September 20, 2017

India: Across the country, chilling replays of Dadri. And a long way to go before love or justice can prevail | Harsh Mander

The Indian Express, September 20, 2017

Usman Ansari, like Mohammad Akhlaq

Across the country, chilling replays of Dadri. And a long way to go before love or justice can prevail.

Written by Harsh Mander
dadri lynching, akhlaq, usman ansari, cow vigilantism, gau rakshaks, mob violence, cow slaughter, jharkhand lynching, jharkhand cow slaughter, lynching, mob lynching, indian express news Mohd Akhlaq.

I took Usman Ansari’s one good hand in mine and said that I had come with the message of sharing his pain. I sought his forgiveness, on behalf of all of us. In hiding, his crushed arm in a sling, the old man was manifestly broken. Not just in body but in spirit. He sobbed many times as he spoke with us: When he talked of the lynch attack by his neighbours, who accused him of killing his cows; when he told us how much he loves his cows; while speaking of his family who have to beg to pay for his medical expenses and food; his son, who has lost his mental balance after the lynching incident. Ansari talked of his resolve to return to his village — he knows no one wants him there, but there is no other place he can call home.
We met Ansari on the third day of our Karwane Mohabbat, Caravan of Love, a journey of atonement and solidarity with the people who are targets of hate attacks across the country. We began in Assam on September 4. Our first engagement in Jharkhand was to meet Ansari. But he feared another attack, so Ansari’s family did not disclose his hide-out. People met us instead on the main road, from where only a few of us left in a jeep, driving through many villages before we reached his secret refuge.
His story had chilling echoes of Akhlaq in Dadri. Ansari’s was the only Muslim home in a Hindu neighbourhood in village Barwadah in Giridih district. He reared 10 cows and sold milk to both Hindus and Muslims. Some 10 days before the attack, one of his jersey cows fell ill and died. The custom of the village is that dead cattle are not buried but thrown in a designated yard. Ansari contacted the man from a disadvantaged caste who usually disposed dead cattle. But they could not settle on a price. So Ansari decided to drag the corpse with his sons to the dumpyard, where it lay for two days. The day of the lynching, two days after Eid on June 27, the corpse was found mysteriously without its head and a leg. Rumour spread that Ansari had killed his own cow to eat during Eid. A mob surrounded his home baying for his blood. A terrified Ansari pleaded that the cow had died of sickness. If he had wanted to eat her meat, why would he take away its head and leave the body which contained the meat?
But the mob dragged him out, stripped him and thrashed him until he lost consciousness. They locked his son and daughter-in-law in a room in the house and set it on fire. They sprinkled the old man’s comatose body with petrol and would have set him on fire, if not for the timely intervention of the young deputy commissioner and the police force he commanded. They rescued the unconscious man, but the throng then turned its rage on the police, attacking their vehicles. The police opened fire, injuring one man. Ansari’s son and daughter-in-law had a miraculous escape because the village chowkidar broke down the door of the room in which the horde had locked them before torching their house. Ansari regained consciousness only eight days later. Discharged from hospital after two months, he remains in hiding. He has no police protection and dreads his neighbours may still take his life. The old man is determined to fight for justice. He does not know how, amidst so much hate, but he hopes — hopelessly — that he can return one day to his village.

