Tag: Nidhi Razdan

Azad Maidan riot

On 11/8/2012 there was a rally at Azad Maidan by Raza Academy against attacks on Muslims in Assam and Burma. A riot followed. Media persons were attacked. Policepersons were attacked. Policemen were injured. Policewomen were molested. The rioters snatched rifles from some constables. The rioters tossed one constable up and down several times. There was arson and vandalism. There was firing. There was stoane pelting on trains. BEST buses and other vehicles were damaged. Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial was vandalised. Two persons died in police firing. Questions were raised about permission for the gathering and preparedness of the police. Some praised Arup Patnaik, Commissioner of Police, for restraint. Some criticised him. Some wanted a ban on Raza Academy. Some said the religion of miscreants had to do with police being soft on them. The police would have fired on farmers and Warkaris.

On 21/8/2012 there was another rally at Azad Maidan. This was by MNS to express solidarity with the police and media. It is said there was permission for the rally but not march from Girgaum Chowpatty. MNS claimed police did not specifically deny permission for the march. Raj Thackeray demanded the resignation of R. R. Patil and Arup Patnaik. He said “They have played with the morale of the police. Our policemen kept waiting for instructions to control violence. When a DCP caught hold of a rioter, Patnaik abused him and told him to let the offender go.”

When Raj Thackeray finished his speech, Pramod Tawde, a constable, walked up to him and presented him a yellow rose. He thanked Raj Thackeray for making the police force feel there is someone who thinks about their welfare and is standing up for them. He said, “When I urged Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik to take action against those responsible for beating up constables on August 11, he laughed it off, saying I looked like Subhash Chandra Bose.”

On 22/8/2012 police registered a case against Shirish Sawant, general secretary of MNS, for the march from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan without permission. The police knew the march was to take place. They should have stopped before it began.

There were two articles on The Indian Express. First one was by Javed Anand and Teesta Setalvad on 17/8/2012. They praised Arup Patnaik for showing restraint in dealing with Muslim rioters. Second one was by Madhu Trehan on 22/8/2012. She asked: Is the law to be adjusted according the religion of the miscreant? She referred to the footage that showed Arup Patnaik shouting at DCP Ravindra Shisve who holds a goon by the collar “Who has told you to catch him?” He bellows to DCP “You take directions from the commissioner. You are not SP of Sangli. You are DCP here. You will not fall out of line or you will be suspended, stupid.”

For Arup Patnaik it was fine if a policeman entered a restaurant and slapped people or hit them with a hockey stick. He had defended Vasant Dhoble. It was not fine if a policeman caught a culprit.

For two consecutive days there were attacks on people from North-East in Poona. There was no prompt police action against attackers. Intelligence inputs or warnings about trouble that was to take place at Azad Maidan were ignored.

Julio Ribeiro appeared on CNN-IBN. He said he was proud of what Arup Patnaik had done. Sagarika Ghose did not ask him whether he was proud of attacks on policemen and molestation of policewomen. She did not ask him whether he was proud of a Commissioner threatening a DCP for doing his duty. No wonder there was police revolt when Julio Ribeiro was Commissioner and as DGP he failed to end terrorism in Punjab.

On 23/8/2012 Arup Patnaik was promoted as DG (Maharashtra State Security Corporation). One channel said he was kicked upstairs. Some channels presented it as if he had been made a fall guy or scapegoat. If any politician had shouted at a DCP and threatened him with suspension for nabbing a rioter these channels would have raised a hue and cry. Here is a case of Commissioner threatening a DCP for doing his duty and the channels have not condemned Arup Patnaik. Satyapal Singh took over as Commissioner. As per one report Arup Patnaik had fallen out with R. R. Patil and had become friendly with Prithviraj Chavan. R. R. Patil said Arup Patnaik’s promotion was under process since 6/7/2012.

Satyapal Singh put Social Service Branch of Vasant Dhoble under Crime Branch as was the case before Arup Patnaik. That will gladden many people.

The question is whether the rioters knew there will be no retaliation on spot if they attacked and injured policemen, molested policewomen and engaged in arson and vandalism. Destroying public and private property happens during riots. It is not usual for rioters to target police.

Assam continues to be tense. Nidhi Razdan did not demand that Tarun Gogoi should say sorry because the Assam riots took place under his watch.

