Monday, 13 February 2012

3 yrs on, 35 cases later, NIA solves only 1 terror case!It proves our point of view that the State is NOT Active Enough to Finish Terror rather it Uses Terror as Tool of economic ethnic Cleansing!India To Deport Israeli Couple Suspected Of Being Agen

3 yrs on, 35 cases later, NIA solves only 1 terror case!It proves our point of view that the State is NOT Active Enough to Finish Terror rather it Uses Terror as Tool of economic ethnic Cleansing!India To Deport Israeli Couple Suspected Of Being Agents!

Samjhauta express blast: Kamal Chouhan arrested for alleged role

I am being forced to make false statements: Swami Aseemanand

Indian Holocaust My Father`s Life and


Palash Biswas

It was formed three years ago and is working on 35 terror cases at the moment. But with only one incident solved so far, India's premier anti-terror probe body National Investigation Agency (NIA) has very little to boast of, say experts.

Meanwhile,in Samjhauta express blast case Kamal Chouhan arrested for alleged role!On the other hand,Swami Aseemanand claims that he is  being forced to make false statements!The NIA had already charged Swami Aseemanand, Sadhvi Pragya, SunilJoshi (now dead), Sandeep Dange, Lokesh Sharma and RamchandraKalasangra alias Ramji for triggering the explosions in the SamjhautaExpress on February 2007 in which 68 people were killed.

Samjhauta blast accused arrested

indiablooms - 24 minutes ago
New Delhi, Feb 12 (IBNS) The National Investigation Agency (NIA), India's premierterrorism investigation body, on Sunday arrested from Indore a suspect in ...
Samjhauta blast case: NIA arrests bomb planterZee News
India arrests key suspect in Samjhauta Express blastThe Express Tribune
all 23 news articles »

The train operates between Delhi and Lahore in Pakistan. His questioning also focussed on the murder of Joshi, a case which was also taken over by the NIA in June last year.

India To Deport Israeli Couple Suspected Of Being Agents!Local newspapers, which reported the arrest, quoted unnamed police officials as stating that Shneor Zalman and Yaffa Shenoi, both Israeli passport holders, to be 'foreign agents'.

Just a week before the arrest of the suspected spies, the Israeli Foreign Ministry published a study claiming that a whopping 58% of Indian respondents were found to have sympathetic feelings for the Jewish State whereas only 56 % of Americans felt the same way. Indeed, Israel enjoys a very positive image in Indian bureaucratic and business circles.

     Will this incident, which will bring a sharper focus on Israeli activities in India, change that perception?

An Israeli couple who came to the city,KOCHI on March 3, 2010, will be deported for "suspicious activities". Shneor Zalman and Yaffa Shenoi came on a multiple-entry visa and rented a house on Rose Street, Fort Kochi, for Rs 50,000 per month, far higher than the market rate.However, their 'mission', was not specified and police reported that the couple would be deported back to Israel after questioning which means some clear evidence of their activities, inimical to India, may have been found.

The Times of India reported Tuesday that Shneor Zalman and Yaffa Shenoi, who arrived in the city in March 2010, will be questioned before they are deported.
The couple raised suspicions, according to the newspaper, when they came on a multiple-entry visa and paid far higher than market rate to rent a house in the city.

They are accused of being part of an Israeli covert operation in retaliation for the November 2008 terrorist attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai, which led to the death of six Israelis, including the Chabad emissary and his wife. More than 170 people were killed in the attacks in the Chabad house, luxury hotels, a train station and a popular cafe.  

The Times of India quoted an intelligence officer as saying that central intelligence received an alert about a covert operation being carried out by suspected Israeli agents following the Mumbai attacks.

"A communication was sent to all states and it was our wing in Kerala that traced this couple at Fort Kochi," the officer is quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Indian intelligence also said, according to the newspaper, that "We have traced the couple's financial transactions. Preliminary investigations suggest similar Israelis are camping in various parts of the country."

Police also were suspicious of what they called late night meetings in the house, which the couple told Ynet they believe were Shabbat dinners for travelers and members of the local Jewish community.

Zalman told The Jerusalem Post that the couple were invited to Kochi by the small Jewish community to open the outreach center.