As part of the karwan, wherever we travel, we request local organisers to arrange a peace meeting. We were encouraged that one such meeting was organised after we met Ansari. We were heartened to find that hundreds of men had gathered, including local officials. But our optimism did not last long. Speaker after speaker declared that the attack was an unfortunate “accident” that was best forgotten. Peace could be restored if Ansari told the police that the men they had arrested were innocent and that he did not recognise the men who tried to kill him. After these men were set free, they would allow Ansari to return. John Dayal, who accompanied the karwan, and I tried to reason with the gathering. “If it was your own father who was stripped and nearly killed by his neighbours based on false hate rumours,” I asked them, “would you even then say it was a minor incident that should be forgotten?” I appealed to them to go to Ansari, seek his forgiveness, assure him of his safety without conditions, and pool money to rebuild his home. Tempers rose. Speakers asked why we did not display the same sympathy with the Hindu man who the police had injured while firing to disperse the mob. They claimed Ansari was an evil man, a murderer. (We enquired and learnt he had been involved in a violent property dispute with his brother.) They said we were unconcerned that Ansari had provoked the anger of the Hindus of his village by beheading a cow.
The programme organisers were members of a leftist organisation. But they too said they were sorely disappointed with our visit. They had hoped we would restore peace by brokering a compromise that set the Hindus free. Instead all we could do was to “take the side of the Muslims”.
We could have been in Dadri. We could have been in living rooms across the land. The arguments are always the same. Muslims always provoke violence, they are always guilty, even when they are lynched. Hindus, in contrast, are innocent and non-violent, roused into understandable violence only by the perfidy of Muslims.
The karwan could not make place for love in the hearts of the Hindus assembled in the village there. Love that is inseparable from justice. Love that does not differentiate between “Hindu suffering” and “Muslim suffering”. Heavy in heart, we realised that it will take many journeys for love to prevail, to overcome. Until then we must continue to journey.
Mander is a human rights worker and writer

India: "My Discussion of Yoga Was Threatening to Its RSS-Linked Administration" says Patricia Sauthoff

The Caravan

“My Discussion of Yoga Was Threatening to Its RSS-Linked Administration”: Patricia Sauthoff On the Cancellation of Her Course At Nalanda

