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'Abhinav' justice of Bharat, 'phika' liberty in Pak!
Lt Col Purohit and sadhvi Pragya Singh are just two of the thousands of scapegoats picked up for torturing to get confessions. The corrupt, inefficient establishment does this to hide the failure to crack the serial blasts which rocked India.
Dropping of all charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 11 suspects in Malegaon Blasts case languishing in jail, by a special court in Mumbai on July 31, has no doubt, gladdened quite a few people. 
 
It is another matter that the designated Judge Y D Shinde has rejected the bail plea of retired Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit. The accused, including Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, have to wait to really be free in ‘free’ India. The decision of the court only entitles them to apply for bail and the trial will go to a sessions court in Nashik and so on.
 
Thus, the quashing of terror charges in no way marks the end of agony – delivery of justice to these victims of state arrogance and judicial callousness, as Gopal Shetty, city president of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), has exulted. It only demonstrates the depth of the abyss into which justice in ‘democratic’ India has plunged in 62 years.
 
Another important fact is that absolutely no progress worth the name has been made so far in cracking the case of Malegaon blasts of September 2008. Pragya and Abhinav Bharat, Pune-based social service mission co-founded by Lt Col Purohit, have been implicated in the conspiracy.
 
The sadhvi, picked up for ‘interrogation’ a few days after the blast that left six innocents dead and dozens injured, was sent in late-October to judicial custody in Byculla jail. Under the draconian MCOCA provisions, she has been denied bail even though no credible evidence could be produced by authorities.
 
Ten months is by no means a short time to dig out and parade evidences if they really existed. Shetty let the cat out by alleging, “A political conspiracy was behind the arrest of sadhvi Pragya Thakur and this was done by the rival Congress party to appease the minorities . . . It is a clear case of politicians using the state anti-terrorism squad for political interests.”
 
In fact, the Lt Col and the sadhvi are just two of the thousands of ‘accused’ in dozens of serial bomb blasts that had rocked several towns last year. These are the scapegoats indiscriminately picked up for torturing to get confessions.
 
The sadhvi has been accused of providing ‘logistics support’ for the terror attack because a two-wheeler, she had used once upon a time was found from the blasts site. It had apparently landed in the hands of the yet-to-be-traced culprits after changing any number of hands! Another charge is that she offered to provide two persons for Abhinav Bharat, whose chief is supposed to be the ‘mastermind’ behind the blast, also with zero evidence produced so far! According to India’s shameful laws, their liberty can be denied until the real mastermind is found, which the corrupt and inefficient administration may never do.
 
The police in the ‘democratic’ country are free to detain anyone they want for 90 days without rhyme or reason and have only to file a progress report in the investigation before a court. Usually, the grants time to the police till 180 days to file chargesheets, during which time the poor accused is treated as a guilty criminal.
 
In January 2009, defenders of Abhinav Bharat, opposing arbitrary imprisonment, argued: “When the Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) filed its progress report in the case, Thakur had spent 95 days in custody and thus she was entitled to bail. Although the ATS has shown Thakur's arrest date as October 23, she was taken into custody on October 10 and thus was illegally detained for 13 days.” Predictably, the pliant court trashed the plea and chose to give even more ‘liberty’ – not to the citizen, but to the prosecution! Its contention of having filed the report on the 89th day was allowed, permitting post-dating the actual detention.
 
The ‘reprieve’ belatedly granted by Shinde comes on the heels of the sadhvi’s threat after getting mentally tortured in JJ Hospital: “Ab JJ Hospital mere aatma tyaag ke baad hi aayenge. Ab zyada pareshan ho gayi hoon. Aisa hi raha toh main jail mein atma tyaag kar dungi (Now, I will come to Hospital only as a corpse. Now, I am harassed to the limit. If it continues I will kill myself in jail).”
 
On June 3, just an hour after being admitted in the hospital for severe back pain, the jail authorities were allowed to take her back after she was declared fit. She had to be admitted again when the severity could not be covered up. When she was discharged from the hospital, authorities provided her only with a stretcher instead of ambulance to send her back to Byculla jail.
 
Of the dropping of MCOCA charges after ten months of shameless abuse, BJP’s national spokesperson Prakash Javadekar commented: “What has happened is a part of a judicial process. Even at this stage, we don’t want issues to be politicised. Let the judicial processes be completed, which will prove whether the accused are guilty of a terrorist act or not!” His remarks confirmed that BJP is just another one of the four dozen self-serving political outfits thriving in India.
 
The state of affairs in a country boasting of ‘impeccable record’ of democracy and non-aggression needs to be contrasted with the conscientiousness and integrity of the judiciary in the less-than-democratic neighbour. While the Indian State advances ‘Abhinav’ (novel) arguments to deny justice, Pakistan’s courts are particular about implementing ‘phika’ (humdrum) human values of liberty! The way the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court have categorically refused to rob the liberty of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed is a case in point. Even after deafening Indian barking, dreading which the powers-that-be sought to frame him, the judiciary has refused to bow to the government’s tyranny.
 
Lt Col Purohit’s outfit is a mini version of JuD, engaged in activities that the government is not capable of. The Indian police zeroed in on Purohit because some phone intercepts between some undisclosed people (whom the prominent public-spirited person may not even know) mention him! Later, the bosses discovered that youth camps for social service, he had organized were actually terror training camps! And, it has taken TEN long months for an Indian court to allow the accused to seek bail! 
 
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