Local newspapers reported that undercover Kerala Police officials followed them for a year, questioned them and filed a report after receiving details that other Israeli spies might be camping out in various Indian cities. The decision to deport them was taken by the district admnistration of Ernakulum District which looks after such matters under its jurisdiction.

     Exactly what the two were upto in a city which has India's largest population of jews is a subject of speculation. Some years ago, the Kerala state administration had sounded the alarm after Indians jews, emigrating to Israel were reported to be taking away priceless relics from centuries old Synagogues in Kerala's backwaters.

     This incident comes a month after Indian External Affairs Minister S.M Krishna made a historic visit to Jerusalem to reaffirm 20 years of diplomatic relations under which bilateral trade is worth nearly USD 100 billion dollars, most of it flowing from India to Israel.

"Central intelligence got an alert about a covert operation being carried out by suspected Israeli agents after the 26/11 terror attacks in which south Mumbai's Chabad House came under attack and six Jews, including a Rabbi and his pregnant wife, were killed. A communication was sent to all states and it was our wing in Kerala that traced this couple at Fort Kochi," an intelligence officer here said.

Indian agencies will question two suspected Israeli agents before they are deported. "We have traced the couple's financial transactions. Preliminary investigations suggest similar Israelis are camping in various parts of the country," an official said.

In their report, the state intelligence department said a group of people turned up at the couple's rented house regularly and held meetings.

"These meetings lasted for hours in the night. They were under close surveillance".

The deportation order was slapped on Zalman and Shenoi last Monday after undercover Kerala Police officers tracked them for a year, questioned them and filed a report to Ernakulam collector P I Sheik Pareeth.

Shneor Zalman, born on September 2, 1984, and Yaffa Shenoi, born on January 27, 1988, entered the country on multiple-entry visas (one of them being AP 2569691). While Zalman's passport number is 13143659, Shenoi's is 11665711.

Fort Kochi is a major hub for foreign tourists next to the neighbourhood of Mattancherry, famous for its Jew Town. This is the historical part of town where Jews set up their first trading outpost centuries ago and built the country's oldest synagogue in 1568.

"A monthly rent of Rs 50,000 is disproportionately high, even in Fort Kochi. This is one of the main factors that made us suspicious," the intelligence source said. "They have been in the country from March 3, 2010. When their visas expired on March 3 last year, they went out and returned on April 1, 2011 on a new visa."

Hindu right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the Samjhauta train blast case, Monday claimed "pressure" from investigating agencies to make "false statements".

"It is such a big case which is connected to Pakistan. They (authorities here) want to run the case on the basis of false statements made under pressure. It poses a question mark on our system," he told reporters here after a hearing.

"I am being forced to tell things," he said.

The matter is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has on June 20, filed a charge sheet against Aseemanand and four others -- Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra and Sunil Joshi, who is now dead.

Sixty-eight people, mostly Pakistanis were killed in the Samjhauta Express blast at Panipat's Diwana village, about 80 km from Delhi in February 2007.

Aseemanand is accused in 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast, which claimed three lives and left 15 others injured. Besides, the investigating agency has claimed his role in blasts in Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid and Malegaon.
The self-styled seer was arrested by the CBI last year from Haridwar in Uttarakhand for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast case.

In his confession that was recorded before the magistrate few months ago, Aseemanand had alleged that a right-wing group was responsible for the 2006 blasts in Malegaon, which killed 37 people and injured over 100.
The case will now be heard on January 10.

In another arrest in the Samjhautaexpress blast case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken into custody an Indore-based man for his alleged role in the 2007 train attack.

The arrest of Kamal Chouhan, believed to be a close aide of RamjiKalsangra and Sandeep Dange, key accused in the case, came after he was asked to appear before the NIAheadquarters here following summons served at his home atDepalpur Tehsil in Indore in MadhyaPradesh, official sources said here tonight.

Intense questioning of the accused was underway to ascertain the whereabouts of Sange and Kalsangra, on whom the agency has announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh, the sources said.

Pointing out the dismal success rate and NIA's nearly Rs17-crore budget this fiscal, experts say the much-hyped agency has proved to be a white elephant created to give a "symbolic impression" that something is being done on the anti-terror front after the Mumbai attack in 2008.

