All this could possibly happen if Zakia Jafri and Teesta Setalvad, who are doing everything constitutionally and legally possibe to hold the head of the then government accountable, are checkmated, preferably gagged, and put into jail. Zakia's criminal revision petition is not about seeking recourse to justice for one incident of massacre, where her husband was brutally hacked and burnt to death but about the larger issue of command responsibility of the then CM, and now PM, in failing to prevent the killings from taking place.
It is high time this country saw the emergence of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility as a statutory and constitutional imperative, rather than leaving it to the notoriously weak provisions of the Indian Penal Code, which address only crime by individuals and punish only the hand that kills. Conspiracies are not easy to prove, but judging from the attack on Teesta Setalvad, the PM seems worried and insecure that there is an off chance, maybe just an off chance, that some well-meaning judge might accept the evidence pointing out the massive failure of his constitutional duty to prevent the killings. What stands between him and the "clean chit" are the courts and the cases Teesta and some of us are pursuing.
This pursuit of justice is slowly but steadily reaching its climax. Could this be the reason for her threatened arrest? The enormous support and assistance she gave 5,000 surviving witnesses, who unflinchingly recorded their testimonies, helped secure 120 convictions to life imprisonments, including that of a minister in the state cabinet.
As for the proverbial wine and visits to the beauty parlour, apart from the fact that they sustain the myth of the "five-star" activists, I must remind the courts that they hold their own legal aid meetings spending money meant for the poor in seven-star hotels. There is a record of a protest as regards this lodged by no less a person than a former judge of the Chennai High Court. Will they be swayed by such allegations now to refuse Teesta bail? This is not to admit on my part that money was so spent, but rather to expose the hollow legal nature of the reasons to oppose bail. It is nobody's case that there should be no investigation into the alleged misuse of funds, rather that the investigation be free and fair.
I now ask a basic question, why is there one law for the non-profit organizations and another for for-profit corporates? Why is there no imprisonment under FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) but imprisonment for non-profits for violating norms relating to getting grants from foreign donors under FCRA? The only explanation is that the FCRA is a gateway to crushing human rights, and what is worse, an alibi for an argument that we, the NGOs who take up human right issues are "anti-national". We compromise the "economic security" of our countries, expressions that were reserved for terrorists so far. I call for the repeal of the FCRA and its replacement with a Foreign Contributions Management Act, which addresses only public servants. Perhaps then we will see some justice for Teesta, the woman whose father named her after a river in Bangladesh which flows fearlessly across borders.
Mrinal Pande: The Lament of the Half Golden Mongoose
Is it possible that the State, which is supposed to protect the small fish against the big, may on occasion, would ever sympathise with murderous predatory fish roaming the territory? Is it possible that many may witness the hunt passively because it may be politically expedient? One does not, of course believe in such a degree of idiocy, but during disturbed times the absence of other plausible explanations justifies considering it.
Travesty of justice - Bombay High court refuses bail to artists of Kabir Kala Manch in jail for two years without trial
Retired Gujarat DIG Vanzara Demands Promotions for Encounter-Accused Cops (and threatens 'unknown consequences' in case his demands are refused).
DG Vanzara's letter - Times of India (2013)
Sumana Ramanan - Film-maker releases a dozen clips of controversial Modi speeches made just after Gujarat riots (2014)
Gujarat reinstates another suspended cop after securing bail in Prajapati encounter case
DG Vanzara's letter - Times of India (2013)
Shekhar Gupta - National Interest: Secularism is dead!
More on justice in India, the death penalty, etc.