By Sagar | 20 September 2017
Patricia Sauthoff is an American PhD scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a former faculty member at Nalanda University in Bihar. From August 2016 to 28 July this year, Sauthoff was employed as a teaching fellow at the university’s School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions. In her second term at Nalanda, which started in January this year, she taught two courses, including a course titled the “History and Politics of Yoga.” It explored the “history of Yoga in India as religious, social, and political practice.”
On 13 June, the university’s administration sent Sauthoff a letter informing her that her contract would soon expire and requesting her to communicate her “willingness for further continuance in the University.” Six days later, she received another letter, which informed her that the previous one “may be treated as cancelled and withdrawn.” Sauthoff’s employment contract was never renewed, and her course was subsequently discontinued—she later said that she was not given any official reason for this decision.
On 9 September, Ram Madhav, the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party and a director of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated think-tank India Foundation, criticised the course. He tweeted: “Stunned to hear dat Amartya Sen’s Nalanda Univ regime had a course on ‘Politics of Yoga’ taught by a foreigner. Now course abolished.” Madhav’s reference to Sen was odd—the economist resigned from his position as Nalanda’s chancellor over a year before Sauthoff’s course on yoga began.
Nalanda University has deep-rooted historical origins. From the fifth to the twelfth century, Nalanda was a renowned monastery and centre for learning in the ancient Indian kingdom of Magadha, situated in modern-day Bihar. In 2007, the decision to re-establish Nalanda was taken at the East Asia Summit—an annual forum held by the leaders of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. In 2010, the university was established by a central legislation. The act mandates the constitution of a governing body, which is responsible for its policies, decisions, and the management of its affairs. In 2012, Sen was appointed as the chancellor of the university, and the ex officio chairperson of its governing body. The body comprises 14 members, which also includes five representatives of member states from the East Asia Summit and three renowned academics or educationists. In 2014, the university held its first academic session.
Within a year into the university’s revival, Sen demitted office. He noted in his resignation letter that that he was not appointed as a chancellor for a second term despite the support of the governing body. He wrote: “Non-action is a time-wasting way of reversing a board decision.” He also expressed concern that “academic governance in India remains so deeply vulnerable to the opinions of the ruling government.” Sen continued to be a member of the governing body until November 2016, when the then president Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as the visitor of the university, reconstituted the body. The economist was not included in the new list of members. Along with the reconstitution of the board, the president also denied Gopa Sabharwal, the vice chancellor at the time, an extension for another term—though the governing body had already approved it. Within days of Sen’s ouster, the then chancellor George Yeo resigned from the position. In a post on Facebook, Yeo said that he was not consulted before the reconstitution of the governing body. He wrote, “I was repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. This appears not to be the case now.”
As present, the university’s chancellor is Vijay Bhatkar, the president of Vijnana Bharati—an RSS-affiliated scientific body that, according to its website, aims to “spearhead the Movement for Swadeshi Sciences.” Sunaina Singh, who is also one of the directors of the India Foundation, was appointed vice chancellor in March this year. In 2014, Singh was summoned by the Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission due to allegations of discrimination by a staffer at the English and Foreign Language University in Hyderabad, where she was the vice chancellor at the time. During her stint with EFLU, Dalit and Adivasi students had alleged that the administration, headed by Singh, discriminated against them. The day after Madhav’s tweet, a report in The Telegraph quoted Singh: “The very title of the course is problematic … Why are we allowing a foreigner to teach the politics of yoga?”
I contacted Sauthoff in mid September, to discuss the discontinuation of her course as well as her experience at Nalanda. Extracts from our subsequent email conversation, which took place over several days, are presented below. In her emails, Sauthoff described several aspects of the university’s functioning.
According to her, the course was discontinued because her “discussion of yoga was threatening to the RSS-linked administration.” She added that she was “never given a reason” for the withdrawal of the letter offering her an extension of her contract. Sauthoff further said the university had not released her last salary and had declined to issue her a no-dues certificate, without which she would not be able to work in India again.
In addition to such “academic censorship,” Sauthoff added, the university also faced other “very real problems” such as the lack of medical facilities, access to doctors, and hygienic cooking facilities. She said that the administration had deliberately overlooked instances of plagiarism that she pointed out to them. Sauthoff added that the RSS was making attempts to use the university to promote its own ideology.
On 18 September, I contacted the university’s spokesperson Saurabh Choudhary for a response regarding Sauthoff’s allegations. Upon his request, I emailed him my queries on the same day. At the time this article was published, Choudhary had not responded.
Sagar: In an email, you said that the government and the university might have found your course “inappropriate,” and described its cancellation as an “assault on academic freedom.”
Patricia Sauthoff:
Both the university’s new chancellor, Vijay Bhatkar, and vice chancellor, Sunaina Singh, have close relationships with the RSS. I imagine they felt my course would threaten the RSS-approved narrative of the history of yoga. I also think that looking at their politics within the yoga sphere caused them to feel personally threatened. At my first and only meeting with Singh and the faculty, [in May 2017], she told us that she was “not political but a hardcore nationalist.” Clearly this is a contradiction. She also announced that she wanted to start courses on the “history of science,” which I read as coded for Vedic science, and month-long yoga and meditation intensives for members of the Nalanda student body, faculty, and others.
Publicly saying that the title of my course was “problematic” is itself an assault on academic freedom. By doing this, Singh has not only told the remaining members of the Nalanda faculty that she will speak publicly against them but also that she will determine what can and cannot be taught. Academic freedom relies on academics having the autonomy to teach and discuss ideas that may prove to be inconvenient to authorities and political organisations. Controversial subjects should be avoided only when they are unrelated to the subject at hand.
Singh would likely argue that yoga is not political, but that is false. If that were the case then why is a BJP operative attacking my course on Twitter? Academic freedom means that scholars must be able to teach their subjects without the fear of becoming targets for repression, job loss, or imprisonment. Government officials should not have a say in what is being taught in universities. That is the job of academics, not politicians. As soon as politicians start bragging about the abolishment of courses, they are telling everyone that their freedom to speak and learn is going to be limited to what they pre-approve as appropriate.
S: Do you recall any instances during your time at the univerity when you felt the government was interfering in its functioning?
When the government dismissed Sabharwal and the board, the university was left to flounder. Professor Pankaj Mohan was appointed interim VC and immediately began to leave the faculty out of decisions. We had no idea what was going on except that administrators began to run the place. When Bhatkar was appointed, he came for a groundbreaking ceremony that featured a Hindu rite [Bhatkar held a puja.] This immediately demonstrated that the secular nature of the university was gone.
S: Could you describe other incidents that you thought were “academic censorship”?
Instances of plagiarism were ignored [by the administration] and teachers were gently pressured to pass students who were not up to the academic challenges of the MA [Master of Arts] programme. After the end of my contract, I was asked to mark two papers for my first term class that a student turned in at the end of term two. I protested stating that the papers were due at the end of the first term and that my syllabus clearly stated all papers would lose points for late submission. These were not turned in on time, and therefore the student should not pass. I am still being asked to mark them. This means my final grades and the policies of the university are being ignored.
S: How do you assess Singh and Madhav’s objection to a “foreigner” teaching yoga at the university?
I think it’s absurd. It’s none of Madhav’s business what is being taught at a university. The students of Nalanda are smart adults and have the right to learn whatever interests them. As for the university officials, I think it’s unprofessional and inappropriate for them to speak out in the press against a member of their own faculty—former or current. It undermines the faculty that is still there, surely demotivates them, and makes the university an unpleasant place for anyone who thinks for themselves who might consider applying.
S: Singh also challenged your course itself—she noted, “Why do you inject politics into it?” Was it being taught without the knowledge or approval of the university management?
The course was taught with the knowledge of the university administration. I submitted my syllabus to Dr Ambika Pani [the university’s point-of-contact between the faculty and the administration] on 3 December 2016, nearly a full month before I began to teach the course. Further, the librarian ordered books for the course and needed approval from the administration for purchasing the course materials. A guest lecturer was scheduled to come to Nalanda to speak about the Yoga Sutras in Indonesia and the administration also knew that this lecture would be considered mandatory for my course. Never did anyone raise any issues with the title or content of the course, which was posted on the website and included in all schedules [timetables], which were approved of by the administration.
As the acting VC [after Sabharwal’s ouster], Pankaj Mohan was the de facto acting dean of the School of Buddhist Studies, as we did not have a dean. He never held a meeting with us and paid us very little attention. However, as the acting dean and vice chancellor, it was his duty to oversee the curriculum. Had the administration told me I could not teach the course, I would have resigned at the time, but no one said a thing.
As an academic it is not my job to inject politics into anything. It is my job to offer my students the tools to think critically about the world. That world includes people in India and overseas discussing the Modi government’s connection to yoga and how that impacts not only Indian, but world politics.
S: Was there anything in particular in your course that could have irked the university administration or the BJP government?
I think my discussion of yoga is threatening to the RSS-linked administration. Nalanda has very strict rules regarding the celebration of religious ceremonies on campus. Students are free to do so, but the university was to remain secular in the spirit of inclusion. This is not conducive to the beliefs of the RSS. In my course, I attempted to present all views equally. I included discussions of cultural appropriation, what it meant for a white woman to teach the course, and had readings that argued for the view that yoga is a Hindu practice and should remain such. Had the administration discussed the course with me, I think they would have found that I did not speak against anyone’s view, was not attempting to change anyone’s practice, but merely started a discussion about the various ways in which people approach yoga in the historical modern world.
This interview has been edited and condensed.

