The BJP and Justice, Chapter 2: Ishrat Encounter Cop Reinstated // Muzzafarnagar Riot accused becomes Union minister
This is a tried and tested method of manipulating public mentality - selective memory combined with contempt for law and justice. Why should we forget, Mr Baliyan? Mr Modi hasn't forgotten, so why should we? A political movement which wants us to always remember 1528 (the date of Babar's alleged destruction of the Ram Temple) - keeps asking us to forget 2002. (No one even asks us to forget 2008, because it is forgotten anyway, who bothers about Kandhamal? Or for that matter the frightening Staines judgement, (2011) which 'forgot' that two little boys were also burned alive along with their father, Graham Staines in 1998?)
Now Mr Baliyan wants us to forget 2013. But what does all this mean? Should the FIR vanish? Should the trial be dragged on for decades, like the Babri Masjid demolition case? Should the police forget about the case, as the J&K police have avoided pursuing hundreds of cases of murder of Kashmiri civilians by persons known to have participated in terrorist actions? Or maybe Mr Baliyan is signalling that the police leave out crucial evidence, as they are believed to have done in Zakia Jafris petition? Should men accused of inciting violence and communal hatred be outside the purview of law and justice because they want us to forget what they did? Should the surviving victims of the 1984 carnage also forget about justice? Why have a justice system at all?
There is a long tradition in India, of elected representatives presiding over violence so massive that even the most efficient crime prevention system would collapse under the weight of criminality - and then asking everyone to forget, move on, not harp on the past. During the elections, the Election Commission ordered an FIR to be registered against Mr Modi as well. He poured ridicule on the Commission, and the fate of the investigation is anyone's guess, now that he is Prime Minister.
Yes, the signs are clear. Some people are above the law, and some kind of crimes must not be considered crimes at all. They are part of the never-ending cycle of communal revenge that our country has endured for many decades. We are a world-class power where genocide has been a common place.
The Gujarat government has only just reinstated suspended police officer G.L. Singhal, who was charge-sheeted in the Ishrat Jahan extra judical killings, and was the Investigating Officer who falsely implicated, tortured and framed 6 innocent Muslim men in the Akshardham case. The Supreme Court recently severely castigated the Gujarat police on this count. Even before the election results, the chief supervisory officer investigating the cases was relieved of the charge: Sleuth probing Gujarat encounters shifted, probe hit.
We can see that justice is a top priority for Mr Modi - but what kind of priority? The constitution, to which both Mr Modi and Mr Baliyan and Ms Anandiben have sworn allegiance, still contains a criminal justice system. They may all want us to forget Muzaffarnagar, encounter killings etc, but the justice system is not bound by their wishes. Judges and officials are servants of the constitution, not of the government of the day. Let us see whether they stand by their oath.
Very short list of examples of rule of law in
The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi
Terrifying implications of the Staines judgement
Murder of TP Chandrasekharan 2012