims of the cops' mistreatment. However, often there are also caste biases and similar prejudices that work in different regions.

Nita: Thanks.

Dr, Abdul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anindita said...

Karkare was breaking a myth that it is only the 'Muslim who can be a terrorist'.

- The best statement.

I think the period of shock is over and there are no more conspiracy theories now.

Election wala anon!!! said...

For all those asking questions on why so much of mistrust among called Dr. Abdul provides the answer...any comments mr indescribe?

erebus said...

There are a few observations i would want to make on this blogpost, and a lot about the event that it talks about...
Indscribe - you do bring out a few valid points about muslims being at recieving end multiple times in the past, i do agree...I have no idea which city you belong to, but i do have some very good muslim friends, and even more so, i know the way the police operates in this country... corruption knows no religion, and whatever you mentioned is not due to a bias against muslims, but since the muslim community has been made more vulnerable by our(our is for all of us- me as a hindu and u as a muslim) leaders...the so called leaders who represent us...

THere was a time we had hindu sikh divide, and people in canada etc still try to forment it, they do not succeed, then why muslims...why does no one raise a voice against ghetto-isation of muslims, could it be because as a lower income muslim family, i would rather send my kids to the local madarasa and not the local municipal school, when incidently both are free of cost (I agree the municipal school is pathetic teaching, but somehow hindu and other kids do go to these schools only, get some formal education and start their lives) one forces them to go to a madarasa.... if the only law that i know of is sharia, then "god" ojnly could save me from harassment, and not the law of the land.....we have amazing intelligensia among muslims, some of the best brains in the country are from the community, and they did it on their hard work- is it since they invested in their education, sachar committee says about low patricipation of muslims in jobs and colleges etc....could it be because there are no people meeting those qualiifcation requirements. Among us hindus, there is a SC/ST reservation, and trust me, out of the the colleges i have attended(3 of them), 95% of the people from reserved seats are people whose families are much better off than us, kids of IAS and IPS officers keep getting thegoods, and the rest of the poor people continue to slog their lives off at the bottom of the social ladder, as sweepers and other lowly paid people. You need reservation?? go ahead, all seats would still goto the kids of people who can afford a public school education, like is the case of current hindu SC/ST people.... You need to invest in the education of ur future generation, to bring them up to the needs of the current times, to stand up for themselves, and to further improve the muslim society at large....

I have no issues with people reading koran, but jsut being able to read the 6666 lines do not make u a scholar, u need to imbibe what koran stands for, it is not for waging war on others, it is for all of us to assimilate within ourself what it stands for, i m a hindu who has read only the translated version of koran and so may be i do not understand the depth of it, but surely you do, your blog in english means that u r a well eduacted person, ur access to PC means u r from a decently well to do family, and ur tone talks of intellect, i m sure u know the koran and its interpretations well, if reading koran did not stop u from being an educated well placed muslim, why shoudl it stop the others from being a good person, i m sure u know ur rights as a indian citizen(again the rights are not absolute, they are infringed upon with impunity by the people in power), and u wud be in a better position to ward off any misspread stories about ur religion....

As fas as the mumbai episode goes, yes, we know that the kiddos wrecking the havoc were seen wearing the saffron bands in hands(we hindus call it tying moli),if that makes the terrorist hindus so be it, they were killed nonetheless....police claims that they came from karachi(you as a victimised muslim have a right to refute the police theory), you could claim that they were all indian hindu terrorists who were trained to kill as a diversion, while the ATS team would be killed in a planned way, GREAT!!! you quesiton the police ...great, but how many times have to questioned the MP from hyderabad, MIM leaders, how many schools have they opened up in the old hyderabad many times did u question the fatwas from ulemas claiming that the polio medicine being administered was an infertility drug - after all hindu kids were given the same medicine....

aap ke aur mere majhab ke neta sirf yehi chahte hain ki hum majhab ke liye ladein, apne liye nahi, apne bhale ke liye nahi, doosre ke bure ke liye.....antulay sahin ke time mein sachar committee ki report aayi, he is the minister for minority affairs, pichle 2 saal mein report aane se aaj tak kya kiya antulay sahab ne, is baar ye bhashan dene ke alawa....kitne school khole unhone, kitne beqasoor muslim jawaano ko galat arrest hone pe jail se nikala....sun lo inhi ki, ye aap ke sab se bade hitaishi hain....the bulwark of indian muslim words to the hapless silent community....

