|Saturday, March 11, 2000,
new unstable phase
savageness at its worst
March 11, 1925.
THE jolt given to the National Democratic Alliance by the defeat of Mr Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar is shattering. Mr Nitish Kumar wasted an agonising night and a whole precious day hoping against hope. The election of Mr Sadanand Singh as the Speaker of the State Assembly on Thursday should have clearly shown that the RJD strategy to oust him had succeeded. He should have realised the limitations imposed on him by the lack of requisite support. The Congress, which had fought the recent Assembly elections primarily on an anti-Laloo Yadav plank, saw an opportunity for symbolic survival in a major region. After much dithering by its President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the party sent two experienced members Mrs Mohsina Kidwai and Mr Ajit Jogi to Patna on a crisis-management mission. The observers had a mandate for doing or preventing horse-trading. Party MLAs were kept in confinement in a hotel, putting a question mark on their political sense and loyalty. The Left discarded its ambiguity only after it found the Nitish Kumar edifice crumbling. Parliament heard on Friday the accusation that some of the RJD-Congress-CPI-CPM link-up's members were lured by big bribes on a breezy Gangetic night. Much mud-slinging took place before Mr Nitish Kumar conceded defeat. The Governor was placed in an undignified situation. Polity appeared disgraced.
It is a cheerless
victory for Mr Laloo Yadav who will stay as the proxy
ruler of what has been described by his present allies as
"jungle raj" again and again. But power is a
great tempter and the price that the Congress as well as
the Left will ask the RJD to pay after just two days of
support may be exorbitant. There is no ideological
convergence in the winning components. So, Bihar is where
it was lawless, hungry, angry violence-torn and
corruption-ridden. The Governor has no resplendent image.
Mrs Rabri Devi has been proved to be a burdensome chief
executive. Mr Laloo Yadav remains an accused in
corruption cases. The Congress is rootless. The
Jharkhandis, in their apparently "truncated
togetherness", will ask for their pound of flesh.
The budget presented soon before bowing out by the NDA
leader does not have any meaning. The tax-free Rs
242.54-crore deficit proposition cannot be owned by the
new set-up. Here is a prescription for an accelerated
socio-economic-slidedown. The state is unlikely to get a
government it needs. Even if there is a total change of
heart and attitudes on the part of Mr Laloo Yadav and his
clique, the opposition the RJD-led set-up will have to
face from the NDA at the state and national levels will
make it at best a daily-wage administrative outfit. Much
will depend on the wisdom the Governor will put into
practice after the constitutional damage he has done.
Bihar is in for another bout of unstable governance.
THE contents and the philosophy of the Himachal Pradesh Budget, which the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is also the Finance Minister, has presented are broadly in tune with those of the Central Budget, so much so that it looks to be a mini-version of the national exercise undertaken by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha last month. He has used the occasion to rationalise the sales tax structure and also the functioning of the government. The increase that has been brought about in the sales tax on items like pesticides, fertilisers and tractors is in keeping with the decision taken some time back to have an uniform ST structure in states. The variations were driving the industry from one state to another purely on the basis of sales tax relief it could garner. Now that various states have agreed to undo the anomaly, some unpopular measures had probably become inevitable. The resultant increase in the prices of items on which sales tax has been increased is bound to pinch the consumers. Mr Dhumal could have postponed the increase yet again for at least another year but he has boldly bitten the bullet in the hope that the public will understand his sincerity and helplessness in this regard. After all, there is still a yawning deficit of Rs 1168 crore to take care of. At the same time, sales tax has also been reduced on a number of items. While the government would like to focus on the overall impact, the Opposition can be depended on to highlight the negative side to the maximum extent possible.
Mr Dhumal has also made
bold to go in for decentralisation in a big way.
Panchayati raj institutions are sought to be empowered by
bringing primary school teachers under the panchayats and
the drinking water and sewerage schemes under urban local
bodies. In short, power will gradually move away from the
state headquarters to district headquarters and even
lower down. This is a step in the right direction, which
needs to be emulated by the neighbouring states as well.
The Budget also reflects the eagerness of the government
to cut redundant jobs. But downsizing has become a dirty
word, all the more so in a state like Himachal Pradesh
where the state is the biggest employer and other avenues
of employment are almost nil. So, Mr Dhumal has refrained
from any harsh decision. All that he has attempted is the
merger of the Himachal Pradesh State Housing Board and
the HP Urban Development Authority to form one public
sector undertaking along with the merger of some other
boards and corporations. Several PSUs have become a huge
financial drain and this kind of rightsizing
cannot be delayed, let alone avoided. As far as new
social schemes are concerned, the most ambitious is the
one that aims to link more than 10,000 villages with
pucca roads. Himachal already figures high in the list of
states in terms of enviable social indices. The provision
of metalled roads, drinking water and electrification can
give further fillip to rural development. The reaction to
the Budget from political parties is on expected lines.
