The extrajudicial murder of Atiq Ahmed on April 15, raises a two-throng dilemma in terms of the prevalent security apparatus in the state of India as well as possible state complicity specifically when it comes to prejudice against its minorities.

Uttar Pradesh (a state where the unfortunate incident took place) has seen the deaths of more than 180 civilians in some 9000 alleged police encounters by police officials, in the past six years.

It is horrendous how the handcuffed brothers, Atiq Ahmed and Ashraf Ahmed were gunned down amid the massive police cordon and a huge media gaggle. The brothers were killed when they came out of the hospital after their mandatory checkup required by a Supreme Court order. Atiq was already jailed in Gujarat and was brought to Prayagraj for a court hearing concerning the Umesh Pal murder case. Umesh Pal was killed on February 24, following which his wife Jaya Pal registered an FIR against the duo with 12 others. Jaya claims that Umesh was an eye witness in the murder case of MLA Raju Pal of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Raju was killed after he won by-elections in Atiq’s stronghold of Allahabad after later resigning as MLA on becoming Member of Parliament MP from the Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency, also in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.

Umesh Pal had previously registered an FIR against Atiq alleging him for his kidnapping in February 2006 for which Atiq was handed life imprisonment in March this year. It was his first conviction in some 101 cases registered against him, that are also seen as an element of political engineering against him. Atiq Ahmed denied all charges. His extrajudicial murder now showcases the rough and tumble of the state of India that has gone further astray under the government of the Hindutva-led BJP.

The overlap between organized crime and the Indian political system has garnered contempt from various spheres of influence in India with Gilles Verniers, a political science professor at Ashoka University in New Delhi, whose research has focused on electoral and party politics in Uttar Pradesh, calling it “a break-down of the very concept of the rule of law”, while talking to CNN.

“The larger significance is what this means for the rule of law and the transformation of the meaning of the rule of law from a system of justice that is supposed to follow due process and be impartial and not be arbitrary into a form of self-justice in the hand of the executive (with an implicit reference to Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath) that is fundamentally arbitrary, violent and partisan,” Verniers said.

Adiyanath has previously vowed to destroy “Atiq”, something he has achieved ostensibly. It is skeptical as to how his entire family has been chased if not gunned down in the ensuing hare and hounds, with the state not even sparing his minor sons and putting them in juvenile jails. It becomes a problem to be interrogated as to what law, national or international allows hounding the entire strata of relatives for the crime committed by a single individual.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 43/173 (endorsed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), rather stipulates an entire “Body of Principles” for the protection of all persons under any form of detention or imprisonment. Principle 6, in this regard clearly envisages that “No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No circumstance whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, following which principle 7 calls upon states to ensure compliance with the aforementioned principle. India miserably fails at both, compliance and ensuring justice, and this is something the International Community shall be taking note of.

As far as India is concerned scapegoating Pakistan for its own misgivings will only fester the state’s gullibility and populace grievance.

On one account, Uttar Pradesh presented a charge sheet before the court in which it found a reprieve in forcefully forging a linkage between Atiq and the ISI of Pakistan. The concocted charge sheet also claims that Atiq agreed to acquire weapon supplies from Pakistan via drones coming from the Punjab border. Even if this is believed to be the case, it again suggests military and intelligence failure on the part of the Indian army.

Moving forth, India is also trying to instigate skepticism and falsified rhetoric that Zigana, a gun used to kill Atiq might have come from Pakistan. While the origins of the pistol are not clear, it is pertinent to mention here that this gun costs nearly Rs. 6 lacs in India’s own underground market, as reported by Indian Express.

Hence blame-gaming Pakistan for India’s own misgivings would not do. And if any such proclamations by India bear any weight, it shall come up with concrete proof rand not merely fabricated proclamations.

World has taken an arduous journey post-2001 to counter religious-based terrorism. This is while the fascist Hindutva regime in India continues its drive to bolster state-sponsored terrorism in the region and beyond. In this case, for instance, assailants were seen chanting ‘Jaisheri Ram’ or ‘Hail Ram’. India therefore needs to understand, analyze and address its own foiled security fabric and systematic misgivings (against minorities) that continue to fester and inflict the entire region, in return.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email