By Pratik Sinha
Officer 1: A madrasa with a capacity of 400 children in Bhavnagar was attacked by a mob of 1000s in 2002. ‘Officer 1’ with barely any police force at his side managed to save these children. He was then transferred to Ahmedabad because a minister told him that the ‘ratio of religion’ of those who died in trying to save those children was not right. They were hoping that he wouldn’t be capable of doing much in this new posting, but what he did next turned out to be the most crucial piece of evidence. He collected phone call records of Ahmedabad and Godhra for 7 days when rampaging mobs killed hundreds of people. He submitted a CD of these phone call records as evidence before Nanavati commission and deposed before the commission. This is when the administration started targeting him relentlessly with multiple chargesheets. Finally, a few years ago, he decided to take VRS and is now a lawyer.
Officer 2: A man was killed in a fake encounter, and his wife was killed, burnt, and made to vanish from the face of this planet as if she never existed. The brother of this man approached the Supreme Court (SC) stating that you killed my brother terming him to be a terrorist, but where’s my bhabhi? The SC instructed Gujarat police to inquire, and the inquiry ended up with this ‘Officer 2’. At the end of this inquiry, ‘Officer 2’ arrested the most notorious police officers of Gujarat and charged them for this fake encounter. This case eventually led to the arrest of a man who is now one of the most politically powerful individuals in the country. Expectedly, the establishment went after him and shunted him from place to place. He’s now opted for VRS after being hounded relentlessly and has just joined a prestigious institute in Ahmedabad as faculty. He’s still being hounded and the Government is refusing to give him VRS.
Officer 3: Four people were killed in a fake encounter. This conspiracy was designed at the highest levels. A lawyer, who died a few years ago, produced a photograph of the crime scene before the Gujarat High Court. In this photo, one could see a set of magazines of an automatic machine gun. The insides of the car were riddled with blood and bullets. However, the magazines were unblemished and did not have a drop of blood on them. This, along with other evidence from the crime scene, led to the court ordering an inquiry. ‘Officer 3’ was one of the officers who was given the charge of this inquiry. In this historic inquiry of sorts, the police men who gave statements claimed that two most powerful individuals in this country had given the go-ahead for the fake encounter. The government changed, and ‘Officer 3’ was hounded, and was posted in a ‘far-flung’ area. Soon after the transfer, he blew the lid on a corruption case, which led to yet another transfer. The hounding continues.
Officer 4: A fair few years after rampaging mobs killed 100s of people on the streets of Gujarat, ‘Officer 4’ suddenly wakes up to realise that he was in a meeting where the presiding person stated that the police should go easy. The phone call records collected by ‘Officer 1’ however shows that ‘Officer 4’ was 30 kms away at a place close to Officer 4’s residence, and not in the meeting for which he’s known as a whistleblower. Based on the phone call records and other evidence, Officer 4’s testimony was disregarded by the Supreme Court.
In 1998, a lawyer was arrested by ‘Officer 4’ in a narcotics case and it was alleged that 1kg of narcotics was found in a hotel room in Palanpur that the lawyer was residing in. The lawyer also happened to be renting a place in a town called Pali, Rajasthan, over which there was an ongoing civil dispute. This rented place was owned by the sister of a Gujarat High Court Judge. Phone call records show that there’s constant communication between ‘Officer 4’ and the Judge. The day after the lawyer was arrested, the keys to the rented place are handed over back to the Judge’s sister. The lawyer is bailed out in 3 days after there’s a failure to identify him in an identification parade. Within 8 days, a case of 1 kg of narcotics is disposed off. The lawyer files a case immediately after he’s released, and many years later, ‘Officer 4’ gets arrested for the same in 2018.
A few years earlier, a neighbour filed a complain about illegal construction at Officer 4’s residence, the case went till Supreme Court, and it was deemed that the construction was illegal, and the illegal portions were demolished after the Supreme Court judgement.
‘Officer 4’ is also now convicted in a 3 decade old case of custodial death.
Is ‘Officer 4’ being singled out? Most definitely. There’s not been a single conviction in cases of custodial death in Gujarat in many years, and ‘Officer 4’ is now convicted in a 3 decade old case. A 1998 case was brought back to life and ‘Officer 4’ was arrested. The Gujarat Government has not given permission to prosecute police officers in custodial deaths and encounter cases, but they did give permission to prosecute ‘Officer 4’. Yes, this is singling out. But does that mean that the allegations are false? That is the question that many people are failing to ask.
And why are people failing to ask this question? Because facts don’t matter when falsehood is sold with a solid coating of media publicity. Many people won’t be able to name ‘Officer 1’, ‘Officer 2’ and ‘Officer 3’ for the real contributions, because they never seeked publicity, never asked for crowd-funding, fought their own battles without any of the social media victimhood.
Ask yourself. Why don’t you doubt ‘Officer 4’ when the phone call records clearly show that he was not in a meeting he claimed to be, a claim that is the very reason for his present fame? Why don’t you doubt ‘Officer 4’ when a narcotics case is disposed off in 8 days and a property transfer takes place in those 8 days, and ‘Officer 4’ is constantly in touch with the Judge whose sister owns the property? Isn’t a custodial death, if true, a human right violation? Why is that you haven’t atleast attempted to question the facts of the case in this custodial death?
Because facts don’t matter when falsehood is sold with a solid coating of media publicity and the strategy works beautifully on either side of the ideological spectrum.