By Dr R. Balashankar
Under the UPA, justice has taken a new hew. Forced confessions of innocent people are being produced as evidence to release the suspected culprits. Nine Muslims arrested and kept in jail for the 2006 Malegaon blast were granted bail last week not because the CBI or the NIA (National Investigative Agency) found evidence to prove they were not guilty. But because the NIA handling the case did not oppose their bail.
The only reason NIA did not oppose the bail was because they had in their hand the coerced ‘confession’ of Swamy Aseemanand. The Swami retracted the ‘confessional statement’ long ago, accusing the investigative agencies, both CBI and NIA of torturing him in “unimaginable and unbearable” ways.
In a letter to the President of India with copies to the Prime MInister, Home Minister and the National Human Rights Commission, Swami Aseemanand has revealed the shocking tactics used by these agencies to get him to repeat what they forced him to say. The sleuths told him that they would get his mother to his jail cell and perform indignities on him, in front of her, after undressing him. He has said that he is being treated this way because he is a Hindu and a saint. Will the UPA do such indignities to a maulvi or a padri?
The fact that the case is being politically manipulated can be gauged from the way Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan led a delegation of Muslims to the Home Minister to plead the case of the nine accused who were in jail. The Home Minister, instead of telling the delegation that law should take its own course, assured them that the NIA would not oppose their bail plea, thereby setting the stage for the release of these men. Of the nine, two are still in jail, as they have been arrested in another bomb blast case. The saddest part of the story is that other than the purported confession of Swami Aseemanand, the investigating agencies have no shred of evidence against him. He was originally arrested for the Mecca Masjid blast and a slew of other blasts were tagged on to him.
Swami Aseemanand in his memorandum has pointed out that the information and input on all the nine men given bail have been shared by the Government of India with the US and the UN. Which can only mean that there was enough evidence against them. On the other hand, if the NIA and the CBI take a stand now that there was no evidence against the seven men released on bail, then they have to explain on what ground they were in jail for so long? The officers involved in the case must immediately be pulled up for action.
And finally, after allowing bail for the seven accused, when the court takes cognizance of Swami Aseemanand’s retraction and declares his confessions coerced, what would be the stand of the CBI and the NIA? Will they get these released men back in prison, because the ground on which they were let off is no longer valid?
The crux of all this is that under the UPA, no area of governance is fair and non-partisan. It plays the communal card even when the security of the nation is at stake. Treating terror investigation to score brownie points will not pay any dividend. It will not help the nation. The trouble is unfortunately Hindus have become inert to atrocities, they hardly react to humiliation heaped on their community and its leaders.