With Radha Vinod Raju as its first director-general, the federal probe agency was set up on January 18, 2009 -- months after 10 Pakistani terrorists attacked Mumbai, shocking the nation and stunning intelligence agencies.
At the end of its three years, the agency is investigating 35 terror cases, including the recent Delhi High Court blasts, the David Coleman Headley connection to the Mumbai attack, the Malegaon bombings of 2006 and 2008, the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts, according to NIA sources.

So far it has filed 21 chargesheets, the latest one being against Pakistani American Headley and eight others, for their alleged involvement in the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. The case is expected to come up for hearing later this week.

But only one case pertaining to a bomb explosion at a bus depot in Kozhikode, Kerala, in 2006 has been solved. Two of the accused, including alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba militant T. Naseer, have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The failure to meet expectations of probing terror strikes has led to a lot of flak for the NIA.

Ajai Sahni, a security expert, says the NIA has been "nothing but a wasteful, unproductive institution".

"It was a bad idea executed badly. You can't curb terror with vanity projects just demonstrating symbolic impression that the government was doing something," Sahni, who runs the South Asia Terrorism Portal ( <>), told IANS.

Sahni questions the basic need to have the NIA. "Who are these people running it? They are the people stolen from police, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Why do you need NIA at all when you have not given investigative autonomy even to the CBI?"

Pointing out a basic fault in its creation, former IB director Ajit Doval believes a reality was "ignored" when the NIA was formed.

The NIA lacks a systematic update on terror outfits, hw they manage their inter-relationships, their modules, their changing modus operandi, overground links, finances, communications, weapons, he says. "Is that happening? No."

"This makes the agency work on simplistic inferences that often fall back and their probe leads nowhere. It is just event-focussed. It's not likely to take them too far," the former IB head says.

But NIA officials say it is unfair to criticise a "three-year-old baby who has just learned to walk".
"We are still growing but are in the right direction," a senior NIA official said, pleading anonymity.

Triangular diplomacy

02/09/2012 15:37   By JARED FELDSCHREIBER

How the American Jewish Committee's Indian-Jewish program director Nissim Reuben fosters ties between the US, India and Israel.

Photo by: Courtesy
Successful diplomacy is often achieved through diligent efforts, and "grace" is rarely a term used in describing active participants within the world of international affairs. Yet, to his American Jewish Committee colleagues, Nissim B.

Reuben, the director of the Indian-Jewish American Relations Program, has come to represent "grace" in both his personal and professional life.

Despite his heavy load of responsibilities at AJC fostering the partnership of Jewish communities in India, the US and Israel, he appears, particularly in conversation, as relaxed as a forehand stroke in tennis – Reuben's favorite sport.

Reuben has been passionate about international affairs since he was a child growing up in Ahmadabad, the largest city in Gujarat, India.

"I remember as a seventh-grader that I loved reading Time magazine and being fascinated by current affairs," he recalls. He credits journalist Tom Friedman's 2005 book about globalization, The World Is Flat, which concerns a level playing field in terms of world commerce where all competitors have equal opportunity, as reflecting much of his political and diplomatic worldview.

"If India was a stock, I would buy it," he quotes Friedman as saying. In a nod to Friedman, Reuben recognizes AJC as the standard-bearer for furthering Jewish concerns on the world stage, quipping, "If AJC were a stock, I would buy it."

Reuben cites the Bollywood movie star Amitabh Bachchan as a cultural influence on his life. Many of Bachchan's films feature patriotic songs which helped mold the tri-patriotic fervor Reuben feels for India, the US and Israel, and manifests his global view for "love of country." India represents the "motherland," since it is where he was born; the "homeland" connotes the US as it is his place of residence, and the "fatherland," Israel, is akin to "bnei Yisrael," or the "sons of Israel." Reuben feels a personal and professional attachment to all three countries.

THE AJC'S central responsibility is to build "bridges of understanding" and to confront the security needs of the Jewish community in the US and abroad. Its mission is to foster diplomatic ties between America and Israel, and to confront prejudice worldwide.