i would love if ur blog brings out the sufferings of an ordinary muslim, something we as indians could attack and get rid of(the sufferings, and not the muslim!!!- is se pehle ki tum mujhe rightist kaho), do something.....turkey is a muslim country, iran is supposedly a hardcore muslim country(even the US says that- iranian fundamentalist) - i have bene to both and the people there, almost 100% muslims, have to go to modern education schooling, madarasa exists, and people send their kids to them only in the evening, for religious educations....karo na aisa kuch, how come we had jamia and AMU coming up earlier in 19th century, and 1000 madarasa coming up now, no universities???....yet again, i m not pointing fingers at you, it is a collective failure...for u and me, and we need to correct it....and the correction is within each one of us, not by blaming others.....

U cud have mr. antulay as ur role model or mr Kalam....u cud listen to one, and follow them...take ur pick.....

PS- These are purely my views, my knowledge of koran is limited to a translated version and selected readings from other scholars, and in case it hurt someone's religious feelings, i apologize. The idea is not to offend the religion, but the way it is interpreted.

Election wala Anon!!! said...

Dude...why to give a platform to anti-india voices like Dr. abdul here??? In case you do not find it anti-india...please explain

Anonymous said...

I don’t buy the arguments about Islamic terrorism etc. I

say every religion has terrorist outfits. Many Muslims

are playing into the dirty hands of non-Islamic

terrorists and their ideologues for cash.

Dr Abdul

indscribe said...

Anindita: I also think it's over now, the theories.

Electionwala Anon: My mistake was that I didn't check the link, I thought as there was nothing objectionable in the comment, the link may also be innocuous. I should've checked.

Erebus: I really appreciate your concern. I also grapple with such issues.

I wonder why blogger doesn't have the provision of editing comment. I can either publish it or reject it or the third option is to copy it and post the non-objectionable part which is also not the ideal thing to do.

Election wala anon!!! said...

yeah buddy....u gotta b careful

Anonymous said...

It would be better to divert your energies to empathizing with the slain innocents, than spinning conspiracy theories.

Salman said...


I have lived in about 5 countries until now, including India. More often than not, I have noticed that the islamic community for some strange unknown reason, does not make an effort to integrate with the rest of the population. In fact, they try to segregate. For example, in a place called Perth in Australia, recently, an islamic group applied for a building permit to build an apartment complex meant exclusively for islamic residents.

Milind Kher said...

Even if the probe regarding the circumstances of Mr Karkare's death has now been swept aside, the chilling lesson to be drawn is that nobody really cared to investigate.

A major light of hope for the Muslims was snuffed out. Now the probe into Samjhauta Express, ajmer Dargah, Mecca Masjid has been stalled, or may cease altogether.

For the sake of justice, we need to continue to be strong on this

Anonymous said...

bhai, baki baat ek taraf conspiracy rachne ke liye ...unko pahle se pta hona chahiye tha ki 26 ko attack hone wala hai.......chalo agar unko nahi pta ki 26 ko attack hona kya wo (jisko dickvijay aur antulay sahab hindutva terror bol rahe hai ) news channel dekh ke nikal padhe the ke aaj hi karkare ji ka khatama kar do........aap samajh hi gaye hoke koi bhi conspiracy ek din main nahi rachi jaati iske liye kaafi samay sab minority votes ko polarise karne ki chaal hai dickvijay ki...agar unko itna hi lagta hai to centre main sarkaar unki, state main sarkar kar lo probe...kyon t.v pe aa kar allegation lagate ho....aur jitne bhi conspiracy maine suni hai jaise usa ki baat kar lo....unhi ki sarkar hoti hai har jagah involved koi naya element nahi rachta conspiracy...shadyantra rachne ke liye saari machinery honi chahiye aapke sath ...yuhi raah chalte conspiracy nahi bana digvijyon ne 60 saal se aapko dara dara ke vote liye hai....main koi supporter nahi hun in rss type logon ka....lekin ek do baar apne kisi dost ke sath gya tha inke kisi program main aur kafi sawal kiye the inse...aur jitna maine dekha ye log hatred nahi sikhate hai...jaisa digvijay sahab roz t.v. pe failate rahte hai...aap bhi main to kahta hun first hand experience lo aur rss ke kisi program main khud dekh kar aao ki kya hota hai...