Asking question, especially to the government authorities, is an essential trait of democracy. The important catch in this is asking right question to the right authority. Recently, ascribing everything, from a petty crime to killing of fled terrorists, to one person or to one ideology is in fashion. This leads to outrageous and divisive discussions across the platforms. The incident of daring jailbreak in Bhopal by the Student’s Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists facing the cases of heinous crime and terrorism and subsequent ‘outrage’ by the obvious voices is another addition in this series. Some even went up to comparing the state of minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh with that of Muslims in Bharat. This particular case needs ponder over with what it is and what it is not.
First it is clearly a case for ‘prison reforms’, which is not limited to Madhya Pradesh but many other states in Bharat. Since 1998, many advisories have been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs about the Model Prison Management. “We are coming on Deepawali”, read notes found by the investigation team on the case, in the nine cells of Block B that housed other SIMI members who failed to escape. Three of the eight cadres, of the SIMI, who were killed in a police encounter after they escaped from Bhopal Central Prison, were involved in an earlier case of jailbreak in Khandwa in 2013. According to the police, the men killed were “dangerous criminals involved in serious crimes,” including bomb blasts and dacoity across several states. After knowing their antecedents, ideology and intent still they managed to flee after killing a security guard of the prison is the real matter of concern.
The cases pertaining to criminals with such deadly record and open challenge to the nation go on for years. This indicates the issues involved in our criminal justice system, which are hardly deliberated beyond pendency of cases. We have created Anti-Terror Squads (ATS) in many states but they ultimately come from the same police force. This particular operation was carried by the regular police force after one of their associates was killed. So it is a case for police reforms and specialised training for tackling the terror menace. The miscommunication among agencies is certainly a problem in this case.
It is certainly not a communal or majority-minority issue. SIMI is a banned organisation and they were activists of the same is beyond doubt. Whether charges levelled against them of heinous crimes were proved in the court of law or not can be questioned. Still jailbreak and killing of a guard proves their criminal tendencies. So as per the police version, the eight prisoners got killed because they fled the jail after killing a security person and not because they were from a so-called minority
The dilemma of protecting human rights while preventing terrorism is a haunting one for all democracies. You have to stand for the human rights of a person who does not believe in them. In the cases like that of Yakub Menon or Ajmal Kasab, our system has shown the utmost respect for such rights of the terrorists. All the videos and allegations made about the ‘fakeness’ of the encounter are inconclusive. Before thorough investigation, leading to conclusion and targeting the system on human rights front is unethical.
From intolerance to human rights violations, all fake outrages whether in intellectual or media platforms are unidirectional. They clearly indicate towards the vote bank politics and communalising each and every issue. The question is being raised from a place like Bengal where attacks on temples has become a regular affair, thanks to appeasement politics, is more shocking. Fake outrage to create divisions in society is equally dangerous of fake encounters. If we do not understand this then we are
neither concerned about human rights, nor about the
growing problem of terrorism; we are just outrageous for selfish interests. @PrafullaKetkar