Reuben has carved a unique niche within the organization, specifically dealing with the Indian-Jewish communities in the US, India and Israel. He "regularly engages with Indian diplomatic missions, learning about the latest trends in these booming relations," he says.

Jews came to India for more than 2,000 years to trade, as well as to escape persecution. The communities there are both distinctly Indian and fully Jewish, and more than 30 synagogues have been documented in Bombay alone. The Pardesi Synagogue in Cochin is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth.

Reuben's father served on the AJC board in India, and 11 years ago, his father involved his son with the organization due to an inauspicious moment in India's history – the January 2001 earthquake. During the relief effort, he met the AJC's director of government and international affairs Jason Isaacson, who came to survey the damage inflicted by the natural disaster.

"I remember meeting Nissim during the humanitarian relief effort where we helped to restore a damaged school that served a predominantly Muslim population," says Isaacson. "There we worked very extensively over months and throughout the course of this time, I [came to] admire Nissim."

In these weeks after the earthquake Reuben played a vital role in the mission success of 300 IDF soldiers who set up a field hospital in Bhuj in Gujarat State. Reuben's involvement in this effort inspired AJC, and specifically Isaacson, to bring Nissim on board as a Goldman Fellow in 2003.

"I joined AJC as a Goldman Fellow and continued my association part-time through American University's Curricular Practical Training program," says Reuben.

"After my graduation I joined AJC as a full-time employee working on Indian-Jewish-American relations and international affairs in July 2005."

Reuben currently travels around the country on behalf of AJC to create a network of Indian and Jewish American students, and to meet with community leaders, artists, doctors and business professionals.

The growing alliance between India and Israel has been strong for the past two decades since diplomatic ties officially opened in 1992. Diplomatically, Israel considers India second only to the US in terms of economic and political alliance, as Israel's Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz recently commented.

"Both countries are democracies with very unfriendly neighborhoods that focus on destabilizing or destroying [in Israel's case] them," Reuben explains. "India and Israel each gained independence from the British within a year of each other (1947 and 1948), both today have parliamentary democracies," and both have strategic concerns in combating terrorism.

REUBEN BELIEVES the Indian-American communities look to Jews with particular admiration for their accomplishments in the sciences, business and politics.

"Indian-Americans on both sides of the political spectrum like the Jewish community, and generously give to campaigns to actively engage their current and future representatives. The US has two governors from the Indian-American community, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (Randhawa) who is the daughter of Sikh immigrants from the state of Punjab, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal whose parents came from Punjab."

Reuben has helped to coordinate two historic AJC cosponsored India-Israel-US friendship receptions on Capitol Hill – in July 2003 and November 2007.

He describes the increased need for continued military and commercial links among the US, India and Israel, which have spurred increased trade.

"Many Israeli companies, such as Magic Software, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael, ELTA, Elbit, EL-OP and others have set up large operations in India in partnership with government firms such as Bharat Electronics Ltd., and private-sector firms such as Tata, among others, in order to cater to the vast Indian defense and civilian market which every year becomes lucrative, given India's stable democracy and growing economy," he says.

Reuben still feels grateful to Isaacson for noticing his work in Gujarat in 2001, and acknowledges he would not be doing what he so loves "if it were not for him.

And thanks to AJC's platform, I have been privileged to play a role in these relations through helping bring Indian journalists and academics to Israel."

According to Isaacson, Reuben's gifts are "to engage the other – that has been the hallmark of AJC – and through his imagination... he has created an expanded network, and a coalition of Indian Americans and American Jews for a shared sense of combating terrorism, and for exploring the traditions of common values...

which are family, education and other shared sensitivities," says Isaacson.

"Anyone who has spent time with Indians and Jews [understands that] there is an indefinable partnership and community... there's a spark there that leads to common understanding and cooperation on a range of endeavors," says Isaacson.

Reuben travels to India usually once every year or two. He is married to Lavina, whom he met through a traditional arranged marriage in India, and who is also politically involved. She works as media communications officer at the Indian Embassy. They have a son, Benjamin.

Reuben believes the best way for American Jews to engage is to invest in helping facilitate an exchange of experts in technology, particularly in water and agriculture, between India and Israel. Leading Israeli universities like the Technion in Haifa, and Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, are the standard-bearers for this kind of research, and continue to be the wave of the future for investment in technologies.

