There can be no justice as long as the prosecutor and the criminal are the same
According to news reports, the Union Home Ministry has turned down a request of the CBI for granting prosecution sanction to four IB officials, including retired special director Rajendra Kumar, who were allegedly involved in conspiracy behind the cold blooded killing of a 19 year college student of Mumbai, Ishrat Jehan and three others in an “encounter” in Ahmedabad in 2004. This brings to an end, an 11 yearlong drama in which, in the face of public outcry, the Indian state went through the motions of investigating the case.
According to the news leaked by sources in the CBI, Rajendra Kumar was one of the IB officials who had interrogated Ishrat Jehan when she was in illegal police custody of the Gujarat police, before she was declared killed in an “encounter”. He was part of the IB group that concocted the story that a group of Lashkar terrorists were coming to Ahmedabad to target then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Ishrat Jehan and her friends were declared to be part of this group.
Over the past 11 years, ample evidence has come to light as a result of the struggle waged by human rights activists, that Ishrat Jehan and her friends were innocent people who had been kidnapped by the police and then murdered in a fake encounter as part of the policy of unleashing a reign of terror against the people. The UPA government deliberately did not carry the investigation forward to its logical conclusion. The Home Ministry, both under the UPA government and under the current NDA government has protected top police personal involved in these murders. All the accused who were arrested for varying periods of time, on the basis of overwhelming evidence, including IPS officer DG Vanzara have been granted bail by the courts.
What does the 11 year old trial of the cold blooded murderers of Ishrat Jehan and her three friends reveal? It reveals that this was not an act of a few individuals in the Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau, but part of the systematic campaign of state terror unleashed by the Indian state against its own people. In this period, people of the Muslim faith have been deliberately targeted as terrorists and Pakistani agents, as part of the “war against terrorism” unleashed by the Indian ruling class. A massive lying propaganda has been carried out, by the ruling class to justify state terrorism, including the torture and killing of innocent people in fake encounters, as necessary to protect the state and society from terrorism. The state has armed itself with draconian laws to crush dissent. Human rights activists and justice loving people fighting to expose state terrorism and punish the guilty have been victimized. It is for this reason that the state has refused to punish the guilty.
Those guilty of unleashing state terrorism cannot be expected to punish themselves. When the prosecutor is the murderer, there can be no justice. This has been the bitter experience of the people fighting to punish the guilty of November 1984, of 1992, and 2002, as well as all the other acts of state terrorism carried out by the Indian state over the decades. State terrorism is not to be identified with this or that party in power. It is the deliberate policy of the ruling class to smash the unity of our people, to crush all dissent, and all opposition to its rule. This is why no change of party in power has ensured punishment of those guilty of organizing state terrorism including state organized communal massacres.
While continuing to fight to get those responsible for the murder of Ishrat Jehan punished, all those fighting to end state terrorism need to draw appropriate lessons from this struggle. We can never expect justice from the present Indian state. We need to replace the preset state with a new state that is committed to ensuring security and prosperity to all, a state which will guarantee the human rights of all, and have enforcing mechanisms for the same.