Egg on face, once again by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (MAY 7, 2013)

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the police penchant for constructing false stories and then refusing to retract them after their falsehood is exposed.

True to an established pattern, the false story of Delhi Police (Special Cell) about a massive terrorist plan to trigger powerful blasts in Delhi was exposed on April 28 when the NIA (National Investigation Agency) found Delhi Police claims unsubstantiated.

The Delhi Police had claimed that it had arrested a Kashmiri, Syed Liyaqat Ali Shah, an alleged Hizbul Mujahideen member, from near Gorakhpur on March 22. The Delhi Police constructed a fearsome story about Shah planning to stage a series of massive blasts in Delhi around Holi.

The Delhi Police went on to unearth a huge cache of arms and explosives from an old Delhi hotel, which they said, was to be used for the attack. This alarmed Jammu and Kashmir government, which was conducting a successful programme of weaning alienated Kashmiris from extremism. It had been working with the Central government, particularly the Home Ministry and intelligence agencies.

The J&K government had regularly been rehabilitating alienated Kashmiri youth who had crossed over to Pakistan. Under the same plan Shah was to come to India via Kathmandu and move to Kashmir where he and others coming in with him would be rehabilitated. Twelve Kashmiris, including Liyaqat Shah, crossed into India from Nepal on March 19 with the full knowledge of Central intelligence agencies and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at India-Nepal border near Sunanli.

After verifying their claims with the J&K Police, the SSB arranged to send them to Jammu. However, the Delhi Police intervened and arrested Shah. On March 22, the Delhi Police announced that it had foiled a great attack with the arrest. The J&K Police as well as the state home ministry refuted the charge and exposed the Delhi Police lie. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah talked to the Union home minister and informed him of the mischief. Soon the Delhi Police was on its back foot.

Now that an investigation by the NIA has nailed the mischief, no newspaper seems to be talking about the loud claims of the planned explosions in Delhi. Delhi Police, too, is yet to explain what happened to the story so meticulously constructed. We have come to learn that such false stories are regularly constructed by the Special Cell to bolster its officers’ hopes for annual sarkari medals and promotions, which, sadly, come at the cost of the poor, undefended people.

The same media which had created a great brouhaha tom-toming the false police story is silent today when that falsehood has been exposed.

Even more intriguing is police silence over the big haul of weapons and explosives that Shah was supposed to use. Where did those weapons disappear? Whom did they belong to? On whose orders do the police stage such vicious games? Will the conspirators in uniform ever be brought to account for their misdeeds?

It is important to know whether the police will ever be accountable for what they do. Unless such accountability is enforced, we cannot hope to be a true democracy. As far as the police are concerned, they have got used to living with egg on their face.


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