Selective outrage over Sadhvi Pragya's remarks on Hemant Karkare betray political colours
There is usually silence when IPS officers are killed or caught committing crimes. But this was not one of those times.
In the recent past the news that the hogged the headlines have made certain interesting readings. At the same time I have had the honour of being catapulted into a position of envy. References from my book are being quoted and relied upon almost on daily basis. This is all in the context of nomination of the Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as a candidate for the Lok Sabha Seat of Bhopal in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Her candidature was announced by the party on 17.4.2018. I have been inundated with calls from media houses.
Let me make one thing clear here. I have said in my book titled 'Myth of Hindu Terror' that Hindu terror is a non-existent phenomenon with adequate corroborative evidences cited or references to documents in public domain made.
The natural corollary was that those who were tried for perpetuating this 'Hindu terror' myth have been wronged. This was the conclusion based of documentation analysis of event with the date of their occurrences et al. Therefore, Sadhvi Pragya was wronged, and she is a victim of this manufactured narrative. In the said book, I have also stated that one of the pioneers of this myth was Digvijaya Singh, ably assisted by Hemant Karkare, who had become a martyr in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008.
It is also a fact that Karkare had allegedly tortured the people arrested in 'Hindu terror' cases. Sadhvi Pragya, as a victim of this, had also suffered physical and mental abuse in the hands of ATS overseen by Karkare.
However, in this country, when it comes to cricket, politics and law, everyone is an expert. There has been non-stop rattling by the knowledgeable as well as the not-knowledgeable, including some who have pointed out that Sadhvi Pragya is still to be exonerated on UAPA charges, and comparing her to Hafiz Saeed, etc.
My humble advise is that let us leave it to the court to come to a conclusion on the matter. As regards her contesting the election, as long the legal framework of the court does not expressly bar her she is well entitled to contest.
The interim statement by Sadhvi Pragya has been hyped beyond limits. She had said that Karkare died because of her curse. Realising the inappropriateness of the said statement, she withdrew her remark and apologised for the same.
But political mischief mongers who were clapping all the way when Digvijay Singh was propagating the false allegations of 'Hindu terror' started questioning her over this statement. My simple reaction to all these people is: Please experience an iota of the torture she has undergone for just one day. You will curse the perpetuators more grievous words. I have experienced torture, and to that extent I empathise with her.
Having said that, politicians are expected to adversely comment on this. and they did so accordingly. But for a service association to condemn the remarks was certainly not justified. The IPS Officers Association condemned the remarks of Sadhvi Pragya on Hemant Karkare. To the uninitiated, let me first state that this Association is itself unconstitutional and illegal. Article 33 empowers the Parliament to pass legislation to restrict the rights officials" - Clause (2) members of the forces charged with maintenance of law and order" and in exercise of this the Parliament of India has passed and Government notified the Police Forces Restriction of Rights Act. The restriction of the right to form associations, a Fundamental Right guaranteed, has been denied to police forces under this Act, which has been validated by the Honourable Supreme Court, especially with respect to forming service associations in the case of Achudan versus Union of India (1976) SCWR 80. Hence what is the legal status of this illegal association is not known.
However, this illegal association, as expected, never ever has commented or condemned on the illegal acts of their members or members of the police force. When Satish Verma was torturing me, this illegal association did not condemn it. When a member of their own ilk was harassed, tortured and illegally detained - like the case of DG Vanzara, NK Amin, Tarun Barot or GL Singhal or even Raj Kumar Pandian - they did not condemn it, because they support illegality of their political masters. Even in the case of Sadhvi Pragya, there was no condemnation of torture carried out by Karkare. But, her comments on the curse were not just condemned in jingoistic language, but Karkare has been made to look like a hero.
Ironically, when Digvijaya Singh or Tehseen Poonawala claim their close proximity to Karkare, thereby betraying that Karkare was foot soldier for an unholy political agenda, the IPS Association does not condemn it saying IPS is a professional service and AIS Rules proscribes collusion of the its officers with politicians.
Incidentally, Karkare's case is being likened to another martyr police officer, Mohan Chand Sharma, who was killed by terrorist during the Batla House encounter in Delhi. When the Congressmen were questioning the truth and genuineness of the Batla House encounter by Sharma, this Association did not question that. But this case has been settled in a court of law, whereas even Hemant Karkare's post mortem report has not been put on public domain.
Hence, to liken the two cases is akin to likening chalk and cheese. By all these jingoism, is the IPS Association betraying its political colours? No wonder, because given the legal proscription of such associations, if their political masters had allowed formation of this association and its continuance then surely their loyalties will underwritten by the political group.
Having said this, now the IPS Association has been joined by IAS Officers Association also in condemning the comments of Sadhvi Pragya. This association has not been proscribed by any illegal provision. But does IAS require an association? They are ultimate power centre in the country. They can make or ruin people's life. But still they are betraying their political loyalties by jumping in solidarity with their IPS colleagues. Their track record is no better.
The IAS association has never condemned the black deeds of their colleagues. Tino Joshi will not be condemned for being caught with disproportionate assets. I will recall the case of a DM of Muzzafarnagar during the Uttaranchal agitation. Several innocent agitators were will in the agitation and women were raped in the unfortunate incident. Incidentally, the prosecution file was lost in the sessions court in 2003. My involvement with the case happened after my release from government in February 2018. People who had approached me were guided to go to High Court of Uttarakhand and indeed they got their release thanks to a direction from the High Court to the Sessions Court to locate the file re-commence the trial in the case. The officer culpable has retired honourably as a Secretary to the Government of India on 31.3.2019
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)