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Remembering Yates

Remembering Yates

A group of litigants had moved the Supreme Court for a probe into the death of a judge some weeks ago. They raised doubts and it was in everyone’s interest to put them to rest.

However, the Supreme Court on April 19 ruled against conducting a probe into Judge Loya’s death. Loya was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘encounter’ case, in which BJP president Amit Shah was one of the accused. Shah was exonerated by the judge who took over the case after Loya’s death.

Loya died supposedly of heart attack while visiting another city for a wedding with two fellow judges. The other judges vouch that Loya died of natural causes. Caravan magazine, however, published several reports which raised doubts on the nature of Loya’s death and the autopsy and other reports prepared thereafter.

Now a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud have ruled that the petitions filed by eminent jurists such as Prashant Bhushan, Indira Jaising and Dushyant Dave were attempts to ‘launch a frontal attack on the judiciary’.

How will a probe to check if the official version on the death of a person is correct be a frontal attack on the judiciary? Is it not best that a probe establish that there is no shred of evidence as ‘insinuated by the petitioners’ rather than the court deciding on it without probe?

The issue gained significance after Loya’s sister claimed that he told her there was tremendous pressure on him regarding the encounter case. She may be lying after her brother died to implicate powerful people. The judge’s son appeared with some unknown people who behaved in a questionable manner to say that he was sure there was no foul play in the death of his father. The fact remains doubts have been created in people’s mind. Would it not be in everyone’s interest that a probe establishes the truth?

One day before the Supreme Court verdict on the Loya case, there was an even more puzzling order by a high court which called for punitive action against the media for publishing the name and photo of an 8-year-old nomad girl who was gang-raped and killed inside a temple, as per the claims of the Jammu and Kashmir police.

Prior to the media highlighting the fact that lawyers in Kathua prevented the police from filing the case in court, few in authority took measures to let justice run its course. Now, how would publishing the name and photo of the child defile her or her family? Has the family asked the court to do so? Why are we attaching stigma to the one who was violated and following the regressive custom of shaming the victim?

Apart from the high court verdict, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights too has intervened and asked everyone to adhere to keep the name and photo of the child away from news. If this is the NCPCR’s idea of protecting children, we better not have such a body at tax-payers’ money.

All these developments reminds one of William Butler Yeats famous lines: “ Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, the ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

What Does It Teach?

Earlier in the week, Swami Aseemanand was acquitted in the Mecca Masjid blast case along with several others. His brother says he would like to know the real culprits. So does the rest of the nation. If all those charged by the NIA have been let off, then who was responsible for the blast?

This is not an isolated case. Other cases, where right-wing extremists have been accused of triggering blasts and killing people, too have already collapsed or look like collapsing. They include the Samjhauta Express blast, Ajmer Dargah blast and two different blasts in Malegaon.

The NIA seems to be doing a fine job at least in the eyes of some people, one must infer. Incidentally, its prosecutor picked to argue the case was someone who was an ABVP activist.

What is not so secret is the fact that those involved in extremism have been once associated with the RSS. As things would have it, they leave the ‘nationalist organisation’ before taking up the violent path. This was the case with Nathuram Godse. So was it with Sunil Joshi. Dara Singh who burnt alive Graham Staines and his two sons, on the other hand, was still associated with RSS affiliate Bajrang Dal and involved in nabbing those who smuggled cows for slaughter.

Since Aseemanand has been acquitted, it may be wrong to classify him along with the other three. Let’s also believe the words of the RSS, since it is a ‘social organisation doing only good to everyone everywhere’. But one would still like to know how people who were at some point of time associated with this ‘do good organisation’ end up committing such violent acts of murder, as seen in all three cases.

Misinterpreting Vivekananda

Aseemanand was born to Gandhian Bibhutibhushan Sarkar who warned him against associating himself with the RSS. However, Sarkar junior found the teachings of the RSS more profound. In one of the interviews he gave to a news magazine a few years ago, Aseemanand was quoted as saying that it was RSS pracharak Bijoy Adya who made him ‘see the truth’ of Vivekananda’s teachings.

Adya extracted out of context one line from Vivekananda’s utterings: “Every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more.” Thereafter, Aseemanand never visited the Ramakrishna Mission but was lured into the political Hindutva propagated by the RSS.

If true, this demonstrates how the RSS misuses Vivekananda’s words meant to fight the colonial raj and erosion of India’s cultural values during the time. Such misinterpretations have turned many broadminded followers of the Hindu faith into narrow-minded warriors of Hindutva, a political cause.

But who can stop this? Not long ago, Congress General Secretary Divijaya Singh met then Home Minister Shivraj Patil with a file of collated materials that showed many Hindus were being radicalised by organisations which seemed to ostensibly have links with the RSS. Digvijaya Singh was to later tell some partymen that the moment he mentioned about the possibility of an RSS connection, Patil shook his head in disapproval and said: “The RSS is a nationalist organisation.” Incidentally, Patil was Sonia Gandhi’s choice for Home Minister despite his defeat in the 2004 elections.


(Published on 23th April 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 17)