India: Gauri Lankesh’s murder by extremists sends a dark message to all fearless journalists | Garga Chatterjee

Dhaka Tribune

A mind that didn’t give in to greedy times

A mind that didn’t give in to greedy times
A voice that did not waver REUTERS

Gauri Lankesh’s murder by extremists sends a dark message to all fearless journalists

The forces of Hindu-Hindu-Hindustan have claimed their latest victim in the Indian Union.
Gauri Lankesh, the famous Kannadiga journalist and free-thinker was killed in cold blood by assassins in front of her house. She had been on the case of Hindutva forces and had been receiving death threats from these nefarious quarters.
She joins the illustrious and sad list of free-thinking martyrs like Gobind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, and Kalburgi who have fallen to these forces. She was an indefatigable fighter against communalism, especially the Hindi-Hindu majoritarian variety, Hindi imposition and anti-people superstition. What this shows is that somebody who was as famous and connected as her has no security whatsoever. This was a so-called high tech metropolis of Bengaluru. This was a CCTV-guarded home. She had her own car. She was known to the chief minister of the state of Karnataka, whose capital is Bengaluru.
The administration and the police are run by non-BJP forces. This also shows that vigilantes can hit at will, whenever they want, wherever they want, whoever they want. This has a very dangerous foreboding for all urbane and elite free-thinking citizens of the Indian Union.
In a warmly worded remembrance, Gauri Lankesh’s former husband Chidanand Rajghatta described her in these words: “Right now, between writing this, I am scrambling to get on a plane again, my mind a cauldron of fragmented memories. One phrase keeps repeating and resonating in my mind: Amazing Grace. Forget all other labels: leftist, radical, anti-Hindutva, secular, etc. For me, there is just this: My friend, my first love, she was the epitome of Amazing Grace.”
It is this very kind person with her courageous journalism and her activism against the dark forces of Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan that her assassins wanted to silence. One might think that such assassinations only increase protest or increase the number of dissenters but that is not always the case.  It is not always true as it was not true when the slogan was raised after Bhutto’s hanging that “Har Ghar Se Bhutto Niklega.”  They recoiled. They did not come out then. That takes time.
That takes political organisation. That takes scheming. That takes tactics and most importantly, that takes an assessment of the power of the enemy. In the Indian Union, except in some non-Hindi states where Hindi-Hindu-Hindustani forces are being opposed at a mass scale, in the Hindi-Hindu heart in the Hindi heartland itself, there is hardly any such organised initiative, except in Bihar to some extent.
One might think that such assassinations only increase protest or increase the number of dissenters but that is not always the case
She knows exactly what kind of forces she was up against. She wrote against them. She fought against them. She gathered people against them. Unlike many Anglo educated activists who are usually alienated from their own native culture, Gauri Lankesh knew the pitfalls of such alienation, and knew how this was ultimately self-defeating for any principled person who loved her people.
She was not able to read Kannada very well even in college, and was the editor of a Kannada newspaper at the time of death. That transformation is important and is a testament to her commitment to changing herself for the cause of the people while many others want to change people to make them fall in line with their own private fantasy.
She was also a staunch oppose of Hindi imposition and she said this in her inimitable style when she pointed out that Hindi is only 300 years old, English has less than 400 years history in her land, while Kannada is way, way older, so anyone imposing Hindi should shove up their own.
In her inimitable style, she showed that she was from Karnataka, which is at this point, one of the epicentres of the anti-Hindi imposition movement in the Indian Union, and being a person of the people, that exciting turn in the possibilities of the anti-Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan politics must have also excited her.
Thus, the radical left-wing student rally in Kolkata protesting her murder would have caused her immense sadness. Sadly in Kolkata, the capital of the Bengali people, radical-left students took out the procession and chanted slogans and sang song in Hindi.
This was an absolute embarrassment to all that Gauri Lankesh stood for. This was unthinkable 10 years ago, and that is what is dangerous. When the Indian Union was formed in 1947 and Hindi was made its official language, a seed was planted. That seed got nourishment through the years and in 1992 during the Babri Masjid demolition episode, it got a huge boost.
It is that process which culminated in the extension of the Hindi-Hindu sphere and that also affects people who would like to believe that they are among its opposers. When power also defines and determines the form and contour of dissent and corrupts it to the core so that dissent becomes an extension of the power structure, then that sort of structure has to be gotten rid of, lock, stock, and barrel.
Among the other fallen free-thinking martyrs whom I mentioned above, the killers have not been prosecuted in a single case. This is a huge boost to the ideology of the assassins. When investigation does not lead to the prosecution of the actual assassins, it will add to the long line of free-thinkers who will fall silent after such attacks on their friends and ideological fellow travellers.
This almost always leads to their widespread self-censorship.  Voices of love and understanding get weaker. Sometimes they even fall silent and people shut up in fear, then that is the most dangerous thing as Punjabi poet Avtar Singh Pash had written a long time ago.
Jey desh di surakhya eho hondee hai 
key be-zameeree zindagi lei shart ban javey 
akh di putli vich han ton bina koi bhi shabd ashleel howe 
tey man badkaar ghadiyan de samne 
dandaut’t jhukiya rahe *
Tey saanu desh di surakhya ton khatra hai.
(If a life without conscience is a pre-condition of the country’s security, if anything other than saying ‘yes’ in agreement is obscene, and the mind submits before the greedy times, then the security of our country is a danger to all).
Garga Chatterjee is a political and cultural commentator. He can be followed on twitter @gargac

