Shades of Justice (May 07, 2010)

News Analysis

Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam’s take on judgment in 26/11 case.

The moment which the country had been awaiting for months is finally upon M.S. Justice has been done in the 26/11 case with the verdict against Ajmal Kasab and his fellow Pakistani conspiractors, some of whom are dead, others alive in Pakistan. That is one part of it.

The trial has been rather fast, and that should be the standard pattern for future cases. The acquittal of two Indian Muslims, Fahimuddin Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, was based on the fact that court found no credible evidence against them and dismissed the police claim that the two men had supplied a map of the targeted areas in Mumbai. This also highlights the usual attitude of policemen who, more often than not, fabricate false charges against Muslim youth. People at large were convinced from the very beginning that Ansari and Ahmed had been framed by the police and they were innocent.

To the learned judge the map was “more confusing than guiding” and “Google and Wikepedia have better maps” freely accessible to anyone. This has put paid to all malicious propaganda in the media about “local support to Pakistani attackers”. Driven by anti-Muslim prejudice to put Indian Muslims in the dock this lie has been nailed forever.

However, there are quite a few related issues like trial by media to be worked out by the Indian society. The media had been crying hoarse about the supposed guilt of the two acquitted persons publishing and telecasting concocted stories of their supposed crimes, day in day out.

Now that the two have been acquitted the media is not forthcoming in accepting its fault, nor is it highlighting their innocence. One anchor of a major channel was virtually fuming at the judge for allowing a situation where Kasab’s quick execution may be delay. The judge found a crucial part of an important witness account about Kasab false. In such a situation the Sangh’s desire for instant justice may not be fulfilled for a while. But, the more important point here is whether the media has the authority to act as a parallel judiciary.

It is worth recalling that while Kafi Annan was UN Secretary General, he asked the then prime minister IK Gujral why it was that no Indian Muslim was part of the international terror groups. Also, President George W. Bush introduced Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to his wife Laura saying Mr Singh was the prime minister of a country with a large Muslim population but not even one of them a part of international terror network. The acquittal of the two Indian Muslims has vindicated our stand and the international confidence.

However, there are many shades of justice. The two acquitted persons have not got any compensation for the loss of their however, the long period in jail, the torture and brutalisation they were subjected to by the police.

No media house has been charged with defaming innocent Indian citizens, no policeman has been taken to task for fabrication of lies. Justice has not moved full circle in the sense that the wrong-doers have gone unpunished.

This is only the beginning of justice, and we welcome it. Justice will be complete when the wrong-doers are punished and the acquitted persons are compensated for the pain and expenses and the lie manufacturing machine publicly accepts its crime.


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