“POLICE WORK IS A DIRTY JOB. BUT SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT!”
(Popular saying amongst dirty cops doing a dirty job).
For quite some time now, there has been a conspiracy unfolding from within the “Khaki Fraternity” that has manifested in the establishment of a sinister, alternate system of enforcing Law and civic order: An underground Bohemian system tangential from conventional, customary practices prescribed by governing Law.
This is a visible state of affairs but its working mechanism is enshrouded and jealously guarded. Or, at best, never formally admitted to for fear of breaking a sacred, secret trust. Nevertheless, this disparate system of administering and enforcing public order has seized for itself a pivotal sphere of influence over Indian society claiming exemption from the confines of the Constitution.
Despite all the textbook statutory safeguards in place, one quickly realizes these to be notional, toothless and cowering in the shadows for they are routinely circumvented with impunity. But is this not to be expected when you let the fox guard the chicken? If perchance there ensues a major brouhaha and trenchant, conscientious journalism, a tiny, select sampling of police criminals may be held to answer — a nominal showing to appease the gullible citizenry and the shocked World community.
But simultaneously at work are invisible hands of policy-influencing powerhouses that control the political and administrative machinery of our government, which render clandestine support to these, their “fallen comrades” …. and reprisal for “interfering”. Rajnish Rai, a Dy. Inspector General in the State Crime Records Bureau, instrumental in the arrest of suspended IPS officers D.G. Vansara and Rajkumar Pandian (a la Sohrabuddin Fake Encounter Case) was declared as having failed all subjects in his LL.B. (Law) exam. Rai was found “guilty” on the basis of University Rule that prohibits during exams any writings on a foot-ruler (even graffiti by Rai’s 4-yr old son, which has no relevance to Law or the exam). See Link http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/ips-officer-found-guilty-of-using-unfair-means-in-llb-examination-declared-failed/314469/.
Arbitrariness and favoritism in personnel practices has promoted criminalization within the police and given rise to an exclusive, fearsome breed of power-drunk psycho cops. It often becomes difficult to distinguish between the cop and his alter ego, the gangster. Likewise, being left unbridled, it becomes just as difficult (actually, cumbersome) for such cops to walk the straight and narrow line.
The sordid details characterizing such incidents rarely come to light; if they do, it’s only a tiny “flash in the pan”, soon to be forgotten. And the practice continues on unabated with renewed gusto (and greater secrecy) encouraged by public apathy.
Such murders, by a magical stroke of the Police pen, are anointed, by the trusting judiciary’s rubber stamp, with a cloak of legitimacy and subsequently referred to as Police response to unprovoked, armed “encounters”.
Case in point: The abduction and vendetta killing of extortionist Sohrabuddin Sheikh on November 26, 2005 by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad. He was later fraudulently labeled a member of the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba. Shortly thereafter, they murdered his wife Kauserbi and an uninvolved traveling companion torching and disposing them so as to purge evidence. See Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Editorial/Criminal_Cops/rssarticleshow/1986009.cms
Several senior police officers from different states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, as well as high placed politicians are suspected to be involved in the murders. So far only three ranking IPS officers have been arrested: Border Range DIG (Dy. Inspector General of Police) D.G. Vanjhara, Superintendent (Operations) Raj Kumar Pandian, and Superintendent M.N. Dinesh. This is merely the tip of the iceberg.
As the investigation unfolds, we are told that D.G. Vanzara was paid to kill Sohrabuddin Sheikh by Rajasthan’s influential marble lobby! Vanzara was himself moonlighting, running a successful extortion racket staffed by Rajkumar Pandiyan, KM Vaghela, GL Singhal and other policemen. Sources in victimized families indicated Vanzara and his associates would, for a consideration, release criminals accused even of serious crimes, including murder, when the right price was paid to Vanzara’s syndicate.
One of the accused in the Sohrabuddin murders, Gujarat Asst. Commissioner Narendra Kumar Amin had visited Hyderabad on Nov. 1, 2004 to arrest and extradite Moulana Naseeruddin who was wanted in Gujarat. A group of protesters at the State’s DGP’s Office were dealt with indiscriminate gun fire from Narendra Kumar that killed 20-year-old Mujahid Salim Islahi. A murder case (No. 883/04) was registered against Narendra Kumar Amin at the Saifabad police station. The then ACP Jagan Mohan Reddy claims to have “investigated” the case, but it was not pursued very far for reasons best known to people who really know the reasons!