India: Cruel food and farm licence raj destroys livelihoods across the board in BJP ruled states | Saba Naqvi

An impoverishing politics: Cruel food and farm licence raj destroys livelihoods across the board in BJP ruled states

September 20, 2017, 2:00 am IST in ET Commentary | Edit Page, India | TOI
This is not an article about Hindus and Muslims and cows and beef. It’s about livelihoods being cruelly taken away, possibly because of prejudice, equally because of a creeping licence raj for a particular sector.
Aale Naavi Qureshi walks around with a laminated copy of a licence issued on January 17, 2015, by authorities in Noida, UP. It permits him to continue running his traditional meat shop that sells mutton and chicken. The licence is valid for five years until 2020. But three days after BJP came to power in UP in March this year, the police came round and asked him to upgrade the shop to include tiles, geysers and new pipes.
He did so, spending Rs 3 lakh. Yet he was told that his licence was no longer valid (something open to a legal challenge). Now out of work for nearly six months, this large man weeps and says that the government wants us to educate our children when we have to pull them out of schools – “Send me to the border to fight our enemies, find me some other work, or kill us all.”

Dilshad, who once owned three small tempos that carried meat to butcher shops from the Ghazipur slaughterhouse in Delhi, has lost two vehicles to the financiers and finds little use for the third. Production is down to half at Ghazipur as the entire supply chain is hit. In the past the labour that carted animals made Rs 500 a day. Now many have returned to their villages. Dilshad’s family has taken to selling bananas on a cart.
The crisis hitting small butcher shops, cattle farmers and transporters of meat in the arc of states around Delhi – Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – is a tale of slow death with an occasional lynching such as that of Pehlu Khan thrown in. Last week the Rajasthan police closed investigations into six people named by dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in his dying statement following a mob attack in April this year.
But the story is not just about cows and buffaloes but about mutton, chicken and fish as well. It’s also not just about Muslims but Dalits and some Gujjars as well. Meet Jaggu who ran a pork meat shop in Noida; also shut down for five months leaving him no choice but to work as labour. Meet Imamuddin, who would collect fish from a pond, carry it in a basket on his head and then squat on a pavement and sell it in a semi-urban part of UP. He is being asked for a licence, from whom he does not know, from where he does not know.
What he does know is that other street hawkers are not being asked to run in hoops in the manner in which those dealing in non-vegetarian food, raw or cooked, are. He points out that many of his fellow fish mongers are Hindus. At the subsistence level at which Imamuddin and Jaggu survive, the real oppressor is the police not the politicians who obviously don’t care.
There is a Kafkaesque illogicality about the process meat shop owners are being subjected to. Alfaiz Moinuddin also walks around with a licence he shows to anyone who would care to listen. In Loni, Ghaziabad district of UP, he has been asked to connect his shop to sewer lines that do not exist and therefore the shop lies closed. He stresses that many employees were non-Muslims.
While their livelihood has been seriously threatened, there is income generation for police and petty bureaucracy who keep demanding bribes at every stage of the process after which the shop may still remain closed.
Cattle farming too has become a risky business. Shaukat Ali from Alwar district of Rajasthan, recently faced the trauma of ten milk producing cows being taken to a gaushala by police and cow vigilantes as they were being moved between state borders. In the gaushala the cows were not milked properly resulting in their udders being blocked and subsequently infected. After paying bribes, the family got their cows released but found them sick so is tending to them. They now request Hindu cattle farmers to sit in front of the vehicles when cattle has to be transported.
From farming to exports, these individual stories highlight the acute distress a systematic assault on the meat business has caused. It’s happening across religious lines, with sections of Hindus also becoming collateral damage in what appears to be actually targeted at Muslims. Dalits, who work as labour in the meat business and tanneries are hit; middle caste farmers who cannot sell old cattle are impacted.
Whichever way one looks at it, the only people who benefit would be those who gain from extortion and/ or are ideologically driven. As we can see, it’s moved beyond beef, to all things non-vegetarian. Since it makes for poor economics, presumably it’s about making a symbolic gesture against people who are not seen as voters of the new rulers of states in the cow belt.
The suggestion that this is motivated by a desire for civic cleanliness rings hollow: the biggest hit on the meat business has come from UP, where the constituency of the chief minister is disease ridden and packed with garbage.
The butchers and slaughterhouses are on their knees, ready to comply with reasonable rules. They insist their crisis should not be viewed from an identity lens but an economic lens. Still, one can’t miss the nasty prejudice determined to impoverish people who are part of a traditional profession practised across the world.

