All over the country, in the past few years, we are witnessing a concerted politics of targeting Muslim youth as ‘terrorists’. Framed cases, custodial torture and killings, and fake encounters have become common in many states. In the few landmark cases where court proceedings have exonerated the falsely accused youth, there has been no acknowledgement of wrongdoing on part of the police and anti-terror squads, no apology, and no compensation or rehabilitation for those who suffered jail and torture on the strength of baseless charges.
In the case of fake encounters like the Batla House ‘encounter’, the demand for impartial enquiry has been rejected. And the latest Sessions Court verdict sentencing Shehzad to life imprisonment for the killing of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma has added insult to injury. This verdict holds Shehzad to be guilty without showing any credible narrative to establish his presence in the L-18 flat, let alone any proof of his having fired a bullet, or any reasonable way for him to have escaped unseen and unhurt. Moreover this verdict explains the police’s lack of independent witnesses with the communal assertion that local residents could not be suitable witnesses because of they are from the minority community.
If the BJP-ruled Gujarat Government had a political agenda of fake encounters, governments ruled by other parties too have had their own political motives for such fake encounters and political frame-ups. With the Congress, SP, and UPA desperate to obediently follow the US path of Islamophobia, such cases have increased alarmingly. Even as the revelations in the Ishrat Jehan case and the Supreme Court-appointed Santosh Hegde panel’s findings in the Manipur fake encounters are creating a climate where the public is more sceptical of police claims of ‘encounters’, there is a concerted campaign to brand all questioning voices as ‘anti-national’.
We urgently need to demand a national tribunal to review and enquire into all terror cases, if we are to be true to the principles of democracy. We need to ensure that the victims of fake encounters and false frame-ups not only get justice but compensation and rehabilitation. And we need to assert what the Santosh Hegde panel has established – the such fake encounters and witch-hunt makes us more, not less, unsafe and insecure as a country.
With the Lok Sabha polls approaching, communal forces are intensifying their offensive. We have witnessed instances of communal flare-up in J&K, several places in Bihar and UP. It is important for all people to remain alert to expose and rebuff any attempts to whip up communal tensions and engineer communal violence by vested interests. The politics of minority witch-hunt helps to create a fertile climate for the communal forces to sow their seeds of suspicion and hatred, and reap a political harvest. We need to resist it with all our might, and assert that truth and justice are what will make our country and all its citizens more secure.
You have played a remarkable role in exposing and fighting for justice against minority witch-hunt and communalism. On September 25th, we hope you can join us in strengthening this battle, and address a Convention Against Communalism and Minority Witch-hunt, which is being organised by the CPI(ML) Liberation at ISIL Auditorium (near Supreme Court) 1.30 pm onwards, in which those fighting for justice against the politics of fake encounters and witch-hunt all over the country will gather to expose and unite against this politics.