Clearly optimistic about the great ties between India and the Jewish communities, Reuben believes "relations between India and Israel continue to be booming.

This institution, AJC, has become our home away from home. I have done many programs on India-Israel relations and India's Jewish heritage in partnership with AJC and local synagogues. I am hoping to do another one at Temple Beth El in Bethesda on February 21, where we will be screening the documentary Salaam- Shalom: The Jews of India, followed by my talk on India's Jewish heritage and India-Israel relations."

Reuben's simple approach to his work is pragmatic and helps to break down the deep complexities while bridging the cultural challenges of international affairs.

Real Opportunists of War against Terrorism
By Sajjad Shaukat

While, almost all the countries in general and the US and Islamic countries in particular have continuously been facing the drastic aftermath of the September 11 tragedy, but India and Israel are the real opportunists of the US-led global war against terrorism.

Since 9/11, by availing that golden opportunity, both India and Israel have perennially been manipulating the world phenomena of terrorism and anti-Muslim approach of the US-led west in order to obtain their secret designs.

Despite a prolonged war of ten years, America and its allies failed in suppressing the war of liberations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and militancy in other volatile countries such as Somalia, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Nigeria etc. through heavy aerial bombardment and ground shelling, but by exploiting the global war against terrorism, Indian and Israeli forces have intermittently been employing military terrorism such as curfews, crackdowns, sieges, massacre, targeted killings etc. to maintain their alien rule on the occupied territories of Kashmir and Palestine. Thus they are jeopardizing American global and regional interests.

In this regard, it was proved that Israeli forces also used chemical weapons against the Palestinians, while on the other side, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. The report indicated 2,156 unidentified bodies which were found in mass graves in various regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have disclosed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and para-military troops in the fake encounters inclduing those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.

Like Palestinian 'Intifada', the current phase of Kashmiri uprising began on August 12, 2008 when Indian forces killed Hurriyat Conference leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz who was protesting against the government decision to give land to the trust that runs Amarnath, a shrine of Hindus. While extremist Hindus favourd the decision, but due to its revocation, started protests and economic blockade of the Muslims, emulating the Israeli siege of Gaza which had resulted in starvation of many a Palestinians.

Besides, both India and Israel are acting upon a secret diplomacy, targeting Pakistan, China and Iran in particular and other Islamic countries in general. It could be assessed from the interview of Israel's ambassador to India, Mark Sofer published in the Indian weekly Outlook on February 18, 2008. Regarding India's defence arrangements with Israel, Sofer had surprisingly disclosed "We do have a defence relationship with India, which is no secret. On the other hand, what is secret is the defence relationship". And "with all due respect, the secret part will remain a secret."

In fact, by manipulating the world phenomena of terrorism, both India and Israel have also been achieving their covert goals by convincing the US-led European states that a 'nuclearized' Pakistan is sponsoring cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan and Kashmir. And Iran and Syria are doing the same act in Iraq, Lebanon and Israel. In this respect, equation of the 'war of liberation' in Kashmir and Palestine with terrorism and use of delaying tactics in the solution of these controlled territories have become the main purpose of New Delhi and Tel Aviv who also intend to divert the attention of the west from their own atrocities. While a 'nuclearized' Pakistan, depending upon minimum deterrence, having close ties with Beijing is immediate target of the Indo-Israeli secret diplomacy and exploitation. In this respect, with the support of US, India and Israel are in collusion as part of a plot to 'destabilise' Pakistan for their common strategic interests.

It is mentionable that New Delhi and Tel Aviv are collectively exploiting the double standards of the west in relation to terrorism and human rights vis-à-vis Pakistan, China and Iran. Besides, if India considers both Pakistan and China as its arch enemies, Israel takes Iran in the same sense especially due to its nuclear programme which is also negated by the US-led European countries. Israel is also against Pakistan as it is the only nuclear Islamic country. However, these similarities of interest have brought the two countries to follow a common secret diplomacy.