If Mr Virbhadra Singh has described it as
mundane, Mr Sukh Ram has called it a
milestone. The neutral assessment lies midway
between these extremes.
HIMACHAL PRADESH is said to have the worst road safety record in the country. Part of the reason for the high road accident rate can be attributed to the difficult topography of the hill state. Of course, the hills cannot be straightened out to make road travel relative easy. But much can still be done within the limitations imposed by nature to reverse the trend which has earned Himachal a bad reputation and has had a negative impact on its tourism promotion potential. The bus accident near Sarahan on Wednesday which claimed 45 lives has once again thrown up evidence of the continued indifference of the state government to the need to strictly enforce the rules and laws for making journey by road less hazardous. A number of less serious mishaps were reported from other parts of Himachal Pradesh on the same day. The reports of fatal road accidents made the state assembly mourn the deaths and discuss measures for improving road safety. Unfortunately, it was not for the first time that the legislature was made to go through the motions of expressing concern over the poor road safety record of the state. It is a ritual which the elected representatives of the people have learnt to perform to ward off criticism. But the bitter truth is that enough has not been done by successive state governments for improving the condition of roads and enforcing the laws for avoiding accidents. The private passenger bus, which was involved in Thursday's accident, was over-crowded. In simple terms, it was carrying more passengers than its approved capacity.
The record of accidents
in Himachal Pradesh for the past 10 years would show that
over-crowding was responsible for most of the serious bus
mishaps. Experts in road safety have suggested that the
state should create a cell of trained personnel for
round-the-clock patrolling of the national and state
highways. Among other things it should conduct random
checks of the state of road worthiness of buses, trucks
and other vehicles. Such vehicles as are found unfit for
being on the road should be impounded. The highway patrol
should also have the power to off-load passengers from
over-crowded buses. Cases should be instituted against
the conductor and the driver of the bus for putting human
lives at risk by carrying more than the prescribed number
of passengers. Ironically, if the proposed measures were
to be implemented, The Himachal Pradesh Road Transport
Corporation itself would have to retire most of the buses
in its depleted fleet (a primary reason for
over-crowding) to avoid penal action. The Himachal
government should also pay heed to the demand for the
proper maintenance of existing roads and expansion of the
network of motorable roads for opening up the remote
areas of the state. As it is, India has the dubious
distinction of being counted among the most
accident-prone regions of the world with a rate of 14
road accidents per 1,000 vehicles. Why must Himachal
Pradesh be seen as leading the country in the "race
to death" through reckless driving and by allowing
unfit trucks and buses to carry goods and passengers on
the difficult and winding roads of the state?
BEYOND KARGIL REPORT-I
THE Kargil Review Committee has done a very commendable job and equally commendable was the governments decision to table the report in Parliament.
In the last few weeks there has much comment in the media bringing to the attention of the nation various inadequacies some of them of long standing and either glossed over or dealt with in a very perfunctory manner.
The 41-page executive summary of the report is with me and it becomes necessary to quote from it both for erudition and emphasis. For example, it has been recorded that the Indian intelligence structure is flawed since there is little backup or redundancy to rectify failures and shortcomings in intelligence collection and reporting that goes to build up the external threat perception by the one agency, namely RAW which has a virtual monopoly in this regard. It is neither healthy nor prudent to endow that one agency alone with multifarious capabilities for human, communication, imagery and electronic intelligence. Had RAW and DGMI spotted the additional battalions in the FCNA region that were missing from the ORBAT, there might have been requests for ARC flights in winter and these might have been undertaken, weather permitting. As it happened, the last flight was in October, 1998, long before the intrusion, and the next in May, 1999, after the intrusions had commenced. The intruders had by then come out into the open.
The report states elsewhere that there is a general lack of awareness of the critical importance of and the need for assessed intelligence at all levels. The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) reports do not receive the attention they deserve at the political and higher bureaucratic levels. The assessment process has been downgraded in importance and consequently various agencies send very junior officials to JIC meetings. The DGMI did not send any regular input to the JIC for two years preceding the Kargil crisis. The JIC was not accorded the importance it deserved either by the intelligence agencies or the government. There are no checks and balances in the Indian intelligence system to ensure that the consumer gets all the intelligence that is available and is his due.