Many sites have been blocked for hate speech and provocative content including morphed pictures. Some sites did not have anything to do with riots. Journalists like Kanchan Gupta and Shiv Aroor found their sites blocked. Times of India site was blocked. However there was no action against hate speeches at Azad Maidan on 11/8/2012. There are arguments over what constitutes free speech and hate speech.

Till the time of writing police had arrested 48 persons including one who had snatched a rifle from a constable, and at least 22 persons including two who had vandalised Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial were yet to be arrested.

It is a shame if policepersons have to be mute spectators or victims when a riot takes place. Policewomen should have caught the molesters and thrashed them. What type of policewomen are they who get molested when they are in a group and their male colleagues are around them? If policepersons cannot defend themselves how can they defend others?

Death penalty is a deterrent

In one James Bond film it is said: Once can be happenstance. Twice can be coincidence. Thrice or more enemy is at work. On NDTV 24×7’s Left Right and Centre on three days Nidhi Razdan asked the question: Is death penalty a deterrent? She implied it was not. My answer is “Yes”.

First time Nidhi Razdan asked the question with regard to remarks by Justice Markandeya Katju about policemen who kill in fake encounters. He had said “Such policemen should be hanged. It is nothing but cold-blooded brutal murder, and yes, police personnel responsible should be hanged.” The discussion turned around fake encounters. Y. P. Singh said policemen do a noble job in an unethical way. It is a political call to control crime. The government of the day asks police to finish criminals. When there were gang wars in Bombay encounters took place and criminals disappeared.

There was no terrorist activity at the time. Later encounter specialists fell from grace. Encounters stopped. There were serial train blasts and 26/11. Last month there were three bomb blasts.

Second time was when it became known that Home Ministry has asked the President to reject Afzal Guru’s mercy petition. One panelist said he was opposed to death penalty in general. TSR Subramaniam said death penalty is given in rarest of rare cases and this is a rarest of rarest of rare case. Those who say Kashmir will go up in flames if Afzal Guru is hanged ignore the fact that Maqbool Butt’s hanging for the murder of Deputy High Commissioner Mhatre in Birmingham scared the living daylights out of JKLF.

Third time was on 11/8/2011. The President had rejected mercy petitions of three LTTE members. Renuka Chowdhury defended the decision. One panelist spoke of European Union and Gandhian philosophy. He forgot Gandhi’s killers were hanged. Ashok Desai and Nirmala Seetharaman were in favour of death penalty.

Opponents of death penalty engage in misinformation and disinformation.

First disinformation is that life sentence is worse than death penalty. It is not. Criminals don’t want to die and are happy to live in jail as long as they can. Some faint on the day of their hanging.

European Union (EU) countries have abolished death penalty. That is not a reason for India to abolish death penalty. We don’t have to follow EU countries. Some of them are bankrupt. Some are on the verge of bankruptcy. See the mess in England. During riots even rich people go to rob. In Norway some want death penalty for the terrorist who killed 76 people. China, USA, Japan and many other countries have death penalty. India is equal to all EU countries put together. EU is not paradise on earth.

Second disinformation is that murders have gone down in countries which abolished death penalty. Those who say that do not give any proof or lie about statistics.

Third disinformation is that death penalty does not serve any purpose of justice i.e., reformative, retributive and deterrent. Death penalty serves retributive and deterrent purposes.

There is misinformation that 26/11 terrorists were on a suicide mission. They were told to take some hostages. The government will negotiate and allow them to return. That did not happen. When a terrorist serves a life sentence there is the danger of abduction or hijacking for the release of the terrorist and the released terrorist killing many more. While nothing can be done about suicide bombers if those who send them are hanged that will reduce terrorists. Suicide bombers are given money and are told that their families will be taken care of once they die.

Some say a civilized country should not have death penalty. What is civilized about murder? Murder is a crime, pure and simple.

When death penalty was the norm there were not many encounter deaths and terrorist activities. After the Supreme Court strayed into the territory of executive and restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases the situation changed.

In Pakistan there has not been death penalty for a long time and terrorism has increased. In Mexico murders multiplied after abolition of death penalty.

I have a suspicion that a lobbyist is behind the question.