India: Similar to Rajasthan police in pehlu khan case case, Haryana police trying to scuttle case against accused in Junaid Murder case

The Hindu


Police trying to derail Junaid murder case, says advocate 

Three months on, four of six accused out on bail; many serious charges dropped

Less than three months after teenager Junaid was stabbed to death in a Delhi-Mathura local train in June this year, four of the six accused arrested in the case are out on bail.
The Haryana Railway Police has also withdrawn charges of rioting, unlawful assembly and common intention against them in the charge sheet. Two other accused in the case remain unidentified.
The bail application of the fifth accused, Rameshwar, came up for hearing before the local court in Faridabad on Tuesday and an order in this regard is likely on Wednesday.
Chander Prakash (25), an accountant at a factory in Ballabgarh, was granted bail on July 27 — a month after he was arrested. Gaurav and Pradeep were let off on bail on August 2. Ramesh, a resident of Jodhpur village in Palwal, was granted bail on August 18.
 He was arrested a day after the incident and the police had initially claimed that he was the prime accused in the case.

Disclosure reports

Advocate for the victim’s family Nibrash Ahmed told The Hindu that the Haryana Railway Police, in its reply to bail applications of the four men, dropped charges of rioting, unlawful assembly and common intention, which facilitated their bail.
The police have taken the plea that the charges were dropped based on the disclosure reports of the accused. The police filed a charge sheet on August 23 omitting the charges of rioting, unlawful assembly and common intention.
Mr. Ahmed said that the “police were acting under pressure” and had withdrawn the charges to help the accused. “It is an attempt to derail the case,” he added.
The advocate argued that Chander, Gaurav, Pradeep and Rameshwar belonged to the same village and were involved in an argument with Junaid and his brothers and were, therefore, part of unlawful assembly.
Mr. Ahmed alleged that the four men held Junaid while Naresh stabbed him, proving common intention in the case.

‘Under no pressure’

Deputy Superintendent of Police (Faridabad Railway Police) Mohinder Singh, however, denied all charges of acting under any pressure and contended that the police had carried out a free and fair probe in the case.
“The charges have been withdrawn based on the investigation in the case. It is now for the court to decide whether these charges should be added or not,” said Mr. Singh.
Mr. Ahmed, however, argued that it was unlikely that the court would seek addition of the charges if the police did not produce any evidence in the charge sheet supporting those charges.
Meanwhile, Junaid’s family claimed that his father Jalaluddin, worried over the developments in the case, suffered a heart attack two days ago and was being treated at a private hospital in Noida.