The findings bring out many grave deficiencies in Indias security management system. The framework Lord Ismay formulated and Lord Mountbatten recommended was accepted by a national leadership unfamiliar with the intricacies of national security management. There has been very little change over the past 52 years despite the 1962 debacle, the 1965 stalemate and the 1971 victory, the growing nuclear threat, end of the cold war, continuance of proxy war in Kashmir for over a decade and the revolution in military affairs. The political, bureaucratic, military and intelligence establishments appear to have developed a vested interest in the status quo. National security management recedes into the background in time of peace and is considered too delicate to be tampered with in time of war and proxy war. The committee strongly feels that the Kargil experience, the continuing proxy war and the prevailing nuclearised security environment justify a thorough review of the national security system in its entirety.
Such a review cannot be undertaken by an overburdened bureaucracy. An independent body of credible experts, whether a national commission or one or more task forces or otherwise as expedient, is required to conduct such studies which must be undertaken expeditiously.
The National Security Council (NSC) formally constituted in April, 1999, is still evolving and its procedure will take time to mature. Whatever its merits, having a National Security Adviser who also happens to be Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, can only be an interim arrangement. The committee believes that there must be a full time National Security Adviser and it would suggest that a second line of personnel be inducted into the system as early as possible and groomed for higher responsibility.
Members of the National Security Council, the senior bureaucracy servicing it and the Service Chiefs need to be continually sensitised to assess intelligence pertaining to national, regional and international issues. This can be done through periodic intelligence briefings of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) with all supporting staff in attendance.
The committee has drawn attention to deficiencies in the present system of collection, reporting, collation and assessment of intelligence. There is no institutionalised mechanism for coordination or objective-oriented interaction between the agencies and consumers at different levels. Similarly, there is no mechanism for tasking the agencies, monitoring their performance and reviewing their records to evaluate their quality. Nor is there any oversight of the overall functioning of the agencies. These are all standard features elsewhere in the world. In the absence of such procedures, the government and the nation do not know whether they are getting value for money. While taking note of recent steps to entrust the NSCS with some of these responsibilities the committee recommends a thorough examination of the working of the intelligence system with a view to remedying these deficiencies.
All major countries have a mechanism at national and often at lower levels to assess the intelligence inputs received from different agencies and sources. After the 1962 debacle, the then existing JIC under the Chiefs of Staff Committee was upgraded and transferred to the Cabinet Secretariat. It was further upgraded in 1985 with the Chairman being raised to the rank of Secretary to the government. The committee finds that for various reasons cited in the report, the JIC was devalued. Its efficacy has increased since it became part of the National Security Council Secretariat. However, its role and place in the national intelligence framework should be evaluated in the context of overall reform of the system.
Pakistans action at Kargil was not rational. Its behaviour patterns require to be carefully studied in order to gain a better understanding of the psyche of its leadership. In other countries, intelligence agencies have developed large White Wings of high quality analysts for in-house analysis. They also contract studies with university departments and think tanks with area specialisation. This is sadly neglected in India. The development of such country/region specialisation along with associated language skills is a time consuming process and should not be further delayed. A generalist administration culture would appear to permeate the intelligence field. It is necessary to establish think tanks, encourage country specialisation in university departments and to organise regular exchange of personnel between them and the intelligence community.
India is perhaps the only major democracy where the armed forces headquarters are outside the apex governmental structure. The Chiefs of Staff have assumed the role of operational commanders of their respective forces rather than that of Chiefs of Staff to the Prime Minister and Defence Minister. They simultaneously discharge the roles of operational commanders and national security planners/managers, especially in relation to future equipment and force postures. Most of their time, is, however, devoted to the operational role, as is bound to happen. This has led to a number of negative results. Future-oriented long time planning suffers. Army Headquarters has developed a command rather than a staff culture. Higher decisions on equipment, force levels and strategy are not collegiate but command-oriented. The Prime Minister and Defence Minister do not have the benefit of the views and expertise of the Army Commanders and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force so that higher level defence management decisions are more consensual and broadbased. The present obsolete system has perpetuated the continuation of the culture of the British Imperial theatre system of an India Command whereas what is required is a National Defence Headquarters. Most opposition to change comes from inadequate knowledge of the national security decision-making process elsewhere in the world and a reluctance to change the status quo and move away from considerations of parochial interest. The status quo is often mistakenly defended as embodying civilian ascendancy over the armed forces, which is not a real issue. In fact, locating the Services headquarters in the government will further enhance civilian supremacy.
