India's Favourite Fascist in the News, Again

Let us begin with Arundati Roy:

Genocide Denial is a radical variation on the theme of the old, frankly racist, bloodthirsty triumphalism. It was probably evolved as an answer to the somewhat patchy dual morality that arose in the 19th century, when Europe was developing limited but new forms of democracy and citizens' rights at home while simultaneously exterminating people in their millions in her colonies. Suddenly countries and governments began to deny or attempt to hide the genocides they had committed. "Denial is saying, in effect," says Professor Robert Jay Lifton, author of Hiroshima and America: Fifty Years of Denial, "that the murderers did not murder. The victims weren't killed. The direct consequence of denial is that it invites future genocide."

Genocide Denial is common enough view amongst Modiphiles.  But the position of Lifton is readily specilized to the case of the "encounters" of the Gujurati police.  The murders did not murder.  The victims were not killed.  The direct consequence of state-sponsored murder is that it invites additional state-sponsored murder.

The case of Ishrat Jahan provides a good illustration.  This "terrorist" was killed in June 2004.  The police killed Ishrat Jahan and three of her friends outside Ahmedabad.  The Gujarat Police had claimed that Ishrat, Javed Gulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali and Jisan Abdul Gani were "members of Laskhar-e-Toeba and they that they plotted to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi" according to IBN.

What do we know of this "terrorist"?  According to the Hindu (18 June 2004), Ishrat's mother tells us that:

"My daughter used to leave at eight in the morning and come home at four and then take tuitions. She also helped me with running the house. She had no time for herself and was my main support," said Shamima.

Friends, neighbours and well-wishers were standing around the three-storeyed apartment in anger and silence. No one could believe that Ishrat was not among them any more. All her neighbours and friends said that Ishrat was an innocent girl. In college, Ishrat, a B.Sc. student, was popular ....

Alas, an Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate has recently ruled that this was yet another case of fake encounter and cold-blooded murder.  In point of fact, the police kidnapped all four victims.  The following Hindu article (8 September 2009) is worth quoting in its entirety:

In yet another major setback to the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate S.P. Tamang, has ruled that the incident in which Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in June, 2004, was yet another case of fake encounter.

In his 243-page hand written report on the encounter, Mr. Tamang has named the then “encounter specialist” of the Gujarat police, D.G. Vanzara, and others as accused in the cold blooded murder of the teenaged girl and three others.

Mr. Vanzara and several other policemen are already in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin case which the State government confessed before the Supreme Court was a case of fake encounter.

A special three-member team of top police officers of the State appointed by the Gujarat High Court for a fresh investigation into the Ishrat Jahan encounter is seized of the matter.

Claiming that Ishrat and three others were killed in fake encounter by the police officers for their personal interests, get promotions and gain appreciations from the Chief Minister, Mr Tamang appended a list of top police officers running into about two pages who he held responsible for the fake encounter. Besides Mr Vanzara and his then deputy in the Crime Branch police, N. K. Amin, who along with Mr Vanzara was also arrested in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, the list includes the then Ahmedabad police commissioner, K. R. Kaushik, the then chief of the Crime Branch, P. P. Pandey, another alleged encounter specialist Tarun Barot and a host of other senior police officers.

Mr Tamang’s report said the Crime Branch police kidnapped Ishrat and three others from Mumbai on June 12 and brought them to Ahmedabad. The four were killed on the night of June 14 in police custody, but the police claimed that an “encounter” took place on the morning of June 15 near Kotarpur water works on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The rigor mortis that had set in clearly indicated that Ishrat died between 11 p.m. and 12 midnight the previous night and the police apparently pumped bullets into her body to substantiate the encounter theory.

It said the explosives, rifles, and other weapons allegedly found in their car were all planted by the police after the encounter.

The police had then claimed that Ishrat, a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, and three others — Javed Sheikh, a convert son of Gopinath Pillai of Kerala and two Pakistani citizens Amzad Ali Rana and Jishan Jauhar — were connected with Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and were coming to Gujarat to assassinate Mr. Modi to avenge the 2002 communal riots.

Vivek earlier wrote about this wretched D.G. Vanzara.

The direct consequence of state-sponsored murder is that it invites additional state-sponsored murder.  And lies.

By: on 8 Sep 2009


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Well written.  Thanks for

Well written.  Thanks for posting this.

Any suggestions on what

Any suggestions on what people outside India can do to be useful?  Would like to help.

I find myself hesitating in

I find myself hesitating in response to your query, Dr. A.  But I shall offer some thoughts.

(1)  In addition to the work already done at PTR, talk and write more about these 'fake encounters' in Gujarat.  This additional work might simply take the form of Tidbits.  Publicize the issue and increase awareness.

(2)  Talk and write about the role of the Gujarati police and especially its Crime Branch in the pogroms of 2002.  I am of the opinion that this link has not been adequately investigated.  D.G. Vanzara was head of the Crime Branch at the time of the murder of Ishrat Jahan.  One of the Tehelka articles in their investigation of the pogroms suggest that the Crime Branch was involved, at least in the sense of not intervening to stop the pogrom if not more.

(3)  Circulate a petition on this issue.

What do you think?

1 and 2 sound like things I

1 and 2 sound like things I can do, though i think it's important to also have non india related tidbits as frequently as possible within the same themes, just as good practics - but that's not a reason NOT to do what you're suggesting. 

On 3, before personally doing a petition, I would want to learn more, though if pressed, i'd probably just sign on the basis of the fact that you set it up :)

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