FOR DETAILS, SEE:http://newsrack.in/browse?owner=lawrenceliang&issue=Encounter%20Killings&catID=5&start=2315 http://newsrack.in/browse?issue=Encounter+Killings&catID=7&owner=lawrenceliang http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1094366 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Murder_case_in_AP_against_Gujarat_cop/rssarticleshow/1994523.cms
As expected, the court-ordered investigation into the Sohrabuddin Fake “Encounter” Case is up against obstacles from within the Chain of Command. The DIG of CID (Crimes) Rajneesh Rai, assigned to investigate the murder was served written directives from the Gujarat State Director General P.C. Pande that strategically limits his investigatory powers and effectively stymies any prospect of a truthful disposition and its disclosure to the public. Mr. Rai “should seek prior permission from higher-ups, including himself, while taking major decisions in the matter including arrest, permission for forensic tests, searches, future line of investigations and custodial interrogations.” Link: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/digdgp-tussle-in-fake-encounter-case/39642-3.html?xml
The notoriety generated by the Sohrabuddin incident is encouraging families of several other suspected “encounter” victims to come forth with petitions for court-ordered investigations. It’ll be interesting to see how these are disposed with.
There are serious allegations of involvement of the Andhra Pradesh State Police and its collusion with the Gujarat State agency in effecting the extra judicial killing of the three suspects. The official A.P. State position to allegations of conspiracy is a straight faced denial. A.P. State DGP M.A. Basith (thankfully retired since then) indicated that it certainly is normal practice for police of one State to assist colleagues from another State in criminal investigations and intelligence dissemination. But in this particular case, Basith emphatically denied any such interaction occurring. . He indicated further, that if the requesting Agency were to misuse any information – assistance offered, the Host Agency (i.e., A.P. State Police) would be guiltless. [Hypothetically, quite correct. Unless both sister Agencies were of single purpose].
Since the final phase of trailing the suspects, their capture, and abduction to Vilasrao’s murder retreat commenced in Hyderabad, surely the A.P. State Police were aware of visiting Task Force personnel from another State being lodged in Police Officers Mess in Hyderabad? Yet no one questioned, “Why” or exchanged any pertinent information relative to a critical mission of official visitors from an allied Police Agency?
Naturally, one wonders why, in this specific case, the “normal practice” of information/intelligence sharing between State Agencies was curiously disregarded especially in view of the fact that information was obviously available and the Gujarat police team responsible for the murders, utilized Hyderabad as a transitory Base of Operations.
Could it be that the public is being deliberately protected from Truth? Could it be that the sobering Truth, Folks, relates to matters much bigger than some two-bit racketeers being bumped off by other two-bit uniform wearing racketeers. The Truth is frightfully evident in this saga: There exists an animate, visible, ruthless, powerful, self-gratifying system of governance that has turned predator on the very populace that created it in the first place. Our apathy created it; now our continued apathy nurtures it. The irony is that it has, by and large, gained a conspicuous foothold amongst the masses.
But, for just one imaginary moment, let’s shelve our antiquated value system and standard of justice defined by the Constitution; Let’s flirt with some treasonous “outside the Box” thinking, and ponder on the merits of radical, extra-conventional resolutions to the complexities inherent in a purportedly democratic society such as ours:
The observant among us will recognize that government-anointed extra judicial death squads are certainly a viable law enforcement tool in a variety of troubling situations. For one thing, they represent a serious threat to dissent and mercifully spare the already overburdened jail and court systems from further strain. One notable “troubling situation” under decisive control, which comes immediately to mind, is the almost smothered Naxallite presence in Andhra Pradesh State thanks to the judicious utilization of the extra judicial “encounter” remedy. Do we see any likelihood of it being officially established as a versatile tonic to redress a wide range of time-sensitive social maladies at some point in future?
It would be interesting to learn whether this “law” enforcement strategy is being applied indiscriminately, as a generic, instant “Fix” for the community’s radicals or reserved exclusively for the chosen few? Just how frequently are our protectors resorting to this measure? And how much longer for our anonymous, masked crusaders to step out from the shadows flaunting that crisp black uniform, the silver Swastika and Iron Cross?