Structural reforms could bring about a much closer and more constructive interaction between the civil government and the services. The committee is of the view that the present obsolete system, bequeathed to India by Lord Ismay, merits re-examination. An effective and appropriate national security planning and decision-making structure for India in the nuclear age is overdue, taking account of the revolution in military affairs and threats of proxy war and terrorism and the imperative of modernising the armed forces. An objective assessment of the last 52 years will show that the country is lucky to have scraped through various national security threats without too much damage, except in 1962. The country can no longer afford such ad hoc functioning. The committee, therefore, recommends that the entire gamut of national security management and apex decision-making and the structure and interface between the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces headquarters be comprehensively studied and reorganised.
The committees review brings out many lessons that the armed forces, intelligence agencies, Parliament, the government, media and the nation as a whole have to learn.These should stimulate introspection and reflection, leading to purposeful action. The committee trusts that its recommendations will be widely discussed and acted upon expeditiously so that the sacrifices made will not have been in vain. The best tribute to the dedication of those killed and wounded will be to ensure that Kargils of any description are never repeated.
There is both comfort and danger in clinging to any long established status quo. There will be many who suggest the most careful deliberation on the report. Procrastination has cost nations dear. Others will no doubt advocate incremental change. Half measures will not do; synergy will be lost. The committee has after very wide interaction sign-posted directions along the path to peace, ensuring progress, development and stability of the nation. How exactly the country should proceed to refashion its security-intelligence-development shield to meet the challenge of the 21st century is for the government, Parliament, and public opinion to determine. There is no turning away from that responsibility.
As a former member secretary of the apex intelligence organisation at the national level, the Joint Intelligence Committee, I was able to obtain a ringside view of much on this front. I saw not as an operator but as an assessor fed with so-called intelligence from the Home Ministry (including the Border Security Force), Defence Ministry, Ministry of External Affairs, RAW, IB and defence headquarters. The assignment of Chairman JIC (additional secretary status) is not particularly sought after by any bureaucrat for it offers responsibility without power.
Until 1967, the Intelligence Bureau catered to all our intelligence requirements both internal and external. There was no shortage of resources and the legendary B.N. Mullick exercised complete sovereignty over the intelligence empire for decades. This very hardworking officer indeed became an institution and was the guide and mentor of Jawaharlal Nehru for decades. But occasionally, he too blundered with some markedly obtuse intelligence assessments.
After the 1965 Indo-Pak war, a separate agency for our external intelligence requirements (Research and Analysis Wing) was created. It soon developed into a very powerful organisation and resources were no constraints. The IB had to do considerable power shedding and it was reduced to playing second fiddle thereafter. We detached ourselves from this era temporarily after a decade or so and with the coming to power of the Janata regime in 1977, Morarji Desai effected major reductions in the power of RAW and it was no longer the all powerful organisation which it had developed to be.
In his autobiography ( The Story of My Life, Vol. III, page 44) Morarjibhai says: This agency was created in 1967-68 with my consent as Finance Minister. I had not then realised the real intention of Shrimati Gandhi and agreed with the proposal. I cannot forgive myself for my stupidity in not seeing the possible implications of that seemingly innocent action. This was the instrument of coercion, which Shrimati Gandhi used against all who came under her surveillance, including members of her own Cabinet. RAW was later restored to its former all pervasive power.
Intelligence gathering can be a most difficult and arduous task. It is the result of patience, liaison, logical thought and clear exposition in making the maximum use of all sources and methodically piecing together every scrap of information. That any intelligence agency or organisation anywhere will have its grey areas is indisputable; and that the intelligence experts do not have Nostradamic attributes is also an accepted fact. But there is the very relevant question of accountability. Does it exist? And if it does should it not come into play at times, particularly when we have witnessed so many failures and serious inadequacies both on national and regional levels?
And here I would like to quote an unacceptable occurrence, which took place after the 1971 India-Pakistan war. Most of the intelligence agencies which were members of the JIC wished we undertake a study of the inadequacies experienced. At the meeting held to discuss this issue, the RAW representative (later its helmsman) was most upset and threatened to walk out if such an exercise was undertaken.
Eventually, the paper was prepared. The JIC steering committee, which had to meet at least once a quarter to provide guidelines to the JIC for effecting improvements, commended the study. The then Cabinet Secretary, Mr B.D. Pande (later Governor of Punjab) chaired the meeting. But sadly, I have to also record here that during my seven-year tenure, I was not able to arrange more than four or five meetings and RAW always presented itself as the major roadblock.
