In Madhya Pradesh, two young men were jailed for “hurting the sentiments of the Hindus” — to wit, sharing a morphed image of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. (Elsewhere, others manufacture and share morphed images and it is not they but the subjects of the faked videos that get arrested — but never mind that now).
Here’s the sequel: having arrested them under the provisions of a law the Supreme Court had struck down as “unconstitutional” a year ago, the police now have no idea what to do with them. (Emphasis mine)
“We don’t know how to proceed because we came to know later that the Section 66(A) was struck down by the SC. We have sent the case details to the district prosecution office,’’ in-charge of Kotwali Police Station Satish Singh Chouhan told The Indian Express Sunday.
“We arrested him because local RSS cadres were angry about his post and came in large number to register a case,’’ said Chouhan.
That is what usually happens when the law bends to interest groups. You are supposed to arrest people if there is grounds to believe they broke the law — not because someone is pissed and flexes muscles.
But do they learn? Not a hope in hell. From the same report:
While the Sheopur police are still clueless, their counterparts in Anuppur have booked another Muslim youth under the same section of the IT Act for his Facebook comment against the RSS chief.
Update, via a friend on Facebook: Girish Shahane on why police in India are focussed more on maintaining order rather than upholding the law is worth your time.
That cost includes official backing given to conservative community leaders, and a tolerance for groups that break the law, stopping trains and blocking roads in protest, for instance. This tolerance nudges groups that might have preferred less intrusive forms of demonstration toward civil disobedience, for only the threat of the mob gains the attention and respect of the authorities.
Remember this news story I had linked to earlier in the day?:
Meanwhile, a tried and tested pattern manifests again. At a private university in Mewar, Rajasthan, “rumours are floated” that a few Kashmiri students are cooking and eating beef. A scuffle results. Assorted — and unnamed — “Hindu religious groups” arrive at the venue and raise slogans. Thankfully, the police manage to defuse this particular manufactured crisis.
It now turns out the four students involved — who were beaten up when the rumour first surfaced — have been arrested.
Police rushed to the site and arrested four students under Section 151 of CrPC (arrest to prevent commission of cognisable offences) on Tuesday.
Say what? They were arrested to prevent the commission of cognisable offences? Which would be what, exactly?The Station House Officer of the concerned police station says:
The Station House Officer of the concerned police station says:
“We also collected the sample of the meat, which prima facie does not appear to be beef. However, the samples have been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for testing and the report is awaited.” he said.
Someone starts a rumour. The police says prima facie, there is no truth to the allegation. And it is the victims of the rumour who are arrested, not the ones who spread it and created a situation that led to actual violence and the possibility of more?
We’ve been banging on about whether there is tolerance in this country. “Where is the intolerance? Show me the intolerance!”, the apologists for the lunatic fringe keep yelling from every available podium.
The hell with that — it is time to reframe the question. And to ask:
Is there due process in this country?
Found on Twitter (an occasional series):
A law student, with sound logic and common-sense, on rule of law and related issues.
[<a href=”//storify.com/prempanicker/on-rule-of-law-and-due-process” target=”_blank”>View the story “On Rule of Law and Due Process” on Storify</a>]
A recent news report: (Emphasis mine)
A court here on Saturday dropped charges against suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) bomb maker Abdul Karim Tunda in 1998 case under the Explosive Substance Act – the fourth case he was facing.
Tunda, one of the 20 terrorists whom India had asked Pakistan to hand over after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was chargesheeted by Delhi Police in four cases and with Saturday court’s order, he has been discharged in all.
On April 23 last year, another Delhi court dropped charges against Tunda in connection with two separate blast cases – the October 28, 1997 blast in Karol Bagh and October 1, 1997 explosion in Sadar Bazar.
Another court on March 10 last year also discharged the Tunda, accused under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Arms Act and for criminal conspiracy.
A sessions judge on Saturday discharged Tunda, accused of waging war against India under the Indian Penal Code and under the various provisions of Explosive Substance Act, observing that there lack of evidence to prove the allegations against him.
Supriya Sharma’s deep dive into police atrocities against the tribals in the Bastar region is the story you won’t like to read, but should.
On the same subject, Freny Maneckshaw has more.
The image, above, of posters on Delhi walls is courtesy the Hindu.
The posters offer a reward — Rs 11 lakh — for the gunning down of Kanhaiya Kumar. There is no mystery about who posted these — the person responsible openly admits it; boasts, too, of his long association with the RSS.
The police have filed a case against him for — believe it or else — defacement of public property.