Sunday, August 02, 2009

Justice or Just-ice?

Saffron "terror": Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur outside court (file photo)

“Doubt”, wrote M.J. Akbar, “is theoretically equidistant from right and wrong, but in real life, there is evidence, evidence creates weightage, and the weight of evidence demands judgement.” Now that stringent MCOCA has been dropped against Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and all other accused in Malegaon 2008 blast, ‘dormant’ doubt of people of Malegaon concerning ATS will get a new leash of life. And why should it not? They have an every right to be doubtful of an organisation which, perhaps, has provided little legal evidence against Sadhvi. Doubt as a consequence of rumour can be dangerous but now it has acquired judicial stamp of approval.

Doubt gives birth to many unanswered and intriguing questions: Did prosecution go soft on the accused? Was the arrest of all the accused to buy the time of minority community and hoodwink them after the general elections are over? Was the arrest meant to alter the thought-process of Muslim sub consciousness? Did the death of Hemant Karkare make space for the evaporation of “evidence”? Did KP Raghuvanshi slowly loosen his grip on the baton passed on by his predecessor? Or did he deliberately forget to implement his successful 2006 blast formula of legal entrapment? Or is he taking orders from political masters? What is the quality of evidence available with the ATS? What were the demerits of legal argument of ATS that fell flat in a court of law?

When Sadhvi and company were arrested, the men-in-Khaki behaved like trumpeters of triumph. They successfully used mainstream media to plant and leak “exclusive” stories in order to create a goody-goody image and leave an impression that they were being very ‘secular’. In a way, they left such an imprint upon people that they had the credible evidence against the accused. No other bomb blast has got so much media coverage and hype in the recent years. ATS was too busy fighting the Malegaon blast case in the media jungle rather than in a court of law. The discharge of Rakesh Dhawde from the Porna mosque blast case on Wednesday was taken lightly by the ATS. ATS officials, in fact, went on record to claim that his discharge will not affect the Malegaon blast case!

The ATS of KP Raghuvanshi must remember that their integrity and honesty is proved in a court of law. We would advise KP Raghuvanshi to follow his 2006 manual which he very “successfully” applied on 2006 Malegaon blast accused. His tactful application of MCOCA has lasted three years and its fate has been reserved in the Supreme Court.
The first major blow is judicial. KP Raghuvanshi and his men still have time to prove their assumptions in a higher court of law.

Meanwhile, a question on everybody’s lips in Malegaon is this: Is it justice or just-ice?

Justice has begun to melt like ice in public perception.

How will you deal with the public perception, Mr. Raghuvanshi?

Inquilab, August 1, 2009

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