RAW deliberately enfeebled the JIC. I quote here some observations of a former director of RAW in a national daily: I agree that the JIC is lightweight and moves tardily. Whether its chairman comes on transfer from the NDMC, the Army or the police in its present form it is an unwanted redundancy. The services, the Foreign Ministry or the Home Ministry have to get on with the job. So they make their own quick assessments of intelligence, which reaches them directly, and go into action. Meanwhile the JIC debates the placement of a comma on the most noncommittal phraseology suitable for its assessment. If the customer waits for the JICs assessment, his house would have burned down.
On the coordination of civil and military intelligence agencies a vital requirement we have had committees in the past making suitable recommendations. Mr B.G. Deshmukh, a former Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, has recorded in a national daily on April 26, 1993 that: As there is little coordination among intelligence agencies, there is often duplication of work and consequent wastage of resources. Efforts to evolve a coordination mechanism have not succeeded in the past but its need cannot be over-emphasised.
I would also like to quote here the views of one of our divisional commanders in Sri Lanka during the IPKF operations a decade ago. Says Lt Gen S.C. Sardeshpande: We heard little from the representatives of RAW. Perhaps RAW saw us as not quite ripe to deserve sharing their findings. As events forced themselves from mid-1989 onwards, we differed with their assessment, sometimes radically, as our faculties remained glued to the ground-wave. They seemed to permit themselves the luxury of over-enthusiasm, over-optimism and the virtue of meeting other demands and compulsions better known to them. Our pulse of the people proved right in the end. Intelligence inputs from agencies depend predominantly on their perceptions as well as insight and the milieu in which they operate. Contributions from RAW, IB and the Indian High Commission were limited and seldom helped us.
On integrational weakness the divisional commander has recorded: Despite four decades of independence, three decades of insurgency, five wars and a continuum of a series of security crises, integration of intelligence agencies, their optimum exploitation, harmonious functioning and complementarity have still remained a far cry, instead of making them a war cry.
A watchdog for our intelligence agencies is imperative if the Steering Committee is dysfunctional. We also have to ensure that no intelligence agency becomes alarmingly powerful and here I quote Mr Jaswant Singh, the present Minister of External Affairs. This is what he said in a national daily on December 30, 1994: The Intelligence Bureau has over the years acquired the unsavoury image of being an extension of the political interests of the ruling party as a specialist in surveillance over the Opposition....
And lastly, the saddest
occurrences have been the death on duty of so many of our
brave armed forces personnel who have offered the supreme
sacrifice so cheerfully and willingly. To quote the
famous words: They shall grow not old as we that
are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, not the
years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the
morning, we will remember them.
savageness at its worst
THERE are few stories that more horrifyingly illustrate the savageness and extreme incompetence of the Indian police than that of Iqbal Ismael Haspatel and his family. The facts are so bizarre as to be almost incredible. Even when you hear it from the victims, as I did last week in their remote Maharashtrian village, it seems impossible that policemen who tortured, sexually humiliated and violated an entire family simply because they could not tell the difference between a bobbin and a rocket launcher can remain unpunished seven years after the incident. This despite the fact that the National Human Rights Commission recently ordered the Maharashtra Government to pay Rs 5 lakh to the Haspatel family as compensation for their suffering. The judgement came in January and there is no sign of the money yet either.
Iqbal Haspatel and his family live in Valvatti, a small village by the sea about five hours from Mumbai. The village is little more than a disorderly collection of tiled houses that sprawl around two, white washed mosques. Of the approximately 250 families who live here half are Hindu and half Muslim but it was the Muslims that the police seemed after as they surrounded Valvatti just after dawn on April 13, 1993. The Bombay bomb blasts had taken place a month earlier and they were looking for those who might have connections with Ibrahim Dawood who was believed to have masterminded the blasts that killed more than 200 people.
The Haspatel familys small bungalow was searched in the routine course of the raid. Haspatel and his older sons worked in Muscat and he himself had only just returned to Valvatti for his retirement after 10 years of working in various jobs.
That morning he was home with his wife, daughter-in-law and grand daughter when the police party led by an officer called Vinod Chauhan arrived. They were rough in their method of searching throwing open cupboards and flinging things around but not abusive till they found the bobbin, a six-inch plastic tube which is used in textile mills for making thread. Then, according to Iqbal Haspatel, they seemed to go berserk. They smashed a window pane in the bedroom and told me that they would break me into smaller pieces than the glass unless I told them whether I had got this from the Dubaiwallah (Dawood). I couldnt tell them anything about it because I didnt know what it was. I tried to explain that it was something the children had brought home but they werent prepared to listen.