Particularly, on June 4, 2009, in his special address to the Muslim World, US President Barrack Obama had called for a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims by stating that tension "has been fed by colonialism that denied rights to many Muslims…without regard to their aspirations". Emphasising the two-nation solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama had vocally said, "It is time for Jewish settlements to stop." Similarly, during his election campaign, while realising the suppression of Kashmiri's struggle for independence as the root cause of terrorism in South Asia, he had repeatedly remarked that America should help in resolving this old dispute. Quite contrarily, Richard Holbrooke (The Late), special envoy of the US Administration on Afghanistan and Pakistan had clarified that he had no mandate to deal with Kashmir.

Notably, during his visit to India, on November 6, 2011, President Obama who announced $10 billion in trade deals, supported Indian demand for membership of four key global nuclear nonproliferation regimes. Owing to various agreements with New Delhi, India is purchasing latest aircrafts and defence-related equipments from Washington. America which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to make India a great power of Asia to contain China and weaken Pakistan as well as Iran. In this connection, New Delhi has successfully manipulating the presumed threat of China.

Nonetheless, President Obama became silent over the solution of Kashmir. On the other side, he has failed in stopping Jewish settlements including the solution of Israeli-Palestinian issue as earlier promised by him. Nevertheless, politicians may back out of their statements, but it is not the job of statesmen to eat their own words. It seems that President Obama has become helpless before the Indo-Israeli and American lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US Administration, and are successfully exploiting the global war on terror.
In this context, on October 19, 2007, the special issue of South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, under the caption-'Working for India or against Islam? Islamophobia in Indian American Lobbies' had written, "In the past few years, Indian American community has gained an unprecedented visibility in the international arena and now constitutes influential ethnic lobbies in Washington. Among other factors, Hindus aligned with Jewish pressure groups in relation to the war against terrorism and to further the India-Israel-US strategic partnership play a major role in exaggerating Islamophobic overtones in the Indian American lobbies."

Another regrettable point is that irresponsible attitude of Indian, Israeli and some Western politicians has introduced dangerous socio-religious dimension in their societies by equating the "war on terror" with "war on Islam" and acts of Al Qaeda with all the Muslims. Their media have also been contributing to heighten the currents of world politics on cultural and religious lines with the negative projection of Islam. In this regard, in the recent past, reprinting of the caricatures about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and release of a Dutch film against the Holy Quran and burning of Holy Quran by American pastor might be noted as an example. It is because of these developments that a greater resentment is being found among the Muslims who think that the US in connivance with the Indo-Israeli lobbies is sponsoring state terrorism, directly or indirectly from Kashmir to Palestine and from Yemen to Somalia.

Most alarming point in this context is that under the pretext of so-called Islamic terrorism, India and Israel are not only creating obstacles in the East-West cultural cooperation, but are also taking the world to the brink of clash of civilizations.

Meanwhile, a number of recent developments such as US war-mongering diplomacy against Iran, Israel's threat to attack Iran, Obama's new defence strategy, which calls for greater US military presence in Asia—maintenance of six permanent bases in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign, unprovoked firing on two Pakistan Army border posts, killing 24 troops in wake of US-backed intermittent infiltration of militants from Afghanistan and drone attacks clearly prove that President Obama has become helpless before the Indo-Israeli lobbies which are successfully manipulating the global war on terror by ignoring US cost of war which is more than seven trillion dollars including debt-crisis and other related problems which Americans have been facing.

No doubt, while the US and Islamic countries and some other western countries are the victims, but India and Israel are the real opportunists of war against terrorism.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations


War on terror: If you can't find the terrorist, make one

Submitted by admin6 on 26 January 2012 - 5:15am
By Md. Ali,,
This is the first report of the three part series on the situation of Md. Amir after spending 14 years in jail.
New Delhi: Don't get surprised by the title of this story, which, at several levels encapsulates the discourse of war on terror. As a series of court judgments in cases related to several blasts in and around Delhi will show, more often than not, method of terror investigation has its own pattern which defies logic, rule of law and sense of justice.
In the post-blast scenario police and investigative agencies face a tough time dealing with the pressure of clamoring voices which call for bringing the culprits to book. Interestingly, even when just to deal with the pressure police picks up a few misidentified suspects, their arrest is not seen as wrong and illegal, but as some thing which fulfills the "collective conscience" of the society, which in turn justifies it as a balancing act and a compensation for the injustice done to the terror victims.
In some cases, even the liberal voices of the influential and strongly opinionated Indian middle class, see it as an unavoidable collateral damage occurred in the "war against terror."
Now the question one asks is, what happens, when the same youths, who were arrested under terror charges, are later acquitted mainly because the prosecution could not produce an iota of evidence which could prove their involvement into the respective terror cases?
It's in this context that one presents the case of Md. Amir Khan, who was charged with more than 19 cases of bomb blasts, which had taken place in 1997 in and around Delhi. His release in January this year after 14 continuous years in jail holds an important place in the series of acquittals in famous cases, whether it is Godhra 2002, the Delhi blasts of 2005 and 2008, the Mumbai train attacks of 2006, Mecca Masjid cases of 2007 or men and boys routinely picked up and charged with terrorism.
The only difference with Amir's case here is that these bomb blasts happened when there was no Indian Mujahidin (IM) in picture and when at least officially, there was no official confirmation on the existence of home grown terror in India.
Amir, who had already been acquitted by the trial in 17 out of 20 cases, walked out free on January 9, 2012. Of the three remaining cases the Delhi High Court has overturned his conviction for life in one case. The remaining two are scheduled to come up for appeal. was the first one (and probably the only one) to report story of Amir and Shakeel around one and half years back. Read my first story, 12 yrs in jail and counting: Story of Amir – a victim of war on terror
Story of Amir Khan, the "Mastermind"
In the year 1997 there were more than 20 major and minor bomb blasts in and around Delhi and the NCR. Delhi police arrested Md. Amir Khan, who was in 10th standard at the time of his arrest in February 1998. He was initially arrested under the Explosive Substances Act but later, made the main accused in almost all the cases and charged under Sections 302, 435, 34, 121, 121A, 122, 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder and conspiracy.

After 14 years in jail,school ID photo is the only thing from his childhood he is left with now
Minor and major bomb blasts with which Amir was gradually charged including those that happened under police jurisdiction of Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Saraswati Vihar, Kotwali, Roop Nagar, Lahori Gate, Daryaganj, Mukharjee nagar and Sabzi Mandi police stations.
After Amir was charge sheeted as the main accused and officially at least, all the bomb blasts in Delhi were "solved" the boy was also charged with bomb blasts outside in Sonepat and Rohtak in Haryana (1997)and with Frontier Mail bomb blasts in Ghaziabad (1997).
Importantly one Shakeel Ahmad, a poor hawker from Ghaziabad, who was co-accused in most of the case, was poisoned by the Dasna jail authorities in Ghazaibad when he was an under-trial in the 1996 Frontier Mail bomb blast.
Shakeel was found hanging from the ceiling of his high-security barrack in Dasna Jail on June 19, 2009, and the then jail superintendent V K Singh had claimed that the accused had committed suicide. But an NHRC ordered magisterial enquiry found it to be a case of poisoning, after which the Session court, Ghaziabad ordered an FIR against former jail superintendent V K Singh. Shakeel was arrested in 1999 for carrying out the blast in which two persons were killed.
Police Story "Concocted"
The story which the Delhi police had made and which, later turned out to be a concocted one, was that Md. Amir Khan along with Shakeel Ahmad used to make bombs in the clothe printing factory at Pilakhua in Ghaziabad. According to the police story, the bombs made from this factory were used by Amir in all the bomb blasts he was charged with.
To substantiate its claim police had shown several Kgs of RDX and other explosives seized from the factory, which was very strong evidence against Amir and Shakeel. Police had made Chandra Bhan the main seizure witness who as per the police story, had volunteered to be a witness, when they went to raid the factory.
But the police and prosecution case against Amir collapsed like a pack of cards when Chandra Bhan, who was the only seizure witness, told the court that the police story was a concocted one and he never went with the police for seizure of alleged explosives in a factory in Pilakhua.
He also said that it was police who had taken him to the Chanakyapuri police station and had taken his signatures.
"I don't know from where and by whom those articles were recovered. I do not know any Amir Khan and Md. Shakeel. I saw them only in the court. I had not accompanied the police party to Pilakhuwa. I was taken (by police) to police station Chanakya Puri where I was asked to sign some documents," Bhan said in his statement.
"It is wrong to suggest that police had recovered the chemicals and other materials as mentioned in recovery memo. It is also wrong to suggest that I had witnessed the recovery from Pilakhua…," Bhan said in the court.
Not a single witness against Amir
Besides the police story being concocted, another reason why prosecution's case against Amir was rejected by the courts in most of the cases, was that prosecution didn't have even a single strong witness or evidence which could either connect or identify Amir with the bomb blasts.
Judgments after judgments by the High Court and Session Courts in Delhi, Session Courts in Rohtak, Ghaziabad and Sonepat, highlight just one and one point only.
"From the record it is thus evident that there is absolutely no incriminating evidences against the accused person as none of the witnesses stated anything against the accused," says Sabharwal while acquitting Amir in the Sabzi Mandi bomb blast case which occurred on February 25, 1997.

Serious thinking: Amir after his release from Rohtak jail
The judgments repeatedly noted that no witness was able to identify the accused.
"In the cross examination by the defence counsel, the witnesses stated that there was not a single person, who had told the police that he could identify the person, who had planted the bomb," reads the judgment by MS Sabharwal, the ASJ Delhi in the twin blast case under Sadar Bazaar police station which happened on October 1, 1997.
"The prosecution has miserably failed to adduce any evidence to connect the accused-appellant with the charges framed much less prove them," says the judgment written by the Delhi High Court bench of Justices RS Sodhi and PK Bhasin on August 4, 2006, while quashing the conviction of Md. Amir Khan in the Karol Bagh bomb blast in October 26, 1997.
The Additional Session Judge Delhi on May 8, 2003 had charged Amir for planting explosives at the shop called Roshan Di Kulfi in Karol Bagh, and convicted Amir for life imprisonment in the blast in which one girl was killed and several others were injured.
The entire case against Amir was built on prosecution's account that few minutes before the blast on 26th of October 1997 at Roshan Di Kulfi, Vikas and Sushma Narula, a son and mother duo, who were also the main prosecution witness, had seen some body resembling Amir, with a bag in his hand. According to the two witnesses, immediately after Amir left that an explosion took place.
Importantly the Delhi HC while rejecting the Session Court's decision, highlighted the loophole in its decision as no where in the witness account, the two witnesses had talked about Amir planting the bomb in the shop; "We fail to see which is the evidence on record, that duly proves the planting of the bomb by the accused-appellant in the shop."
Firoz Khan Ghazi, Amir's lawyer who handled blasts cases in Delhi, says that even though he respects court's order but "frankly telling you, even in the two cases in which the session court convicted Amir, there is not any strong evidence and prosecution's case is very weak. We are confident that the Delhi HC where the appeals are pending, will quash the session court judgment."
There appeared a deliberate attempt from the jail authorities to abort any opportunity of relief to Amir. "When I was made an accused in frontier Mail blasts 2006 and when warrant came from Ghaziabad session court, these people in Tihad didn't inform me so that I don't take any legal step to preempt the arrest," says Amir who was shifted to Dasna jail in Ghaziabad, after his acquittal from Delhi blasts on April 10, 2007.
Likewise Tihad jail officials repeatedly ignored warrants from the Rohtak Session court for Amir's production in Rohtak, so much so that the Session court declared him a proclaimed offender, some thing which went against him in the court.
Unanswered questions
If one analyses the way the cases were fabricated against Amir, one is forced to question the shoddy state of affairs, when it comes to not only selective arrests of youths from a particular community but also the investigation which betrays a prejudiced mentality on the behalf of the investigative agencies.
Otherwise, one might ask, that how can it be that the police framed charges against a 19 year old boy, in not, 1, 2, 5 or 10, but 18 cases when they didn't have even a single witness against the accused to prove the case against him.
Then there are serious questions like if Amir hadn't done those 18 blasts, then who did? If the actual perpetrators of the blasts are being let scott free, as this and many other cases show, who will be responsible for the cycle of violence which resurfaces in another cycle of bomb blasts? What about the accountability of those officers who deliberately fabricate charges against people, specially in terror cases?

Palash Biswas
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