They started smashing up things in the house, they seized the television set and some gold they found, they shoved an elderly woman down the stairs and ordered Iqbals wife Zubeida to sit on the floor because traitors are fit only to sit on the floor. Before taking the whole family off to the police station, in the nearby town of Srivardhan, a policeman called Tikaram Bhal marched Iqbal into the village mosque and paraded him before worshippers as a traitor. He warned them that they were wrong to have kept such a dangerous man in their midst and told them that an Afghan rocket had been found in my house.
Then they demanded to know where Iqbals sons were and when they found Naim (14) in the local school they sent him to look for his brother Mobin (20) who was arrested along with his father and remanded to police custody. The women of the family were detained as well. Then began a period of torture that the family still remembers as a living hell. Mobin and I were beaten all day and all night. They trussed Mobin up with a rod between his legs that they suspended from two tables and they beat him so badly that I wished he would die so that his suffering could end.
Iqbal tried warning his torturers that he had a heart problem but they told him they could not care less if he died because traitors should die. He was, in other words, guilty till proved innocent. The women were also beaten and tortured in a manner so despicable that Zubeida still lowers her eyes when she tells the story. They stripped my husband and son naked and brought them before us my daughter-in-law and daughters and other women relatives and said look, look at your men now.
All of this was done to get the men to confess that they had got their rocket launcher from the Dubaiwallah. The police were so sure that they had made a major arms recovery that they flaunted the projectiles found in Valvatti to newspaper reporters and announced that they had uncovered a plot to kill Bal Thackeray. Pictures of the arms recovery appeared even in national newspapers. Then, four days after the torture of the Haspatel family began the police discovered that their projectiles were in fact bobbins or twist blockers to give them their technical name. They had ended up in Valvaiti because the children of an elderly villager called Shamsuddin Abdul Ghafoor found them, along with some bales of cotton, at the site of a truck accident. They brought them to the village and one ended up in the Haspatel home.
Once the police discovered their mistake they released the family but only after warning Iqbal that they attempt to publicise what had happened to him would result in trouble. This officer called Detankar summoned me into his office and for the first time asked me to sit on a chair then he recited some Urdu couplets from my personal diary and said that thing we found in your house, well it was not the real thing. But, we can remain friends if you dont talk too much about what happened. Other police officers later made the threat more clear and a year after the incident Mobin was picked up in the middle of the night and taken off to a police station in Mumbai.
Tiger Memons driver was apparently called Mobin and my son overheard them saying that it didnt matter which Mobin they found as long as they could show that they had managed to kill a Mobin.
By now, though, the Haspatel family had the protection of human rights lawyers and Maharashtras former Chief Minister A.R. Antulay had taken the matter to the Human Rights Commission so Mobin was quickly released.
What happened to the Haspatel family affects us all not just because it is our shame as much as theirs that we live in a country in which the police behaves no better than terrorists but also because the incompetence of the Maharashtra police should be a matter of grave concern. Iqbal remembers that a DIG Ramamurthy had flown to Srivardhan to persuade him to confess and that even he appeared not to have noticed that he was being asked to confess to having a bobbin in his possession and not a rocket launcher. If senior police officers could not tell the difference we are really in trouble. It also explains why the real culprits in the Bombay blasts case have still not been arrested and whey terrorism continues to thrive and spread.
If Mr L.K. Advani is
serious about containing terrorism he needs to order a
full inquiry into the Haspatel case and ensure that the
guilty are punished not just for torture but also for
incompetence. And, that the compensation due to the
Haspatel family is paid expeditiously. It is the very
least that needs to be done.
THE statement issued by Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Motilal Nehru regarding the circumstances under which the proceedings of the Hindu-Muslim sub-committee of the All-parties Conference have been adjourned sine die does not add to our knowledge in any material particular.
All that the two leaders say in fact is that the proceedings have been adjourned, because in their opinion there was no material for coming to any definite conclusion, nor was there any likelihood of any being reached in the near future.
This was exactly our own
interpretation of the decision when we wrote our leading
article the other day. When the two leaders add that
there is no reason for individuals and groups of
individuals to relax their efforts towards a solution,
they only try to find what is as distressing to them as
to the rest of political India.
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